Yurts: A Guide for Campers

Today, yurts have become extremely popular with campers and those looking for more luxurious glamping options. These traditional structures can be found on a wide range of campsites around the UK. You may well be one of the many campers each year considering a stay in one of these comfortable and versatile structures. But have you given any thought to the fascinating history of these structures? Let's take a brief look at where the yurt came from, and how it has evolved over the years. Understanding a little more about yurts can help us to understand why staying in a yurt is a good choice for campers in the UK.

When exactly yurts first came into use is unknown, though rock etchings found in Siberia suggest that they may have been used in that area as early as the bronze age. The earliest complete yurt to be discovered, however, dates from the 12th century. It was found in a grave in the North Mongolian Mountains of Khentai.

Yurts are still used by indigenous cultures in Mongolia and other steppe regions today. Nomadic peoples use yurts are seasonal structures, that can be moved relatively easily between summer and winter grazing sites and can be used to accommodate people year-round in relatively harsh environments.

Though most people who stay in yurts in the UK do so for fun – for short camping holidays and recreational escapes - looking at why and how yurts are still used in the east can shed some light on what makes them such good structures for campers in this country.

Yurts are composed of a sturdy lattice of wood, covered with a canvas or waterproof fabric outer later. They are better able to stand up to a harsh climate than other tent-like structures, with a more sophisticated construction than other indigenous buildings from around the world. Due to their construction, they are relatively easy to erect and to move, yet have a certain stability and can withstand fairly strong winds. They stay warm in winter (and can be heated with solid fuel stoves) and yet stay cool in the summer due to the natural ventilation. They are relatively inconspicuous in a landscape and are low-impact structures which impinge little on the natural environment.

These features, which make them well-suited to life on the Mongolian steppe, also make them well suited to camping and glamping holidays in the UK, throughout the year.