My aunt owns a yurt and was wondering if she could move it to her new house she just bought. She first wanted to see if she could, and secondly wanted to weigh out the pros and cons of moving it. So, I put together a guide on how to move yurts based on my research and books I’ve read. Here’s what I found.
Yurts can be moved, but not all are easy to relocate. On average, yurts can take between a few hours to a couple of days to move. The ease of moving depends on size, materials, foundation, and utility connections such as electricity and water. Yurts with a permanent foundation might not be movable.
Let’s get into what makes them moveable, and how to do it.
How Are Yurts Portable?
The main components of a yurt include the lattice walls, rafters, a center ring, and fabric coverings.
These parts are designed to be easily assembled and disassembled, making yurts inherently portable. The materials used, such as wood and canvas, are lightweight yet sturdy, allowing for relatively easy transportation.
Traditional yurts were designed by the Mongolians, a nomadic group. The Mongolians would have their homes carried by oxen each time they moved, which was often. Most modern yurts are designed closely after these yurts and can be transported as well. Remember, the smaller the yurt, the easier to move.
In The Complete Yurt Handbook written by Paul King, he says one of the “virtues of yurts” is that they are “easy to move”. “If you decide that you pitched your ger in the wrong place you can, with the help of a few friends, pick up the entire yurt and move it without any need to take it down and re-erect it.”
1. Prepare for Relocation
The first step in preparing for the move is to take inventory of all the yurt components. This includes the lattice walls, rafters, center ring, fabric coverings, and any other parts. Creating a detailed list will minimize the risk of losing or forgetting any essential pieces.
Next, gather the necessary tools and supplies for the job. Basic tools like a mallet, wrenches, and a ladder will come in handy, as well as work gloves. Rope or straps for securing the components during transport will also be needed.
With the help of some friends or family members, your move can turn into a day rather than a week or more. Yurt disassembly and reassembly can be labor-intensive, and having extra hands will make the process much easier and more fun overall.
Before you move your yurt, select a location at your new destination. Scout out a spot that is flat, leveled, and free from obstacles like rocks, tree roots, or steep inclines. If you choose to have your yurt on a platform, make sure your concrete or wood platform is ready.
Proper site preparation is essential to ensure your yurt’s structural integrity and longevity once it’s reassembled. Consider factors like drainage, wind exposure, and access to utilities when choosing your new location.
Lastly, familiarize yourself with any local regulations, zoning laws, or permit requirements that may apply to your yurt at the new location.
After preparing, you’ll be more than ready to begin the process of disassembling and relocating your yurt.
2. Dissemble The Yurt
Disassembling a yurt can be a straightforward process if you take the time to understand each step. Follow these detailed instructions to safely and efficiently disassemble your yurt:
- Make sure all utilities are disconnected
- Remove the fabric coverings: Start by removing the outer layer. Once removed, roll the outer layer up neatly and secure it for transport. Next, remove the insulation layer by detaching it from the frame and rolling it up in a similar fashion. Finally, remove the inner liner. Be gentle when removing each layer to prevent rips or tears.
- Detach the door frame and door: Unscrew or unlatch the door frame and carefully remove the door assembly from the yurt. Wrap or protect the door and frame to prevent damage during transportation.
- Remove the crown (center ring) supports: If your yurt has supports or poles connecting the crown to the ground, remove these before detaching the rafters. Label or mark each support to make reassembly easier.
- Detach the rafters: Start by removing the rafters at the bottom where they connect to the lattice walls. Once the bottom ends of the rafters are detached, you can then remove them from the center ring. Label each rafter, especially if they are not all identical.
- Dismantle the lattice walls: Undo any latches or connections between the lattice sections and carefully fold the lattice walls accordion-style. Be cautious not to force the folding process.
- Remove the center ring: Depending on the height of your yurt, you may need a ladder or a tall friend to help with this step. Gently lower the center ring to the ground.
- Organize and label components: As you disassemble your yurt, it’s helpful to organize and label the various components to make the reassembly process smoother.
Here’s a video of a family taking down their yurt.
After preparing and taking the yurt down, it’s time to actually transfer it!
3. Transfer The Yurt
Properly transporting your yurt is crucial to ensure all components arrive in the same condition. Follow these steps to efficiently and safely transfer your yurt:
Choose the right vehicle: The size and weight of your yurt will determine the type of vehicle you need for transportation. Here is a general guideline for yurt sizes and recommended vehicle types:
|Yurt Size (Diameter)
|Recommended Vehicle Type
|Flatbed truck or trailer
|Box truck or large trailer
Keep in mind that these are general recommendations, and you should take into account the specific dimensions and weight of your yurt components when selecting a vehicle.
Start loading the heaviest parts, like the lattice walls and center ring. Load lighter and more delicate components, such as the rafters and fabric coverings, on top.
Place padding or protective material between components to prevent damage or shifting during transport. Use ratchet straps, bungee cords, or ropes to secure all the components in place, preventing movement during transport.
Roll up the fabric coverings and place them in large, durable bags or protective covers to prevent damage from dirt, moisture, or abrasion during transport.
It’s also a good idea to re-check the load after the first few miles of your journey to ensure everything is still secure.
Be mindful of your vehicle’s handling, braking distance, and overall stability, especially when navigating curves, hills, or rough terrain. Avoid sudden movements or sharp turns. Plan your route to the new location in advance, taking into account any height, weight, or width restrictions along the way.
Be aware of low bridges, narrow roads, or other obstacles that could pose a challenge when transporting the yurt components.
By following these steps, you can successfully transfer your yurt to its new location while minimizing the risk of damage during transport.
4. Reassemble The Yurt
Once you’ve successfully transported your yurt to its new location, it’s time to reassemble it. Here are some steps to do so:
- Prepare the site: The ground or platform should be level, clear of debris, and have adequate drainage. You can place flooring material down if required by your yurt design or for added comfort.
- Lay out the lattice walls: Connect the lattice sections together and double-check that the lattice walls are evenly spaced and form a perfect circle.
- Install the door frame and door: Position the door frame in the desired location along the lattice walls, ensuring it’s leveled. Secure the door frame to the lattice walls as required by your yurt’s design.
- Attach the rafters: Start attaching the rafters to the lattice walls at their bottom ends, working your way around the yurt. Once all the rafters are attached to the lattice walls, connect their top ends to the center ring. This step may require a ladder!
- Install the center ring: With all the rafters connected, carefully lift and position the center ring at the top of the yurt. Make sure the center ring is level and securely attached to each rafter. If your yurt has center supports or poles, you can install them at this time.
- Attach the fabric coverings: Begin with the inner liner, draping it over the yurt frame and securing it to the lattice walls and center ring as needed. Next, unroll the insulation layer (if you have one), and attach it to the frame. Finally, drape the outer weather-resistant covering over the yurt. Attach the outer layer to the lattice walls and center ring.
- Finishing touches: Once your yurt is fully assembled, you can add any interior furnishings, decorations, or utilities to make it feel like home. Consider adding a wood stove or another heating source for colder climates, as well as proper ventilation for safety and comfort.
Pro tip: Pacific Yurts include a step-by-step installation manual that their customers love, and they are also available to answer any installation questions. There are also a ton of videos on Youtube on how to reassemble a yurt.
How Long Do Yurts last? Are They Worth It?
Modern yurts have an average lifespan of 15-20 years but varies on materials, manufacturer, and maintenance. While the interior structure of a yurt is durable and can last for several decades or even longer, the exterior elements such as fabric, windows, and doors are more likely what is needed to be replaced.
Mongolian yurts have a longer lifespan of over 30 years.
Return on Investment for Yurts
The time to break even on a yurt investment will depend on various factors, such as the initial cost of the yurt, the rental income generated, and the expenses incurred.
Let’s say the initial cost of a yurt is $20,000, and the owner plans to rent it out on Airbnb for an average nightly rate of $100. Assuming a 50% occupancy rate and an estimated $5,000 in annual expenses for site preparation, maintenance, cleaning, and marketing, the owner could expect to earn about $18,250 in rental income during the first year of operation ($100 x 182.5 nights).
Based on these numbers, the time to break even on the yurt investment would be about 1.6 years ($20,000 / $12,250 annual profit). Of course, these calculations are simplified, and the actual time to break even will depend on many factors.
In my opinion, yurts are worth it because of what they provide such as sustainability, lower costs, portabilitly, and the fact that they have such a beautiful and unique aesthetic.