Your Comprehensive Guide to Camping in a Yurt

Camping yurt with a picnic table outside

First off, what is a camping yurt anyways?

Camping yurts are effectively a portable shelter that can be used for a variety of activities from camping to events like weddings and even parties. They tend to be larger than a tent you would get from the store with an abundance of space to boot. A traditional yurt is fairly lightweight, weighing about 10 pounds per ft of space. For example, a 10 ft camping yurt would weigh around 100 lbs.

Camping in a yurt is a totally different experience in the best way possible. Of course, the size can be a challenge for some parks / spaces. But I feel like it’s something everyone should at least try at some point, just for the experience.

Let’s dive into some other questions that commonly come up on the subject, shall we?

Is a camping yurt portable?

As you could probably figure out from the previous section: yes! However, some parks have yurt dwellings that stay up near round. These are usually far less portable than one you would bring to a campground yourself, usually due to their larger size and amenities they offer.

They’re less like a bare bones tent, and more akin to a cabin. Some even have electricity!

Nonetheless, you probably don’t want to have to carry one too far. A smaller camping yurt (12 ft) will weight around 120 lbs, making it a hassle to move into a campsite that isn’t right next to your vehicle.

Yurts are awesome, can you live in a yurt permanently?

The practical answer for those of us in the United States is unfortunately “not really”. States and counties are not likely to issue a permit to allow you to do so.

This is because they are classified as temporary structures, so they fall under camping and the laws that follow that. The most realistic way you’re going to be able to maximize yurt living is by having one behind a house that is the primary residence.

Even then, you may find yourself having to deal with neighbors and everything that entails. I can’t speak to international laws, but I figure it’s probably more realistic to do in other parts of the world.

A camping yurt surrounded by snow

How do yurts fair during winter?

Turns out that a dwelling that originated in Mongolia is plenty capable of handling cold temperatures and even snow.

This is because of their design to allow for a wood stove in the middle, as well being able to fit in electric space heaters if need be. (Don’t forget to bring a portable carbon monoxide detector if a wood stove is your primary heating source)

Yurt insulation is in fact also a thing that’s worth looking into if it’s going to be in a cold environment.

I’m sold. Where the heck can I buy a yurt for camping?

Yurts are still growing in popularity and can be hard to come by if you’re not building one yourself. is an excellent resource not only to purchase from, but for more information on yurts in general.

You can expect to spend a little over $1000 for a 12 ft yurt, pricing varying depending on where you get one from. Definitely not cheap, but more of an investment that will provide unique camping experiences for years to come.

However, you may have luck looking in unusual places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. That’s probably where I would start if I were in the market (and had the space!)

Now: that being said, I would highly recommend going camping in a yurt before purchasing one. Even though it won’t necessarily be the same experience, it will give you the first-hand experience you need to make sure it’s right for you.

The roof of a yurt with the tono in the middle

What are yurts made out of?

Materials can vary wildly depending on the intent of the yurt (is it staying up year round / climate) but for a traditional yurt, the supports are typically made of wood. The walls and roof are cotton canvas. I cannot put enough emphasis on how nice cotton is compared to plastic covers that put off that nasty chemical smell.

They aren’t overly complicated, but a quality yurt does take a high degree of craftsmanship that you aren’t likely to find very easily. Especially for the roof wheel or “Tono” – that’s the part that is integral to the yurt’s structure.

There are also the assorted tension bands that keep the yurt from collapsing, without them the whole thing wouldn’t be possible!

What is different about campground yurts?

I touched on this a bit above, but I felt like it needed more explanation, and here’s why:

Campground yurts can be very different to one you’ve bought or built yourself. The amenities they include really make them different from anything else, some having wooden floors, full on beds with mattresses and glass windows! Not to forget, some also have WiFi, bathrooms and more.

I’m not hating on them by any means, but they can definitely skew your perspective on what a camping yurt is. In any case, it’s worth staying in one at least once to see what all the fuss is about.

A view from a campground yurt with water in the background


Summarizing all this cool info about camping yurts

By now, you know all about what a camping yurt is and hopefully will get to experience one soon if you haven’t before. They are wildly different to the mass produced tents that most of us grew up with, and while those have their place for their practicality – it’s hard to beat a yurt!

Yurts are an incredible invention that give a unique feel of space, while still being connected to the wilderness outside. Truly something worth experiencing at least once if you are into the outdoors.

While living in one full time may prove to be near impossible, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them! (Not to mention, I like my privacy too much to do something like that anyways.)

If you’re in a yurt, you don’t have to worry about making tent camping more comfortable!

I would love to hear your thoughts / experiences with yurt camping in the comments, so please feel free to share or ask any questions you may have.






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