Update: Well painting the yurt was a bad idea, at least using the paint to shield the tape from the sun was. For the most part it adhered very well to the tape, but after a week in the hot sun it lost flexibility and flaked off. We had to moop with tweezers! We got all of the flakes up and our camp got a green on the moop map, but it was not something we enjoyed.
So this year I am building a naked Pentayurt for Burning Man.
My family and I are headed to Burning Man this year.
I have been twice in the past and have always stayed in a tent. I was reasonably comfortable, however sleeping late was problematic. As soon as the sun rose over the RV I had pitched my tent next to, it simply got too hot to continue sleeping.
So this year I built a Hexayurt to stay in. The Hexayurt is a structure originally developed for disaster response. It’s a hexagonal hut built out of foam insulating panels and super strong bi-filament fiberglass reinforced tape. The particular design I chose is made from 12 4′ x 8′ panels. Six of the panels are cut diagonally and connected together to form six triangles. These triangles become the roof. The other six panels are laid on their side and set out in a hexagon and make the walls of the Hexayurt. The foil surface of the panels and their insulating qualities make this an ideal structure for desert camping.
I won’t go into too much detail concerning the construction of my Hexayurt. If you are interested, you should go to Hexayurt.com the repository for all such information
My Hexayurt will be shipped to the playa on the Boston burning truck. We’ll be flying in at the beginning of the event and taking the bus from Reno to Black Rock city. However, the Burner Express stop where we’ll arrive is about half a mile from the place where the Hexayurt will be deposited. Keep on reading to see how I’ll deal with that situation.
I began with polyisocyanurate insulation panels from Lowe’s. Unfortunately, the panels from Lowe’s come with logos on both sides. I cut them so that the silver side would be on the outside, I edged all of the cut panels with aluminum insulating tape. I used the Camp Danger method to create flexible hinges so that most of the Hexayurt can be pre-taped and folded flat for shipment. Once on the Playa the two halves of the base and the two halves of the roof are taped together and then taped to each other. It should only take about half an hour to erect the Hexayurt once we get to camp.
Once I assembled the panels into the roof and wall shapes, I painted them with a coat of Killz primer and a finish layer of white exterior latex paint to hide the logos.
The bottom of the Hexayurt is taped to a tarp to keep dust out.
I also cut a door, and two circular windows.
The windows are glazed with acrylic sheet, and I added two layers of “space blanket” to help keep the heat of the sun out.
The Windows flip up to open, and are sealed with foam rubber weatherstripping. The weatherstripping is compressed and the windows are held closed by neodymium magnets.
The door frame is reinforced with suspended ceiling angle trim.
The door is made from the cutout section of foam panel and acrylic sheet. A screen door hinge was cut down to serve. Assembly was accomplished with silicone seal and pop rivets.
The latch and door handles for the door were 3-D printed on my RepRap Prusa Mendel. They were sized to fit a carbon fiber arrow shaft. STL files for the handles and latches are available on Thingiverse.
Here’s a picture of the completed door. Also note the rebar stake and the rope halo which will hold the Hexayurt down in windy conditions.
An interior shot of the Hexayurt. As you can see, it is quite roomy.
After painting the exterior white, the Hexayurt looked a bit plain. So I cut a template from an extra piece of insulation board.
I then used this as a stencil with spray paint to decorate the Hexayurt.
To get the Hexayurt and all of our gear from the place where it will be deposited on the Playa by the Boston Burning Truck, I built a bicycle trailer using bed-frame angle iron. The trailer uses the two front wheels of the other bikes that we will be bringing. The trailer bed is welded together, the rest of it is bolted with quarter-inch hardware.
Once we get to our camp, the bike trailer converts into a table frame. The top of the table will be formed by the box we ship the Hexayurt in.
The Hexayurt shipping box is built from 1/4 inch luan plywood.
The collapsed Hexayurt fits into a space 4′ x 8′ x 13″ deep.
The plywood protects the Hexayurt during shipping.
The frame for the bike trailer fits around the edge of the Hexayurt crate. It takes up almost no extra space, and protects the corners of the Hexayurt from damage in shipping.
Stay tuned for details on how the Hexayurt performed on the Playa. Also you may want to check out my post on building a swamp cooler to keep the Hexayurt cool during the day at Burning Man.