The Pros and Cons of Yurt Living

A lit yurt against a nighttime sky.

Have you ever thought about downsizing and getting away from it all? Perhaps you're tired of maintaining a large home, or maybe you want to get off the grid and spend some time in a more natural setting. If so, yurt living might just be what you're looking for.

In its simplest form, a yurt is a circular tent on a collapsible frame. A traditional yurt is not only round but portable, and used as a home by nomads in Central Asia. These are often covered with skins or felt. The interior structure includes a latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for the walls and a tension band that prevents the walls from spreading. The roof structure is often self-supporting.

Newly designed yurts are a bit more advanced. They use the same tension and compression concept, which creates a strong and efficient structure, but are built with more modern materials. From wooden platforms and floors to premium grade fabrics, today’s yurts offer a comfortable living space for those looking to downsize or live off the grid.

Because yurts are built to be strong and withstand inclement weather and high winds, they are perfect for a guest house, studio or office space, a home gym, or permanent living. Below are some pros and cons to living in a yurt full-time.

The Pros to Living in a Yurt

A yurt with a body of water in the background.

Yurts are built on a platform, so they leave minimal impact on the land, which makes them more environmentally friendly than a standard house. Given that no foundation is needed, this also makes yurts portable.

Yurts are quick to build. You can purchase a kit and set up a yurt in a day.

In comparison to buying a home, yurts are an economical choice. Depending on the size, you can purchase one for as little as $8,000. The larger and more involved the yurt, the more expensive it will be. However, yurts offer the opportunity to own your own home for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a typical house.

You may pay less in taxes for owning a yurt rather than a typical house.

Yurts have lower heating and cooling costs compared to standard housing. Due to their open concept and size, they are also quicker to heat and cool than a larger home would be.

Yurts are durable and customizable. You get to choose the materials and size of your yurt. This makes it a great option for individuals looking for a smaller home because you can choose how small you really want to go.

The Cons to Living in a Yurt

The interior of a yurt with furniture and a wood burning stove.

Given that yurt living falls somewhere between camping and residing in a modern home, you’ll have to deal with nature. This means insects, rodents, and other animals. If insects or rodents make you squeamish, yurt living might not be right for you.

Yurts pose electrical and plumbing issues. Electricity and plumbing can be brought up through a yurt floor. However, you’ll need interior walls to run electricity through the walls. In remote areas without plumbing and septic hookups, yurt living involves using a composting toilet or other alternative system.

Due to the open design of yurts, there is not a lot of privacy. This might make yurt living difficult for a large family when people want to have their own space.

Because yurts are round, installing windows can be problematic. Some yurts have plastic windows, but glass windows come at a higher cost.

Yurts are not soundproof. You’ll hear nature and if you have neighbors—you’ll hear them, too.

There is not a lot of storage space in a yurt. You have to be willing to live a simple life with only the basics. Otherwise, you’ll risk a cramped and potentially cluttered living space.

If you love camping, nature, and want to live a more simplistic off-the-grid life, a yurt might just be for you. If you love the luxuries of modern day living, you may want to stay in your current home or consider a yurt solely as a vacation home.