Feb 232011
I took this photo of a yurt in Shymkent, Kazak...

Image via Wikipedia

Right about now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Bob has spent all this time writing all the Yurt Yak posts, extolling the virtues of yurt living, showing us the best company to buy a yurt from, and going over the details of how to actually build a yurt, and what does he do now?”

“He tells us to avoid yurt living at all costs.”

Well folks, while I am just as happy as a pig in slop with my decision to buy, build, and live in a yurt, I thought I might plant my tongue firmly in my cheek and tell you five reasons not to live in a yurt.

• Neighborhood automobile traffic will increase dramatically. Granted, most yurts are not built in a “neighborhood” in the usual sense, but there is usually a house or two with a mile or so (or, in the case of Montana within 10 miles) and traffic in the typical “yurt” type neighborhood is minimal. The sense of privacy, or even isolation, that most yurt type people seek, and think they have found, will be destroyed when they build a yurt.

Everybody within five counties, or 100 miles, whichever distance is greater, will be driving by (and blowing their horns) on Saturday mornings to see that “weird tent” those new people built. You might as well get some chickens to feed or some goats to milk because sleeping in on Saturdays is over.

• Remember those “friends” you left behind in your previous life? The friends whose lives revolved around having two new cars in the driveway and a McMansion they can’t afford? The friends to whom image is everything, and who like to make fun of strange people at parties? Do you know who their new example of “strange people” is, who their new target of derision is?

You. At 9:00 PM on Friday nights, when the old neighborhood parties are in full swing, your ears will burn. At 8:00 AM on Saturday mornings, your regular golf tee time in your pre yurt days, any of your old golfing buddies who aren’t driving by to look at your weird new tent, will be chuckling over your strange choice of housing when they tee off.

• Those same friends from your previous life, who laugh at you at parties and on the golf course, will still be curious about your tent and will be constantly trying to finagle an invitation to come over to eat and check out your new abode. The downside is that their curiosity will be so great that they will hound you until you finally give in and invite them over.

There is an upside however. Since they still live in a world where image is everything, and since, by living in a tent, you have declared yourself an oddity, they will only try to intrude on your supper, since that meal is usually after dark and they can come and go without being seen. You will not have to worry about them spoiling your backyard barbecues in the afternoon.

• You will suddenly discover that you have way too much “stuff”. It’s not a matter of storage (though storage issues in a yurt do require some creative thinking). Somehow, almost magically, your attitude toward “stuff” changes when you live in a yurt. You start having little battles in your mind of quality vs. quantity, and more and more quality and usefulness wins over acquisition and collecting.

This leads you to develop an intimate relationship with the selling side of eBay and Craig’s List. This is not so much a yurt living downside for you (especially since it puts money in your pocket) as it is for me. After all, the computer time you spend on eBay and Craig’s List is time not spent here at JuicyMaters, and that is a bad, bad thing.


That pretty much covers all the reasons I can think of to avoid yurt living. Oh, you say that the post title says there are five reasons to avoid yurt living? Well, there are only these four. Posts that list things (oddly enough called list posts) tend to get a lot of reader traffic, and I, like most bloggers, absolutely love it when my friends (that would be you) stop by the blog to visit.

Oddly, statistics show that lists of four of something…” Four ways to wash your hair” or “Four ways to pluck a chicken”…don’t get read as much as lists of five… “Five ways to make a million bucks in 30 seconds flat”, so I made this list post a list of five instead of four to pull y’all in.

I’ll bet you think that’s silly and won’t work, right?

Really?  You are here, aren’t you?  You’ve read the whole post, right?

You can click on the “comments” link below if you wanna give me a hard time for being sneaky. In fact, even if you don’t want to give me a hard time, click on the link and leave a comment anyway. That’s the best way for me to know if anybody’s really listening out there.

You are out there, right? ***tap, tap, tap*** Is this thing on?

All about Bob the nutjob!

Bob is a N Georgia blogger, homesteader, yurt liver, self-sufficiency nutjob, pig farmer, political activist, politician baiter...and the best damn cook you know that doesn't make a living at it.He can be followed onTwitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page.

  105 Responses to “5 reasons to avoid yurt living at all costs”

Comments (105)
  1. Glad to know you did not include strangers swinging from trees and possibly landing on the yurt as reason #5–I guess that risk is minimal, eh?

  2. Pretty much…though if you wander around in Yurt Yak you’ll find the trees themselves pose some risk…

  3. Bob,
    Why do three of your reasons rate a bullet and two do not? It seems to me that many of the disadvantages of yurts might be remedied by having two yurts (or even three). You could have an entertainment yurt, a cooking yurt, a sleeping yurt, a working yurt. Each could be a different color and size. As a downside, though, it would probably look like a sideshow at the carnival and perhaps increase the traffic on your road even more. You could develop a yurt subdivision with a pool and rec center. You could even serve as the recreation director in your spare time. I’m excited for you.

  4. Ralph…there are 4 bullets, and at the end of the article it explains the lack of a 5th…

  5. Bob….Ya fooled me with the list. The wife wanted a yurt at one time, to be put in our residential area backyard in a far corner. I thought it a bad idea at the time, but had no real reasons except for ” i don’t want to screw with it”. Well ya gave me four more, so I now have five.

  6. We do have yurts here in the UK Bob but they are mainly used for holiday accomodation, not as permanent dwellings. I have no doubt that they will become popular as homes within time as more and more people cannot afford the cost of traditional homes.

    I find the older I get, the less I am interested in material possesions and now find it amusing that that’s the main goal in most peoples lives.

    A Nomad At Heart, Ashton-under-Lyne, UK

  7. Ah…but Bill, when you (and I) were younger w chased “stuff” too. Youngsters will come around, just as we did.

    Cost was a serious consideration when I made the decision to build a yurt. I had decided that WHATEVER I built, it was going to be something I could pay for 100%. I set a budget of 50K, knew my wants vs needs, and wound up in a yurt…and I love it.

    Now, if I could just do SOMETHING about the curious…LOL. Something legal, that is!

  8. I dream of living in a yurt. However, I was hoping to get away from suburban traffic ; ) and never did like parties anyway…any advice for those considering yurt living…also how to get a permit build one as a permanent residence?

  9. Hi JPJ, glad to see a new visitor!

    If you wander round the Yurt Yak category of JuicyMaters you find some articles on the legals of yurts…permitting, insurance, and such. Check them out, and then lave and specific questions on details you have in the comments section. If I don’t have the answer, I’m sure one of the readers will.


  10. Bob, Bob, Bob, you have become Google’s SEO [edit: let’s go with “chaser”…remember my demographic…LOL]…Still good work getting traffic. Seven is a good size for a list too, how about 7 reasons why a list post is a good idea….:)

  11. sorry Bob, quick fingers and slow mind, I could have gone with “whipping boy” fits your area of the country as well.

  12. No sweat Justin…kps me on my toes…LOL

  13. You know, I wouldn’t have noticed the four instead of five if you hadn’t mentioned it.

    And that’s a sneaky trick, using bullet points instead of numbers for the items in the list. I like it. Consider it stolen.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve done this myself, with numbers, and few notice. I’ve also repeated items, that is, reason #2 is the same as reason #5. Nobody notices. I just love pranking readers that way. I used to do it all the time, rarely these days.

  14. Bob,
    I think you have one more reason now. Trees love them.

  15. OK, Here’s another reason not to live in a yurt. Your mother will whine and complain that there is not enough room for her to move into your home. Besides, why can’t you live like REGULAR people?

    Oh, wait a moment………..I think this might not be a reason to avoid living in a yurt. OK, nevermind.

  16. Basd on my experience with MIL’s, that’s one of the top three reasons FOR yurt living…LOL.

  17. We have a Yome and are having issues with the county ( kitsap county, WA). That seem to be my number one reason! They will make you take it down!

    You can check out our blog about yome living at http://www.yomesweetyome.blogspot.com

    If have any ideas about Yurt codes i would love to be in touch with you! Thanks

  18. This was a fun post. We live in Alaska and believe it or not there are plenty of people who live in yurts up here. There was a time when hubby and I would have considered it but no longer. We have become candy asses and live in a condo.

  19. Ah, but roz…yurt living doesn’t HAVE to be a life of deprivation and denial…it’s just that a lot, but not all, yurters like the rough/rustic aspect of living like the original yurters, the Mongols…LOL.

    They can be as rustic…or luxurious…as one chooses. Mine, a 30 footer, has hardwood and ceramic tile floors, ceramic tile walls in the bathroom, a 5×8 foot walk-in shower that I tell folks is big enough for me and the Rockettes, and a smallish but efficient professional kitchen.

    I lived in Alaska as a child when my dad was stationed at Elmendorf AFB. If I hadn’t had small children here in Georgia I’d have moved back up there after their mother and I divorced. I always said my dream job was to own a hunting and fishing lodge in Alaska so far out in the boonies the only way in or out was by bush plane. You are lucky, living in Alaska. Not so much living in a condo though…LOL.

    See ya later, and have a great day.

  20. Enjoyed reading your post.And yes you got me.thanks for the smile i needed that.

  21. enjoyed your post.thanks for the smile i needed it that

  22. Thanks for the godd words, Marshall…I’m glad you enjoyed it…LOL. BTW…sorry I was a bit slow responding…I just got home from a hospital stay and am playing catch-up.

  23. You have a truly twisted humor. Love your blog. I’m in the Pickens / Dawson County areas of north Georgia, just wondered where you were dealing with building codes for your yurt?

  24. Hi Jasmine…Pickens/Dawson area sounds like out in the Foothills/Big Canoe area. Well…that is a LOOONG way away. I’m all the way over here at the other end of Grandview Rd…Burnt Mountain Rd/Price Creek area… ***“It’s a Small World” heard playing in the background***

  25. Hi Bob,

    i think i have a fifth-
    ‘At some point you have to go to sleep in someones house, you feel hemmed in, hot and can’t hear the leaves on the trees, the owls or nocturnal animals. You don’t wake up naturally underneath a glowing canvas but rudely by the electronic beep of an alarm, if you had never been living in a yurt you would never feel this way when you return to normal life!’ .

    I’ve spent the summer living in my own hand-made creation down in Devon, UK. Its sadly packed down for the winter and I MISS IT SO! Hope to return in the spring- am working on an extension now!

  26. Samanta, I know what you mean. After living in a yurt, houses just feel like…well, houses, if you know what I mean. There is no feeling of hominess to being in a box anymore.

    Thanks for stopping by, and keep coming back. We’re kinda a family here at JuicyMaters!

  27. I’ve long been intrigued by living in a yurt and about to wrap up my grad school studies. Any suggestions on the possibility of people needing “yurt sitters?” for any period of time? Thanks, I enjoyed your post!

  28. andrew…I’ve never heard of house sitting for yurts specifically…but it sounds like a cool, unique idea. I think the one weak point I see is that yurt dwellers tend to be the mome and hearth types who rarely go anywhere. Why would we? We already live in the closest thing to heaven right here on earth.

  29. that is damned profound, bob. Would read again.

  30. For years I’ve wanted to build a 4 season permanent residence yurt here in Vermont. Any advice on best sources for kits or yurt builders? Now I want to pursue it more than ever . . .

  31. Kate…there are dozens of yurt companies out there, but there are only three I would consider doing business with…Pacific Yurts, Ranier Yurts, and Colorado Yurt Company. From these three, for me at least, I would only do business with Pacific Yurts. Their product is excellent and their prices are competitive which are great qualities, but even better is the fact that they see their customers as partners in errecting yet another great quality Pacific Yurt. They have customer service that simply cannot be improved on.

  32. I am so glad your 5 reasons lured me in….. I have been following the tiny home movement for about one year now and I have decided that a yurt may be a better choice. It is ironic though as it would seem I already live in a “tiny home” since it hovers around 1000 sq/ft, the laundry room is still out for debate, sq/ft in…sq/ft out. Oh, yeah as I was saying… I am considering selling my “stuff” and the house, buy land and buy two yurts. I am a potter on the verge of stepping out to make a living so I need studio space. My thought is I surely could make pottery and survive financially living in a yurt….any input would be appreciated. I am thick skinned (artist remember) so throw any delusions I may have right back at me! Thanks for your awesome site and wonderful bantering.

  33. Hi Penny…glad to meet a potential “fellow yurter”.

    You sound like the type that does their homework (despite being artistic…LOL) so I think you’ll do fine in avoiding becoming delusional about the yurt life. I personally find it verging on idyllic…except for the sightseers…LOL.

    Really, yurt living can be as elegant…or rustic…as you want, and as expensive or frugal as you choose as well. Once the kit is up how you finish the inside is dependent only on your imagination…and wallet. Oddly, I have found that the more rustic and “basic” people want things, giving the appearance of a frugal, homesteading type life, the more they wind up spending trying to achieve that “look”…the one caution I would give is to not fall into that trap.

    Keep visiting…we always like to have new members of the JuicyMaters family hanging around.


  34. nice. I am sincerely thinking about this with my boyfriend for a first home once we get married. only thing: we have a cat. I wonder if that would make a difference. Could a cat slice the skin of the yurt?

    -Katlyn Constance

  35. I suppose a cat COULD if it worked at it hard enough, though the covering is rather tough.

    Perhaps a way to make sure you save the cover…and furniture, etc., would be a scratching post?

  36. I found out about yurts last year and then found tiny houses, but I keep coming back to yurts! I just love the aesthetics of a round house!! I’m in the planning stages right now but I know I want to buy a cheap piece of land and build my own home, no matter what the actual structure ends up being.

    I know whichever way I decide to go my home will be unique and people will be curious, but I’ve pretty much always marched to the beat of my own drum. Those people we used to know are really just jealous that we need so little to make us happy!!

    I’m really thinking about going ‘primitive’ with whatever home I do build. My ideas include solar/wind power, a personal atmospheric water generator, a composting toilet, grey water filtration, a garden and a chicken coup.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  37. Hi Jen… Welcome to JuicyMaters. We’re always glad to have a new member of the family around here. I visited your site before replying to your comment… Very cool… I hope your dream comes true. By the way, that little Wonder Wash is awesome!

    I’m not sure if you’re wanting to build your yurt and live the sustainable lifestyle you’re looking for down there on the Florida Gold Coast, but if so, I’ll bet the planning and zoning people will give you fits. Good luck!

    Keep coming back to JuicyMaters… There is always something new here, and more than likely it will be about yurts since that is the most popular category here. Have a fantastic day!

  38. Through the years, i have found myself back on Yurt pages. I think any alternative to the ‘Crowded Rat Syndrome’ of suburbia is an excellent idea to be aware of. Research the alternatives, be it Yurt, underground, hobbit, tree, or any others I’ve inadvertently left off, the knowledge available to live sustainably exists.
    Enjoyed the article, Bob.

  39. Thanks for the kudos…they are appreciated.
    Obviously I chose a yurt, but I agree alternative housing…ANY alternative housing…is better (at least for me) than living in the boxes that are built today as conventional housing.

  40. As a female, i think a Yurt is the most logical, easily constructed of the alternative housing options. I am fit, strong, but lack the knowledge (and yes, necessary strength) to construct underground, Hobbit, or tree abodes with minimum, to no, help in a safe manner. And, that counts greatly to me. One cannot always have a crew of skilled, expensive help on-site.

  41. Great informative article. Many seeking out the yurt lifestyle need to hear what you have pointed out in your article. I have lived in and designed and manufactured
    frame panel code yurts for over 40 years now. See Yurt homes video on you tube
    Yurt Homes video – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu8IyISLRrU
    I have always identified with the ancient wisdom of the mongols and their nomadic lifestyle. Their ger we call yurt has lasted the test of centuries for being the oldest form of indigenous architecture still in use today. The modern yurt is the current example of a cultural blending of ancient design with modern fabric and wood and green sustainable building materials. Thousands of yurt enthusiast worldwide are experiencing yurt living in the round. Both with the affordable non code portable fabric and lattice and light frame yurts as well as the more expensive code sustainable lifetime wood and steel frame panel yurts which all provide a similar experience for yurt dwellers. I like to call these folks the Yurt people. For those of you who enjoy sitting in front of a bay window and like a panorama view of the outside from within and a home flooded with natural lighting from above ,you are all candidates for the yurt experience. If not for a backyard studio meditation and or bedroom, possibly for your primary home as well. Yurt cluster designs with rectangular and curved interconnects between expansive round rooms are fast becoming the state of the art modern yurt home experience. These modern panel yurt homes often include solar passive heating and cooling, super insulation , energy star rated appliance , efficient and spacious floor plans all built with sustainable earth friendly materials. Visit http://www.yurtpeople,com to connect with us and links to companies worldwide who provide these wonderful homes in kit form for the owner builder or if you prefer a contractor installed turn key yurt.
    Yurts, David Raitt owner Vital Designs DBA California Yurt inc.

  42. The only valuable point you made is that the traffic noises will be louder. Then you turned into the hermit who shoots people for walking past his property.
    The majority of your “post” is about how terrible your friends are and how much they would make fun of you for living in yurt. Maybe you should get new friends if you feel yours will act the way your are implying in your post. This was a complete waste of 5 minutes that I can sadly never get back.

  43. I’m sorry you have no appreciation for tongue-in-cheek smart-assed humor. You probably don’t like Jay Leno either.

  44. I want to live in a yurt. I’ll pay the price.

  45. Hi Janet. Disregarding the tongue-in-cheek “costs” of yurt living I talk about in the post, yurt living is really quite affordable. Not cheap, but frugal.

  46. As a recent yurt liver, I must say I agree completely. We moved to the middle of nowhere and threw towns over the town mayor is talking about our new “crazy” house! And forget about friends thinking your crazy, how about your family! Haha. But we love it and so does our two year old daughter. With wind solar and out house a garden and chickens, I can say nothing can beat the feeling of doing it all on your own. My husband (who does the brunt of the work on the house may disagree at times) but we are happier than ever. Thanks for the laugh and a good post.

  47. And the beat part is seeing as I am about to turn 21 and we were able to build out of pocket we are debt free with an awesome house and land to do what ever we would like with.

  48. Heather, that part of it…being debt free the first night you lay your head down to go to sleep in your new place…is one of the top 5 advantages of having a yurt. Obviously there are o0thers, but not having to worry about the next mortgage payment is right up there near the top of the list.

    Thanks for stopping by JuicyMaters. Keep coming back…the site only gets better!

  49. Thanks for your posts Bob. I’m really hoping to start living in a yurt soon, and enjoying reading your frank, informative, and witty reflections. 🙂 -K

  50. Thanks Kevin…the props are much appreciated.


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