IMG_3211When Jake and Nicole visited our facility to pick up their Pacific Yurt, they told us they wanted to start a sustainable property centered around a yurt. They also told us they wanted to share their story about the benefits of living in a yurt by bringing more awareness to off the grid yurt living.  

We’ve since launched a video series covering their incredible journey that takes viewers through their process of building a yurt and living in the ruggedness of Canada’s wilderness. To learn more about their adventures, we sent them a Q&A to see what it’s like to live off the grid in a Pacific Yurt.

Let’s start with a quick introduction of you and your yurt. 

Jake: We are Nicole & Jake. We live in a 30 foot Pacific Yurt located on North Vancouver Island. This yurt is our full-time home.

What inspired you to pursue an off the grid yurt lifestyle? 

JakeIMG_3212: I traveled throughout China and Mongolia when I was 21 years old. While in the grasslands of Mongolia, I stayed in a traditional Mongolian Yurt – it was an amazing experience! I remember loving the design and feeling of warmth and comfort that the yurt gave me while I was wrapped in wool blankets safe inside that Mongolian Yurt.

Nicole and I also enjoy watching YouTube videos of families and couples who build and live in unique housing. Many of the families we saw living in Yurts had these amazing living spaces that looked comfortable and quite beautiful. We relished the chance to design our own yurt interior, so we thought a Pacific Yurt would be the perfect dwelling for our move to raw forested property in Canada!

What made Pacific Yurts standout over other structures or companies on the market?

Jake: We researched about 10 other yurt companies before choosing Pacific Yurts. We kept coming back to their yurts because they looked very clean, resilient, and mindfully designed around the structure’s traditions, but with added modern features. We were also impressed by Pacific Yurts’ professional social media pages, which allowed us to see a wide variety of ways their yurts were built and lived in among hundreds of different settings. We loved being able to use the Pacific Yurts 3D Yurt Builder on their website to customize a yurt and see what ours would look like!

Finally, of all the companies we looked at, Pacific Yurts was the most helpful and responsive to our questions and our ideas when we communicated with them over email or by phone. We just knew their helpfulness and professionalism with our situation would carry over into their yurt design!

Can you talk about the assembly process and what that’s been like? 

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 3.12.56 PMNicole: The assembly process had its moments. I would say the most challenging part was building the yurt platform. In fact, it took us a lot longer to finish the platform because we were building the platform over three feet high on very uneven ground. However, when we started to put the Yurt together, it was a blast. Unwrapping each piece was like opening a Christmas present for us. Seeing the French doors, the glass windows, the frames for the windows and the dome brought tears to my eyes. This was our new home!

What’s it like living in an off the grid yurt? 

Jake: It’s been a fun and challenging adventure! Our property can only be accessed by boat, so our materials had to be barged over to us. We also had to cut our way into our land and clear a spot for the yurt because our property was so heavily forested and raw. After clearing the space, we built the platform and assembled the yurt in about a month–despite the snow, rain, black flies, and mosquitos attempting to stop us! Once the platform was finished, we waited for a stretch of sunny weather to happen, which let us put up our yurt in just three days.

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 1.56.17 PMI must say, Nicole really enjoyed the process of putting up the yurt because it went by so fast. It also made us feel very accomplished, and we found the structure itself to be designed so mindfully. We felt so much accomplishment and joy when we were able to sleep in our new yurt on night one! 

Nicole: We genuinely love the look of the yurt! Our living space has such a relaxing and geometric look to it. And the ring, dome and rafters remind me of the sun putting off rays of sunshine. The yurt allows us to hear the sounds of nature that surround us while keeping us mosquito and bug-free. Our new wood stove also keeps us warm and comfortable!

What are some of the advantages of living in an off the grid yurt? 

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There are tons of advantages to living off the grid and in a Yurt. The best advantage is that we don’t have a mortgage or rent to pay. We are also surprised about how beautiful it is to be inside of it. You truly feel in the heart of nature and you hear all the sounds around you. I think I can speak for the two of us, but we love when it rains because the sound it makes is simply amazing.

What clean energy resources are you using to make your yurt sustainable? 

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 2.23.54 PMJake: We are currently using solar energy, a compost toilet, wood stove, and are composting organic waste to make our yurt sustainable. Eventually, we will expand our solar power system, running our diesel van off used veggie oil, and growing 100% of our food in our garden and orchard next to our yurt. We are also using other natural materials from the forest to mill our own wood planks and using raw logs to construct our washroom, bedroom loft, and front porch entryway.

Your yurt is centered around gardening and organic family farming. What’s it like cultivating the land around a yurt? 

Jake: The land around our yurt is very fertile and rich in forest compost – aka hummus. Every square meter of our acreage is 100% full of 50 plus year-old trees. So, we are having to thin out the overgrown forest to allow more sunlight in and make space for the garden/orchard. We are also using the trees we cut down to make log cabins, a yurt loft, raised garden beds, a chicken coop, fencing, and even furniture!  Over the next year, we plan on planting at least 300 fruit trees and a few dozen raised bed gardens to try to be 100% off the food grid.

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What advice would you give potential yurt owners looking to pursue yurt living?

Nicole: I recommend enjoying each moment you spend putting your yurt together. For us, it was very empowering. For people debating whether or not to buy one, know that living in a yurt off the grid is life changing. It leaves us feeling at one with nature. And hearing all of the natural elements makes you appreciate things around you in a whole different way.

Anything else you’d like to add about the benefits of living in a yurt? 

Nicole: We are still in our first year of Yurt Life, but we are loving every minute of it! I honestly don’t know why more people aren’t taking advantage of yurts for Off Grid Living! We love living our DIY life. And we love that Pacific Yurts has provided us with such a high quality, well built, and well-designed structure that’s been a joy to live in! Can’t wait to see how our Yurt looks in year two!

Watch Our New Video Series: Jake & Nicole’s Story 

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 1.58.07 PMWant to learn more about living in a Pacific Yurt? We’ve since partnered with Jake and Nicole to document their journey through a video series highlighting what it takes to assemble and live in a backcountry yurt in the wilderness of Canada. These videos show how they started their exciting adventure, each step of the build process and their experience of living successfully off the grid in a Pacific Yurt. We hope you enjoy watching them! 

Watch Jake & Nicole’s Story