Living in a Yurt: The Alternate Lifestyle

Source: bptacoma on Flickr

In this Alternate Lifestyle series, I’m doing my best to hone in on the most affordable, quality, and enjoyable housing alternatives I can find. One of the most interesting options is the Yurt. I came very close to buying a Yurt when I was searching for a house that would keep me out of debt and minimize my monthly expenses (a part of an ambition plan to rid myself of all my bills minus taxes).

The option I went with was a more viable choice for our situation, but I still plan on buying a Yurt and living in it, at least for a time to experiment with costs and simple living in general.

So without further ado, here’s the information I’ve gathered about living in a Yurt:

The Yurt Overview

First of all, what is a Yurt? A Yurt what some people would call a glorified tent, and they wouldn’t be far off with that description. However, many people love the idea of living in a home that brings them closer to nature, cuts their living expenses in half, and makes the mortgage an obsolete necessity.

Mongolians have been living in Yurts for hundreds of years. To give you an idea of how hardy these homes are, consider the weather in Mongolia. Mongolia has a bitterly cold climate. In the winter it’s freezing cold, with an average temperature of -13F (-20c), and in the summer it warms to 65F (20c) on average.

From what I’ve researched, Yurts are surprisingly comfortable in both the heat of summer and the cold of winter because of they’re easy to heat/cool (I’ll have to update this post with actual experience when I live in the Yurt I plan on buying).

What’s it like living in a Yurt?

Here’s the best YouTube gallery video I could find on the general looks of the Yurt, inside and out:

This is a Two-Yurt Home in North Carolina, which the owners are selling (probably at a price I’m not interested in):

Although this Yurt combo is rather high priced (if your purpose is eliminate debt), it gives a decent idea of what you’d be capable of upgrading to.

I think that’s one of the most fascinating aspects of Yurts: You can upgrade and personalize as the mood strikes. From what I understand, that’s why a lot of people like Jeeps so much; they become (more or less) an extension of their personality. 

The Price of a Yurt

When I was looking into buying a Yurt, my first and foremost question was ‘How much will it cost?’

Because there’s so much variety in size and type, the prices are all over the place, but the most affordable Yurts typically range from $2,500-$7,000, but that’s if you want a brand new Yurt.

I have seen prices as low as $700 new on Alibaba, but I don’t know if I trust that site yet.

I’ve browsed sites I trust more (like Craigslist and Ebay) and found used Yurts for under $1,000, but most of these were the smaller ones.

Quick Note: I haven’t lived in a Yurt yet, and when I do I’ll be sure to keep this blog updated with the experience, but logically it makes sense that your bills would be drastically reduced due to the size and efficiency reported by most Yurt owners. If you heat it with a wood stove like many Yurt owners, and have access to free firewood, you’ve entirely eliminated that bill, and if you install solar panels, well, there’s another bill thrown out the window.

Final Observations

From what I can tell, the worst part of living in a Yurt is the lack of sound barriers. If you’re near your neighbors, they may hear your louder conversations, which for me is a downside. And if you don’t enjoy the sounds of nature (crickets, frogs, birds etc.), a Yurt is probably not the best choice for you. I’ve heard many Yurt owners say how amazing it is to feel so close to nature, almost like you’re a part of it, but if you aren’t into the whole transcendentalist, “one with nature” philosophy, you might get annoyed with the little creature noises surrounding you.

From my perspective the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but clearly that opinion will differ from person to person. I like the idea of eliminating, or at least having the potential to rid myself of my monthly bills, and Yurts do offer that enticing benefit. And buying a home for under $10,000 is a nice perk too.

So do your research and consider what you want in a home, and if the Yurt meets your requirements, you can’t go wrong!

And that’s my take on Yurts.

-Josh

Also, if you missed my Tiny House post and want to read up on that Minimalist housing option, you can find it here: The Simple Life: Tiny Houses

 

7 Comments

  1. Sam Hill April 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    What an interesting idea. My wife and I have entertained the idea, this gives a lot of good info! I liked the video too.

    Reply

  2. Knapsack Heart May 23, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    I’ve been fascinated with yurts ever since we watched the film The Story of the Weeping Camel (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-story-of-the-weeping-camel/). It’s a great documentary which I’m sure you’d enjoy if you haven’t seen it. I wanted to move to Mongolia after watching it. But then after watching Satoyama’s Secret Watergarden I wanted to move to Japan…my husband says it’s dangerous for me to watch documentaries!

    Reply

    • Josh May 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

      I love Mongolia and Japan (haven’t been to Mongolia yet though), so I’ll definitely have to watch – thanks!

      Reply

  3. Knapsack Heart May 23, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    The link for Sayomama’s Secret Watergarden is http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-story-of-the-weeping-camel/ in case you’d like to see it! That one really had me ready to pack my bag!

    Reply

    • Josh May 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      I’ll check it out, thanks!

      Reply

    • Josh May 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      I’ll check it out, thanks!

      Reply

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  1. Off the Grid Living: The Comfortable Way - Minimalist Living: Leadership, Health/Fitness, and Lifestyle. - April 12, 2013

    […] the Alternate Housing series – so far I’ve explored the option of Tiny houses and Living in a Yurt. These are two great options that drop the $12,000 price of solar electricity to a more reasonable […]

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