What Is A Yurt?

If you have looked at any type of camping vacation in the last few years then you may well have come across the camping term ‘yurt’. You might even have wondered – what on earth is a yurt and how is this part of a camping experience?

Well, we are here to help and tell you not only what a yurt is, but also what they are used for.

We are even going to discuss whether or not staying in yurt counts as camping or not!

So, let’s get started and find out what a yurt is.

Yurt Definition

yurt in a green field under a blue sky

If you want to look into the actual definition of what a yurt is then we need to start with a little bit of a history lesson – but not a long one, so don’t worry.

The term yurt originates in the nomadic societies of Mongolia, Siberia and Turkey and the definition is technically a circle-shaped tent made from felt or skins that are thrown over a collapsible frame. These were traditionally large enough to house a family and could be easily put up and taken down and strong enough to protect those dwelling in it from the elements.

As with many innovations, the use of yurts has evolved over time and in recent years they have become synonymous with a new style of camping called glamping.

Today, in westernised society you are most likely to come across a yurt while looking for a camping or glamping break, and these can be found as sleeping options on many campsites.

These are semi-permanent structures that are put up on campsites for holidaymakers to enjoy and often come with some extra luxuries you wouldn’t normally find in a tent such as more comfortable cot beds and even electricity access.

How Big Is A Yurt?

inside a yurt

When asking how big a yurt is, the answer isn’t easy because it can vary hugely from small and compact yurts suitable for one of two people at 9 foot in diameter, right up to large party-sized yurts that are 40 foot in diameter!

Traditional yurts, used by nomads, would have been smaller in size for the most part – up to around 16 foot in diameter. They had to be able to put them up, take them down and then travel with them after all.

Most glamping style yurts are just big enough to provide comfortable sleeping and relaxing space for a couple or small family.

What Is A Yurt Used For?

A yurt is primarily a living or sleeping space. Traditionally these were the only dwellings of the nomadic tribes that used them and as such were used for everything from sleeping to storing belongings.

Nowadays, the most common modern use for yurts is for a glamping break where you can get the best out of the camping experience without the hassle of packing a tent, putting it up and then taking it down again. Because these are semi-permanent structures that campsites look after and maintain they are often a little more comfortable than a tent with extra headspace, more comfortable bedding and even some extra luxuries.

Related: What Is Glamping?

What Is A Yurt Made Out Of?

man building a yurt

As mentioned earlier, traditional yurts used by nomadic tribes would have been made out of a wooden lattice framework, and a tent made from felt or skins. These were perfect for their primary use of keeping the tribes people warm, dry and comfortable – but our modern glamping yurts have changed quite a bit.

A modern yurt is most likely to be made out of canvas material to make the tent sections – but the framework is likely to be made from similar traditional methods and materials that yurts have always been made from.

As technology and methods grow you might come across yurts using various methods of building and materials, but the general size and feel of them should always remain the same.

What Is Yurt Camping?

family yurt camping

Yurt camping put simply is camping – just a little more comfortable.

Staying in a yurt helps to bridge the gap between camping and staying in a hotel or caravan. This is perfect for people who don’t have a tent or camping equipment of their own, but who would love to have a great camping experience.

This is also a great choice for anyone who wants to camp, but doesn’t want the hassle, or wants to ensure they have a little more comfort and access to a little more luxury while on vacation.

Staying in a yurt now comes under the term ‘glamping’ which is an amalgamation of the words glamorous and camping and is used to describe a type of camping that gives you a little more luxury than staying in a tent might. Yurts and other glamping types of accommodation can even be used in resort-type campsites where you would expect a high level of luxury.

yurt on a platform at a yurt camping site

A yurt glamping holiday can be an awesome adventure – but you need to make sure you are well prepared for it. It still isn’t quite like staying in a hotel after all.

Here are a few things you need to prepare for or consider before embarking on your glamping adventure.

  • Even staying in a yurt isn’t quite as comfortable as staying in a building so make sure you pack extra clothing and blankets to keep yourself warm. It can get cold at night and there is only so much canvas walls and roof can do.
  • Don’t forget to bring lighting. Many luxury yurts will include some form of lighting but you don’t want to take the chance. Bring torches and lanterns so you can light up the yurt and can take some light with you when you want to seek out the sanitary block in the middle of the night.
  • Bring bbq and campfire equipment. You won’t be able to cook inside your yurt for obvious reasons. Material and fire just don’t go together well. You may want to have an outdoor campfire though and have plenty of bbq’s while on holiday. So make sure you have everything you need to cook outdoors.
  • Check the list of amenities and equipment available to you. Whoever you book your yurt with will be able to tell you exactly what is included in the price and what you need to bring extra. Make sure you bring everything you need that isn’t already included in the price.

Above all, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Staying in a yurt is a great adventure and you can book yourself into a yurt in some of the most amazing beauty hotspots – so be prepared for the camping holiday of a lifetime!

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