Colorado Yurt Company: Working Small AND Delivering Large

Colorado Yurt Company definitely qualifies as a small business. We have one location in Montrose, Colorado. We are family owned by Dan and Emma Kigar, who founded the company in 1976. Colorado Yurt Company employs about 30 people in four different departments: office, wood shop, tipis/tents and yurt fabric shop. We each have our job to do, and we all take pride in our work. We have employees who have been with the company for over 20 years, and have couples where both husband and wife work for us (and sometimes their kids too).

Anna, Ricardo and their son Gus. One of the families that work for Colorado Yurt Company.

In a world where so many things are made in far away places and shipped across the world to a big box store, we are proud to make everything right here in western Colorado. In a world where you are much more likely to get a recording asking you to “press 1 for sales”, we are proud to answer each call with a real, live, friendly person and exceptional service.

Rebecca is the newest member of the office staff.

We hand craft and inspect every yurt, tipi and tent in our shop. Each structure is custom made to your specifications. We place the windows, choose the fabric, paint the canvas, locate the stove pipe outlet… all according to what the customer wants. Our skilled craftspeople take pride in each stitch, wood joint, phone call and shipping crate. Our sales people get to know many of our customers’ stories and take a personal interest.

Henry and Maya working on a large tipi.

Despite our diminutive size, we work on large scale projects. We’ve delivered large yurt orders for state parks, resorts and campgrounds around the world. We recently shipped a substantial order of uniquely-designed yurts to a new project in Greece, produced 100 tipis and 200 tents within a five week period for the Coachella Music Festival in California, and we are currently working on several other major jobs.

Tipis at Coachella Music Festival

We’ve achieved what we feel is the perfect balance. By utilizing some cutting edge production management techniques, while staying small and flexible, we are able to meet the needs of each customer. Whether it’s a resort that needs 30 yurts or a family that wants a small tipi for the kids, we will deliver just what the customer orders. We do it on time, professionally and with the best product quality and customer service in the industry.

Yurt at dusk- Ridgway State Park, Colorado

 

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yurts, Tipis and Tents: You Need to See Them for Yourself!

You’ve dreamed about it. You’ve studied the great photos on our website and Facebook page. You’ve thought about the perfect spot. You’ve talked to your friends about it.

Yurts with windows

Now, maybe you should sleep on it. Or actually sleep in it.

We have a list on our website of many places to visit a yurt, tipi or tent. Some are at resorts, campgrounds or B&Bs- so you can sleep there. Others are at schools, camps or spas, which are usually available for a walk through. In all cases, we ask that you contact the owner to make sure they are okay with you coming to look.

Here are a few choice examples from our list of favorite places to see yurts:

Are you in the Denver area? The Plains Conservation Center in Aurora has a 30’ Colorado Yurt and several Earthworks Tipis. Visit them to see these great structures while discovering our local prairie.

You can reserve a yurt in our Colorado State Park campgrounds, including Ridgway, Golden Gate, Mancos and Pearl Lake.

Yurt at Pearl Lake State Park, CO

Great parks to stay in a Colorado Yurt outside our state include: GoblinValleyRockport and East Canyon State Parks in Utah, DeGray Lake State Park in Arkansas, Abilene State Park in Texas and the Manitoba Provincial Parks in Canada.

Yurt at Goblin Valley State Park, UT

The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, CA has a yurt for their spa services, as does Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, CO. Or you could take a class at BE Yoga Yurt in Virginia.

Yurts in Colorado

Yurts at Orvis Hot Springs, CO

To see or stay in an Earthworks Tipi, try:

Mesa RV Resort in Gunnison, CO has a couple of beautiful hand-painted tipis at their campground.

Red Cone Retreat near Norwood, CO has tipi accommodations in a bed and breakfast setting. We are making a couple of new tipis for Red Cone, which will be available for rent later this summer.

Click to view larger picture

Tipis at Red Cone Retreat, CO

Want an adventure, followed by a night’s stay in a tipi? Try North Georgia Canopy Tours near Atlanta. They have one of the premier zipline adventures in the nation, and several Earthworks tipis outfitted with log beds, fine linens and air conditioning.

North Georgia Interior

Inside a tipi at North Georgia Canopy Tours, GA

Are you more of a river rat? Sands Whitewater in Jackson Hole, WY has tipis on the Snake River. You can raft out to them, spend the night and return to civilization the next day.

One of the best examples of Cimarron Tents used for lodging is at MaryJanesFarm in Moscow, ID.They are leaders in the “glamping” movement, and will treat you to wonderful accommodations and delicious organic gourmet food.

Tent interior at Mary Jane’s Farm in Idaho

On the other side of the country, in Pittsburg, NH, Enchanted Acres is a women’s retreat where Cimarron Tents provide rustic housing for guests looking for relaxation and rejuvenation.

And, we alwayswelcome you to our offices here in Montrose, CO where we have two yurts and a tipi set up for you to see.

After you visit, or better yet wake up in a tipi, tent or yurt we’ll know you’ll want one for your own.

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company, About Colorado Yurt Company Product | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Service with a Smile: We design, deliver and install yurts, tipis and tents

We want your structure to be perfect for you, so we craft each one to your specifications. Did you know we also have several “extra” services available?

Do you need engineering calculations or a site specific report for your building department? We can do that. Our basic engineering is available to customers, or for a fee, you can order “wet stamped” engineering. We can usually get most state-licensed wet stamped plans (with enough time).

CORR brackets on a yurt- the start of our engineering.

What about the platform for your yurt or tent? We have platform plans available to download on our website. These are suggested plans for the supporting structure under your yurt or tent. We can also advise on other types of decks or platforms.

Do you want a tipi that is uniquely yours? We offer tipi painting. We have a catalog online to choose your design or custom designs are also available. Just tell us your vision, and we’ll design and paint it on your tipi.

Custom painted tipi 

Do you have a yurt, tipi or tent that needs repair? We are happy to take a look at it and see if we can fix it for you. If not, we’re always happy to make replacement canvas, whether it’s a new wall and roof to have your yurt looking brand new or new cover for your tipi.

Do you live in the Rocky Mountain region? It might be to your advantage to have our truck and trailer bring your yurt to you. In many cases, it’s less expensive than shipping.

Do you think you need a hand setting it up? Even though we send complete instructions, we understand the process might be a bit foreign to most. We have several ways to help you:

First, we are always happy to give you advice over the phone or via email. We have people on staff who are experienced at setting up yurts, tipis and tents- and can explain the process to you.

Putting on the roof

Do you have a group of friends who are willing to help set up a yurt? Maybe you just need some expertise? We have a great service called “expert assist”. That’s where we send one bossy, but knowledgeable, guy to help your crew do it right. He’ll pitch in and help, while teaching you the steps to getting it done the Colorado Yurt way.

Yurt in progress

If you don’t have a willing group of helping hands, we can send an entire crew to help. Whether it’s a couple of guys to set up a tipi, or an entire crew to set up a whole village of yurts- we can provide the service you need. You can sit back and watch or join in and help.

Our goal is to get your yurt, tipi or tent made exactly the way you want it, delivered to your door safely and pitched correctly. Give us a call to let us know how we can help and get a quote on our extra services. That way you can sit back, admire your new yurt, tipi or tent and start enjoying.

 

tent interior at Mary Jane’s Farm in Idaho

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yurt Questions Answered: How to Use a Yurt

Sure, you think yurts are cool. You might even have ideas of how a yurt would fit into your life. At Colorado Yurt Company, we are amazed at the creative ways our customers use their yurts.

Yurt in Colorado

Are you close to retirement? Is your house taking too much time and money? Maybe you should consider retiring in a yurt! Retirement yurts are a growing part of our business, and many customers tell us they love retirement living in their yurt.

cozy yurt interior

Families are living with several generations under one roof for economic reasons or to keep a closer eye on a parent who needs more help. Perhaps a yurt is the way to make it work. Andrew Birden put a yurt in his yard for his mother-in-law. The local paper was intrigued enough to do a story about it.

How about the teenagers? Their music is too loud, they stay up too late and they think they need privacy. A customer in New Zealand had the perfect solution- a teenager yurt!

Dreaming of a mountain cabin? Joe Holmes, a designer and photographer in Denver, has a yurt at 11,800 feet elevation that he used a lot this past winter. He says, “I am looking forward to summer and many more years at ‘High Yurtitude’ with friends and family watching and photographing wildlife and exploring the forest around my yurt.”

Joe Holmes’ yurt in progress

Australian, Astrid McCormick bought a 16′ yurt to stay in while building her organic garlic farm. Now, they visit the yurt 3-4 days a week and love it. She says, “Living in the round, we feel safe and sound.”

Monarch Mountain in Colorado and McCauley Mountain in New York both have Winter Stout Alpine yurts for their ski schools. Eco Academy of Los Angeles has a yurt on their high school campus.

Colorado Yurts are used as a restaurant and overnight rentals at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse and Sleep Yurts near Leadville, CO. One review on Yelp raves, “Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is legit, people. We had the absolute best time here. I mean, it’s a yurt. On top of a mountain. How many times will you have THAT experience in your lifetime?”

undefined

We’ve seen customers use Colorado Yurts as yoga studios for many years. Krista Zember has BE Yoga Yurt in Virginia, where she teaches yoga to special needs kids and other groups. Her clients love the yurt!

DSC_0737

BE Yoga Yurt

We use a 20′ yurt as an office here at Colorado Yurt Company. Nearby in Durango, Bill Graham of Ska Brewing Company has his home office in a Colorado Yurt. Bill says, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the decision to add a yurt to our house, rather than building on. It was inexpensive, works great, looks cool and we love it.” We like having a friend in the beer business- especially because Ska Beer is excellent!

Delicious Ska Beers

Yurts are versatile, low-impact, affordable solutions to many needs. How will you use your yurt?

 

 

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company Product, Yurt Questions Answered | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tipi Questions Answered: Can You Live in a Tipi?

Ahhhh, the romance and beauty of the perfect indigenous structure… a tipi. You can imagine staying overnight, camping for a week and maybe doing a meditation workshop in a tipi. But, can you actually live in a tipi?

This question is the essence of our company- our genesis in fact.

Earthworks Tipis started in 1976, when Dan and Emma Kigar decided to live in a tipi of their own creation. Something about their simple lifestyle resonated—soon their friends and mountain neighbors were asking Dan and Emma to make them a tipi of their own. The Kigars lived in their lodge for four years in Colorado and a couple of years in a cozy spot near Ann Arbor, Michigan while finishing college. They learned to make their lodge a comfortable and cozy home. At times, they used an open fire to heat and cook; other times they used a wood stove. They learned how to adjust the smoke flaps to let in the breeze and keep out the rain and snow. In time, they even brought a baby boy into the world.

Dan, Emma and baby Sam in 1985

So, what is the reality of living in a tipi? First, you should not expect it to be like living in a house. The elements are right on the other side of a canvas wall. The wonderful parts of that are the sounds, smells and feel of nature every day.

In the summer, you can roll up the side walls to catch a breeze for cooling. You will burn wood or have some other type of heat source in the winter. Whether you have a firepit, a woodstove, or gas heat you’ll want a liner. Not only does it create a draft for the smoke to travel up and out the top, but it creates insulation and privacy and finishes the interior. With a liner, you can also have an ozan or extended ozan… which brings us to rain.

The sound of rain on the canvas is a soothing, calming way to relax inside your tipi. But, there’s the hole up at the top (where the poles cross and the canvas wraps around). Yes. Rain can come in that hole. Usually, the water will travel down the poles and out behind the liner. Or, it will drip into the center of the lodge. To protect the bedding area from rain, we recommend the ozan or extended ozan. It’s a fabric canopy that hangs in the tipi- diverting rain off of the living area to behind the liner. It also helps hold in heat.

Tipi home in Colorado

We have customers who are living in tipis. A family in Idaho lost their home a few years ago. Since they had some land, they decided to shelter themselves with a 26’ Earthworks tipi. They say, “We got it up within 2 hours of that winter’s first blizzard and moved in on January 3 almost two years ago.  Thank you for making us a strong and beautiful tipi that has withstood all weather and has kept our little family protected.”

Interior of family tipi in Idaho

In Maine, another family has a home- but chooses to sleep every night in their tipis. They enjoy the sounds of the woods around them, the feel of the breeze through the tipi and snuggling under the blankets to stay warm in the winter (-25 degrees one night). Their commitment to tipi sleeping is something they feel very strongly about. They recommend it highly, saying, “Ever feel stress? You need a tepee. That’s what’s missing in your life.”

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company Product | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Yurt Questions Answered: How Long Does a Yurt Last?

We like to talk about yurts. The best part of our day is spent talking to our customers and potential customers about yurts (and tipis and tents). We’ll be using this blog to address some of these common questions and concerns, and hopefully get the word out about these unique and useful structures.

Yurts in Colorado

Yurts in Colorado

So, this blog: “How Long Does a Yurt Last?”

This question doesn’t have just one answer. Many things contribute to the longevity of a yurt. Our customers have yurts that are over 20 years old, and still going strong. Since a yurt is a structure with several components: frame, dome, doors, fabric walls and roof- you will replace different pieces at different times.

Yurt in progress

The wood frame of a yurt is long-lasting, and should not have a “wear out” date, just like other wood structures. We use quality lumber and it’s built to last. Doors occasionally need refinishing and sometimes need replacing, as they wear out because of weather conditions and use. 

All rafters are MSR lumber. Frame is clear, vertical grain Douglas fir.

It’s all about the conditions your yurt lives in- a yurt in the rain forest in Washington faces much different environmental factors than one on a sunny mountainside in the Rockies. Since yurts are covered in fabric, environmental factors play on that fabric in different ways. Snow and wind are not as hard on fabric as sunshine. Here in Colorado, we have over 300 days of high altitude sunshine a year. So, we have seen first hand how our fabrics hold up. We’ve found that vinyl fabrics (ProTech, ProStructure and DuroLast) hold up better in the sunshine than canvas fabrics. One reason is the seams. Our vinyl is seamed with a welder, not thread, (which tends to degrade faster than the fabric around it). In sunny, high UV conditions, a little bit of shade on your yurt makes a big difference.

Seams are welded on vinyl fabrics.

Most people get many years of use out of yurt walls, but at some point they will need replacing. If thread is showing through the vinyl, the roof is leaking or your windows are coming apart- it’s probably time to call for a price on replacements. We do offer replacement walls and roofs, and can usually fit them to your yurt- (even if you didn’t purchase the yurt from us).

We recommend trying to replace the wall and roof fabric at the same time- just for installation ease. If there wasn’t insulation on the yurt originally, adding roof insulation is much easier when replacing the fabric.

Installing insulation and a roof.

One component of a yurt that will need replacing over the years is the dome. The acrylic is tough, but it will crack or break under certain conditions. We estimate that a dome might need replacing in 7-9 years under normal conditions.

Acrylic dome at the top of every yurt.

Taking care of a yurt will ensure many years of use. Wash fabric walls as needed with a mild soap, such as Ivory Flakes (never pressure wash a yurt, as it can damage the fabric). Re-staining or re-coating the doors and outside wood might be necessary every few years, depending upon the climate.

We are always happy to answer your questions, take your suggestions or make replacement parts for your yurt. We hope you enjoy your yurt for years.

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company Product, Yurt Questions Answered | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Becky is Retiring from Colorado Yurt Company!

We aren’t sure what we’ll do without her. Our long time office manager, Becky Meinhold, is retiring.

Our office manager: Becky Meinhold

Becky, being the organized and efficient person that she is, started with Colorado Yurt Company on May 10, 1999 and will retire on May 11, 2012—thirteen years and a day later. We figure the extra day is just to make sure there are no loose ends, typical of the thorough job Becky has always done.

Being office manager is a big job: as chief purchasing agent Becky kept track of the comings and goings of all the fabric, wood and other materials we need to build our tipis, tents and yurts. But, we have a lot of overlap in job responsibilities here at Colorado Yurt. Becky does sales, payroll, human resource management and customer service- as well as watering the plants, taking the cans to be recycled, getting the flower pots planted and leading the morning exercises.

Becky organized us to adopt a street.

She’s our Quickbooks expert, knows when to pay the utilities and knows how many tipi poles are in the rack out back. She organized the holiday party every year, an event where we relax and enjoy knowing Becky thought of every detail.

Becky seems to know everything around here- product specs, customer history, employee days off… plus who supplies our rope and webbing, who delivers the best pizza and where to get bio-diesel for our trucks. We’ll all have to pool our knowledge to know as much as Becky about how this place operates.

Colorado Yurt Company will not be the same.

Becky’s family has become the Yurt company family in many ways. When they lived in Montrose, her grandsons would visit and play ball in the office hall or push the Batman car across the carpet. Her husband has fixed many things in the shop, from lights to electrical outlets and is always up for a round of golf with Cliff or Dan. For many years, Becky gave a ride to work to our favorite co-worker, Arlo the Golden Retriever. When Arlo passed away last summer, we all lost a good friend.

We all loved Becky's dog, Arlo.

If you’ve ever talked to Becky on the phone, you got the right answers delivered in her no nonsense manner. So, if you are one of Becky’s fans- be sure to call or send a note before she leaves May 11.

Becky and her husband, Al, will be taking some time this summer to enjoy their cabin in upstate New York. After that, she’s planning to enjoy her grandkids and her garden (which is amazing), continue to exercise, entertain and relax. Thanks Becky!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Customer Reviews: Yurt, Tipi and Tent customers… we heard you.

We like to get a report card. Every so often, we ask our customers to tell us how we are doing

This spring, we asked. And, many people took the time to tell us. In fact, that was the first thing about our customer satisfaction survey that made us happy. Our customers returned the survey at almost 20%. (Industry average for a non-rewarded survey is 2%-5%).

Next, we were thrilled to see our overall satisfaction rate. Believe it or not, 97% of our customers said they are satisfied or very satisfied with Colorado Yurt Company. That is higher than Apple or Toyota.

We rated very high on things such as product quality, customer service, knowledge of salespeople and company reputation. Nine out of ten said they’d recommend us to a friend or colleague, and over 30% have already done so.

Here are some quotes from customers:

“We love the light that permeates the canvas at sunrise. It is the most peaceful place to sleep and wake up. It is warm/cool as needed and is the perfect hangout.”

“I love the 30′ yurt for space as I live in it as a primary home. I love the layout of my yurt and the comfort of its shape. I also love the fact that it feels alive and is quite cozy.”

 


“My favorite part is the roll-up walls, the height of the tent and the height of the walls…”

A few other things we learned:

We redesigned our website last year, and that looks like it was a good investment. The majority of our customers hear about us from the internet, while the next-most-common way to find us is on the advice of a friend.

A few minor issues were brought up in the survey results, and they will be addressed. We’ll personally follow up with customers who had specific issues. And, we’ll take all suggestions into consideration. Customers have been very generous in their praise and with suggestions for improvement. If you have suggestions for us, or would like to give us praise or criticism- we welcome your input. (info@coloradoyurt.com)

The most important message from the survey: Our customers really value having a friendly voice on the phone and appreciate that each tipi, tent and yurt is made by hand.

As we grow, we will always stand by that personal touch.

Dan & Emma: owners of Colorado Yurt Company

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yurt Questions Answered: The Hot and Cold of it

“How do you heat a yurt?”

“Aren’t they hot in the summer?”

These are some of the most common questions we hear when it comes to yurts. It makes sense: the idea of yurt living is new to many people and thus, the comfort of a yurt is a big unknown.

So, how DO you heat a yurt?

Keystone Adventure Tour Yurt

Most yurt dwellers use a wood stove, pellet stove or sometimes, a propane heater. We also know of customers who have used in-floor radiant heat in a concrete floor and others who use electric heaters. A lot will depend upon your climate, your power/energy source and the type of heat you are comfortable with. In all cases, the key is a good, consistent heat source that is sufficient to heat the size of yurt you have. It also helps to have roof and wall insulation.

Wood stove in our office yurt

Then, summer comes around, and you want to stay cool.

Summer Yurt

In many climates, a yurt in the shade that has a dome lifter, ceiling fan, plenty of windows and a roll-up wall for cross ventilation will stay very comfortable. We also recommend the use of window awnings on the sunny side of the yurt to shade the windows. The tinted bronze dome is available to reduce the UV rays coming through the top of your yurt, which can also help keep it comfortable.

If you find you need more than mother nature to cool your yurt, there are ways to do so.

Here in the arid west, we use swamp coolers. In our 20′ office yurt, we have a floor-standing unit that cools very efficiently.

In parts of the world where humidity is mixed with the heat, a swamp cooler would be miserable. In those climates, a window air conditioner can be fit into a second doorway or one of our operable windows. Or there are free standing a/c units available too.

In all cases, heat or cold, we recommend that you upgrade your yurt with the Astro-Shield insulation package. It is a reflective insulation that bounces your heat back to you in the winter and helps keep heat from coming inside in the summer.

Roof insulation

In most climates and situations, insulation with the heating and cooling solutions above, will make your yurt a comfortable, live-able space for all four seasons.

And to hammer home the hot and cold of it, here’s a few yurt/temperature factoids we thought you might enjoy:

The state of Delaware has a 30’ that they use for a reptile exhibit. It is heated with base board electric heat. Gotta keep those snakes comfy.

The yurts at Pearl Lake State Park near Steamboat Springs are also heated with electric heaters, of the sort you would see in a hotel room.

Yurt at Pearl Lake State Park, Colorado

In the tropics it’s well known that fans of all sorts—ceiling fans, floor fans, table top fans and window units— keep people cooler. CYC yurts in Belize have numerous fans that guest move around to suit their needs.

Yurt in the tropics

We can make water “boots” (or gaskets, or sleeves) to seal around your swamp cooler or air conditioner.

Some customers in extreme weather conditions, like Alaska or the Southwest desert have enhanced their insulation with batting (for recycled denim batting see bondedlogic.com) or rigid insulation. Our staff can help you figure out how it’s done.

 

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company Product, Yurt Questions Answered | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New face at Colorado Yurt Company

We are pleased to announce that Doug Severson has joined our team as Production Manager. Doug is a seasoned production professional with decades of experience helping companies implement lean manufacturing principles.

Doug Severson

Mr. Severson’s experience includes nearly ten years at Chaco Sandals, formerly in Paonia, Colorado where he rose through the ranks to Director of Operations. His background in process and quality control led the company through its major growth period–coordinating facility expansion, managing supplier relationships, and training a local staff of nearly 100 in the Japanese manufacturing technique of Gemba Kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement.

From semiconductors to vacuum systems to photolithography to helping start-up companies with their strategic operations plans, Doug steps into his position at the Colorado Yurt Company with the experience and energy required to help take the brand to new heights.

Bart, working on camp tents

Dan Kigar, Co-Founder and owner of Colorado Yurt Company expressed his excitement, “Doug brings a tremendous amount of experience with him–and his positive and lasting effect on our staff and our product was immediate. Within days, he was showing us ways to improve our processes and in instances where we thought, ‘that’s impossible,’ Doug, in his ever calm and collected demeanor, showed us what was possible.”

Peter welding a yurt roof

“I’m genuinely happy to work with such amazing people on such a great product line–I get to help a wonderful company make people’s dreams come true. It’s not every day that many people can say that,” said Severson.

The Colorado Yurt Company continues its remarkable journey this month by delivering a major order of 200 tents and 100 tipis to the 275,000 attendee-strong, Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California.

 

Posted in About Colorado Yurt Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment