What Is A Yurt Tent? (Complete Guide To Yurts)

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There are many different types of tents available, each with their own unique set of features.

One particularly fascinating type of tent is called a yurt. But, what is a yurt tent?

Let’s learn more about this special type of shelter and its rich history.

What Is A Yurt Tent?

A yurt is a round, tent-like structure that is traditionally covered with felt or skins. Nomadic groups from Mongolia, Turkey, and Siberia have used them as temporary dwellings for thousands of years.

The Yurt’s Structure And Layout

Structure of a yurt tent
The robust structure of a yurt.

The basic structure of a yurt typically consists of:

  1. Latticework or an angled assembly of bamboo or wood for walls
  2. A wheel comprised of the crown and compression ring (the roof center)
  3. Ribs consisting of poles and rafters (the roof supports)
  4. Door frame

The roof is often self-supported, but larger yurts may contain interior posts to support the crown. The yurt uses a tension band to prevent the upper portion of the structure from spreading. This design also balances out the force exerted by the roof ribs.

Since nomads use them as semi-permanent homes, yurts will contain necessities like beds, tables, seats, and a cooking spot usually assembled in the middle area.

Yurts provide excellent protection and comfort during any season, given their flexibility when it comes to making structural adjustments.

What Is The Difference Between A Yurt And A Tent?

Difference between a yurt and tent

Like yurts, tents also served as portable nomadic homes but are now mostly used as temporary shelters for recreational outdoor enthusiasts.

The basic tent structure uses a pole frame (often made of lightweight metal) covered by a durable material like polyester. Most campers anchor their tents to the ground for added stability by means of stakes, pegs, and ropes.

While they have a similar function, yurts and tents differ in design. Thanks to their more robust support structures, yurts have larger interiors that can house more people, withstand the elements better than your average camping tent, and are far better suited for long-term living.

With that said, you probably won’t be taking a yurt on any backpacking trips or quick weekend getaways. Depending on the type of yurt, it can take days to set up. And it’s not something you are going to carry around on your back.

You can, however, find a good middle ground between yurts and your typical camping tents with a bell tent. Bell tents have a similar structure to yurts, with large and wide-open living quarters, plus have a much quicker setup and takedown time.

Are Yurts A Good Investment?

Yurts are quickly rising in popularity as a relatively comfortable alternative to standard tent camping.

The versatility of their layout allows outdoor lovers to customize the circular space in different ways. Some people even build their yurts as permanent fixtures, giving them a place to relax and recuperate right at nature’s doorstep.

The modern yurt comes with many advantages that enhance the traditional camping experience:

Weather Resistant

Yurts are built to withstand the elements. Even traditional yurts are capable of enduring rain, wind, heat, and cold. With modern materials like extra insulating layers and more robust frames, the yurt’s naturally weather-resistant design becomes even more effective.

The circular structure and low height make it easy to warm up a yurt’s interior by building a fire (or using modern heaters) and padding its surfaces with insulating covers. When the weather gets too hot, you can roll back the layers and let the outdoor breeze sweep away the heat. Those who want privacy have the option of using light reed covers that allow air to pass through.


The spaciousness of a yurt provides a better opportunity for group quality time. A larger interior means that you have the space to gather a group of people more comfortably, whether for a board game, a meal, or just some downtime to relax between outdoor adventures.

Not having to split off into individual tents affords more group activities. This is a huge advantage if bad weather suddenly hits, forcing you to retreat indoors and look for other ways to spend your time.


The basic yurt structure isn’t just highly efficient at maximizing strength; it also minimizes the materials required for its construction. Its aerodynamic curves allow stronger winds to flow around it instead of heavily impacting its walls. Beyond this natural durability, you can customize your yurt to enhance its structural capability using stronger materials.


Some modern yurts come with heating, electricity, and even plumbing. Extra openings can make you feel closer to nature while being in the comfort of your yurt interior. Many outdoor lodgings in the US offer “glamping” options that use completely decked-out yurts.

These amenities can make group camping infinitely easier. Better cooking equipment for more food options and reliable heating to keep you and your group warm on colder nights are just some of the potential improvements you can add to a yurt.

How Long Do Yurts Last?

A high-quality yurt frame can last a lifetime. The only portion of the frame that is regularly exposed to the elements is the door exterior, which needs resealing from time to time. As with any structure, a yurt’s longevity and necessary maintenance depend on the camping conditions (like moisture, UV exposure, temperature, etc.) and building materials.

Many yurt exteriors use fabrics built for year-round weather conditions. Generally, these fabrics can last over a decade if properly maintained. If the side or top covers begin to wear out, the yurt’s design makes it easy to replace them without the need to dismantle the whole structure.

When Can You Go Yurt Camping?

Depending on where you want to go, yurt camping can be a year-round option. As we’ve mentioned, modern yurts can withstand harsh weather conditions. Their time-tested design easily handles intense rains, fierce winds, and heavy snow loads. With enough preparation, yurts can be surprisingly cozy, even when it’s cold outside. If you’re planning a summer trip, many yurt models sport skylights and large windows to keep the interiors well-ventilated.

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