Dec 192013

A Visit To Surely Yurts

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I have been looking to add a small yurt at my camp to use as a shower room.  My camp already has a 30′ yurt by Pacific Yurts, but this time I wanted to try something a bit more local.  Surely Yurts is a small yurt business owned by Steve Reed in Taberg, NY.  I have often communicated with Steve before as he is a member over at our other site,  I have been somewhat drawn to his yurts because they have a unique Adirondack feel to them.  The Adirondacks is where my camp is, and I love the entire region.  I guess it is only natural that I have an eye for Surely Yurts.  I am not sure if Steve agrees with me on whether or not his yurts are Adirondack themed, but for myself, I couldn’t help but notice it!  I decided to pay his shop a visit to talk about maybe buying one of his yurt kits and while I was there, I figured it was a good time to get some background on him and his operation.  I got the impression that Steve wished he had straightened up the shop since I was going to take photos, but I am glad he didn’t get that chance.  I love seeing a well worked shop, not one that looks like you could eat off the floors!

We met up in the village and I followed him back to his shop.  The first thing you see is the house.

Steves Camp

He doesn’t stay in it much, he prefers his 10′ yurt instead:

Steves Yurt

I can understand that, as his yurt is a cozy, comfortable structure that is perfect for his setup.  More on that later though, let’s see the shop!

Steve builds each yurt to order and erects them on platforms he already has built:

Surely Yurts Platform

Surely Yurts Platform

This way he can fit the fabric custom to each one he builds.  Every yurt he makes is hand crafted by Steve and helpers.  I happened to visit right after we received a bunch of snow, but Steve was kind enough to show me the 10′ platform.

The shop is a work in progress as much of it is outdoors.  It can make for some cold working this time of year, but Steve is working on enclosing it to make winter working a bit more comfortable.

Surely Yurts Shop

Surely Yurts Shop

Say cheese Steve!

Steve Reed Surely Yurts

For those of us who have spent a lot of time in upstate New York, shops like this are pretty common.  It reinforced the entire authenticity of these Adirondack style yurts.

Steve let me visit his private yurt to get an idea of what I would be getting for a shower room.  It was a warm place to be and very comfortable.  With the Callahan style mortared stone floor, it just felt like home.


And here is his dog Cooper, who returned after being on an adventure.


Here is the Surely Yurts glass “dome” with the stove pipe going almost down the center of the yurt.  The glass is magnetically attached to the studs and can be opened and even removed to clean.  The entire room was wood stove warm. 🙂

We had a good visit.  We talked a lot about aspects yurt building and the industry, alternative heating and energy, and hunting.  I really came away impressed with Surely Yurts and am looking forward to the shower yurt in the Spring!  The only bad part of the day was that we heard the news of the untimely passing of long time yurt mentor Bill Coperthwaite.

If you are looking for a smaller Adirondack style yurt, say 10 to 20 feet in diameter, you should give Steve a call.  He also builds portable yurts.  Tell him Jeff from sent you! 🙂

Feb 032013

Yurts in the Snow

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This time of year one of the worries people have is about snow load on their yurts.  With my trusty pair of snowshoes, I hiked into my yurt camp and found about 18 inches of snow on the roof.  Once I got a fire going, it quickly began to slide off:

Yurt Snow Melt

Snow melting off yurt

My yurt was manufactured by Pacific Yurts and I upgraded it to use 2X6 rafters and also added their snow and wind kit.  That snow didn’t bother it one bit.  Here is a video of someone with five feet of snow on their roof!

As you can see, yurts are pretty strong!

It should be noted that smaller yurts handle snow load better than larger ones.  I think if it was my yurt up there, being 30 feet in diameter, I would only feel comfortable with some winter time bracing.  As it stands now, I am just hiking to my yurt when it is necessary to clean off the snow (or when I want a weekend away).

Dec 282012

Living in the Round & Remembering Becky

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On August 18th of 2012, Becky Kemery passed away after a long battle with cancer.  She was a very gentle soul and will be greatly missed by her friends and family.


Becky was known by many as the yurt lady; a de facto source of yurt knowledge.  Her book ‘Living in the Round‘ is the bible for yurt information.

My name is Jeff Capron.  A few years ago I decided to look into a yurt to put on a piece of property I have up in the Adirondacks.  It did not take long before I found this site and  These two sites had the most helpful information when it came to learning about yurts and without access to them, I probably would not have even purchased one.  Shortly after I ordered my yurt, I started a discussion forum at to talk about my experience.  After Becky’s passing, I heard that the status of her two sites was uncertain.  I feared that all the hard work she put in on her sites might just disappear.  I made some inquiries with her estate and they agreed to let me take over the operations of them.

I must say that I am not 100% sure on how to proceed.  I expect that I will be slowly making subtle changes as time goes by.  I think Becky would not want the information on these sites to get stale or invalid.  I hope I can keep her memory alive as well as build upon her body of work.  I am open to any suggestions her friends and followers may have.  Feel free to contact me any time.