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Tiny Nomads On the Go: A Modern Yurt Alternative (Teal Panels)

Could this be the yurt alternative that we have been looking for? Were we even looking for a yurt alternative? Do you want to build a tiny house with just a screw driver? If you’ve ever wanted a plastic yurt this might be the answer for you.

Teal Panels from Teal International Corporation may not be the prettiest things to look at but they are simple and easy to construct. But what about the cost? Each panel costs around $200 so it really depends on how large you want your structure. For those of us looking to go tiny, it could be completely cost effective.

Image by Teal International Corporation

Image by Teal International Corporation

Okay, so it might not be the best solution for a permanent tiny structure but imagine a mobile village. In fact, they have versions that will fit on landscaping trailers as do it yourself campers. I do quite a bit of festival camping so I could imagine myself getting one as an alternative to a traditional tent. Pack all of my gear in my Honda Element, hook up the trailer with the disassembled plastic shack strapped down to it and roll up to my campsite. I’d pull out my trusty screwdriver and build my own camper in about an hour. Add an air mattress, tons of pillows and fluffy blanket and it becomes glamping at its very best.

Okay, I know this is Tiny House Talk and not Glamor Camping Talk, but I do think these panels are pretty cool, even if they are a little ugly, and have some uses both for camping and tiny house living. What about a storable guest house or studio? When space is at a premium in your own home guests might be more comfortable in a separate place. At our tiny house we encourage tent camping when friends visit, but not everyone wants to do that either. Since we built a 12X12 deck behind our tiny house (which is bigger than the house, by the way) we could easily set up a teal panel building for visitors.

Our Tiny House Backyard Deck

Our tiny house backyard deck. Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

Our tiny house backyard deck. Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

For anyone who has thought of a yurt but the concept is impractical, the teal panels might be a great alternative. For someone interested in temporary tiny structures, this one is for you.

Teal Panels for a Backyard Tiny House Guest House?

What would you use these teal panels for? Backyard office, art studio, guest bedroom, storage? Please share in the comments! Thanks!

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Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.
{ 10 comments… add one }
  • E M March 18, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Is it just me?
    It appears as pieces from a dismantled airplane with a yard canopy over head.

    I don’t know, nothing says ‘homey’ like a bulbous creation from the plastics industry.

  • alice h March 18, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Wow that would make a really cool space station playhouse! Wondering what the moisture/condensation situation might be like though.

  • sunshineandrain March 18, 2013, 7:24 pm

    If I remember correctly, I believe that I have seen these panels used in the bed of a pickup as a camper. The windows provide the ventilation. No one complained of condensation in the article I read a while back.

  • TomLeeM March 18, 2013, 8:48 pm

    The Teal Modular could be built in the back of a pickup truck. Since it is modular, it can be adapted to what one needs.

  • TomLeeM March 18, 2013, 8:50 pm

    The Teal Modular could be built in the back of a pickup truck. Since it is modular, it can be adapted to what one needs. There is a section at the Teal Modular site that shows the different type of little houses or shelters one could create with the panels.

    • Carl W March 23, 2013, 7:54 pm

      I’ve been following the Teal Campers online for 2 or 3 years and the company finally began producing the panels. I’m fascinated by the possibilities of sizes and for portability. As for mounting in pickup trucks the base width is 48 inches which limits this to the regular size trucks (Ford F150, Silverado) and not for the smaller Frontier, Colorado, Ranger trucks. You can build these in several sizes depending on the number of panels you want, and are limited only by the sizes of roof available.This link shows the camper on the ground with a hard roof rather than canvas. Easy to assemble according to the video. http://www.tealinternational.com/TealCamper/shelters.html

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar March 23, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Recycled plastics have been used for shed and playhouse construction for awhile but they have issues with UV damage and would be difficult to insulate.

    I see some potential but they need more engineering before I would suggest them for any permanent living situation. Maybe as a temporary emergency shelter though.

    • E M March 24, 2013, 12:49 am

      I have seen those kids play houses where parts of the wall is just GONE, evaporated.
      And then water gets inside, turns brown, mosquitos lay eggs in there.

      And the invisible toxin. While the gases that make these panels slowly vaporizes, you breath it in.

  • EEU May 6, 2015, 10:26 pm

    I understand these posts are quite old. But, I sit here reading the comments about the difficulty of insulating, and how the panels will just disintegrate, etc. And I see the potential for many folks to be turned away from making use of these structures — how fortuitous for those dissenters who have their own products to sell here — because of a lack of information, or plain old common sense.

    The man who developed these was an aeronautics and solar design engineer who holds a number of patents. I’m fairly certain he understands the materials he is working with, and how to put them together.

    They’re made of ABS — which takes a minimum of a century to even begin to break down. Each panel is also hollow. They then pump them full of insulation, and seal them back up. There. All neat, and tidy, and sensible. Given they’re built in Colorado, and have been used in Alaska, I think the insulation is sufficient to use them just about anywhere.

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