Best Low Cost Tiny House Alternative – The Mongolian Yurt

We met up with Rivkah from Groovy Yurts ( to learn about the traditional hand-painted yurts (gers) they import directly from Mongolia, and we also helped her team set one up at the Tiny House Festival this summer. It was more work than we thought it would be but it was totally worth it when we finally stepped inside the beautiful structure.

Mat and I both love the round shape of a yurt, and the natural light that pours in from the skylight dome in the center. We also really appreciate that these yurts are made from 100% natural & renewable resources.

The wall lattice (khana), the roof ring (toono), and the rafters (uni) are built from sustainably harvested wood (Groovy Yurts plants 35 trees for every yurt sold). The cotton liner and outside cover are made from cotton (less sustainable but still natural and renewable), the insulation is made from sheep’s wool felt, the ropes that tie the yurt together are made from braided horse hair, and the lattice joints are held together with pieces of camel hide.

It took us no time at all to set up the walls of the yurt into a perfect circle. The tricky part was making sure the centre ring was actually centred so that the rafters could fit into the notches at the top of the lattice walls, and into the notches in the centre ring.

In less than a few hours, we helped set up a house that was cozy and warm, all natural, and that provided ample natural daylight. We couldn’t get over how easy it was to make a yurt compared to building a tiny house or a conventional home. And it was so much cheaper, too!

Obviously the materials that a yurt are made of will not last as long as a conventional home, but they can still last a very long time if they’re properly cared for. Rivkah was telling us that in Mongolia, they expect a yurt to last 100 years, with repairs and maintenance of course.

In some of North America’s wetter climates, yurts of any kind (natural and synthetic) can experience moisture issues if they are not regularly occupied and heated to keep them dry. To combat this moisture issue, Groovy Yurts offers the option of including an additional waterproof layer between the canvas and the insulation to avoid moisture seeping into the structure.

Mongolian yurts are hand-painted and are usually red or orange inside to symbolize the sun shining over the Mongolian steppe. They are traditionally heated with a wood stove that is also used for cooking.

Since Mongolian people have a deep respect for the earth, they prefer not to tie their homes down to the earth. Instead, they will use a rope and attach it to something heavy, like their wood stove or a heavy rock to prevent it from being damaged by high winds.

Yurts (also known as Gers) are impressively simple yet efficient little structures with a lot of character. We hope you have fun learning more about them in this video.

For more information about Groovy Yurts, visit their website here:

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


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Music & Song Credits:
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

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40 Replies to “Best Low Cost Tiny House Alternative – The Mongolian Yurt”

  1. Alexandra H

    I wanted to learn more and clicked on your link, but instead of a website it went to a 404 Error page. Just thought you should know.

  2. Celeste Rob

    Love this Mongolian style house……..But I have a question ?…..How safe is it in wilderness with bears and other wildlife ?

  3. Claire WORRELL

    Well… After 52 winters in Quebec I do not believe that one could survive in a Mongolian yurt here all year round. Is that a space, an actual breach, under the doorway – above the floor?
    Siberia, you say? No toilet? Doubtfully curious now..Going to the Groovy Yurts website.

  4. Michaela Stephens

    Finally a video with the intricate, traditional yurts I grew up in! The cheap American versions have become so popular, it's nice to see some people still have the beautiful classic ones.

  5. cinnamonstar808

    ✬ ✭ ✮ ✯ 3:41 They cant stop LOOTING ✬ ✭ ✮ ✯ it like its their blood to steal and lie.
    they give you $1:00 of bullshit aid and walk away with $1000 of yours thru the backdoor. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
    They know no one wants them in their lands so they disguise themselves wrapped in "charity " or "white Jesus" to come loot you
    ( then used their media 🎥 👩🏻 👨🏻 to say these lands around the world are poor; (3:50 )when its really them that has no culture or wealth) They are never in their Superior land or cave .. WHY??? = always "exploring" or stealing whole continents ( who does that?… )

    Everything they own now is 2nd hand: from land, gems, to cuisines to Jesus… now even the damn roof over your head , they take. ✍300 yrs from now this will be THEIR HISTORY; it will be Siberian Yurt, then Russian Yurt, then Viking Yurt , then European Yurt will show you videos in History classrooms: from way back in 2016 showing European brought that tradition to Canada.
    just ask Yoga, rock & roll, or bagpipes+ tartan

    If Mongolian try to stop or even benefit from their own culture = they will have Ebola tomorrow
    – Demons

  6. hak hakuuba

    Hey I see you guys put only 1 layer of felt. This is not enough in winter. In winter you need 2 or 3 layer of felt. I am mongolian.

  7. Steven Steele

    How much all told is one Iv always wanted to live in one I dont lnow the traditional ways but would love if it could be

  8. Italy brown

    This video has me in tears I am literally sitting in a parking lot financially emotionally spiritually devastated on a brink of suicide or I don't know what this video gave me so much inspiration in the pouring rain I'm sitting in my car with my mangy little dog who loves me have naked because I was scared out of my brain when someone came to my car I literally peed on myself and I fell asleep in the middle of the night with my motor running to stay warm and in the morning I woke up with an empty gas tank what's strange about this is that by day I'm still involved in building an agency of tiny house communities for veterans something I embarked upon when I had an apartment in money and things was still great and I just refuse to let it go into us at least complete the people in the city hall meetings that I go to have no idea. By night I'm just devastated so God help me this video off-grid living it's so I want for myself and for the world I wish that I could have some sort of program that converted humans back into a tiny House 2 acclimate them to Tiny living but then helps the transition or facilitate the transitioning of them moving into your heart slash off-grid living of some kind of any kind we as a community as a human Community have to start the process of globally changing mass amount communities back into its native self are we collectively will kill the planet as we collectively are destroying it now I just pray for myself and I pray for the planet and I just hope that we survive this sorry for putting all these comments on your video it just came out of my cell and I couldn't stop it I was only in this Lee trying to say thank you because in watching your video I looked around myself in the car and realized that I was in my own tiny little house now and it's comfortable but and you don't have all the little resources you need it's devastating

  9. Tsermaa Tumur

    Hi im 11 years old a im Mongolian girl and thank you for showing our culture on internet. Our country is near China

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