New Things: Sleep In A Yurt

Each year on my birthday, I make a list of new things I want to try. Some are hard, some are easy and shockingly mundane. You can read about previous new things here.

Guys, I’ve reached that point in my life where I’m (slightly) less interested in sleeping on the ground.

Maybe I’m getting old or maybe I’m getting fancy, but the thought of zipping myself into a tent and sleeping on an air mattress is slowly beginning to lose its appeal. I’m not saying I’ll never camp again … but I am saying that I’d like 1:1 ratio of nights in a tent to nights at an Airbnb.That being said, I’m not quite ready to start dropping $300 a night on hotels or only staying at Best Westerns out by the airport. I want something one step up from a tent but still outdoorsy enough that I’ll return home pleasantly dirty and smelling slightly of woodsmoke and bugspray.

Where is this hallowed middle ground, friends? Where can I sleep in a bed but still get that self-congratulatory feeling of being all Paul Bunyon-y? 

Yurts, guys. Yurts are the answer to this age old question.

And what, pray tell, is a yurt? As defined by Wikipedia it’s a “a portable, bent dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia as their home.” So basically – fancier than a tent, less fancy than a cabin.

In a word: perfect.
Here’s a True/False quiz to help you figure out if you should stay in a yurt:1. T/F Breakfasts taste best when prepared on a super old fashioned gas stove.2. T/F The lighting from Coleman lanterns is both flattering and nicely scented.

3. T/F Sleeping in a queen-sized sleeping bag on a futon with my partner is both fun and romantic!

4. T/F A total lack of cell phone signal, gps, and internet is awesome and freeing! No, this doesn’t not need to be Instagrammed!

5. T/F Seeing a mother moose on your half-mile walk back to where you parked the car is a great way to start the day.

6. T/F It’s pretty nice to have a little lake all to yourself.

7. T/F I enjoy boiling water to wash my dishes!

8. T/F Outhouses are grreeeat!

9. T/F Mosquitos and wood ticks are no big deal. Complaining is for wussies.

10. T/F Falling asleep to the sound of rain, 20 miles from the nearest town is lovely.

Did you answer true to most of these statements?  Then you should probably rent a yurt in northern Minnesota.

Have you ever stayed in a yurt? How do you feel about camping? 

P.S. 8 awesome things to cook over a campfire and How to be a happy, laidback traveler.



I once lived in Kazakhstan, and while I didn't get to stay in a yurt (they didn't exactly have them to rent out or anything) I did once go to a cultural festival of sorts where I got to eat the traditional Kazakh dish beshbarmak (noodles and mutton you eat with your hands from a communal dish, full on with the sheep's head in the middle of the table, which they had me pick meat off of) in a yurt. It was an impressive structure! I would love to stay in a westernized version of one.

Sarah M

I've always wanted to stay in a yurt, too, especially after these tempting photos: (start in the middle of the post). Looks so beautiful.
I, too, would like a 1:1 ratio of tent to bed. I went camping as a child all the time. The novelty has worn off. My husband *never* got to go camping as a child (fancy parents) and therefore missed out on nearly two decades of dirt, bugs, and campfire. He loves to go primitive, canoe out to a spot (free–that's a bonus), and do that, and it's all fun until you realize you have to dig your own holes. No thanks.
Sarah M

Sarah Von Bargen

I really like what I call 'lady camping' :
Day 1: Drive for 2-3 hours and stay in a hotel
Day 2: Drive to a trailhead, hike in 2-3 hours, spend the rest of the day reading/swimming/cooking things over a fire
Day 3: Hike out, eat a huge brunch somewhere


I wish I'd heard of Yurts before. They sound amazing! I'm not a huge fan of roughing it, but I do like to experience the wilderness every once in a while. Perfect happy medium.


I stayed in a yurt on a beautiful little river outside Kampot on Cambodia. It was AMAZING!!!! It had it's own little wooden dock and pretty charming furniture for a nomadic dwelling. It was also near a Cham village (a Muslim minority group in Cambodia) so we could hear the call to prayer. It was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life so far 🙂

Stacia, Paper Swallow Events

I adore camping but I have a lot of back problems, so it doesn't bode well for me if I spend multiple nights on the ground. I think staying is a yurt (according to this) would be the perfect middle ground for longer "camping" excursions, but I think I can still handle a single night on the ground for the occasional traditional sake of camping. 🙂


The middle ground could also be sleeping in a "normal" sailboat (not luxury yacht). You get to do all the outdoorsy things without pitching a tent.
The biggest con is sharing the boat with people who snore, or if someone forgets to close the mosquito net at night.


this looks so amazing, i love camping so i definitely feel the need to try sleeping in a yurt also! i love how you make a list of what you want to do each year, i find that when i make them at the beginning of the year i feel so much more motivated and inspired 🙂

one girl one book


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