Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions that we are asked on a regular basis about our yurts and what life in a yurt is like. Having lived in our yurts year-round through eleven New England winters, we share the experience we have gained in the process for you to gain from.

We are happy to answer other questions that you may have as well. Please feel free to contact us at ken@twogirlsfarm.org.



Why live in a yurt?

Living in a yurt brings life closer to the natural world. Hearing the geese in the middle of the night as they fly south in the fall, or listening to the wind in the trees late into the night. The roar of the swollen stream after a big rain or the gentle whisper of a December snowfall as it lands on the roof. Your yurt will become just one room out of many in your home as you create living space both inside and outside -- under cover and open to the elements of the seasons.

Traditionally (in Mongolia), yurt dwellers tend to live out-of-doors, and the yurt comes to fill the role of a single dry and warm room in a large 'house,' most of whose rooms are outside. The design of the traditional yurt (close to the earth, portable, thin walls) enhances life lived in deep intimate connection with the natural environment.

The yurt is also a warm, cozy, enveloping space to nest into. The walls are low. The stove at the center radiates its warmth quickly to the entire round space. The split sapling lattice walls are almost entirely unprocessed in their short journey from the forest. And an absence of excessive windows are conducive to a feeling of protection from elements just outside in which people connected to the land spend all our days.

The longevity of Mongolia's national treasure are a testimony to the yurt's clean lines, simple elegance, and inherently strong structural design.

How do you stay warm in a New England winter?

Through the many NH winters I have spent in a yurt, I found the insulation to help some, but not hugely, over no insulation at all. Either way, a good airtight stove that you can damp down and let purr all nite is a necessity.

The space is small, and with a small wood stove in the center you're never too far from the heat. I'd say with three to four cords of wood you can keep it 70 degrees all winter, though factors such as snow depth (more makes for more insulation) and whether or not you're home during the day (uses more firewood) will affect that. It's at times harder to not overheat the space and have it up over 80 degrees by accident with a good fire going.

It takes 30-45 minutes in the winter to bring the temperature from 35 degrees back up to 70 degrees after being gone for the day. With a good fire banked for the night, I find on the colder nights (around 0 outside), I only occasionally stoke the fire once in the night. Warm blankets and a bed raised off the floor make for a cozy night's sleep. You'll want an airtight stove that's not too small--it's about a long slow fire, not a quick hot one. I recommend the Tempwood stoves--they stopped making them 30 years ago but they still turn up on craigslist, especially near where they were built in Southern Vermont--but there are other great stove manufacturers.

Yurts get much harder to heat as the area and height increase. I have experimented with placing heat-retaining objects around the woodstove, like stones, bricks, or water-filled containers that can double as tables/counters to help hold the heat longer as the fire diminishes. I found that they took up too much space and didn't offer enough difference in holding heat to make the loss of space worth it.

Where do you place the woodstove?

It's really hard to heat a larger yurt with a stove at the perimeter. Of course, my experience is with living in NH (freezing temps occur 7-8 months of the year, and I usually get one week at 15-20 below each January) year round. A seasonal yurt,--or a smaller one--may work fine with a stove at the side. The center stove changes the feel of the space from a communal gathering space to a residence, by breaking up the yurt into distinct living, cooking, sleeping sections. Of course, its no problem to put the stove at the side, and I do know of at least on person who has found it to work fine (he is a big time dancer, and needs the center of the yurt to be clear for having friends over - my yurt has been more likely to be used as homestead food processing center, business office, child care central, etc.).

What is the insulation like?

The insulation is a fire-resistant, reflective, flexible, micro-cell polyethylene foam. It is 1/4 inch thick, with an r-value of 8. The extremely low flame rating of 10 and smoke rating of 15 is achieved without the use of toxic flame retarding or hazardous core materials. We also carry an all-natural wool felt insulation that comes in various thicknesses.

What considerations need to be taken into account for snow load?

For what it's worth, I've experienced several times the yurt holding a couple tons of snow.  Two pieces of advice here: be careful of heavy blowing snow--two feet built up on the leeward and none on the windward roof side will eventually lead to a roof ring inversion (in theory: I've never experienced this).  In general, I rake off the snow within a few days of a storm to lighten the load and provide insul around the base.  Secondly, we will provide you with four rafters to place vertically in the holes in the bottom of the ring if you're going to be gone from the yurt for an extended time in the winter.

Do you have electricity in your yurt?

I have tried the whole range of electrical, gas, kerosene, very low-amperage electric, etc.

I have run heavy duty 10 gauge extension cords from an external power source, either from a neighboring house or from a power box at the power lines. A medium-gauge extension cord up to a few hundred feet will run a small refrigerator, lights, a radio, and a laptop computer comfortably. I tend to not use appliances that use electricity to generate heat (stove, water heater, space heater, toaster, iron, clothes dryer, etc.) because of the high increase of energy draw required (and wood is local and free if you're willing to work hard).

Solar power is another good option for providing electricity in a yurt.

One of the beautiful aspects of living in a yurt is how it brings your life closer to the natural world. Living without electricity brings that another step closer, moving with the cycles of lightness and darkness. Oil lamps work well. Lehmans.com sells Alladin lamps that provide as much light as a 100 watt bulb. Fire safety, of course, is of utmost importance when using oil lamps and candles.

What kind of plumbing do you use in the yurt?

I have tried many types of indoor plumbing, including (for the the kitchen sink):carried in, carried out, piped out, siphoned in from gutter-fed rain barrel, connecting a garden hose from a water spigot to a kitchen faucet tap, and (my favorite) piped in through what is known as a 'yard hydrant.' (they sell them at the hardware store) The issue, of course, is freezing, and the variables are whether or not you will be around in the winter, and whether the space below the yurt floor is going to freeze. Hot water can be heated in a pot on the stove, in heating coils running through the woodstove or with passive solar systems including tanks, solar collectors, or even a couple garden hoses coiled in the sun. In terms of bathing, I have seen (but never used) an in-yurt shower, Zodi fire coil with pressurized container, as well as bucket baths, solar showers (those black bags they make for camping), and (my favorite) visiting friends once a week for tea and a shower.

What do you do for bathroom facilities?

There are several ways of dealing with the bathroom situation in a yurt. All methods center around the bucket humanure collection system. I've opted for the simplest: a 5 gal bucket in a little plywood box with a store-bought toilet seat lid on top that gets emptied into a large composting container when full. This system has lived in a variety of places: in an outhouse that doubles as a storage shed, in a nearby hemlock glade (My very first winter I put a bucket toilet in a grove of young hemlocks and had the best view of the ice-covered woods from my throne. So worth it, but cold enough that one winter was enough), and at times, in the cold of winter, in a corner of the yurt. Sawdust used as covering and composting material essentially eliminates all odors, and the end product is fertile soil that can be used later. Check out the Humanure Handbook by Joe Jenkins-- you'll like it. I have also seen folks partition off a corner with a blanket or paper folding screen. I have seen photos online of folks who build a wooden room inside their fabric yurt (huh?)

What do I need to know about building code and town zoning?

It's important to investigate your town building code and zoning before putting up a yurt. Things to think about are "temporary dwellings," gray water and septic systems. Becky Kemery has an excellent resource on her website, www.yurtinfo.org, with a lot of helpful information.

How many people can live comfortably in a yurt?

The 20' yurt, I find, fits a couple and a toddler comfortably. With 2 kids one starts thinking about a cabin. After my second daughter was born, I had built a woodshop with attic, a shed that doubled as an outhouse, and a bakery. Our living space was expanded outside the yurt into the dooryard and we found nooks and crannies all over the farm for sleeping quarters.

How long does a yurt last?

The roof cover material is warranted for fifteen years. 

What material do you use for the cover?

Our standard roof cover is made from Duro-last, a super-heavy duty 40-mil welded polyester membrane. The seams are heat welded instead of sewn to decrease possibility of water penetration through the material. It has a Class A fire rating, -40 degree cold crack, and is mold and UV resistant. It comes with a 15 year warranty. For what it's worth, this happens to be the same material that the bigger yurt companies offer as their heavy duty roof option at an increase in price. For those interested in an authentic look and feel, we can cover your yurt with treated canvas instead, but you'll only get three or so years out of it.

The walls are a high tensile 18 oz. vinyl with polyester thread inner weave. It is UV resistant and anti mildew. It resists cold cracking to 30 degrees below zero.

What kind of saplings do you use?

All our saplings are hardwoods that are common throughout New England. Species include Yellow Birch (Betula Alleghaniensis), White Birch (Betula Papyrifera), Black Birch (Betula Lenta), Grey Birch (Betula Populifolia)  Striped Maple (Acer Pensylvanicum), Red Maple (Acer Rubrum), Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum), Basswood (Tilia Americana), Hophornbeam (Ostrya Virginiana), Pin Cherry (Prunus Pensylvanica),  White Ash (Fraxinus Americana), White Pine (Pinus Strobus), Red Oak (Quercus Rubra), Beech (Fagus Grandifolia)

Where should I put my yurt?


In looking for sites for a yurt, you'll want to consider moisture and sun exposure.  A yurt will warm up quickly in the sun during the summer months, so some shade is nice. At the same time, a yurt that is deeply shaded may have more trouble with dampness accumulating inside.  If the ground is prone to dampness, you'll want a platform that allows for good air circulation underneath.  If it's a dry soil type, a platform can be closer to the ground. A platform can be set up on a slope - this will mean one side of the yurt will be higher up, increasing the materials needed for the pillars on that side.  This offers some storage space underneath, but might increase draftiness in winter. A more level site will be easier to insulate as the snow gathers along the base of the yurt.

How is the flooring platform built? Is it included in the cost of the yurt?

For long-term living, a platform is recommended. I recommend you create it yourself or find a local carpenter to construct a circular deck for you. Frost footings are not necessary. Plywood works, as well as tongue and groove or planed pine or just rough-sawn.  We have plans available to assist you in designing and building your platform. I am available to build a deck for you if you desire which can be installed on raising day.  

Can the platform be bigger than the diameter of the yurt?

No. You want the platform to match the size of the yurt so that the wall cover can hang down below the edge of the platform. Otherwise, water will flow off the roof and right under the wall.  If you'd like to have a deck  outside of the yurt, build it a step or two down for door clearance, etc.

How long does it take for an order to be processed?

Two months for custom orders. Sometimes much less for yurts we have in stock already.

Are windows an option? What about adding a second door?

There is a window in the door. Traditionally, there are no windows in a yurt and many people find that they don't miss having windows. This in part may have to do with the proximity of sounds of the outside world through the fabric walls, or with having the sunlight coming in through the skylight.

That being said, clear vinyl panels can be installed with no additional charge. Screen windows with detachable clear vinyl panels and/or outer cover panels are also available. 

    Screen with one clear OR vinyl rain panel    $75/each

    Screen with BOTH clear AND vinyl cover panels    $125/each

Yes, we can do a second door.

Can I visit a yurt that's already set up to see what the space is like?

  Yes. We welcome visitors to the farm in NH to see a yurt in action.  Give me a call at 603.499.2568 or email ken@twogirlsfarm.org. I respect the privacy of my previous yurt customers and do not contact them or forward requests for visits to other Two Girls Yurts in the region. Thank you for understanding.

Can the wall height be adjusted?

 If you are concerned at all about snow load (if your yurt will not be resided in through the winter), we recommend the five foot wall: it hugs the ground more closely.  The lower height provides better stability with snow weight. We've been through a dozen winters with a five foot wall. 

Roof height increases quickly from the wall to the center.  The roof ring is nine feet from

the floor in a 20' with five foot walls.  At two feet in from the wall edge, roof height is above 6'.

That being said, we do have a 6' wall option for the 20' yurt. The base price increases from $5,000 to $5,760.  Insulation increases from $1,000 to $1,100.  Our 6' wall includes our arched door (also available for 5' wall).

Do you ship your yurts?

No, I do better: I deliver and set them up throughout southern New England (within 100 miles of Acworth, NH). We deliver throughout Vermont and New Hampshire, western Mass and southern Maine. For free. With you and your friends. It takes less than a day. If you live further away, you can still buy a yurt. We charge a per mile delivery fee to come to your site to raise the yurt with you. 

How do you transport the yurt?

The yurt can be transported in one (full-size) or two (smaller) pickup truck loads.

Our Yurtmobile.


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