The modern yurts, produced mainly by U.S companies, 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 have the feeling of “manufactured” structures.
Mongolian yurts have shorter wall heights than modern yurts, which are mostly made by U.S companies. Higher walls mean you do not have to bend down when you enter or exit the yurt if you are tall. Higher walls also mean larger cubic space inside the yurt requiring more energy to heat and cool it down. Short walls in a Mongolian yurt does not mean you will have to be bent down the whole time you are inside. Most of the time, you will be away from the wall and do not have to be bent down even if you are 6ft or taller.
The skylight (crown) in modern yurts is smaller, allowing for only a small amount of natural light. A small skylight also means fewer rafters spaced far apart. A Mongolian yurt has much more rafter spaced closely, allowing someone lightweight to go on top of the roof and do maintenance and cleaning when necessary. Because of the small skylight, modern yurts do not have to have pillars (central posts) supporting the skylight. The pillars are required for Mongolian yurts 19ft (5.8m) or larger. The skylight design in modern yurts does not allow locating the stove in the center of the yurt. This is possible for a Mongolian yurt with the smoke pipe going through the skylight. Our Original Yurts have preinstalled pipe flashing accommodating smoke pipes of various diameters.
Modern yurts have only radiant barrier insulation, while Mongolian yurts have felt insulation, which has better insulating properties when chosen appropriately. Original Yurts have both felt and radiant barrier insulation.
Outer covers for modern yurt are usually made of polyester, which lasts much longer and easier to keep clean. Outer cover for a Mongolian yurt is usually made of cotton canvass in white color, which tears down easily, and needs to be changed every 2-3 years. Original Yurts have heavy-duty canvass, which lasts more than 5 years.
Perhaps the most important difference between the two types of the yurt is that a Mongolian yurt has a character; it gives you a feeling of being in an artistic, unique, and natural space, while a modern yurt gives an aura of being inside something manufactured.
Below we compare Mongolian and Modern yurts in some more important practical aspects.
Insulation from Noise
Most modern yurts have two layers of cover: a) reflective barrier insulation, and b) polyvinyl cover for the roof and wall. These are both non-organic material and have relative hard surfaces. Because of this, modern yurts are quite noisy, especially when they are used in areas with heavy rainfall. “…Nothing prepared us for the sound of an afternoon deluge. It sounded like we’d parked the yurt under Niagara Falls. The torrent was so loud that if we were watching a movie, we’d have to turn it off. The volume didn’t go high enough to override the cascading rain…“ (page 87, “A Year in a Yurt, by Adam & Autumn Raven).
On the contrary, Mongolian yurts have felt layer(s), waterproof canvass, and exterior canvass, which are all-natural soft materials. Felt provides great insulation from only heat and cold, but also from noise, making Mongolian yurt far superior in this aspect.