Shade structures made from 4x8 foam insulation sheets

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Shade structures made from 4x8 foam insulation sheets

Postby Kinetik V » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:48 am

While out and about this year I came across several small shade structures made out of 4x8 sheets of silver sided foam insulation, the same material I see being installed on new housing construction. The shade structures were low to the ground....4 ft high for the side walls, and the roof was made of angled pieces of the same material. The structures seemed to handle the wind and dust on Saturday without trouble.

If anyone has more details, plans, even some pics of how to build one we would greatly appreciate it if you could share them. The structures looked like they would be great for sleeping in during the heat of the day, easy to construct and at low cost too!

Thanks in advance!
(If I can find any pix I'll try and post them! I was thinking of buying a Costco carport to use for next year but I'd prefer a lighter weight, easier to haul solution and these structures look like what we're after!)
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Postby fciron » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:18 am

They are called Hexayurts, a google search will turn up plenty of info. There is a google discussion group as well.
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Postby mojo » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:20 am

KV - I think you may be talking about hexayurts. We built three in different sizes this year and I am a complete, total convert. They are virtually dust free and stay cool enough to sleep in during the day. There is a thread here with links to excellent how-to sites. We do still bring an old RV that functions basically as a rolling tent and the afternoon temps in the RV were about 20 degrees hotter than inside the yurts.
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Postby Kinetik V » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:03 pm

My fiancee noticed them and gave me a mandate to find out about them when we got home. Problem was I didn't have a clue what they were called. Thanks for the replies...now I've got some research to do. I especially value word of mouth recommendations on here more than anything I read elsewhere....the heat kicks our rear end almost every year unless we take a camper or RV and we're looking at alternatives to doing that. This may be the answer we're looking for.

Thanks again for the fast responses!

Edit: I have to give this a try. I'm concerned though about wind loading...if you don't have a huge RV to break the wind off the hexayurt, how well does it hold up? My popup trailer 2 years ago got destroyed by the winds so I have reason to be concerned. Also has anyone tried making their own swamp cooler? I need to look into that too.
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Postby BitterDan » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:36 pm

I've helped assemble a few hexayurts on the playa and the best method for securing them to the ground seems to be ratcheting tie downs across the top. Two of those seemed to hold the smaller hexayurt firmly in place. I might try a hexayurt next year if I can't get an RV/Trailer in time.
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Postby Kinetik V » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:25 pm

It's the weight factor that interests me. I don't like taking I-80 out and back to the event, I prefer to take I-70 up and over the passes and the less weight the better.

Even if I can get my hands on a schoolie there's still a need for more covered space...I think the hexayurts are the answer to our needs. Plus for our new camp people next year, it's a project that lets them get involved with building something for the event...and they have more of a personal stake in seeing that the camp works for all vs. having someone build everything for them and they take it for granted.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:49 pm

There was a hexayurt directly behind our shade, and I do mean directly, as Hushville tends to camp shoulder to shoulder. The two gals seemed to have few problems with set up or break down, although they needed help strapping it to the top of their vehicle. That was a height issue, not weight. They had rented a storage unit in Reno pre-event, had the keys ready, and took the yurt and camping supplies directly there. This works fine if you are not going to use it any other time.

They had no problem with the wind, they had straps across the top ratcheted down to rebar stakes.

I don't like the lack of a welcoming social shade area. The yurts seem as shut off as an RV, maybe moreso. That's just a personal preference, of course. During Hushville set up, we were one of the first shelters up. We had plenty of visitors that first Sunday in the high heat of the day.
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Postby Elorrum » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:43 pm

I've wondered about the quality of the air inside. Is there a circulation plan? Does that foam outgas some chemicals or a smell? They seem to be taped up pretty airtight.
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Postby jkisha » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:17 pm

The HexaYurt was invented by a guy named Vinay Gupta for use as permanent housing for people in third world countries and as an option for temporary housing and for emergency shelters.

They are build from approved building materials, so there could be no air-quality issues from escaping gasses, which would not meet building codes.

Windows can be added for ventillation. We have used one for two years in a row and love it. (We also added an air-conditioner)

They would not make very good shade structures for all the reasons AntiM pointed out, but they can't be beat for shelter on the playa.

Original thread http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=26890

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Postby motskyroonmatick » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:16 pm

A camp mate of mine had a hexayurt on playa this year and it was awesome!!! He said it actually got cooler later in the week due to the way the yurt insulated the ground which in turn allowed for some ground cooling of the air space. For ventilation he made a hole in the bottom leeward side of the yurt and covered it with a furnace filter. Four computer fans were placed in a group on the inside of the filter to suck air in. Two small solar fans near the peak of the roof assisted in the exhausting of the hotter air at the top of the structure.
I plan to replicate his set up for next year.

The cut parts for the hexayurt stack nicely in to a 4x8 probably slightly taller than a foot. 2 pieces of plywood protect the top and bottom of the load from tying down pressures. The pieces sandwiched in between the plywood are wrapped in a tarp for transport to protect the sheets from wind.
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Postby BitterDan » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:51 pm

I don't like the lack of a welcoming social shade area. The yurts seem as shut off as an RV, maybe moreso. That's just a personal preference, of course.


Personally, I don't like random strangers walking into my tent so why would I want them in my hexayurt. Personal space is important IMO and having a seperate social area is cool but I am fine with my sleeping quarters being non-public.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:12 am

AntiM was not advocating open sleeping space. She was talking about having public shade available as well.
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Postby mojo » Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:40 pm

In fact, although we had 3 different sizes of hexayurts, we also had an RV with trailer, pickup truck and trailer, 15 passenger van, passenger car and 3 carport structures. Think of yurts as an alternative to a tent that you have to put under a shade to keep cool.

With that said, it takes a little bit of work to prepare them before getting to the playa, but I was truly amazed at the ease of construction as well as their strength in the wind. The yurts never moved a bit in the wind with the exception of a little flexing of a sidewall - perfectly OK and to be expected. The only issue is that there can be NO WIND when you erect them on the playa.
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Postby Elorrum » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:03 pm

do they squeak?
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Postby Token » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:16 pm

Elorrum wrote:do they squeak?


only during vigorous sex.
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Postby jkisha » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:29 pm

They don't need to be put under a shade structure to keep cool. Just don't carpet the floor and use a mister occasionally. Or an air conditioner.

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Postby ConnieH » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:50 pm

I love love love my yurt! We slept until noon or or took afternoon naps all week comfortably, and when the temps at night dipped, we were cozy and warm. I had two windows on opposing walls with furnace filters on them, and faced the door away from the wind so the dust didn't blow in. Even though we weren't good about keeping the door closed, it stayed pretty clean inside. I put down a large piece of canvas inside so we weren't stepping on sticky tarp and it kept the dust down inside, too. The carpet outside helped, too.

My boyfriend built the shade structure for the entry, which I just loved...gave us a place to chill with our friends and passersby, and kept the yurt cleaner and cooler. I can't imagine not having a "front porch", because like someone mentioned, the yurt isn't very inviting on it's own.

Next year I think adding a fan to circulate the air a bit will be good, it did get a little stuffy at times, but never unbearable, and MUCH better than any tent or unA/C'd RV. During the storms on Saturday and Sunday it was awesome to have a dust & wind free place to escape to. We anchored it down with rope attached to anchors taped along the roof panels (rope coming off at the joint between roof and wall) and it never budged (you can see one anchor in the picture). During the heavy winds you could see the roof panels flex a bit, but we were meticulous about making sure the tape was firmly attached when we assembled it, so it held firm all week.


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Postby ConnieH » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:02 pm

And here is a picture of the yurt on top of my car, the poles for the shade structure are underneath the rack. We fit an amazing amount of gear in that little car!

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Postby MikeVDS » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:14 pm

I've looked into those structures and they look decent, I've rented campers, tented it, slept in a dome, but I think I figured it out this year. I took my utility trailer and built a 1/2" plywood box around it. Made a hatch on the back and put in a couple lexan (the "good" plexiglass) windows (so it doesn't feel like we're in a box). I threw down some carpet and even did some lining with fur. I put an 1/2 ton window AC unit (that's one of the smallest units you can find) in there (which could get down into the 70's and maybe lower when it was 107 out at my house when I tested it out. I pulled the 5x10 trailer with my jeep and could easily carry everything we needed. The AC was about $150 and I spent about $200 on the box. I already had my trailer but it was $600. It took me about 2 weeks of nights and weekends to make it nice. I'll post pictures when I find them. It was climate controlled, very comfy, my ladies could stand up in it 5'6" but I couldn't, 6'4". I just parked it, unloaded, and we're good to go. If it got hot I turned on the genny. It was by far the easiest and nicest I've had it at the burn. It was relatively inexpensive considering I already had the trailer and it still works just as well as before I modified it and doubles as a camper. I love the simplicity as a carpeted, climate-controlled open area. I don't like all the junk in RVs (unless you go really big). My lady didn't like the idea but when she saw what I did, she loved it.

Additionally we put up the hatchback and you can hang curtains from it (we paid $1/yard for 6 yards of material for that). Put down one of those 4'x6' cement mixing tubs, stick your water jug on the roof and attach a piece of vinyl tubing, a valve and shower nozzle, and you've got your own private shower. Those dark blue 7 gallon water jugs keep water the perfect temp most of the day (where black bags usually get too hot by noon). We were able to evap all of our shower water in that tub too. That's for the two of us and the kid showering every day with about 1/2 gal per shower.

Those hexayurts are cool but you might want to think about building a burningman utility trailer if you're looking for a nice convenient place for your family
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Postby cullen » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:47 am

ConnieH wrote:My boyfriend built the shade structure for the entry, which I just loved...gave us a place to chill with our friends and passersby, and kept the yurt cleaner and cooler. I can't imagine not having a "front porch", because like someone mentioned, the yurt isn't very inviting on it's own.


Connie that looks like pvc pipe how well did it stay in place on the playa?
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Postby ConnieH » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:57 pm

The pvc structure was solid - we nailed it to the playa with those big 10-12 inch nails and it never budged. All the joints were screwed together, too. And we were sandwiched between two carports which blocked a lot of our wind :)
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Postby gaminwench » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:25 pm

our neighbors had several hexayurts, one was a sauna...sigh...
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Postby gyre » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:21 pm

jkisha wrote:They are build from approved building materials, so there could be no air-quality issues from escaping gasses, which would not meet building codes.
Original thread http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=26890

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Some materials are intended to be sealed and some people think acceptable fumes are too high anyway.

Any panels sealed with aluminum or mylar inside should be acceptable though.


There are also many boxes built for the playa.
I like the ones with a spaced roof for built in shade.
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Postby gyre » Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:01 pm

What thickness sheets are you guys talking about?
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:18 am

A neighbor in Kidsville has had a hexayurt 2 years running and its still in great shape, made with the silverized foam pieces, and taped guylines. Both years they had a good camp to the windward side of them that blocked alot of the winds. They did report that it got rather warm inside, though I don't recall seeing any form of ventilation, which I think is key. You can get the solar vents that goes both ways, so you can have one that sucks, and one that blows. :wink:


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Postby jkisha » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:37 am

gyre wrote:What thickness sheets are you guys talking about?


One inch.

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hexayurt w/ swamp cooler

Postby stack » Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:57 pm

We were really pleased with our hexayurt this year. I made a swamp cooler that used melted ice water from the cooler and ran off our solar panels. I measured 96 in the shade and 81 in the yurt. A top mount exhaust fan really helps, as do heater filters to keep the dust out of intake vent holes. If anything, we spent too much time in there during the day when it was windy and hot out. If you do some research and plan it out a little, they really are great.

Let's see the pics of the utility trailer/ camper!
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hexayurt w/ swamp cooler

Postby stack » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:00 pm

We were really pleased with our hexayurt this year. I made a swamp cooler that used melted ice water from the cooler and ran off our solar panels. I measured 96 in the shade and 81 in the yurt. A top mount exhaust fan really helps, as do heater filters to keep the dust out of intake vent holes. If anything, we spent too much time in there during the day when it was windy and hot out. If you do some research and plan it out a little, they really are great.

Let's see the pics of the utility trailer/ camper!
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Postby zachass » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:45 am

ConnieH wrote:And here is a picture of the yurt on top of my car, the poles for the shade structure are underneath the rack. We fit an amazing amount of gear in that little car!

Image


Thank you for posting your pictures Connie. They answered a couple of questions I had.

I really like the idea of taping the ground tarp to the sides of the yurt! Is that just regular duct tape?

Now, I think I'll be able to fit my futon in the bed of my small truck to sit & sleep on! W00t!! I'll just have to place the futon in the center of the yurt and 'build' it around the futon. Yay Sleep!!
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Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:04 pm

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