About Us

We are nomads, just like our customers!

Where it Started

In 2003, Yves Ballenegger, a philanthropist at heart and a true lover of trucking, began the evolution of Groovy Yurts by taking his passion for people and trucking on the road. 

That year, he delivered his first load of school supplies to Mongolia for Globetrucker, a completely volunteer, not-for-profit organization dedicated to deliveries of this nature.

Yves driving the Groovy Yurts truck.

The Evolution of Groovy Yurts

Once his truck was empty, he then needed to find a return load and purchased a few Mongolian yurts which he took back to his home country, Switzerland.

They sold fast and helped to finance the next school supply run to Mongolia. As the Mongolian yurt sales increased the businesses were separated, but still today, Groovy Yurts continues to support the efforts of Globetrucker.

Groovy Yurts Today

The Groovy Yurt story is a fascinating one and continues today with our central office open for groovy business in the beautiful town of Alexandria, Ontario, Canada.

This page is a true dedication to all the wonderful people who make up every Groovy Yurt day and bring the culture of what really matters to life.

The view from outside the Groovy Farm yurt.

Our story in numbers

km travelled annually
25 Trees
planted for every yurt sold
20+ Years
of delivering yurts worldwide
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Our Partners

We couldn't build our Groovy Yurts without the support of our manufacturing partners.

Bataa And His Family

Bataa is our main yurt manufacturer in Mongolia. Bataa and his 11 brothers and sisters, along with their families, touch every aspect of production and Groovy Yurts wouldn’t be the same without the heart, soul and energy that they put into every single groovy yurt.

From the first phase of production in the countryside to the final stages in the city of Ulaanbaatar, each family member plays an intricate role in ensuring the fine detail and quality construction of our authentic Mongolian yurts. The best part of our annual trip to Mongolia is our time spent with Bataa and his family. We treasure every moment of time shared and all that they have taught us!

About Mongolia

Mongolia is an amazing country where a big part of the population still live in a yurt year-round (also known as a ger). Sharing the Mongolian culture and traditions is at the heart of our groovy philosophy.

Everyone is always welcome in a yurt. To knock on the door would even be considered impolite. The custom is to call out “Tie up the dogs!” as you approach.

One enters the yurt with the right foot. It would bring bad luck to hit or walk on the door frame since it is believed that there is a protective spirit living in it.

One walks clockwise in the yurt.

The door usually faces south.

Men are traditionally seated to the west, women to the east and special guests to the north. The north-facing wall of the yurt (opposite the door) is the most sacred area.

For Mongolians, the yurt symbolizes the universe. They believe the axis of the world runs down through the toono (central dome) to the center of the earth. The toono represents the interface between humans and the cosmos, being a passage to the divine world. The bagaans (central posts) also connect human and divine, earth and sky. They represent the woman and the man who equally support this universe.

Although the wooden parts of the yurt’s structure are often painted orange representing the sun shining over the grassland, the outside of the yurt is usually white, representing purity, good luck and nobility.

The yurt is not anchored to the ground, in order not to harm the earth.

In strong winds, the rope that hangs from the centre of the toono (central dome) is tied to a large rock to anchor the yurt. When not in use, this rope is wound in a serpentine fashion and stored behind the roof rafters (huns) to the north of the yurt, as a symbol of fertility above the parents’ bed.

4 and 5-wall yurts are the most common in Mongolia, and house families of 4 to 8 people. The 5-wall yurt has 81 huns (roof rafters). 81 is 9×9, nine being a sacred number for Mongolians.

Almost 20% of Mongolians are still nomads who herd sheep, horses, yaks, camels, and goats. There are about 10 horses for every person in Mongolia.

Mongolians are mostly Buddhists and shamanists. A smaller group, the ethnic Kazakhs in the West, are Muslim.

Although life in the countryside seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, Mongolians are well-educated. Their literacy rate is up to 98% — more than in most occidental countries.

Women light and care for the fire, they are allowed to say whatever they want without being interrupted while doing so.

Things are always given to someone with the right hand, with the left hand supporting the right arm or with both hands.

Mongolia is a vast, landlocked country, between Russia and China.

Its continental climate is one of the world’s most extreme: extremely cold winters, hot summers, and high winds… but mostly blue skies!

Because of harsh conditions, Mongolians have to rely on each other in rural areas. This has contributed to the development of an extremely hospitable culture.

800 years ago, the Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan, followed by his sons and grandsons, put together the largest empire ever, including most parts of Asia and some parts of Eastern Europe.

Groovy yurts design.

Our team

Meet the team behind the scenes at Groovy Farm!

Yves Ballenegger

Yves Ballenegger

Founder of Groovy Yurts and The Grand Puba of it all! His happy place is in his truck, out on the open road delivering yurts to groovy folks along the way. A fun fact about Yves is that he is learning the Swiss Alphorn.

Julia Graham

Julia Graham

You can find Julia sipping on espresso while overseeing the daily operations at the Groovy Farm. Julia is passionate about all things local and supporting the Glengarry community. Fun fact? She bombed her very first (and last!) trumpet solo in her high school jazz band.

Sharon Moore

Sharon Moore

Sharon takes care of sales and service… with a smile! She is passionate about people, and learning from others. Some fun facts about Sharon include: she is a certified hockey coach, with a green belt in kick boxing and she believes that Zesty Cheese Doritos are actually a food group.

Selina Lavigne

Selina Lavigne

Selina covers administration and logistics with care and attention to detail, ensuring your yurt gets to you. She strives to give our Groovy customers an exceptional experience. Selina is an avid gamer, foodie and yogi. Also, she has a special endearment for a good megaphone speaker ;)

Sandra Illing

Sandra Illing

Sandra works in our production area making modifications to toonos and oversees all of the inventory control and ordering. Sandra is Cat Mom to Jarrett and has built her own tiny home.

Christian Chin

Christian Chin

Christian is one of our Groovy Set-Up Specialists, who you may have the pleasure of delivering your yurt to you.  Christian once heard that sea turtles always come back to their nesting area. Even if you see them once, they will remember you! He now dreams of becoming a beach bum with a sea turtle as his best friend.

Hayleigh Koggel

Hayleigh Koggel

Hayleigh is our in-house seamstress. She sews modifications to toonos, chimneys, canvases and more. A busy mom to Keegan and Lyla, she grew up on a pig farm and had been riding horses since the tender age of two!

Alex Wenger

Alex Wenger

Alex is part of the production team in the Groovy Barn. He assists with panel production, varnishing platforms, checking windows and doors, and so much more! A trained Chef, whose previous career spanned many kitchens. Fun fact? Alex used to be part of a sideshow circus and was a street performer in Toronto.

Shaylyn Myshrall

Shaylyn Myshrall

Shaylyn divides her time between the sewing room, the production area and  the office. She is multi-talented! Shay is also our Groovy barista… ensuring that we are all caffeinated for the day's work. A fun fact about Shaylyn: she is learning to crochet. Oh, and her Mom thinks she is quite funny ;)

Jacob Beck

Jacob Beck

Jacob, Groovy Set-Up Specialist. When he is not out on a delivery tour, he is home tending to his own Groovy Yurts… he has 4 of them! A fun fact about Jacob: he was once crowned his local pub's Air Guitar Champion.

Undral & Enee

Undral & Enee

These ladies oversee our operations in Mongolia. Their combined drive and energy, along with their effervescent personalities, make them a delight to work with. We are so grateful for their work.

Christine Earle

Christine Earle

Christine is Yves’ partner in life and love. When she is not working as a mortgage broker, she is taking care of our guests at the Groovy Farm. She has a heart for hospitality and serving others, taking great care to make each guest's experience a groovy one. A fun fact about Christine is that she is a registered ski instructor.



The Groovy Cat, also known as the King of our hearts. “Fonzie”, as he is affectionately known by some, reigns over His Groovy Kingdom and appreciates treats and noontime snuggles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the life span of a Mongolian yurt and is there a warranty?

Mongolians say it will last up to 100 years. On our side, we do our very best to select quality materials for our yurts allowing them to adapt efficiently to the more humid North American climates. With a little care, the wood structure and felt insulation will last dozens of years. Our yurts are handmade and do not come with a warranty as such. Although we care to source the best possible quality materials for our yurts, we cannot guarantee what, how and where they will be used. However, we are always available for advice, parts, or questions in the event of a problem or concern.

The outer canvas is exposed to the elements 365 days a year and tends to wear sooner than the other yurt parts, especially in humid climates. Other factors such as sun exposure, rain, snow and applied treatments can all affect the longevity of the canvas. If your canvas is starting to wear, please ask us about our canvas replacement discount (applicable for up to 10 years after the initial yurt purchase).

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Do yurts resist strong winds and snow loads?

Yurts have been developed in a country with an extreme climate. They are aerodynamic in nature and will resist strong winds. In Mongolia, they are normally not anchored to the ground as Mongolians do not want to harm the earth. In cases of extreme winds, Mongolians usually attach a big stone to a rope that hangs from the centre of the toono (central dome). This is, of course, an option in North America as well. You can also secure the yurt to your platform and or substructure. In this case, make sure that your platform and substructure are well-anchored to the ground. Groovy Yurts does offer a wind kit as well.

If the yurt is well installed, it should normally resist heavy snow loads. But for more safety, we advise our customers to regularly clear the snow on the roof. It is best not to leave your yurt alone where snow will be an issue as even the melting and re-freezing of the snow on the yurt, could be problematic.

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Are yurts waterproof?

Our yurts are made of almost 100% natural material. Our cotton-based canvas is of good quality and is water resistant. In certain cases of prolonged rains or long-lasting melting snow, you might experience some humid spots here and there.

Here are a few ways to adapt your yurt to extremely humid conditions:

We 100% recommend placing a layer of house wrap (Solitex Mento 1000) between the felt and the outside cover on the roof and walls. We offer this option and custom-cut it for our yurts. In downpours where the yurt is damp, heat the yurt for 30 minutes with a good wood fire in the stove.

Ventilation in your yurt, around your yurt and under your yurt is crucial to success in your authentic Mongolian yurt. Ask us about tips for keeping the air flowing!

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Do yurts need a lot of maintenance?

The authentic Mongolian yurt doesn’t like to be left alone for too long. It will last far longer if it is used, and cared for, ventilated and/or heated. Other than that, there’s not much to do apart from maybe tightening the ropes from time to time. Should you need to leave your yurt unattended for several months, we recommend you take it down and store it in a dry place. We have acquired a healthy dose of experience caring for these beautiful dwellings and we would happily share our knowledge with you.

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What is the difference between a traditional yurt and a modern yurt?

Both dwellings share the same name and a similar structure, but they are completely different products with advantages to both. In general, Mongolian yurts (or gers) are easier to install and move. They are built with more organic materials, and we strongly believe that they are also more comfortable, largely due to the felt insulation and canvas that insulates well in both the cold and heat. The organic materials allow for a “natural” breathing and circulation of air. This can be further improved by lifting the covers at the bottom of the yurt. Many specifics and details of the original Mongolian yurt have been forgotten or could simply not be recreated in “modern” yurts. Mongolian yurts are entirely hand-crafted and will require more care and attention than their North American cousins. You will have to adapt to your yurt and the yurt will have to be adapted to its environment. Even amongst authentic Mongolian yurts themselves there can be several different or slight variations. At Groovy Yurts, we take great care in selecting our materials and pay particular attention to how they are sourced. Ensuring our customers get the most out of their new yurt and thrive in the environment in which it is placed, is our number one priority.

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Are there windows in your yurts?

The toono (central dome) in an authentic Mongolian yurt provides most of your natural light when open. Ask us about our standard toono options and upgrades. In addition to this, all our yurts come with a double door system that will allow you to open the solid door to a second door that is framed for screens and/or glass. We leave it to the customer to add glass/plexiglass, or screening. We also offer bow windows for our yurts from a 4-wall (16ft) to the 8-wall (30ft) size. Our bow windows are sold in sections that are either fixed (do not open) or ones that do open. Depending on the size of the yurt, a recommended number of window sections can be added. It is possible to install a bow window in a yurt that has already been set up.

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Can one have electricity or running water in a yurt?

Everything is possible! The concept of an authentic Mongolian yurt is so flexible that it easily adapts to individual needs. All that is encouraged and required is that you respect the safety standards of construction and consult a professional when necessary.

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What is a wall – I thought yurts were round?!

Our yurts ARE round! A ‘wall’ is a lattice section that is unfolded like an accordion and connected to the next one in a circle to form the circumference of the yurt. The more wall sections, the bigger the diameter of the yurt is. Traditionally in Mongolia, most of the yurts have 5 walls and are 20ft in diameter. Traditionally, having fewer walls makes it easier to carry or transport, and most often is a stronger structure, having less connections.

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Are Mongolian yurts 4 season? What about heating, stoves, pipes and fire?

Authentic Mongolian yurts (compared to any other yurts) are very well insulated and easy to heat in the winter. Still, they remain cool in the summer mainly due to the felt insulation and cotton-based canvas that repels the outside sun and heat. A natural cooling air flow can be created by opening the toono and raising the side covers. This millenary all-natural air conditioning works extremely well.A standard wood stove, pellet stove or slow combustion stove will do the job quite well. Depending on your yurt size and or location, solar air heaters may work, as well as an electrical or propane unit.

Yurts are well insulated, so please take care of carbon oxides. The yurt comes with a very light tin plate on the toono (top dome) with a 4-to-5-inch hole for the stove pipe. This is the way they set up their stove pipe in Mongolia. In North America, it is required you use an insulated chimney pipe and have it professionally installed in order to comply with local building standards. On request, we can install your chimney flashing and bracket ahead of delivery.

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What type of platform should I use, or can I install the yurt directly on the ground?

We do not typically recommend you set the yurt up directly on the ground. It is important to keep the covers and felts dry and away from pooling water. However, it is okay to install a yurt on the ground for a limited period such as a special event, but we truly do not recommend doing so in humid/wet areas or over longer periods of time.

Regardless of whether your platform is made of wood, cement or hay, we recommend a circular 15-30 cm (6-12 inch) rim be build around the circumference of the yurt. This will allow for optimal water drainage and help to keep mice or other small animals from getting inside your yurt.

Several of our customers have installed their platforms on straw bales with a simple plywood cover. It’s easy, inexpensive, insulated and ecologic!At Groovy Yurts we produce and sell excellent ready-made platforms (made here in Canada). These platforms are insulated, easy to assemble and transportable.

You can install your yurt and platform virtually anywhere. However, we generally recommend areas have good sun exposure and that are somewhat open to encourage good air flow, allowing your yurt to breathe. Less ideal locations would include humid/damp areas, under a tree, in dense forests or up against other large bushes or structures that would disable healthy air circulation.

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How long and how many people does it take to install a yurt?

This will depend on the size of the yurt. Generally, for a 5-wall yurt it takes around half a day or in some cases a full day. If it is the first set-up, 3 to 4 people will be required. With a little bit of training, it will be easier and faster a second time.The first time can be a little tricky even with our detailed installation guides. If you purchase a groovy yurt, we recommend our set-up assistance service. We are professionals in the proper set-up of a yurt. We want your yurt experience to have a wonderful beginning.

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What is the weight of the yurt and what vehicle can I use to carry it?

Here is an overview of approximate values:


2 walls               150 kgs (320 lbs)

3 walls                220 kgs (485 lbs)

4 walls                340 kgs (750 lbs)

5 walls                575 kgs (1268 lbs)

6 walls                650 kgs (1433 lbs)

7 walls                800 kgs (1750 lbs)

8 walls                1050 kgs (2315 lbs)

Should you decide to pick-up your yurt at our warehouse, or move it from one location to another, please ask our team about the transport requirements as they will vary depending on the size of your yurt, along with any accessories you have such as a platform, windows, extra felts, etc.

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What does set-up assistance mean?

Set-up assistance means, we will assist you and your team of helpers to set up your yurt. The raising of the yurt is a day in yurt care, tips, maintenance and history! A well leveled structure and platform, if you are building your own platform, must be ready for us upon arrival. The set-up conditions and number of people required to assist will be determined by the pre-delivery team. Failure to provide assistance will result is extra charges. Our delivery schedules are set out to accommodate our customers, so every effort is made to stay on time. That being said, our delivery times can be hampered by weather, vehicle issues, container delays, and a host of other crazy, hard to believe reasons. A delivery tour of this magnitude is an enormous challenge. Please know that it is our priority to deliver your yurt in a timely manner and that your patience is so appreciated.

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Is full set-up of your yurt available?

Full set-ups are only available in very special circumstances. Please ask us for details.

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Legislation varies from municipality to municipality, province to province, and state to state. There is typically no specific ruling for yurts. Often, they are considered a non-permanent building and do not require a building permit. But that being said, other local municipalities may ask that your yurt be declared a permanent building structure and a building permit may be required. If you are experiencing some difficulties with legislation, please contact us.

We will equip you with information you can use for presentation to your municipality.

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Is your business based on fair trade?

Although we’re not certified by any organization, we strongly believe in the benefits of fair trade and that it is possible to conduct business and support local economies. Mongolia is a free market economy. We try to source our materials on the countryside to support rural areas and nomads. We are in very close contact with our suppliers and work hard to foster healthy business practices together. We give hand-in-hand bonuses to all of the workers every time we ship a new container.The wood industry is very regulated in Mongolia. We therefore participate in the development of a tree nursery project, financed by the sale of our yurts. A yurt uses in average 3.2 trees and it is our intention to plant 25 trees for every yurt sold. We also continue to support Globetrucker.org, an organization that equips rural schools with much-needed school supplies. A sewing school was opened in 2007 with the help of Globetrucker.org in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar. We also participate in several community projects in North America when we are able.

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Return Policy

A 15% restocking fee will apply to all cancelled orders. If delivery has already occurred, the return shipping will also be at the customer’s expense.

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Contact us

Start Yurt Journey Today!

If you would like us to help build you a quote, or if have any questions about our company, our Mongolian yurts, or our catalogue, send us a message and we will happily get back to you as soon as we can. We are always at yurt service!

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