Yurt History

Main specs for American yurt companies (organized alphabetically). Updated December 2019. Pacific Yurts declined to provide information for this website.

Company Details

Company Location Year First Yurt Sold Tour Available?
BRBlue Ridge Yurts Floyd, VA 2004
CYColorado Yurt Montrose, CO 1980
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co Grass Lake, MI 2017
LILiving Intent Yurt Co Grass Valley, CA 2015
NSNomad Shelter Homer, AK 1987
RORainier Outdoor Tukwila, WA 2004
SDShelter Designs Missoula, MT 2005
YAYurts of America Indianapolis, IN 1986

Yurt Info

Company Available Sizes Max Snow Load* Base Cost of 30' Base Cost of 16'
BRBlue Ridge Yurts 16', 20', 24', 30' 60 psf | 60 psf $13,047 $7,299
CYColorado Yurt 16', 20', 24', 27', 30' 15 psf | 95 psf† $12,240 $7,090
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co 16', 20', 24', 27', 30' 75 psf | 75 psf $11,000 $5,000
LILiving Intent Yurt Co 12', 14', 16', 20' $6,000
NSNomad Shelter 12', 16', 20', 24', 30', 34', 40', 50' 60 psf | 60 psf $15,500 $8,000
RORainier Outdoor 16', 18', 21', 24', 27', 30', 33' 100 psf | 105 psf† Eagle: $18,820, Raven: $13,358 Eagle: $9,466, Raven $7,426
SDShelter Designs 12', 16', 20', 24', 27', 30', 35', 40' 40 psf | 150 psf $12,480 $6,760
YAYurts of America 12', 14', 16', 20', 30' 60 psf | 95 psf $12,000 $6,499

*(30' yurt without upgrades | 30' yurt with all upgrades), †Site specific engineering available for higher snow loads

Rafter Details

Company Wood Species Base Rafter Size for 30'
BRBlue Ridge Yurts Spruce 2x6
CYColorado Yurt Doug Fir 2x4
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co Doug Fir 2x6
LILiving Intent Yurt Co Doug Fir
NSNomad Shelter Spruce 2x6
RORainier Outdoor Doug Fir 2x6
SDShelter Designs Western Tamarack (Larch) 2x6
YAYurts of America Southern Yellow Pine 2x6

Lattice Details

Company Wood Species Lattice Thickness Base Height of Wall
BRBlue Ridge Yurts Poplar 3/4" 7' 4"
CYColorado Yurt Doug Fir 1/2" 7' 2"
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co Doug Fir 1/2" 7' 4"
LILiving Intent Yurt Co Bamboo 1/2" 6' 9"
NSNomad Shelter Spruce 7/8" 7'
RORainier Outdoor Doug Fir 3/4" 7' 4"
SDShelter Designs Doug Fir 7/16" 7' 2"
YAYurts of America Poplar 3/4" 7'

Available Upgrades

Thick Roof Cover
French Doors
SIP Panels
Glass Windows
Rain Diverter
Opening Dome
Tinted Dome
Water Catchment
Wind & Snow Package
10ft Walls
Swappable Walls
BRBlue Ridge Yurts
CYColorado Yurt
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co
LILiving Intent Yurt Co
NSNomad Shelter
RORainier Outdoor
SDShelter Designs
YAYurts of America

Final Details

Company Lead Time Shipping Available Financing Available On-site Construction Services International Purchasing
BRBlue Ridge Yurts 3-4 weeks
CYColorado Yurt 5-8 weeks
GLGreat Lakes Yurt Co 6-8 weeks
LILiving Intent Yurt Co 7 weeks
NSNomad Shelter 6-12 weeks
RORainier Outdoor 3-7 weeks
SDShelter Designs 4-6 weeks
YAYurts of America 2-5 weeks

The Ancient Yurt

The traditional yurt (in Turkik languages) or ger (Mongolian) has origins thousands of years ago on the steppes of Central Asia. Nomadic tribes used the yurt as a portable dwelling as they followed their herds of yaks and goats across the great expanse. The early construction of this shelter utilized wood and bamboo for the frame with animal hides and felt held together with ropes and ribbons on the outside. The ornate wooden ring would traditionally be passed down through generations from father to son upon the father’s death.

Even though the nomadic way of life is declining in this area of the world, traditional yurts and gers are still one of the oldest forms of indigenous shelter still used today. Due to their inexpensive and quick construction yurts are often found throughout Central Asian cities as coffee shops, museums, times in impoverished parts of Central Asia. A stylized version of the wooden crown forms the main symbol on the flag of Kyrgyzstan.

Modern Adaptation

In the early 1960s, a young American man by the name of Bill Coperthwaite was flipping through the pages of National Geographic when he came upon photos of the yurt-style homes in Central Africa. These photos would inspire Coperthwaite to experiment with yurt-like structures in the coming years including his time at Harvard. Coperthwaite along will Lloyd Kahn, the author of Shelter books, would help introduce the yurt to America and the counterculture movements.

In the late 70s, people began capitalizing on the yurts growing popularity. The first commercial yurt company in America was founded in 1978 with several others following in the decades that came after. These commercial yurt kits would bring new materials and innovation to the yurt structure with fire-resistant covers and increased strength. State and federal parks would begin building yurts and offering them as lodging. Now they are used as homes throughout the US and serve commercial purposes at ski resorts, hotels and music festivals.

  • Bill reading at home

  • One of Bill's many wooden yurts.


While many yurt companies in the US continue with a very similar design as what was developed in the 20th century, a few companies are developing new yurt-inspired structures to help solve some of the yurts downside with solid wall panels and increased insulation. You can find also find many circular, yurt-like buildings in some of the top design and architecture magazines today. We will continue to see people push the boundaries of what is possible with the yurt.