Mongolian Cloudhouses

How to build a seasonal tent-cabin

I have never made a yurt, but I’d like to. This book tells you how. It assumes you have more time than money.

A yurt is a temporary tent house. It’s not really portable. The Mongolian version weighs 200 pounds — strong wooden frame covered in thick felt. If you really want portable, get a modern dome tent. But if you want a compact summer house, a cabin, a seasonal shelter encased in the mythical round, then a yurt could be perfect since you can make one of these yourself, with the added bonus that you can move it if you have to.

This book is an update of a 1980s classic. It takes the hippie approach. The drawings are all you need. Their instructions are rough, approximate, but satisfyingly visual. The book is motivational simply by being clear and rustic. Precision is not required, craft-smarts are. It assumes you are a do-it-yourself person.

-- KK 05/9/06


Tipi vs. Ger

When nomads gather, the topic of tipi vs. ger/yurt may surface. It's a circular argument. Both are functional and beautiful; the pros and cons balance out. Choose the lodge that best fits your situation and personality.

The straightforwardness of the tipi, its pyramidal shape, the feeling of infinity inside looking up at the apex of the cone, make this Native American design a masterpiece. Because of the slope of the roof, the tipi can shed rain and handle a snow load better than a yurt.

On the other hand, the basket-like frame of the ger culminates at the smokehole, the crown, the tono. A low ceiling makes it easy to heat and the short poles fit on or in most vehicles. The straight wall of the yurt give you as much head space as floor space, unlike the tipi.


As some kind of comparison, this drawing shows outlines of an 18-foot tipi and a 13-foot yurt, both using the same amount of cover material (33 yards, 6 feet wide).


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