top of page

built alaska tough

The Alaskan Nomad Shelter yurt has many features that you'll only find here. Beyond the overall quality of construction, the following distinctions make a Nomad Shelter yurt stronger and more durable than any other yurts available.  We have to build them this tough to handle the wind and snow here in Alaska!


Our covers are made entirely from tough Duro-Last roofing membrane with a welded roof seam.  Nomad Shelter uses this fabric over the entire yurt for the standard cost because it will not mildew, degrade with UV, or sustain a flame. It also offers much better overall durability and longevity than more commonly used polyester or cotton fabrics.  Our standard cover material is the toughest yurt fabric available.

Duro-Last fabric comes in five color options: Terra Cotta, Tan, Dark Gray, Light Gray, and White.  Our Terra Cotta color is available in 50 mil thickness.  All other colors are 40 mil (28 oz) thickness. Our Duro-Last covers come with a 15-year manufacturers warranty but typically last much longer. For the manufacturer's Duro-Last product information, click here.

There are two main sections to the cover: the top cover and the wall panels. The top cover is all one piece, while the wall panels come in several sections depending on your yurt design. Wall panels are connected together with heavy duty zippers and an industrial grade Velcro overlap for an easy setup and strong connection.


The cover is designed with facings that cover the joins in areas that could be susceptible to drafts. There are facings covering the join of the top to the wall, facings over the door join and around the windows to stop the drafts coming up between the insulation and the cover. The cover also has a sewn brow-over door that sheds the rain away from the threshold.


These features are all standard in a Nomad Shelter yurt.

Lattice and tension cable

The wall lattice on a Nomad Shelter yurt is made of 1″x2″ white spruce or Douglas fir riveted with 1/4 inch aluminum rivets. 40' and 50' yurts also have 2"x4" support columns integrated under the rafters for added strength, as well as taller walls. The Nomad Shelter lattice wall is a key structural element to our yurts, unlike many other companies that only include the lattice as an aesthetic feature and rely entirely on vertical support posts.

The Nomad Shelter lattice is structurally engineered with this added dimensional strength to support the rafters and provide up to 60 lbs per square foot snow loads and 100 mph wind resistance.

The top of the lattice wall is fastened with bolts for strength in bearing the weight of the rafters. A steel tension cable sits between notched grooves along the top of the lattice, safely dispersing the load from the rafters to the lattice. Our cables are up to twice as thick and many times higher strength than industry standards:

12-20 foot yurts: 1/4" steel cable

24 foot yurts: 3/8" steel cable

30 foot yurts: 7/16" steel cable

34 foot yurts: 1/2" steel cable

40-50 foot yurts: 5/8" steel cable (double cable for 50' yurts)


Nomad Shelter rafters use wood-on-wood mortise and tenon joinery to connect to the central compression ring. This style of joinery is designed to insert directly into the compression ring, giving the connection far greater strength than the more common metal bracket or pin design. Being able to simply slot the rafters into place also makes for an easier setup.

Our mortise and tenon joinery prevents torsion or twist in the frame. The rafters do not need wire lacing to prevent twist or to have extra screw holes drilled to secure brackets or insert pins. There is only one hole drilled in the rafter near the top to allow for a gust lock cable which secures all rafters strongly to the central ring.

Rafters are all hand-finished to bring out the natural grain of the wood. We are currently using Douglas fir for all our yurt sizes to maximize strength.


Nomad Shelter central compression rings are thicker and up to a foot wider than industry standard.  This lends extra strength for wind and snow load.  it also allows our larger central skylight to brighten the interior of your yurt during the day and to show off the stars at night.

12-16 foot yurts: 4' ring with 3 layers of glued and bolted Douglas fir 2x material.

18-20 foot yurts: 5' ring with 2 layers of 3 1/8" glue-laminated material.

24 foot yurts: 6' ring with 2 layers of 3 1/8" glue-lam.

30 foot yurts: 6' ring with 3 layers of 3 1/8" glue-lam.

34 foot yurts: 8' ring with 3 layers of 3 1/8" glue-lam.

40 foot yurts: 8' ring with 1 layer of 5" glue-lam and 2 layers of 3 1/8" glue-lam.

50 foot yurts: 10' ring with 1 layer of 5" glue-lam and 2 layers of 3 1/8" glue-lam.

These robustly engineered rings ensure the compression from the rafter connection translates into an incredibly strong roof, while also serving as a beautiful design feature.