The Best Tent Air Conditioners for Camping: Complete 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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Camping on hot, summer days is a favorite activity for many. One of the most essential camping items you will require is a tent. You will use you tent a lot to sit in to get away from bugs and sleep in at night.

Most tents these days are pretty comfortable but they can get overheated in humid climates and feel like a hot sauna sometimes. Most people are not accustomed to a hot and humid climate, so it is difficult to sleep or even stay inside a tent without proper air cooling.

If the campsite is powered with electricity, then there are many cooling options. But in case there is no power, there are many battery-operated appliances available on the market to cool the tent down. A tent air conditioner is the most cost-effective solution and makes a big difference while camping out the in heat.

Comparison Chart of the Best Air Conditioners For Tents

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Cools space in less than 10 minutes
  • Can drop temperature up to 30F
  • Battery powered for up to 5 hours
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  • Available in a standard white color
  • Has a horizontal surface for easier usage
  • Comes with an adequate number of control knobs
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  • Compact Size and Low Weight (12 lbs.) for Easy Transport and Storage
  • Patented Built-In Micro Compressor Functions at High Intensity and Efficiency
  • Impressive Cooling Performance for Up to Five Hours on Standard Power Settings
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  • Dehumidifies 1.1 Pints Per Hour
  • 11.1 EER
  • Multiple cooling and fan speeds
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  • Three in one function
  • Single hose system
  • Remote controlled
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  • Compact and portable
  • Top mounted control panel
  • Reuses water to cool the room
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  • Dehumidifies 86 pints per day
  • Three fan speeds
  • EER 9.9
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Staying Cool at the Campsite

If the summer camping day is hot, then even an open meditation tent can be suffocating. After a whole-day-long outdoor adventure of hiking and trekking, your exhausted body needs a good night’s sleep.

In such a situation, a hot stuffy tent will keep you awake at night and also keep you from outdoor activities the next day. The vigorous activities of a forest also affect the body temperature. The body needs to cool off at night to regain energy the next morning. Staying cool inside your tent is important for your body and proper sleep.

There are many ways  to get air circulation in the tent such as a tent fan or even putting up the tent in a shady spot to cool down the inner surface of the tent. However, nothing guarantees a good night’s sleep like a portable air conditioner.

How Much Cooling Do You Need?

Tents neither have electric power nor have a centralized cooling system. For keeping cool in the tent, you need a generator, a campsite with an electric hookup, or air conditioning units that run on battery power. The portable battery-powered AC units have a capacity of cooling the room size of 50 sq. ft. to 250 sq. ft. For a 150 sq. ft. tent, you will need an AC unit that has a 5000 BTU rating to keep the tent cool. Any lesser BTU rating will not keep you cool enough all night. The bigger the tent, the more BTU rating is needed.

Typically, battery-powered units run on 12 volt batteries and have a battery life of 10 hours on as low as 40W. These units usually weigh anywhere from 10 to 70 lbs. but their efficiency is in no way related to their weight. The weight is important just for the portability. The performance of each unit is different. Some AC units keep the tent temperature as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit for just one hour while some hold the temperature for as long as 10 hours; it all depends on the model you buy.

Moreover, in the woods the temperature dips considerably at night. So the AC unit does not need to use the same power to maintain a consistent temperature all night long. Once the tent is cool enough for you to sleep comfortably, the air conditioner can lessen the cooling power because the dip in outside temperature will then keep your tent cool enough.

What to Look For in a Tent AC Unit

There are many types of AC units available for tents. There are options such as battery powered fans, evaporative coolers, ice chest blowers, window AC and room AC. Generally, at the campsites, the climate get significantly cooler post-midnight. So the AC you choose needs to be according to the climate you are in. The best air conditioner is a combination of the majority of the following features:

Portability

The AC units to be used while camping need to be moved a lot. So, the lighter it is, the better it is. If the unit is not compact, it will be very difficult to move it.

Power

The unit has to give a cooling effect in a small closed space. It has to be powerful enough to maintain the same temperature all through the night.

Size

The AC unit has to be as compact as possible. If it is too big, you will feel cold and damp. And if it is too small, it will cool only a specific area. You need at least 5000 BTU capacity for a good-sized family tent. The three common sizes are 5000 BTU, 6000 BTU, and 8000 BTU.

Room or Window

There are both types available. Window ACs have to be rigged to exhaust air through the window of the tent and are usually superior in cooling capacity. Room ACs are bulkier but easier to set up than the window ones. Moreover, they are convenient for using in houses also.

Price

Though the buying decision should be more dependent on the above features, price does make a difference. The best AC unit to buy should be reasonably priced and yet able to perform as expected.

Quick Take: Best Tent Air Conditioners For Camping

These are our recommendations for the best tent air conditioners for camping:

  1. Zero Breeze Mark 2
  2. Coleman 9430D7153
  3. Zero Breeze

Read on to learn what to look for and for reviews of these and others!

Review of the Best Air Conditioners For Tents

We have compiled a list of what we feel are the 5 best air conditioners that will keep your tent cool and dry during the hot, humid nights. Remember, these are portable and compact AC units so they can’t be expected to perform exactly like the ones in your house. They will, however, do a great job cooling your tent area.

Palmer Personal Space Air Coolers for Room - Portable USB Mini Air Conditioner for Camping & Car –– Small Humidifying Cool Air Cube Conditioner Fan Indoor & Outdoor – Table Top Mini Air Conditioner

PROS

  • Allows for clean and fresh air inside
  • Allows easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Comes in a compact shape that offers higher portability
  • Extremely quiet hence providing a comfortable environment to users

CONS

  • Low SEER rating than some models
  • Does not come with a very good digital display

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers didn’t only get comfortable and fresh clean air by investing in this model; they also received permanent convenience. The most noteworthy feature, according to them, is the design, which ensures easy maintenance. The filters are completely washable and hence help maintain cleaner coils inside too.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When it comes to air conditioners, the thing people fear most is the annoying sound that it makes. Well, with this unit, you don’t have to face this issue. It comes with high-end construction that ensures advanced batteries that generate power. This hence results in an extremely quiet environment for everyone sitting in the room.

Who Will Use This Most

This model is suitable for anyone wanting to enjoy a pleasant breeze inside their rooms, and its compact size makes portability very easy. Moreover, it can be attached to both your cells and your car, which adds to the diversity. This, coupled with its ability to be used both outdoors and indoors, makes it super comfortable for a range of users.

Bottom Line

With its higher capacity and better customization, it is no wonder that this model is considered one of the best ones in the market. It can be connected to both your car and your cell, which adds to its diversity. Moreover, it allows amazing dehumidification ability, which ensures that no moth or algae can penetrate inside the room and make the air inside unbreathable.

Coleman 9430D7153 Adb Deluxe Chillgrille White

PROS

  • Filters are fully washable
  • Comes with pop out retainers for easy access
  • Euro style provides you with a contemporary look
  • Has a low profile design which is simple to handle
  • Features an electrical heat strip that makes installation easy

CONS

  • Less relative BTU than some other models
  • Repair costs are significantly higher than some other models

What Recent Buyers Report

It’s hard to get recent buyers on your side, but when your product offers amazing features, it isn’t that hard. Recent buyers have praised the existence of washable filters that help ensure cleanliness. It’s also super easy to carry the conditioner around, thanks to its easy handles and its euro low profile design.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Allowing easy access that is comfortable and quick has always been a top priority of the brand, and they have retained this promise to this day. This is one reason why they stand out in the market. The model comes with easy operation and several control knobs that make handling easier. This, coupled with a horizontal surface of the air conditioner, makes handling very easy.

Who Will Use This Most

This model is extremely affordable and hence suitable for people who do not want to invest a lot in their equipment. However, it’s cheaper cost doesn’t come at the cost of quality. It is equipped with a thin, yet strong heat strip that makes installation easy. Moreover, its compact size ensures that it can be carried on any camping trip easily.

Bottom Line

With easy installation, comfortable handling, and a contemporary look, there isn’t much that can go wrong with this model. It is equipped with all the modern features that make camping easy for friends and family. Its standard white color comes from a double-coated paint that doesn’t wither off with time. All this, coupled with easy installation, makes this model one of the best ones out there.

Best for the Money:
Zero Breeze

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Dehumidifier
  • Long Battery Life
  • Batteries Are Interchangeable

CONS

  • Awkward Venting Option

This AC unit for your tent is extremely effective in decreasing the temperature inside to a comfortable level. The product weighs roughly 12 pounds and can be easily carried around between tents or small vehicles. The built-in dehumidifier also helps get rid of that sticky or damp feeling that most campers tend to suffer from when camping during humid weather.

You’ll be happy to know that the battery life of the unit is decent, as it lasts up to five hours, more than enough time to give you a decent break from those humid and scorching days. If you want it to last longer, you could easily use another interchangeable 12V battery and just charge the other until the new battery runs out..

Bottom Line

This tent AC is fairly effective at cooling down the inside of your tent to a comfortable temperature. And you’ll greatly benefit from the lightweight design that allows you to carry it around anywhere without any hassle.

For such a small product, it’s incredible that you have the huge advantage of having a dehumidifier built in with a continuous drain option which means you can use it as long as the battery is charged.

The battery life is another advantage, as it can last up to five hours, as well as being interchangeable, meaning you can keep it working for a lot longer if you have a backup battery.

The only downside is the awkward ventilation option, you’ll need to make sure that the venting is pointing outside of your tent otherwise your tent will become a huge puddle by the morning due to the dehumidifier, as well as causing the interior to become warmer due to the compressor spewing warm air into the tent and not outside. As long as you find a decent position for your AC you’ll have the full benefit of this product and you’ll be really happy with the results.

Read the full Zero Breeze review here.

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls

PROS

  • Very lightweight, this unit weighs only 35lbs.
  • It conserves power as it needs low voltage to start.
  • It has a 5000 BTU rating and uses a 115V electrical outlet.
  • It could be easily mount through the window or baggage slot of your tent.
  • The unit runs on electricity and does not need the hassle of water or coolants.
  • The AC is very quiet and has 2 cooling and fan speeds and 2-way air rotation.

CONS

  • Since it’s designed really for a house, it’s slightly bulky even though it’s still manageable

This compact window AC is light enough and small enough to be the perfect choice when you want real AC comfort in your tent. It has been a consistent best-seller since it is both inexpensive and a performer.

EdgeStar AP14003W Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier and Fan for Rooms up to 400 Sq. Ft. with Remote Control

PROS

  • It is built with self-evaporative technology.
  • It also has a remote control and a 24-hour timer.
  • The body is built with LED display and has electronic controls.
  • Along with cooling mode, it also has dehumidify and fan-only modes too.

CONS

  • The temperature ranges and noise levels could be altered.

The EdgeStar unit is multi-purpose unit with a dehumidifier option. The best part of this unit is that it is very easy to carry and can easily be enjoyed in the house too when you are not out camping.

Tripp Lite Portable Air Conditioner for Server Racks and Spot Cooling, Self-Contained AC Unit, 12, 000 BTU (3.5kW), 120V, 2 Year Warranty, Gen 2 (SRCOOL12K),Black

PROS

  • It has 120V AC input.
  • Very lightweight at 35 lbs.
  • Can be operated by remote
  • It has a standard 15-amp outlet.
  • The structure and closed cooling save energy if you’re using a generator.
  • Has a 2000 BTU rating, making it perfect for a five or six person sleeping tent
  • Can be “mounted” through tent windows or luggage door by sitting it on a case or sturdy box

CONS

  • Many reports of a limited lifespan
  • Replacement parts aren’t available

This air-filtering, dehumidifying, compact window AC is a perfect fit for tent cooling. It has the feature of automatic restart in case of outages.

Avallon APAC140C Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier and Fan for Rooms up to 525 Sq. Ft. with Remote Control

PROS

  • Filters the air.
  • It has an intelligent auto-mode.
  • It is very compact and easy to move.
  • It has 3 modes – cooling, fan, and dehumidification.
  • It has options for direction in which the air is discharged.
  • This unit also turns into a heater in case of use during winter camping.

CONS

  • Customer service isn’t always the best
  • Runs slightly loud - in the tiny space of a tent this could be an issue. On the other hand, the sound will more easily escape through the tent than it would in a house.

This sleek-looking portable air conditioner is the ultimate choice considering the features as well as capacity. With its heavy capacity, it can also cool larger tents. It is an intelligent AC with an invisimist feature that evaporates the water and does not need drainage.

GO COOL PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER

PROS

  • It also dehumidifies the air.
  • It uses a power source of 12V.
  • The batteries could be recharged.
  • It has 2 coolness settings – high and low.
  • It can hold 40lbs of ice and 18 litres of water.
  • The unit comes with a 6 feet drainage pipe included.

CONS

  • The unit isn’t heavy, but water is.
  • Water can also be pretty messy, especially inside the tent

This small cooling device chills enclosed places using ice water. It needs to be filled with ice water and works on batteries. The unit has space to hold bottles of water and containers of ice. It comes with its own fuel storage.

What Makes an Air Conditioner Great For Camping?

Camping is a very fun activity; however, your enjoyment can take a U-turn in the presence of hot winds and a sunny climate. This will not only make you feel sweaty but will also lead to your family and friends feeling agitated. One simple way to avoid this is to take a portable air conditioner with you to camping. Here is what makes this product useful and important.

Portability

This is the most obvious benefit of the product. It usually comes in a small design, which makes portability easier. Its construction ensures durability; however, this strength doesn’t come at the cost of the weight. Moreover, since these units need to be moved a lot during camping, it is better that they are lightweight and do not require much energy to lift.

Power

You cannot expect your unit to consume too much power on your camping trips; this will make them run out of energy very soon. All the air conditioners used for camping, therefore, come with better SEER, which makes them last for a longer time. Moreover, they need to maintain the same temperature throughout the night, which requires them to give a good cooling effect even in the smallest of places.

Size

When it comes to camping, the size of your air conditioner is very important. This is because camping already requires you to carry a plethora of things, thus having a heavy air conditioner is more likely to become problematic. For the best results, you can opt for an air conditioner with a BTU above 5000. The common sizes are 6000 and 8000, too, but these might be slightly larger than recommended.

Conclusion

A good tent air conditioner needs to cool the tent area completely and have more than one mode. One that has cooling, fan and a dehumidifier is ideal. It also has to be lightweight and portable so it can be carried to and from the campsite easily.

Each of the AC units we have reviewed are among the best air conditioning units for tents because they have the necessary features required for camping.

Depending on the amount of power you need and the price you are willing to pay, there is a air conditioning unit available to suit your camping needs that will meet your budget. A good camping air conditioning unit can make a world of difference on the enjoyability of your camping trip.

Camping in the winter? Check out our buyers guide for tent heaters.

People Also Ask

People want their camping experiences to be absolutely perfect; therefore, they demand absolute honesty in product reviews. We scoured the internet to see what confuses people the most. We came across these top queries that people have in regards to portable air conditioners.

Can You Put a Portable Air Conditioner in a Tent?

When it comes to putting your air conditioner in your tent, you need to consider things like ventilation and airflow. A 12V powered battery AC unit might not require any additional ventilation than the one built inside the tent.

However, electrical units will most definitely require outside ventilation and hence cannot be placed inside the tents.

Can You Use a Window Air Conditioner in a Tent?

Most campers with tents prefer window air conditioners over others. This is because they have more cooling capacity than a normal air conditioner. However, with these units, installation can be a huge problem. You will need to customize your unit to fit in your tent. This might also require you to cut the tent.