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What Is a Yurt Tent?

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a camp shelter.

Of course, there are the most popular ones – like a camping tent, RV or trailer, or camper van – but there are also a wide range of alternatives.

A portable yurt tent is one of these alternatives. Not only are they super cozy and comfortable, but a yurt is one of the best ways to turn camping into glamping.

If you’re interested in trying out a yurt tent for camping, then you’ll want to keep reading below.  

What Is a Yurt Tent?

traditional yurt tent in front of lake

A yurt tent is a little bit different than a traditional yurt.

When you think of a yurt, you more than likely imagine a large, round, canvas-covered structured yurt like those found in the Mongolian countryside.

Of course, these yurts are very popular all around the world nowadays, but the type of yurt tents we’re talking about have a few major differences.

For starters, a camping yurt tent isn’t a permanent structure.

Camping yurts typically don’t have a wooden frame nor are they built upon wooden decking.

The insides of portable yurt tents also differ from more traditional models in that they don’t contain kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, or other staples of a permanent or semi-permanent home.

Instead, portable yurts are built with quick setup and take down in mind. In this way, they’re quite similar to glamping tents that are designed for normal camping use.

These yurt tents are much smaller and more compact than their traditional counterparts (although they still have ample living space inside).

They typically employ lightweight metal poles for infrastructure rather than the lattice walls found in most traditional yurts.

That said, they do share some similarities, such as a tall peaked roof, circular shape, and canvas covers.

Although we recommend a portable yurt tent for camping (more on that below), you definitely can camp in a traditional yurt, although you really need your own land for this (rather than trying to go yurt camping at a campground).

Why Go Camping in a Yurt Tent?

canvas yurt tent glamping in a field

Here are a few of the top benefits of camping in a yurt tent:

  • Spacious – Yurt tents usually have more than enough room to stand upright. You can also usually fit in several cots as well as other basic camp furniture.
  • Weatherproof – Most yurt tents are made from canvas. This material holds up very well to rain (just don’t touch the tent walls!), not to mention to snow and wind.
  • Use with a Stove – I absolutely love using a canvas tent for winter camping. They’re highly compatible with portable heaters as well as with wood tent stoves.
  • Cozy & Comfortable – The size, shape, and materials of a yurt tent makes for a cozy and comfortable atmosphere inside the tent.
  • Durable – Portable yurt tents are quite rugged. The best models will last for years and years on end, even with regular camping abuse.

Yurt camping is just one form of glamping (luxury camping). For more info on glamping, check out our ultimate beginner’s guide to glamping.

Negatives of Yurt Camping

Unfortunately, camping in a yurt does have its drawbacks.

Chief among these is that setting up a yurt, even a lightweight portable mode, is time-consuming and typically requires more than one set of hands.

If you’re setting up a basecamp for a week or longer, then the time it takes to set up a yurt tent (plus the extra size and weight in your car) is well worth it.

But, if you plan to just camp for a few nights, then I personally feel that a more traditional tent is a better option.

Best Portable Yurt Tents for Camping

canvas glamping yurt tent at night

Here are a few of the best portable yurts for camping available in 2021.

GoYurt

GoYurt is hands down the best portable yurt for those that want a traditional design.

These yurts utilize wood construction (with traditional lattice walls), a canvas exterior, and a round mushroom shape.

Although several models are now available, the initial offering was 13’ in diameter with an 8’3” peak height and a 5’8” wall height. This is more than enough room for family camping trips, whether for a weekend or weeks at a time.

The downside to GoYurt is that their portable yurts are heavy. At roughly 230 pounds total, this yurt is going to take up a lot of space in your vehicle.

The trade-off is exceptional craftsmanship. These yurt tents are built to last and to stand up to all weather conditions. And, despite the weight, these camp shelters take only around an hour to set up with one person (a bit less with a helper).

Learn more about GoYurt Shelters.  

White Duck Canvas Bell Tent

Sure, it’s not explicitly a yurt tent, but this canvas bell tent from White Duck accomplishes much the same thing.

In fact, the shape of this bell tent is similar to that of a yurt. The primary difference is a lack of the traditional wooden lattice frame as well as lower walls and a steeper roof.

With that in mind, this White Duck tent is a great option for those looking for a spacious portable glamping tent with a built-in stove jack that’s ideal for year-round use (including in winter). Air vents at the top of the tent plus a spacious doorway also enable adequate ventilation on hot summer days.

Learn more about the White Duck Canvas Bell Tent.

Danchel Outdoor Canvas Yurt Tent

This canvas yurt tent from Danchel Outdoors is another hybrid yurt/bell tent that’s perfect for camping.

What I love most about this portable yurt are the mesh windows and doors. This is a rarity in most canvas glamping tents, but is extremely welcome on warm summer days.

The Danchel canvas yurt also performs exceptionally well in inclement weather. It holds up to rain and snow while shedding wind like a champion.

Another highlight are the two stove jacks. This canvas yurt tent is compatible with a wood tent stove to keep things toasty warm on cold winter nights.  

Learn more about the Danchel Outdoor Canvas Yurt Tent.

What About a Traditional Yurt?

As discussed above, a traditional yurt isn’t a good option for camping.

But, for those of you who are looking into full-time yurt living, I wanted to take a few moments to list a few of the best traditional yurt manufacturers:

  • Colorado Yurt Company – Since 1976, Colorado Yurt Company has been building custom yurts, canvas wall tents, and tipis for long-term living and camping.
  • Great Lakes Yurt Company – For a custom yurt with a modern twist, Great Lakes Yurt Company provides over 30 years of experience in the yurt building business.
  • Pacific Yurts Inc – Pacific Yurts is one of the most popular custom yurt builders around with perhaps the happiest customers of any provider.  

Remember that although traditional yurts are more permanent than a yurt tent, they’re still designed with some portability in mind. These are semi-permanent rather than completely permanent structures.

Is Yurt Camping Right for You?

family in front of a bell shaped canvas yurt tent on a platform

Yurt camping is best for those that go camping for a week or longer in one spot, rather than shorter trips.

Even the lightest portable yurts are still quite heavy and bulky. Not only that, but they’re relatively time consuming to set up, especially compared with a normal camping tent.

This lends them to longer camping trips, such as setting up a basecamp for several weeks at a time.

Yurt camping is also ideal for those that want more space than a normal tent. Most yurt tents are tall enough to stand upright inside. They are also usually large enough for several cots in addition to a wood stove.

Another reason to choose yurt camping is the weatherproofing. Yurt tents, especially canvas models, are great at standing up to rain, snow, and wind.

I recommend yurt camping to those planning to camp for several weeks or months. If you just want something for short camping trips, I recommend a normal tent or a canvas bell tent.

Renting a yurt (we talk more about this below) for a short glamping trip is another option.

Other Gear You Need for Glamping in a Yurt

A yurt tent is just one piece of gear you need for your yurt glamping trip.

If you’re brand new to camping, it’s also important to bring along all of the camping basics, like a sleeping bag, camping stove, and camping chairs.

Our beginner camping checklist breaks down all the gear you need if you’re new to camping.

In addition to basic camping equipment, many yurt campers also like to outfit their yurt tent with a few additional luxuries.

String lights, a comfortable air mattress, and real bedding are just a few suggestions. Our list of the best gear to turn camping into glamping lists 35 awesome recommendations.

Best Yurt Tent Alternatives

Several camp shelters share similarities with yurt tents. These include:

  • Tipi – A camping tipi is a unique alternative to a yurt. Canvas and nylon models are available that accommodate a wide range of different party sizes.  
  • Canvas Tent – Canvas wall tents and canvas share many similarities with canvas yurt tents, including a spacious, durable design and excellent weatherproofing for use in rain, snow, and wind.
  • Family Tent – A large traditional tent (such as the REI Co-op Kingdom 8) is a lightweight alternative that still boasts lots of interior space.

For more information on canvas tipis and canvas tents, check out our guide to the best tents for glamping.

What About a Glamping Yurt Rental?

traditional yurt glamping rental

Investing in your own portable yurt tent is certainly the right option for some people.

But, booking a glamping rental in a yurt structure is probably the best choice for the majority of campers who want to try out yurt camping for themselves.

A huge selection of yurt rentals are available across the country. These range from small portable glamping yurts to modern yurt structures to traditional Mongolian yurt rentals.

The benefit of glamping in a yurt is that you don’t have to transport, set up, or take down the yurt yourself.

Plus, most yurt camping rentals are fully furnished with comfortable beds, stylish décor, and much more. Many even have private kitchenettes and bathrooms.   

Our glamping resources break down the best glamping rentals in each state, including Utah, Colorado, and many more.

What About You?

Camping in a yurt tent certainly isn’t for everyone.

In fact, we recommend a traditional family camping tent for almost all campers, unless you plan to camp for weeks or months at a time (if not year-round).

With that said, we want to hear from you.

Have you ever gone yurt camping? Whether in a portable yurt tent or at a yurt glamping rental?

Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Glamping!