Outside of my little yurt in Virginia, the wind is howling. Beyond my flimsy fabric walls, it is extremely cold. However, it is quite warm inside my small yurt roundhouse, where the woodstove and flickering candlelight provide warmth to all the non-corners. I’ve been living in this yurt full time for over a year and while it’s been tough, it’s also been enjoyable.
When looking into yurt living I realized there wasn’t much information available about living in a yurt full time. If you’re interested in permanently residing in a yurt, you might find the absence of information discouraging. It certainly was for me…
We had to learn many lessons the hard way throughout the first five years. You don’t have to, so don’t worry. That’s why we wrote this article!
Regulating the Temperature was Tough
Twelve years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I faced my first winter in an off grid yurt. I was raised in southeast Massachusetts suburbs. Going from being a suburb boy to living off the grid seemed like a massive leap into the unknown.
Fortunately, I was surrounded by understanding individuals who helped me acclimate to a different environment. This made my transition to living in a yurt full time much smoother.
You’ll need to master the “Art of Regulating Temperature” unless you’re running heaters and air conditioners nonstop while connected to the grid. Yurts lack corners where the cold can be trapped. However, it can be challenging to heat those regions if the walls are blocked by furniture or walls.
Modern yurts have a tendency to retain heat in the summer, even with all the windows open. Insulation, dome raising systems, and battery-powered fans are all very helpful. But don’t count on being able to keep the temperature constant.
Don a sweater, whip up some ice cream, or simply take in the variety of weather that Mother Nature provides.
Where to Put Your Stuff When Living in a Yurt Full Time?
The majority of furniture is made for straight, flat walls. When you place that furniture in a yurt, there are spaces between the furniture and the walls. Some people use a lot of interior walls to get around this issue.
Although it can divide the room into an excessive number of tiny rooms, it is an excellent approach to achieving many smooth, perfect angles. You can create furniture to fit your area better if you’re handy and have access to lots of lumber.
However, most of the time, it only requires a lot of moving around to find a plan that maximizes the available area without drastically reducing it due to those circular walls.
If you’re planning on living in a yurt full time, I recommend you get organized. I mean highly organized. Here’s one of my favorite shelves that I keep all my necessary stuff – things that I need, but don’t have a regular home!
The Weather is Loud!
The typical roof of a modern yurt is a plasticized canvas covering with thin insulation. There isn’t anything in yurts, unlike most dwellings, to muffle the sound of rain on the roof. We cannot hear one another or the radio during a true downpour.
The majority of rainstorms produce constant, relaxing background noise. Snowfall in the winter is gentle. But in a severe storm, the sound it makes as it whooshes off the roof might awaken everyone within.
Additionally, it is simple to hear all the natural sounds surrounding the yurt, such as the cries of feral animals and the snapping of branches during cold nights. If you want to attempt living in a yurt, get used to the sounds of the outside world. It’s merely a fancy tent, after all.
Speaking of weather, you’ll probably want to collect rainwater when living off grid. Here’s a few of my favorite (and some creative) ways you can collect rain!
Sunlight Will Wake You!
Modern American yurts are distinguished by their large, transparent domes. The dome is a lovely detail. We can observe birds flying over the sky at night and view the stars. But during the summer, daybreak arrives early.
When the morning sunshine is streaming in through a wide, spherical skylight, it can be challenging to avoid being awakened by its brightness.
Even though I have bed curtains, nothing can totally block off the dome’s light. Homesteaders will benefit from this feature because we won’t be oversleeping! The greatest option if you want to sleep in later is to construct a little bedroom to block out light.
In my opinion, waking to the sunlight is one of the best feelings in the world. You don’t need to be living in a yurt full time to experience it!
You Don’t Need as Much Space as You Think!
The yurt was intended to be our temporary home when we first moved in. I genuinely didn’t believe I could manage a 460-square-foot apartment for long. After multiple years, and animals, I feel very at home.
The majority of individuals are accustomed to having lots of room. It’s simple to glance around and believe that living in a space less than 800 square feet is cramped, whether you live in an apartment, a trailer, or a lovely suburban home. But in truth, we’re all adaptable.
Small areas can foster close-knit families and comfortable evenings.
Luan Isn’t Durable as You Think
One of the American companies that sell yurt kits would frequently advise placing thin plywood (luan) around the base of the yurt. It is intended to make a tidy edge and deter bugs. But luan is short-lived. It doesn’t endure in many climates, at least.
The first winter was the only time ours survived. If you decide to use luan, paint it with a more durable outdoor paint than is often used and be ready to repair or repaint it frequently.
Pests are a Problem
Pest issues are prevalent in yurts. There will be a few gaps where mice and spiders can enter unless you’ve decided to make yours permanent with extensive caulking and remodeling.
Songbirds and garden snakes have also occasionally visited us. Luckily, the snakes killed the mice, and the dogs chased the snakes away. Yurts do bring you near to the natural world.
Pests typically only cause minor issues. It can be resolved quickly with a few mousetraps and a little patience.
Old Things Can be New in a Yurt
We spent much time at flea markets when we first started living in our off-grid yurt. Antique shops, flea markets, and thrift stores are the best places to find useful tools. We acquired hand-crank coffee grinders, oil lights, and wood cookstoves because we lacked solar electricity.
Finding some of the magnificent tools from the past again has been a thrill. Fortunately, older tools are made to last. We’ve discovered a terrific place to find brand-new non-electric things like hand-crank blenders and propane or solar appliances, as well as other items, is in Amish supply stores.
Solar wasn’t part of our homestead because we didn’t have much disposable income when we first moved in. We use a hand-powered record and a few battery-powered items.