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Rainier Industries has adapted a traditional Mongolian shelter to provide temporary and sometimes permanent shelter for adventurous individuals in the form of yurts for sale.

INDUSTRY EDGE

TECH & TRENDS

Winter Shelter That's Both Affordable & Portable

Yurts Give You A Sense of Camping, While Also Allowing Some of The Comforts of Glamping

Yurts are a cozy alternative to tent camping during the winter time [Photo Credit: Rainier Yurts- Somers, MT]

On the plains of Mongolia thousands of years ago, nomadic herders lived in round portable structures. These structures have been rediscovered and are now available for modern day campers to enjoy. “It is considered a membrane structure. Taken from the traditional Mongolian ger from 2,000 years ago. They had herds they needed to follow across the plains and they needed to set up their housing easily, and when the herd moved they took it down and moved it. It’s a temporary and portable structure that is easy to set up and easy to move”, explained Dana Hendel, design and sales consultant at Rainier Industries.

The yurt trend began with an individual by the name of Bill Coperthwaite. “He and a group of individuals kind of brought this together in a project and got a lot of people very excited about the modern yurt. People who followed him considered him the grandfather of the yurt movement. Many that followed the yurt movement in the beginning were the cutting-edge people of sustainable living. It wasn’t so much that they had nomadic needs, it was that they didn’t want to hurt the environment”, stated Hendel.

Rainier Industries has adapted the traditional Mongolian shelter to provide temporary and sometimes permanent shelter for adventurous individuals. “Our customers vary from campgrounds and individuals who are starting their own glamping resort to individuals who want a permanent residence or a second home. Sometimes there are commercial applications from yoga studios to restaurants to hair salons. It’s kind of a mix”, Hendel said.

Interior of yurt. As you can see it's pretty spacious [Photo Credit: Washington State Parks]
Family hangs out outside yurt at Cape Disappointment in Washington [Photo Credit: Washington State Parks]

Various state park systems throughout the country have installed yurts as an alternative to traditional camping. Washington State Parks provides yurts at many of their ocean parks which have become quite popular. “When we first came up with this, we called it convenience camping, because you didn’t have to bring as much stuff. You didn’t have to wrestle with a wet tent at the end of your weekend. You can bring your bedding, clothes and food and you are good to go”, claimed Virginia Painter, communications director for Washington State Parks.

One of the big attractions for yurts in campgrounds is that they allow visitors to experience nature at times not normally popular for camping. This provides a new experience for visitors and extends the revenue generating opportunities for state parks. “A lot of people enjoy the yurts in the winter. You still get the sense of camping, but you get some of the comforts. The beauty of them at places like Cape Disappointment is that many of us like to go to the ocean when it’s not such great weather. It can be misty and kind of cool in the winter. You can go and have the ocean experience and then you can go indoors and camp with a heater and a light, so you can read a book. They are quite cozy in the winter time”, said Painter.

While the yurts provided at state parks are generally basic models without many amenities, yurts can be adapted to provide luxury accommodations. “The models are basically a shell and people add their own plumbing and electric. I take it a step further. People have a hard time taking a square world and fitting it into something that will work in a circle. I draw floor plans that give people ideas on how to finish out their yurt. The 30’ diameter 731 square foot Eagle is my number one seller. People typically put a kitchenette and bathroom in it as well as a loft”, explained Hendel. According to the website, the base model 30’ Eagle starts out at $16,505.

Yurt dwellers can fit a bed such as this for a comfortable experience [Photo Credit: Rainier Yurts- Somers, MT]
One of the yurts for rent at Pacific Beach State Park [Photo Credit: Washington State Parks]
Kitchen area inside the dome shaped shelter [Photo Credit: Rainier Yurts- Somers, MT]

The yurt experience isn’t just for the eco-warrior, both Rainier and Washington State Parks customers are quite diverse. “We have everybody using them from couples to families with children. I’ve noticed single parents with kids and talked to a few of them. Single moms really like them because you can get everyone corralled inside, get them warm and cleaned up, and you actually have a door you can lock”, said Painter.

For individuals wanting to check out yurts, the state parks are a great option. Washington State Parks rentals are typically $69 per night during the busy season and on weekends. Rainier's Yurt section on its webpage has ample resources for all you need to know about Yurt living. For instance, there's a blog featuring stories from real yurt dwellers. There's tips for outfitting your yurt, and even articles about sustainable, off the grid living. Once you have stayed in a yurt and are convinced you need one for yourself, there are several companies including Rainier Yurts that can accommodate.


Jared Langenegger

A graduate of New Mexico State University with B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science, Jared spent 15 years working in fisheries and parks management. He enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, painting, and wood working.

Cape Disappointment State Park, WA

Make Sure To Stay At:

Cape Disappointment State Park, a 1,882-acre camping park on Long Beach Peninsula. The yurts are within walking distance of beach. Each is 16 x 10 feet high and furnished with bunk beds that sleep three, a full-size futon, floor lamp, small end table & heater.

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