Yurt Anatomy

We are pleased to share the Mongolian yurts with you. Yurts have endured over time because of their durability and cultural significance. Yurts are deeply rooted in tradition. Yurt components are thus time-tested for comfort and can weather the elements. They have literally been shaped by thousands of years of very slow fine-tuning.

What Makes A Yurt A Yurt?

The components of a yurt come together to form one of the oldest, continuously used residential structures known to humankind. A yurt is, at its essence, a combination of structural function, form, symbolism, and cultural significance. Below you’ll find a diagram of a yurt and a breakdown of some of the yurt components.

View of yurt ceiling.

Toono (Dome)

Each yurt from Groovy Yurts comes with a toono (the center dome). It's known as the most sacred part of the yurt - which connects the earth to the sky.

Chimney sticking out of top & side yurt covers.

Top & Side Covers

The roof and walls of the yurt are covered with a poly-cotton canvas set (main canvas), urgh (toono cover) and rayartch (decorative skirt).

sheep's wool felt insulation

Yurt Insulation

The yurt comes with one complete layer of Mongolian sheep’s wool felt insulation. Depending on your location and purposes, you may want to add a second layer for your yurt.

Yurt structure up-close.

Yurt Structure

The core structural components are all made of wood. Larch is used for the khaanas (lattice walls) and huns (roof rafters). The toono (central dome), baggans (central poles which support the central dome) and the door are made of Siberian Pine.

Pile of yurt platforms.

The Platform

Yurts are not built into the ground! They should be installed on a circular platform that sits on an elevated substructure.

Yurts Combine Tradition With Customization

At Groovy Yurts, we honour the traditional Mongolian dwelling by creating unique and customizable yurt experiences. Along with the essential structural components of a yurt, we also feature customizable options and accessories to make a yurt that suits your specific needs.Yurts can also vary greatly in size.


The toono holds a yurt together and can be customized with a variety of finishes and structural designs.

Half Acrylic Finish - The front half of the toono is finished with acrylic.

Full Acrylic Finish - The full toono is finished with acrylic and include 2 opening windows in the back.

Mosquito Netting - A mosquito mesh will cover half of the toono and will be secured with velcro (mosquito nets are not available with full acrylic finishes).

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The urgh is the top cover flap that is used to close the toono of your yurt.

Standard Urgh - A standard insulated top flap which covers the toono, comes with all of our yurts. The standard urgh can be easily opened to promote air circulation and closed for warmth. It is operated from outside the yurt.

Clear Vinyl Urgh -  A clear vinyl cover is secured with 4 ropes on top of the toono. The clear vinyl is a great solution for closing the toono while also providing the maximum amount of sunlight to come through. The vinyl cover also offers optimal rain protection.

Clear Vinyl Urgh with Chimney Opening - The clear vinyl urgh can come with a chimney opening. A must for having a stove inside your yurt!

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Yurts are not anchored into the ground! They should be installed on a circular platform that sits on an elevated substructure.

Classic Platform - Our insulated tongue and groove platforms are easy to transport and quick to assemble. They are created from sheets of styrofoam that are sandwiched between sheets of plywood. We highly recommend raising your yurt off the ground and having a platform built.

Weather Treatment Option - A weather treatment option for our platforms is available to protect against snow, rain, and other elements. The treatment is done with a Thompson seal varnish, 2 layers of high-quality latex varnish.

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Each yurt comes standard with one complete layer of Mongolian sheep’s wool felt insulation.

Depending on where you live and the climate you'll be exposed to, you may want to consider adding a second layer of insulation for your yurt. The thickness of one layer of insulating felts is approximately ½”.

You can customize your yurt with a second layer of roof felt or a complete layer that covers the roof and the walls. When ordered with a new yurt, you can get the second insulation layer at a 30% discount!

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Additional Options

House Wrap - A pre-cut layer of house wrap is placed between the insulation and canvas. This provides optimal weather resistance while also allowing the yurt to breathe and circulate air effectively.

Extra Doors & Windows - Your yurt can be customized to have additional doors and windows for easy access, ventilation, and natural light. We don’t recommend installing more than three windows or extra doors.

Mosquito Netting (Walls) - 3ft high mosquito netting that is installed at the base of the yurt walls allowing the side of the canvas and covers to be lifted in warmer weather to improve ventilation.

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Fully Customizable Mongolian Yurts

How you decide to customize your yurt will be determined by what you'll be using it for, how long you'll be living in your yurt, your budget, and other personal considerations. From different levels of insulation to extra doors and windows, we'll cover all of the bases in which you can make a yurt your own. Whether it's for structural function, style, or personal preference, Groovy Yurts can help fully customize your yurt.

Iron stove inside yurt.

Heating your Yurt

Our yurts are well insulated but they still require a heat source to keep you warm in a cooler climate. Mongolians were using an open fire in their gers until 200 years ago, but they now use simple iron stoves and run the stove pipe through the toono (dome).

Choosing the right stove:

Larger diameter yurts (7-wall and up) may require a larger stove if you want to avoid feeding your stove throughout the night.We recommend slow-burning wood stoves, but pellet stoves will work as well.

Electric or propane heat will also work in our yurts, but may lack the intensity to dry it from the inside out, in the event of very humid weather conditions. Propane can even promote humidity.

A solid alternative, if you are living on grid, is a simple wood stove backed up by an electric (or propane) heater for support throughout the nights. http://woodheat.org provides some interesting information on wood burning stoves.

Rule of thumb for choosing a stove: Aim for one that can heat 3x the square footage of your yurt. For example, a 5-wall yurt is roughly 300sqft (env 27m2), so choose a stove that is advertised to heat around 900 sqft (env 80m2).

Heating Tips

Adding windows to your yurt will reduce the capacity to keep heat in, but adding a layer of felt will help to offset this.

Having the stove pipe run through the toono (dome) is recommended. The draft will be stronger, and the heat more regulated. Another good tip is that there will be less heat loss with the longer portion of the stove pipe situated inside the yurt.

To comply with most North American codes, you will need an insulated stove pipe. You must have at least a 2” minimum clearance from the closest wood part, when installing a stove pipe.

6” stove pipes are usually a standard, but in some cases you will need to reduce to 5’’ as in the case of the 4-wall toono. A 3-wall yurt will require a smaller stove pipe with a simple camping stove.

The larger the yurt, the more volume you will have to heat, so a larger stove will be required. Mongolians use mostly 4 and 5-wall yurts for year round living in their extremely cold climate.

Pile of firewood inside yurt.
Humanure toilet inside yurt.

Yurt Plumbing

For starters, Mongolians could not imagine having a toilet in their ger. Our customers as well, often choose a separate space for their washroom facilities. The truth is that having a shower or bathtub where large amounts of humidity are produced is not recommended in a Mongolian ger.

Additionally, running plumbing through the yurt can lead to a variety of challenges and issues. That being said, we have successfully tested the Humanure system and love it. This is the simplest compostable toilet system, and it is easy to do yourself. We occasionally have our own Humanure toilets in stock, so please ask our team about them if you are interested.

You can also read more about this system here: http://humanurehandbook.com.

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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