Earthbags for Yurt and Tent Insulation

One possible use of earthbags I haven’t seen so far is using bags of vermiculite, perlite, scoria or pumice for insulating yurts, tents and other dwellings.  Kelly Hart used scoria-filled bags on his domes, and we’ve discussed ceiling insulation previously, but I’m talking about stacking (free standing) bags inside of a structure for wall insulation.

Rice hulls could be used as fill material, but they’re not as ideal as the other options above.  For instance, rodents could chew through a bag searching for small pieces of rice.  Straw bales could be used, but they are somewhat vulnerable to fire and water damage when left exposed.  Plastering the walls would prevent these problems, but I’m exploring ways to stack bags of insulation without having to plaster.

Not having to plaster the walls would save lots of time and effort.  This would be ideal for a temporary structure – for example, living in a yurt through winter while the main house is being built, or living in a tent in a desert.  This system would make it easy to pack things up and move with a minimum of effort.  And, the insulation could be reused elsewhere – possibly in your permanent home.

Note: Bags of insulation do take up quite a bit of space, however, in a very cold or hot climate this plan may be beneficial.

8 thoughts on “Earthbags for Yurt and Tent Insulation”

  1. I built a yurt in my backyard just before the worst rains we’d had in the middle of winter last year.and my daughters all slept in it at different times and without heaters and it was always very warm. I did not put felt on it though as I thought it was probably to heavy for me to cart around and to expensive also. So ended up using fabric batting from the local spotlight store cost just over $100 for 20 meters and was perfectly dry the three months it was up.

    • Plaster adds a great deal of strength and improves the looks considerably. It’s best to plaster the bags as quickly as possible to protect them from sunlight.

      However, my idea for insulating yurts and tents is different, since they’re inside a structure and protected from sunlight. In this case, you’ll most likely want to leave them unplastered so you can move them in the future if necessary.


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