How to Control Humidity in Yurts

In cold regions, combatting humidity issues in yurts is the largest challenge to overcome for permanent dwellers. In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog, we’ll discuss how you can utilize the natural features of the yurt, as well as make slight modifications to control humidity – even in the most cold climates. Here a few recommendations from the Groovy team for the best ways to control humidity in yurts:


Install mesh/mosquito netting on the toono (centre dome)We sell custom fitted mosquito netting for the toonos, but you can also do this yourself. We secure our netting with Velcro on half the toono (buy two halves for a full toono); that way it can be opened and closed from the inside of the yurt for access to the roof

installing mesh mosquito netting in the toono

Create cross-ventilation:

  1. Open your toono and lift the sides of the yurt (from the bottom) to create cross ventilation. Mosquito netting can be applied to the walls in order to keep bugs out.

    lifted canvas for controlling yurt humidity

  2. Create a ventilation trap in the door by removing the bottom panel and installing it on hinges. You can install mosquito netting or screens on the inside door windows for greater ventilation when the outside door is open.

    creating ventilation trap in door to control yurt humidity

  3. Create ventilation traps in the platform
  4. Some customers have been considering small air exchangers or solar fans

air exchanger to control yurt humidity


Place your yurt in a well-ventilated area: This will ensure the yurt is getting as much sun and wind exposure as possible. Shade is great, but this could exacerbate a humidity or dampness problem. Since the yurt is highly breathable, the sun exposure should not mean it’s going to be hotter. It will, however, help to keep the yurt dry! Open grass land is to be preferred to the midst of a forest.

Reduce the Production of Humidity

Monitor the production of humidity: Ventilate the yurt if you cook or bathe inside, even at the coldest of the winter! Wet shoes, drying wood, drying clothes, human breath when many people are gathered etc… are all sources of humidity that will accumulate in the felt before evaporating through the canvas. If this vapor hits the cold house wrap and / or outer canvas, it can condensate and accumulate to the point of dripping back into the yurt. The only solution then is to remove all snow off the roof, opening the toono and heating the yurt until it dries out.

Day-to-Day Maintenance

Start a fire in the stove to dry it inside out: If your yurt is to become damp or wet for any reason, the wood stove radiates enough heat to dry the yurt from the inside out.

House Wrap

Install a layer of house wrap: If well installed between felts and canvas, the house wrap will keep the yurt waterproof and therefore significantly decrease the risk of mold. It slightly reduces breathability but it is so far the best compromise for humid climates! In winter the snow should be removed regularly from your yurt, otherwise it will thaw and freeze again and prevent your house wrap from breathing.


Take the yurt down and store it in a dry place: If you are planning to leave your yurt unattended for a longer period (more than a few weeks), especially during humid season, the yurt will loves being taken down and put back up! If you have to leave your yurt for longer periods of time in winter, place 2 additional (provisory) central posts (bagaans) to support the toono (for yurts up to 6-walls) and make sure the outside ropes are tight. Consider adding a ratchet strap around the perimeter at the top of the wall, outside the yurt.

We hope you’re feeling more confident to control humidity in your yurt. Don’t hesitate to ask us for advice, we’ve gathered a lot of experience over the years! #alwaysatyurtservice

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 3

This is Part Two of a 3-part series on our Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour


Saturday, December 5th

This morning offered a short meditation session and spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy.  I love my yurt trucker life!

The border crossing between New Brunswick and Maine was empty, and the young US officer asked me to show him where to stamp the unusual set of transit papers. Everyone is always super nice here.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Maine is as wild as it is beautiful, even under the rain. Rain that quickly transformed into snow. After a short shower at a truck stop (I did not forget about the parrot’s advice), the ground is completely covered, and the driving conditions quickly deteriorated. However, I couldn’t stop as tomorrow’s customer could only get help for that date.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

It was 8pm by the time I finally got close to my destination in Vermont. Luckily, I found an open Scottish restaurant that served a fabulous haggis. It’s now the end of the day and I’ve almost 6 inches of wet snow on the bumper!

Sunday, December 6th

This morning I am woken by a strong wind shaking the truck; not good news when you have to set up a large yurt.

I prayed that the customer’s platform would not be raised above ground. Setting up a Mongolian ger is not difficult, especially with some experience, but wind, rain, cold, and height can drastically complicate matters.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAThe roads in Vermont are very narrow and hilly (with up to 13% slope) to begin with, and I quickly found out that they’re also snowy. Luckily, they did a good job with plowing, but it’s still stressful when driving a near empty tractor trailer.

I managed to park on a side road in the forest – a big thank you to the Groovy truck for being so cooperative!

We began unloading onto a pick-up truck with Bruce, the client’s brother, who had just gotten back from a wild party night and had managed to break his truck’s back window. This first trip revealed our worst fear: the platform they built is a circular eagle’s nest, 8 to 10 feet off the ground… and with no catwalk around the perimeter!

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USADue to the wind and small team, we ended up staying for 2 days. I guess it’s human nature to be optimistic and believe things will be in order by the time Groovy Yurts comes; or a compliment to our superpowers. My mistake for not having asked a picture of the substructure prior to arrival.

Carl, the owner, built a catwalk, while Julie herded the dogs and helped with folding the massive felt pieces. Bruce on the other hand, went off to snooze after the second and last pick-up load.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWe finally got started after poor Carl received a heavy, 7-wall yurt door to the head while he was kneeling to finish his platform rim. Our troubles did not end there. We had just managed to get the entire structure, as well as the roof felts set up when I decided to go help install the wall felts on the catwalk.

My 260lb frame was just a bit too much weight and kRaAaaAak… all 3 of us fly to the ground, 8’ below. Amazingly, nobody is hurt, and while the repairs are being made, we begin installing the house wrap (which of course proves to be a bit too short that day and is difficult to install in the high winds).

The temperature had just dropped to around 0F (-18 C) by the time we finally managed to install the outer cover and circling ropes in the dark and called it a day. I was so grateful that night for an invitation to the pub, as each beer had the distinct taste of a 3rd half-time at rugby. Everyone certainly slept well.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Monday, December 7th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USACarl and Julie made it back from upstate New York where they had dropped-off Bruce. We successfully finished the yurt before noon with no wind and plenty of satisfaction.

Afterwards, I drove towards New York state, but not without first sponsoring Vermont DOT with some speeding in the sunshine. I was guilty, but the officer proved to be a gentleman and eased up on the verdict. We crossed the Hudson River and stopped at a Petrol station for the night (and maybe a cheeseburger too).

Tomorrow’s customer insists that breakfast and lunch will be provided, but I politely decline the first meal – it’s just too much (but very thoughtful).

Tuesday, December 8th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWhile on the road, I missed a turn, which also happened to be a disguised Google Map error that would have forced me to back-up a few miles with the trailer (everything truly happens for a reason)!

Upon arrival, Aaron welcomes me to the Saranac Veterinary Clinic and I park the truck next to a beautifully made substructure. Heaven! However, closer inspection revealed that the substructure is not quite finished (really?!). This ends up being a silver lining as frees up time to get to know our customers/hosts!

This place is a little gem, inhabited by the kindest of people. Hanna and her daughter are both vets and run this clinic. Hanna seems to also be an amazing cook and when I see the breakfast plate come out on the job site, I cannot refuse my own. Without a doubt, this is the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time!

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWhile we set up the future waiting room/office, people continuously pour in to pick-up pets, bring birthday cakes for one of the workers, or even just to say hi. This place exudes good values and kindness. Aaron, the builder, had thought of everything prior to our arrival and not a single detail was forgotten. The entire day was pure pleasure, including the departure feast shared in the clinic before heading home. Thank you for your kindness and warm welcome, your patients and customers are lucky to have you.

We top off the day with more good news: home is only an hour and a half away (customs included). It’s time to get back to a sedentary routine, something that can take a few days to get used to again. Yurt trucking can be tough, but it’s an absolutely groovy lifestyle! Thanks for following along.


Until next time,




Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA


the groovy yurts team standing in front of an assembled yurt

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 2


This is Part Two of a 3-part series on our Maritimes Delivery Tour


Wednesday, December 2nd


Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

It is rare that I stop for breakfast, but a restaurant on a pier on the Atlantic coast is just too good to be true.

Scrambled eggs with lobster was the treat this morning. It certainly helped to cope with the discovery of damaged belly boxes on the trailer during the morning inspection (I had more than likely hugged some hidden rocks when trying to exit last night’s spot in the dark).

Later, the worst downpour of the trip so far had forced the traffic to a halt and is yet another reminder of the extreme weather in this part of Canada.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

We did a small drop-off in the red zone, Halifax, before heading to the South Shore area.

At this point, I’m anxious to reach the next customer before dawn as I suspect her place is not quite as accommodating to an 18-wheeler as she might think. Sure enough, there’s no way I can back the trailer in, let alone even park close to the house.

I ended up driving 10 kms around a peninsula to find a spot where I could leave my trailer.

On the bright side, that spot happened to be the Bayport Pub parking, the only open establishment in the area. Before dinner, I managed to install a special structure on the back of the tractor unit – the ‘last mile device’ that we designed this past summer and had only used once. It enabled us to transfer two yurts, while their platforms were set-up on the short length of the Groovy tractor unit.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

Thursday, December 3rd

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesBy the time I arrived at Lara’s at 9am, I learned that their substructure was not finished.

I really need to praise our customers who are ready for our arrival and follow instructions. In Lara’s defense, her order was placed last minute, and it had been raining ever since.

This new Canadian resident has been living in the area for only a year. She managed to get together the most amazing team of neighbours and friends I’ve ever seen.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesPeople of all ages, backgrounds, and skill sets helped the entire day with such enthusiasm, kindness, and dedication that we managed to put up not one, but two yurts and their platforms. Kudos to these amazing people, and to Lara for assembling such a team!

I made my way back to the pub parking lot and still had to take my structure down and reconnect the trailer. The local beer that night tasted fabulous!

Friday, December 4th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesI was sad to leave this beautiful area, but I needed to continue to my next stop in the Bay of Fundy. So, I crossed Nova Scotia from East to West to meet our next customer.

Gert’s sister is already the happy owner of a Groovy Yurt, thus inspiring him to leave Ontario and live in a yurt of his own in the Maritimes. He is not happy with the way the world is evolving and thinks that government and large corporations are slowly overtaking our private lives.

I understand his point of view, but I do not share its extreme negativity. We all create our own sense of reality and I prefer mine to be happier. I strongly believe that the world is slowly progressing. Unfortunately, we cannot debate much longer as Gert is not ready for set-up and we decide to store his yurt in his sister’s beautiful 300-year-old house.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesAfterwards, I drove over the nearby hill to get back to the coast and am once again lucky to find a small fish shack where I allow myself a lunch break.

The ferry from Digby, NS to Saint John, NB is expensive and only runs once a day.

I decide to drive around the bay (a 5-hour drive) and stop before Saint John to have a look at Dannie’s yurt, who supposedly had a lot of water entering above her door. We found the yurt in the middle of a swamped field and were very confused when it appeared to be vacant, however, things cleared up when her kind neighbour led me to her.

Upon arrival, I heard what I thought was a security alarm. The noise didn’t stop until I opened the door and realized that it wasn’t a security system after all, but rather a beautiful white parrot.

TGroovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimeshe bird politely greeted me with a loud, “Good Morning! Good morning!” I began to reply, but the bird proceeded to interrupt me and asked, “Do you need a shower?” Huh, do I really stink that badly? Note to self: bathe more often.

After looking at the doors, I realized that the back one had not been taped properly by our team in anticipation of connecting an outdoor structure, but the structure was never added. It was an easy fix, but it took a couple hours in the dark with a flashlight in my mouth and encouragement from half a dozen parrots and other feathered beings.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesI also noticed many humidity stains in the ceiling. The outer canvas was dry after a good day, but the under-wrap was moist.

This yurt houses a variety of birds and two dogs in a climate that is already very humid. Additionally, Dannie is cooking and heating with propane which produces more humidity and has also sealed her toono (dome), leaving no escape for the humidity produced inside, and causing it to condense under the colder wrap. This is an issue that we are continuously facing with those living in yurts in cold climates. Until we find a better solution, yurt dwellers must be very careful not to produce extra humidity and make sure to ventilate when they do.

At the end of the day, I am once again blessed to find a perfect spot at the gate of a closed holiday resort. I fell asleep that night to the sound of crashing waves.



Stay tuned for the 3rd and final installment of our Maritimes Delivery Tour, coming soon!


Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes


Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

groovy yurts truck driving to a shipping facility ready to offload product

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 1

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

We recently embarked on a Groovy Yurts delivery tour to the Maritime provinces of Canada.

It’s our pleasure to bring you a three-part blog about this wonderful experience – written by Groovy Yurts founder Yves.

Here is Part One.


Friday, November 27th

My journey began at noon after having loaded the Groovy truck with 12 yurts.

The snow had disappeared, but the cold had not, and that’s precisely when I realized that the truck’s cab had decided to no longer produce heat!

So, the first stop on my journey happened approximately 30’ down the road from where it began. Great start. I did manage to fix the system and continued through Quebec under light snow until New Brunswick.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Saturday, November 28th 

This morning’s meeting was with two of our customers at a local café.

They are living in a local commune, where Banyon set up his yurt this past fall and Kerry will set up the carved yurt that she ordered in the spring. We discussed the pros and cons of living in a yurt and how to manage humidity. People tend to want to install all amenities in a yurt, just like a house, forgetting it is a sturdy tent. By the end, we were all on the same page and came up with some great ideas!

Afterwards, we were pleasantly surprised after stopping for a (rare) on-the-road burger at A&W and received the 25% discount that they offer to truckers, as we’re considered essential workers. It’s safe to say we’ve never been so touched from receiving fast food.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Later, we crossed the Northumberland straight on the 13km long Confederation Bridge. My very first sight of Prince Edward Island was reduced to a great view of dense fog. At the scale, the officer welcomed me to PEI and thanked me for performing an essential service… and then told me that I am not allowed inside any shops or restaurant. Little did they know that I’m now royalty at the A&W drive-through.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

I loved discovering Anne of Green Gables’ island for the first time. I was thrilled to arrive at Heather and Jarrod’s early enough to make an action plan for the next few days, and still have time for a walk on an immense, empty sand beach. Day 2 was a success!

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Sunday, November 29th

We started the day off early to unload 6 yurts and install the first structures of the new Nature Space Eco Resort. It will take another few months for the yurt retreat to open, as the local building authorities are being overly cautious in providing the necessary authorizations.

We accomplished the set-up of one Super Ger by sundown. It was tricky to keep clear of the beautiful PEI red soil that had quickly transformed into sticky red mud from the recent rains. We eventually emptied the truck and celebrated with a toast when the job was finally complete by 8pm. People often underestimate how heavy some of the parts can be, especially on larger yurts. Takeaway from today: Much like PEI, our team is small but mighty!

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Monday, November 30th

We put up a second yurt in what will become a beautiful resort offering a special place for the peace and healing of…veterinarians. These practitioners are subject to some of the worst cases of depression amongst medical personnel, which is often not talked about. Heather, one of the wonderful veterinarians we met, knows this all too well and was able to elaborate on her experiences and the experiences of others in the field.

Despite the darker circumstances, we were blessed with two full days of sunshine. However, all good things must come to an end, and the weather forecast indicated that the sunny days wouldn’t be lasting forever, so, I booked a ferry online before heading to bed.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020


Tuesday, December 1st

This morning I drove 140km to the ferry boat only to realize that it was cancelled due to bad weather. I had missed the text they sent 5 minutes after hitting the road. This news was bitter-sweet as it meant driving 140kms back to the bridge, but it also allowed me to finally get a good look at the beautiful island and its shores, white churches, and small farms. On my way back out to the ferry, I discover that the bridge is now closed as well for big trucks due to high winds. And I thought I had a simple day ahead of me… Finally, the bridge re-opens and a couple dozen trucks rush across before the next blast of wind. Living on an Island has its prerogatives.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

It’s a long drive to Cape Breton, so, I chose the coastal route. I’m in the Maritimes after all. I reach my next destination, Cabot Shores, at 3pm and meet Dr. Paul, the owner of a resort that offers 13 of our yurts (as well as other dwellings). Some are in rough shape, and it’s clear that the local climate imposes faster aging on the outer covers and ropes. However, this does not seem to bother Dr. Paul and his guests. I am bringing a few new yurt covers as it’s understood that their replacement every few years is a part of the deal for this climate.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

I hit the road back south and am extremely happy to find a good parking spot at a small-town pier. It should be noted that ‘The Old Freight Shed’ offers a great seafood menu, which I took full advantage of. At this point, I’m the happiest trucker on earth. I was no longer the happiest trucker on earth when I received an email from a local who got scared by the speed and noise of the Groovy truck passing by her house. I was extremely apologetic and invited the complainant for breakfast the next morning; the invitation was not taken. Oh, well.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020


Stay tuned for Part 2 in the journey of our Maritimes Delivery Tour.

Got questions about yurts? We’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Groovy Yurts.

Mongolian woman making yurt decorations

The Intricate Symbolism of Mongolian Gers

Mongolian gers (or yurts) are an intricate combination of technical necessities and symbolism.

The yurt itself is a representation of the universe. You enter the yurt with the right foot first and progress clock-wise; following the sun shining in the yurt over the course of the day.

In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog, we’ll dive into some of the wonderful symbolism of Mongolian yurts, deeply rooted in tradition and full of meaning to the Mongolian people.

Yurt Symbolism, from Top to Bottom

Beautiful blue Toono with mosquito netThe toono (dome) symbolizes the sky and the transition to the spirit and the universe. It is supported by two bagaanas (central poles) that represent the woman (east) and the man (west), who equally support the universe.

North, opposite to the door, is the most sacred place (or place of honour). The door faces south in Mongolia, although it seems that it used to face East, like most North American native dwellings.

Throughout history, the North American indigenous people have shared many symbols with the Mongolians.

The amount of roof rafters (hunis) is significant as well. The 5-wall ger, possibly the most common, supports 81 hunis, which is 9×9. Nine is the sacred number for Mongolian nomads.

Additionally, Mongolian gers are not anchored to the ground, as not to harm the earth. This is a perfect reflection of the Mongolian’s respect for and relation to the environment.

How Colour & Religion Play Roles in Mongolian Yurts

The orange colour, most often painted onto the woodwork of the yurt, represents the sun shining over the grassland, or fire.

Blue, a symbol of good luck and respect, represents the Mongolian eternal blue sky.

In the 16th century Buddhism was reintroduced to Mongolia, which brought additional symbolism to the ger.

Beginning with the toono, which has taken the shape of the wheel of Dharma and represents the 8 teachings of the Buddha.

The ulzzi (the infinity knot), which is seen in several different variations in the paint and is also often sewn into the canvas, represents the connection of everything in the universe.

Honouring & Respecting Mongolia, Its People & the Yurts

We do want to make it clear that this blog is the result of a few years working of with gers and a deep love for Mongolia. It is not the result of scientific research. We do welcome comments and additional information!

Below, we’ve included some symbols and comments from Enerel, our friend and team member in Mongolia:

white shell symbol of Tibetan Buddhism

White shell, or lavai, came to us with Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century. The white colour means something positive and good in life, erudition.

endless knot Mongolian symbol of lifelong happiness

Ulzii, the endless knot, is for luck and means life-long happiness.

hammer pattern Mongolian symbol of long life

The hammer pattern means eternal life.

khas pattern Mongolian symbol of life power & Strength

The khas or tumen nasan pattern means eternal life, power, and strength.

Your Source for Yurts & Yurt Information

Got any questions about Mongolian yurts or the connection between yurts and the Mongolian people?

Feel free to reach out to Groovy Yurts!

We’re always happy to talk about yurts and about Mongolia.

Mongolian people constructing a yurt

Mongolian Yurts & the Traditional Felt-Making Process


Sheep’s wool offers amazing properties.

Nowhere can we think of a better example of wool’s many benefits than by looking at Mongolian yurts and the traditional felt that insulates the yurt against cold, harsh winters.

In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog we’ll look at the traditional felt making process that goes into creating comfortable, sturdy yurts.

Why Sheep’s Wool Makes a Great Yurt

yurt on plains in mongiliaWhen processed as felt and used as a yurt (or “ger” as the Mongolian people call it) lining, the wool breathes and insulates the space with the varying temperatures of the summer.

Wool felt in a yurt can also accumulate a certain amount of humidity and give it back when it gets drier (an all-natural humidifier). In addition, Mongolian yurt felt made of sheep’s wool is a great acoustic insulator, which helps make the yurt very cozy.

The best part? These felts protect against almost all elements.

It’s naturally fire retardant and mold resistant and wards off wear and tear, while actively participating in the yurt’s strength.

Mongolians say that felt is the ger’s muscle.

It is certainly a fabulous product as the fibre is rapidly renewable and 100% biodegradable!

Wool Felt: Traditional Crafting in Mongolian Yurts

Felt is traditionally made by the nomads of Mongolia by cleaning the wool, beating it, carefully laying it out evenly, getting it wet, and finally, collecting it into a big roll pulled by a horse across the grassland.

This fun video describes it well:

The felt can become water resistant over time, partly from the lanolin and dirt, but mainly from the smoke produced by the open fire in the ger.

Open fires were commonly built in the yurts prior to using stoves with a chimney, which according to a few Mongolian elders, is the best improvement in 2000 years. We’ve been told that the older ‘waterproofed’ layers were then put on top of the yurt to protect from Mongolian rains.

Often the felt is mixed with cow or horsehair to improve strength. The only downsides to that material are that it is difficult to clean wool, and the felt will have a strong odor when wet. It also tends to fall apart over time if it is not felted well, or if it’s exposed to constant sunlight.

Groovy Yurts: Our Felt Is Made of 100% Mongolian Wool

Mongolian people constructing a yurt
The felts used for own yurts are made with a needle machine and 100% Mongolian wool. That means that your yurt comes with a story of the people who made it.

We previously bought yurt felt from the old state factory that uses old Soviet era machines in Ulaanbaatar.

We now source the felt for our yurts from the countryside, where a similar technique is used in Bataa’s province, but with newer machines.  We love that the profit goes directly to this rural area.

Mongolian people constructing a yurt

This new felt is denser, much cleaner, more consistent, and somehow seems to offer better insulating properties with a similar thickness. The felt that we previously bought was definitely not waterproof.

You can make your own felt as demonstrated by the amazing Sustainable Sheep and Fiber Community of Northern Minnesota.

This community created a complete layer of decorated felt for their own yurt. This incredible work of art depicts the making of felt in Mongolia. The illustrations are made with different colours of wool and felted together using a wet tapestry inlay technique!

For more questions about the wonders of yurts and their many benefits, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Photographs taken in 2002 in Bulgan Aimag, in the northern part of Mongolia (northwest of UlaanBaatar) by Dr. Michael Gervers Turkish Felts

Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA
Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA

a yurt converted into a bar serving customers

Yurts: A Creative Option for Restaurant Patios

Yurts are a great way to increase a restaurant’s income during the winter.

While yurt dining isn’t a new concept per se, it has become more popular over the years.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has spurred the need for creative alternatives when it comes to restaurant dining. Yurts are a unique, fun and highly creative way to take advantage of patios or other space on a property and turn it into patio dining that can be used virtually year-round.

Yurts as Restaurant Patios in Switzerland

yurt on restaurant patioOur yurt careers started in Switzerland.

It was in Switzerland that we saw our first yurt installs in hotels or on restaurant patios in winter, particularly in ski resorts.

These were meant as an attraction or après-ski and became quickly popular for the felted and exotic ambience they brought in the midst of the Alps.

Yurt Patio at a Toronto Irish Pub

people dining in yurt restaurant patioBut it is really in Canada that Patrick “Shucker Paddy” McMurray launched a more serious trend in his little Irish pub on Queen Street east in Toronto.

The Ceili Cottage was a small pub with lots of character and a large patio. Come winter it lost pretty much half its seating and Shucker Paddy tried many ways to bring people to use this “lost” space. Hockey rink, curling, gas heaters… nothing really did it until he thought of renting a yurt.

people dining in yurt restaurant patioA rental was preferred as he wasn’t sure of the outcome.

Well… two weeks later the yurt was already such a success that it had been paid for and prebooked every night of the week. Patrick’s perseverance to have the yurt approved by the city and the simple set-up with tables around the perimeter and a cool vinyl turntable in the centre did the trick.

The Ceili Cottage has now moved, but Patrick still offers consulting for restaurant, hotels or golf courses who consider the yurt option: .

Yurts on Restaurant Patios Across Canada

Other examples of yurt patios quickly followed at restaurants and hotels across Canada.

SAT on a rooftop in Montreal.

people dining in yurt restaurant patioOlio Too in Bracebridge, Ontario.

At Biscotti In Gatineau.

From spas in Quebec, Ontario or Manitoba, to vineyards and lately in breweries in Ontario, yurts have become a popular phenomenon for restaurant patio alternatives.

Our Yurt Patio Setup at Groovy Yurts

Our coup de Coeur has just been opened in our hometown or Alexandria at the Buvette du Marché where you can rent a 12’ yurt and socially distance with your bubble while having a few drinks and fabulous tapas.

people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in winter people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in winter people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in city

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

Customer Experience: Good Knights Medieval Yurt Stay

Tucked away in the rolling plains of Three Hills, Alberta is an absolute gem called Good Knights Medieval Encampment.

The camp is run by a husband and wife duo, Sir Daniel and Lady Linda, who have a long-standing passion for re-enacting the middle ages.

Together, they’ve created an experience that feels just as authentic as it is fun and unique.

Let’s explore the story and scene of this one-of-a-kind medieval experience combined with a yurt stay.

The Story Behind Good Knights

your hosts good knights three hills alberta

Sir Daniel & Lady Linda, the owners of this fine establishment!

We learned that Daniel and Linda met long ago as teenagers and, while on a high school trip to England, they fell in love with all things medieval. Over the years they got involved in medieval re-enacting, medieval crafts, costuming, archery, and sword fighting.

When Linda and Daniel moved to the scenic area of Three Hills AB, they began hosting an annual medieval festival for their friends and family – with lots of fun activities like archery, crafts, sword fighting, and of course a medieval feast. This festival continues (13th year) and has grown to host around 100 people each year.

A few years ago they thought about turning their passion into a business.

They searched around for other medieval venues and similar encampments, and discovered that there were way fewer of these camps than expected – and none in North America (all in England or Western Europe).

Thus Linda and Daniel took matters into their own hands and expanded their facilities to offer the festival-like experience to the public. Building on what they knew worked this is a very effective way to become popular.

A Unique Experience for All to Enjoy – Including Medieval Yurts

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

The medieval encampment with all the guest tents

Now heading into its fifth year, the ‘Good Knights Medieval Encampment’ offers a unique and fun experience for people of all ages.

The actual encampment itself offers guests their choice of several deluxe medieval tents, as a well as a Mongolian yurt for overnight stays. All the tents are built on wooden platforms, with electricity and attached bathrooms. Each has a comfortable bed, electric heater, bedding, and decorated with chest and rich tapestries.

We had the pleasure of staying in their medieval yurt – which they bought from Groovy Yurts in 2020.

It had a lovely queen-sized bed and a double futon bed, and was luxuriously decorated with wall hangings, furs, and rugs. They even built a private washroom onto the side of the structure and provided seating on the outdoor platform that made for a lovely breakfast setting (which they serve to you in the morning).

Linda and Daniel really liked the concept of the yurt but found other companies’ yurts were of poor design and low quality. A friend had one of these that they used for summer campouts, but they found that it would not hold up to being set up for an entire season’s use.

After some research, they found Groovy Yurts and liked the sturdy, authentic structure of the Groovy Lite – a simplified version of the traditional 5-wall.

Beyond the Yurt – Great Property, Wonderful Hosts

yurt interior

The property also includes an outdoor kitchen containing anything you may need to cook and serve personal food, a feast hall, a fully stocked costume closet, and an archery range.

Guests are never bored as there is a range of exciting activities to try; such as siege engine demos, sword classes, craft classes (such as lucent hand weaving, embroidery, leather craft, etc.), and long-bow archery (all included).

having fun at good knights three hills alberta

One of many activities offered at the encampment, archery.

Breakfast (served at your tent) is also included. Guests who stay on a weekend also get to experience a 5-course medieval feast – served in one of the two feast halls (no buffets – as this is not a medieval feast).

In 2020 some activities, such as the public feasts, were put on hold due to the safety concerns from COVID.

They hope to re-start the public feasts in 2021 as things begin to return to normal.

We did get the chance to try long-bow archery, which is not as easy as one may think. Many of the first few rounds of our arrows ended up in the faraway grass – rather than anywhere remotely close to the targets (we did get better).

However, we looked very fashionable wearing our medieval costumes (which they provide on arrival).

When in Calgary, Red Deer or Southern Alberta

yurt at good knights three hills alberta

The outdoor kitchen for guests to cook their own food.

We highly recommended that if you get the chance to head to this magical site, try out the archery, and while you’re at it, try all the activities you can.

We guarantee, you’re going to want to bring all your friends back to Good Knights, regardless of what age you are. Some would go so far as to say, “It’s better than Disneyland.”

You can find more information about the Good Knights Medieval Encampment on their website at or on social media @goodknightscanada.


yurt from groovy yurts with a campfire nearby

Customer Experience: Daniel at the Rainbow Ridge Ranch

Part 2, the second installment of Mikayla’s Cross-Canada Road Trip & Yurt Customer Journey.


rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: Our tour guide, Daniel, showing us the way through his property.

As we drove up, we were immediately greeted at the entrance by the owner of Rainbow Ridge Ranch B&B, Daniel, in his ATV.

That was the first indicator of the great customer service you can expect at his establishment.

Daniel happily guided us to our yurt and offered a fun ATV tour around the large property, located in Grunthal, MB. As we zipped around, he told us about his fascinating life, the history of the grounds and his grand visions for the immediate future.

Our Yurt B&B Host: A True Renaissance Man

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Dan covering the toono on his newly built yurt during our summer delivery tour.

It should be known that among other things, Daniel is an ice road trucker, pig & bison farmer, log furniture carpenter, pilot, hunter, pastor, entrepreneur, missionary, and now, campground owner.

It’s safe to say that there’s nothing Dan can’t do and therefore he is the perfect person to run this type of place.

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Daniel, the jack of all trades, standing with his yurt during our visit.

Daniel currently uses the grounds to host Christian youth camps, in both the summer and winter, and offers the space to anyone in need of escaping city life.

Guests have the option of staying in the B&B building, one of the finished log cabins, a yurt, or on any of the cleared camping spots.

With so much flat farmland throughout Manitoba, it is pretty incredible that Daniel offers the only campground in the region amongst lush greenery, rolling hills, and riverside views.

Over Two Decades at This Location

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: The yurt overlooks the hill with a wooden gazebo built by Daniel. This is the most gorgeous spot to be in the morning!

Daniel has been living and developing his property for 20+ years.

Each year, he plans a trip in the fall to Mongolia and the Congo; inevitably, the trips this year had to be cancelled due to COVID.

Nonetheless, his love of yurts and Mongolian culture prompted him to purchase an authentic Mongolian Groovy Yurt, and the sitting vacation time allowed him to put more resources into setting up the property as a functioning campground.

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: Beautiful pond that fills what was once a gravel pit. Natural restoration at its finest!

With some help from family, Daniel has already cleared and hooked up 10 fully serviced camp sites, begun building 2 additional log cabins and a glamping cabana, and plans to convert an older building into a multi-functional area for guests.

The building will include accessible bathrooms, a wash area, and a small store with camping necessities.

To top it all off, he has received some funding from the municipality to restore the land designated as a gravel pit, back into a thriving pond ecosystem. He has already done a wonderful job with this project, and it has resulted in a beautiful afternoon view from his hilltop gazebo!

A Great Yurt Stay

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: One of the new cabins being built for future customers looking to stay in grander camping accommodations.

The yurt stay itself was very cozy and relaxing.

It’s located in a private clearing amongst the trees with a small fire pit to the right of the yurt (at a close, but safe distance), and an outhouse to the left.

The inside was completely outfitted with authentic Mongolian furniture that included a bed, vanity, and dresser.

All necessities were covered with a jug of filtered water, lanterns, a small Coleman grill, utensils, cups and plates.

We went to bed feeling taken care of and slept soundly through the night.

A Yurt Experience We’ll Never Forget

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: This building is being turned into a multi-functional area with a wash station, small store, and bathrooms.

The highlight of our stay was definitely sitting around the fire amongst fall leaves and enjoying the peaceful nature sounds, all with a glowing, fire lit Mongolian yurt as our backdrop.

Thank you, Daniel, for the experience, we hope to be back soon.


rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: The newest addition to the property is this ‘glamping’ cabana; the structure is still in progress.

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: The inside of the yurt, complete with a bed, grill, wash station and vanity! Completely outfitted with Mongolian furniture.

fire and yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Fireside views of the yurt and campsite.


groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Customer Experience: Mike & Renee’s Off-Grid Living Experience

Some feel fulfilled by owning a large house in the centre of a popular neighbourhood, others are content with a simpler existence.

Five years ago, Mike and Renee took the first step towards their well-thought-out dream, living off-grid. They purchased a piece of untouched land in Northwestern Ontario, cleared only necessary space, and a year later, erected a yurt for their homestead.

Less Bills, More Freedom: Yurt off the Grid

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: The base of the yurt in the beginning stages of the building process.

The couple was initially living in a house in a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada, and quickly became frustrated by the sheer amount of bills they were paying for mediocre amenities.

The water tasted concerningly like chlorine, the heat was quickly escaping out of any crevice it could find, and soaring electricity prices showed no signs of plateauing.

On top of all that, the house simply seemed lifeless. In Mike’s words, “Any renovations we would make were to increase the value of the house for the next buyers. We were living in someone else’s home.”

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: The completed yurt on the Northern Ontario property.

Many YouTube videos and off-grid forums later, Mike and Renee had taught themselves the fundamentals of living off the land.

Why a Yurt?

Renee and Mike chose the Mongolian yurt because it allowed them to quickly move onto their land throughout all of Canada’s seasons. In addition, they liked that the yurt was made of sustainable materials, and was more durable than modern yurts (especially with the humidity).

For amenities, they wash dishes with water heated on their wood-burning stove, shower in a wood-fired sauna, and use an outhouse that they’ve outfitted with a composting toilet (no smell).

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Outhouse outfitted with a composting toilet.

Below the yurt, although not pictured, is an underground root cellar where they store food. This was very effective throughout the winter and spring, however, rose in temperature throughout the summer.

Once the soil and insulation around the cellar is finished, they hope to have cold storage year-round. In the meantime, an energy-efficient solar-powered ‘fridge’ (it looks more like a fancy cooler) keeps their food cool.

Renee and Mike’s property also includes a screened-in room (not attached to the yurt)that they used for bugless dining in the summer and storage space in the winter. Lastly, they’ve constructed a nearby greenhouse for more sheltered plant growing.

Challenges of (and Solved by) a Yurt off the Grid

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Screened-in room for bugless summer cooking and winter storage.

One of the bigger challenges of off-grid living for the pair has been trying to balance a property that’s functional, while also leaving it as natural as possible (especially when considering horticulture practices).

Minimal destruction to current ecosystems in the area is very important to them. Currently, they’ve been using a horticultural method called ‘Hugelkultur.’ This method involves building steep, narrow mounds that consist of layers of wood scraps and biomass, within layers of soil and humus which support growing fruits and vegetables.

It is largely beneficial as the gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants (provides a constant supply of nutrients for 20+ years), the composting wood generates heat (which should extend the growing season), and the mass is more effective at holding water from natural rainfall (they don’t have to water their crops).

Additionally, Renee and Mike use clover as a natural mulch for the mounds, as it prevents weeds from overtaking the beds without stunting desired plant growth. So far, they have mostly been successful with potatoes and apples in their cold northern climate. Their biggest piece of advice is to be patient and observe the interactions of natural plants and animals in the area for the most effective land use.

Bears and Yurts (Oh My)

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Small green house that shelters some of their plants.

One question we are often asked at Groovy Yurts is whether our yurts are bear proof.

Our answer is often ‘no, nothing is bear proof, but there are some preventative measures you can take’. We posed this question to Mike and Renee, as Northern Ontario is the black bear capital of the world (this stat is made up, but likely true).

They told us that they’ve had inevitable run-ins with bears but have not had the animals damage any part of their structure. Although they cook and eat inside the yurt, they thoroughly clean all surfaces after encountering food, and store anything that may attract bears in their underground cellar. Hopefully, this puts any potential yurt buyers at ease with these wonderful creatures.

No Regrets, Just a Groovy Yurt Outlook

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Hugelkultur rows throughout property. The land is largely left to grow naturally.

Although lots of hard work is involved and many challenges must be overcome, Mike and Renee concluded that they very much enjoy living off-grid.

It’s quite empowering to know the origin of the resources that you use daily and you gain a much bigger appreciation for them.

Their favourite thing about the lifestyle: “being able to live in the moment, you aren’t on anyone’s schedule except for the sun and the rain.”


Stay tuned for more on our Customer Experience series as part of a great Canadian road trip!