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How to Add a Big Framed Door to Your Hexayurt
What it is:
- Stretch hexayurt mod
- Adds Big Framed Door (BFD) with real hinges and velcro attachment
- Uses wall precompression with horizontal ratchet tie-downs
- Semi-folding design with beveled panels and cordura hinges enhanced with zippers and velcro minimizes use of disposable bdf tape
- Solo setup in under 1 hour in any weather
We started with a stretch 6’ hexayurt and replaced one of the half-pyramid assemblies with H13 style 6’ tall walls and flattened roof:
This allowed us to cut out a 5+’ tall trapezoidal door in one of the tall wall panels (and a big vent at the top of the other panel). To maximize the door height and get away with just a 4” wide door frame we added a 4” wide and 1.5” thick plywood door frame attached to the foam with sticky velcro. The foam portion of the door was then suspended on velcro to a plywood T that was attached to the plywood door frame with real hinges (see Fig 2).
To make sure that this design can withstand playa winds we added two horizontal 2” wide nylon ratchet tie-down straps: one at the floor level (encircling the entire wall perimeter) and another at 4’ height starting on the left door jam, going around the structure and terminating on the right jam. This wall precompression created a rigid structure that was strong enough to be easily lifted in the air by a single person (see Fig 3).
To extend the useful life of this design, we used seven 2” thick foam panels that had to be beveled, and connected most of the panels with sewn hinges made of 1000D cordura (packed as a 4’x8’ package, 14” tall, Fig 4, hinges are an extension of the K hinge design, but with beveling).
One large foldout (Fig 5) connected all four 8’ long panels and two of the 4’ walls and could be unfolded by a single person even in moderate winds (we used a monkeyhut shade structure to provide some wind isolation and plenty of shade for the assembly process). Zippers were used to help place the panels into the appropriate positions. Next the horizontal tie-down straps were fed into the pre-sewn tabs on all wall panels (Fig 6) and pre-hinged tall walls were strapped to the rest of the structure with the ratchets mounted on the plywood BFD.
At this point the structure was completely stable in the wind, but 2 more roofing pieces needed to be connected (Fig 7). For the prototype in the interests of time we used bdf tape, but velcro/zipper combination is definitely the way to go in the future (a few feet of 3” wide bdf tape would still be needed to provide better dust protection at various vertices of the structure).
Once the shell is assembled, 2 vertical ratchet tie-downs over the roof ridge are used to attach the building to the candy cane rebar in the ground (Fig 8). We padded the bottom edge of all the walls with 1.5” strip of cushion foam wrapped in cordura to provide complete dust isolation even on uneven ground (we used a white ground tarp with the outline of the hexagon to help in initial steps of assembly). In a dust storm the only place where dust was penetrating the structure was the 1” power cord cutout for the swamp cooler and that was remedied by a small piece of bdf tape.
We attached Figjam’s bucket swamp cooler to the vent in a 4’ wall panel and taped a furnace filter to the exhaust vent in the 6’ wall panel on the opposite side of the yurt (Fig 9). The yurt was oriented with the door facing North, so that prevailing winds took care of the night-time ventilation (temps inside stayed in the 60s), and running the cooler during the day time kept us at low 70s throughout the day - summer sleeping bag was recommended. Cooler used about 4 gallons of water per day and one fully charged deep cycle battery provided all the power needed for almost continuous operation for the week. The inside humidity was around comfortable 30% (Fig 10).
This mod is also applicable to a regular 5-panel hexayurt and a 9-panel super-stretch version with 12’ long walls, where a curtain near the door could be used to separate sleeping quarters from dressing area and for further dust isolation.