What is a yurt?
A yurt is a round-shaped home that originated from nomads in Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia. In Mongolia, the yurt is called “ger” [gher]. In modern days, there are two main types of yurts.
First type includes essentially the same yurt that have been used by Mongolian nomads thousands of years. These traditional yurts are portable, eco-friendly (with zero foot print on earth) and made of all natural products such as wood, sheep wool felt and cotton. Traditional Mongolian yurts have lots of characters, and are great for anyone who wants to feel closer to mother Earth. They also have lots of practical uses such as guest house, extra bedroom, permanent home and storage. We, Ashid Ger, are producer and worldwide supplier of these traditional yurts in their original forms, or their derivatives for different purposes.
Second type includes so called modern yurts, which are produced mainly by companies in the U.S. The modern yurts take the concept of yurt structure from Mongolian yurts. But they are very different from traditional Mongolian yurts in other aspects. They are hardly portable, use lots of synthetics, and has the feeling of “manufactured” structures. See here comparison of Mongolian and modern yurts.
What is the Mongolian yurt made of?
There are two main parts in any Mongolian yurt: a) soft fabrics, and b) wood structure. When you buy a yurt from us, it comes as a complete set with everything (except stove and flue pipe) as described here. The chart below explains each part of the yurt.
1 – Inner cover. Almost 100% of the time, it is made of thin white cotton fabric.
2 – Sheep wool felt insulation for roof. In Mongolia, two layers of the felt are used during the winter, and one layer during warm seasons. There are lots of variety in quality for felts, especially when they are to be used in non-Mongolian climate. Check here for details.
3 – Sheep wool felt insulation for wall. Like the roof insulation, two layers can be used if extra warmth in necessary. We also offer radiant barrier insulation for very cold or hot climates. The radiant barrier insulation can be used both for roof and wall.
4- Waterproof layer. This layer is very important to keep the felt layers dry. This layer is usually a thin canvass, but again there are varieties in quality.
5 – Outer cover / Sun cover. Our yurts have outer covers made of heavy duty canvass. The cover can be decorated for various traditional Mongolian decorations, as well as any custom decorations. Most of the yurts exported from Mongolia by other companies or individuals have outer covers made of thin cotton canvass, which lasts only a couple of years. For those who need a replacement cover, we sell it separately.
6 – Crown wheel cover. It is made of heavy duty waterproof canvass. For extra natural light through the crown wheel (skylight) some customers prefer to have the crown wheel cover removed. For those customers, we place glass in all the crown wheel openings to block rain water.
7 – Outer straps. There are three straps for the top, middle and bottom. They are encircled and tightened after the outer cover is placed. We offer outer straps made of horse hair and nylon straps.
8 – Inner straps. Although it might be difficult to see in the picture above, there are two straps, for the top and bottom, that encircle the lattice wall. We offer horse hair inner straps.
9 – Side straps. There is one side strap that should be tightened after the crown cover is placed. We offer straps made of horse hair and nylon straps.
10 – Khayavch. Its main purpose is to regulate the yurt temperature. When it is removed, wind flow in the yurt increases significantly. When it is on, it keeps warmth, or, coolness inside the yurt. It can be made either of wood or waterproof canvass. Our yurts have the latter.
11 – Smoke flue pipe. It is not a soft fabric. It is made of iron. It sits on a stove, invisible in the picture above. The stove and flue pipe are not included in our standard yurts. They can be ordered as extra.
12 – Floor/foundation. The yurt need to be set up on even surface. Floor/foundation can be made of lots of material: wood, concrete, etc. In Mongolia, nomads do not use the floor during summer; they just set the yurt up on grass. Our standard yurts does not include floor/foundation. We recommend the customers to set their own foundation suited well with their landscape and environment.
13 – Door. It is made of larch wood we import from Siberia. This is the part most exposed to the elements among the wood parts. It needs exterior grade glue to last long in non-Mongolian, humid climate. Check here to see how the glue we use compare against others’.
14 – Lattice wall. The number of lattice wall determines the size of the yurt. Camel hide cut in narrow straps are the most suitable material to securely join wood to make the lattice wall. However, the cheap yurts exported by others use all kinds of material including goat skin. The lattice walls are the only part of the yurt that are not painted. Therefore they get mold and mildew without proper treatment. The lattice walls need to get its concave shape when the wood is wet. But the wall needs to be dried completely to reduce risks of mold and mildew. We make sure that this happens before shipment. But many other yurt producers do not appreciate the importance of this, and ship the lattice walls without drying. When non-dried walls are shipped in a container that travels 4 – 10 weeks through ocean, the walls already get mold and mildew when they reach the destination. In very humid climate, even the wood previously dried can get mold and mildew. For those in humid climate who concern about mold and mildew, we offer optional treatment of the lattice wall with boiled linseed oil.
15 – Rafters. Depending on the size of the yurt, there are from 36 to over 200 rafters to join the lattice wall and the crown wheel. Our rafters are much thicker than in typical yurts produced in Mongolia for added snow load capacity.
16 – Crown wheel /compression ring / skylight. There are three different names for this part; we generally use the name “crown wheel”. This is the part through which rain and snow water can come in. In our yurts we modify the traditional design a bit to keep the water out.