If you’re an avid camper then you’ll know how stuffy a tent can become in warm weather. Even though tent ventilation is much improved with modern designs. Once that sun is high in the sky, a tent is much like a building, it can benefit from the wonders of air conditioning.
The 5 Best Selling Tent Air Conditioners:
We’ve reviewed 8 of the best tent air conditioners. This should help you to consider which is best for your next camping vacation. It might seem a little excessive, using an air conditioner for a tent, but portable air conditioners are ideal for this job.
For some, you might need an electric hook-up. Or, you may prefer to use a camping air conditioner that runs on batteries. Modern portable air conditioning units are manufactured with much more power than they used to have. Yet, they are also much smaller and more lightweight. When standalone, they are often on wheels, for easy maneuverability.
Why ruin your vacation with excessive heat in your tent? All you need to do is take along a portable air conditioning unit. Make your air fresher inside your tent, so you can enjoy the entire vacation, no matter how hot it gets.
Our Selection of The 8 Best Tent Air Conditioners:
Below we list and review 8 of the best tent air conditioners currently on the market.
1. Marnur Portable Air Conditioner Fan Evaporative Portable Cooler
- Stepless variable fan speed
- Detachable and washable filter
- Max four hours working time
- Only one-hour battery life on full fan
The Marnur is another misting-style air cooling unit. It’s battery-powered and can be charged from multiple sources via the USB connector. Once fully charged, it will operate for up to four hours, but with the fan at its maximum setting, the battery will be flat in around an hour.
The fan speed is controlled by a step-less rotary switch on the side, allowing you to set the perfect airflow. You can adjust the front directional louvers for the exact direction you want.
For a small unit, the Marnur offers a lot of cooling.
2. Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner for Camping
- Built-In Speaker
- Not really an AC
A pioneering outdoor portable air conditioner. This is the upgraded model from the original Z19.
Functions at its best in a 4-man tent of approx. 50sq ft in size, and zipped up. Note though that it can also be used out of the tent and in the open air, but not as good. Whilst it is waterproof, best not to use it in the pouring rain!
This is a tent air conditioner that not only has a built-in micro rotary compressor, but it has many other great features too:
- USB charger
- Air conditioner.
- A fan.
- Bluetooth, including a music player.
- LED red night light.
- Low noise 55-65dB
Because it’s so lightweight, and about a fifth of the size of a standard air conditioning unit, this makes it very mobile. It’s also very easy to set up and use. Put the drain and exhaust hoses in place, then insert the power cord and you’re good to go.
How do you power this amazing camping tent air conditioner?
That’s easy too because you have a couple of choices in doing this. Either plug into a wall socket or run it from your 12V car battery. This model doesn’t come with its own battery, but Zero Breeze is bringing out a portable lithium generator. It will complement this model well.
With an easy to use control panel and an instructions manual, you also have access to an excellent customer service line, should you need it.
What’s in the package?
- Blue Z19 model air conditioner.
- Power adapter.
- Power cord.
- Flexible adapter for the hose.
- Drain hose (19-inches) so you won’t suffer condensation.
- Exhaust hose.
That’s everything you need to get started. Plus, a one-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee.
This model doesn’t have a thermostat or timer so you will need to switch it off manually. Nor will it work from a car cigarette lighter. Though it does have a provided cord to fuel it from your car battery.
3. MIDEA MPF08CR81-E Portable Air Conditioner
- Easy to install
- Issues with drainage
Although we’re looking at the 8,000btu model, the Midea comes in may sizes. Some also have WIFI ability, although not this model. The unit we’re reviewing works in a space up to 100sq-ft. When using whilst camping, you would need electrics as this portable air conditioner works using a regular plug. There are no batteries to run this unit.
Why does an air conditioner have WIFI? Well, our model doesn’t, but it means that you can set your air conditioning via your WIFI, using an app.
With an easy to understand digital control panel, you can use the timer to switch everything on. From the dehumidifier to the air conditioner. Or, set off one of the 3-speeds for the fan-only function. Run it while you sleep as it’s quiet enough at 51.6-53.5dB, or set the eco mode so it switches off while you sleep.
It has a warning light to alert you to clean out the filters, so nothing gets blocked. Use the lengthy 59″hose to drain out the water that’s inside the unit, by situating it to run outside.
Once you’ve set your desired temperature, your space will quickly be cooled. With a long 75″ electric cord, you can maneuver this portable dehumidifier by its wheels to situate anywhere. The temperature can be set by the remote, wherever you are sitting.
Your unit will take up floor space but remember, it is portable and on wheels, so it’s ideal for camping. It also comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
4. Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
- Cools your tent quickly
- Low noise when running
- Needs mains power
An Award-Winning model that won Good Housekeeping 2019, because of its ability to cool an area fast. Again, no battery operation as this model runs by plugging into the regular electricity supply of 115V. Cools up 500sq.ft with a low noise level of around 56dB.
For the dehumidifier, use the dual hoses. One intake the air and the other dispels the water through the exhaust hoses (extendable up to 60” long). This unit can intake up to 101-pints of water in a day.
Use the air conditioner to cool, or one of the 3-settings on the fan. It also improves the quality of air with the washable filters. Set the unit with the 24-hr timer if preferred. Once the set air temperature is reached, the thermostat automatically switches off the cooling functions. Though, the fan continues to move the air around your space.
The platinum and black design lend a sleek look to this portable air conditioning unit. Breathe in the filtered air whilst on your vacation and simply use the hosing facility to drain excess water to go outside of your living space.
5. GreatSSLY Mini Portable Humidifier Air Conditioner
- Easy to use
- Not really an AC
It’s the mini size that makes this portable humidifying air conditioner perfect for camping. Plug it into the electrics and either use the standalone fan – with 3-speeds or the humidifier to moisten dry air, or the low noise air conditioning.
But that’s not all this amazing machine can do!
Turn on the 7-color LED lighting for a soft ambiance. Choose a single color, or have it change through colors. The light can be switched off while the other functions continue.
Humidify, cool and freshen the air around you. Use this unit either on the inside of a small tent or sit it on a desk at home so it gets plenty of use. This is a truly portable unit that you can carry around anywhere.
All you need to do is fill the water tray for a cooling experience that lasts up to 2-hours before it needs refilling. The evaporative air cooler works best with ice in the water bowl. As it pulls in the outside warm air, this passes through the cold water and blows out a much cooler airflow.
Putting ice in the 400ml water tray also speeds up the cooling air conditioning process. Though you don’t need ice for the cooling effect, you can use tap water.
Allow the release of a fine water spray when using the humidifier, so your skin doesn’t dry up on hot-dry summer days. This is a unit that increases humidity, not decreases it. Using the fan without the water tray gives circulation of the warm air around you.
Works with a regular 120V plug and cannot run from a battery or a USB port. Easy to clean out, as moisture and minerals can build up inside.
Did you know that you can place essential oils in the water? This gives you perfumed air as you benefit from the health effects of the oils.
6. Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan with Stand
- Includes a built-in light
- Up to 30 hours battery time
- No air conditioning function, fan only
Made with tents in mind. This battery-powered fan does not include batteries and requires 4xD batteries. Or use the rechargeable battery pack which can be purchased separately.
The fan has two different speeds. On the lower speed, the manufacturers claim it can last for up to 30 hours, and on the faster setting up to 10 hours. The fan blades are made from a soft foam, which makes it extra safe to run near children or pets.
It also includes an inbuilt LED light, situated in the center of the fan. The light has two modes, brighter for the daytime, or use the dimmer nightlight. You can use the light and the fan separately, or together.
Either use the fan with the small fold-out foot as freestanding or use the provided metal magnet to hang it inside your tent. It’s not quite an air cooler and will only move the air around as a standard fan does, but in a small space that’s often enough.
This product comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Many users have been delighted with the light and the fan functions. Though some users report that it’s not very stable freestanding, so you might be best to use the hanging mechanism.
7. WubbaLubba Portable Air Conditioner
- Quiet operation
- Only four to five hours working on a full charge
Ignore the slightly odd brand name of WubbaLubba, and you will find a capable battery-powered, portable air cooling unit. From a full charge, the rechargeable battery will give up to five hours of cooling.
This is the water mist type of cooler, so, not an actual air conditioner, but it can give adequate cooling for short periods.
Added features include a carrying handle and a built-in nightlight with seven color options.
Its small size and lightweight are perfect for camping, but you will need a power source to recharge the battery. Overall, a good solution at a great price.
8. TOSOT 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- Cools rooms up to 300 square feet
- Very quiet on a low-speed setting
Like the Whynter portable air conditioner, the Tosot unit is not specifically designed for camping use, as it needs a mains power supply. However, in larger tents, the small battery-powered units cannot do the job.
Its compact size with excellent cooling abilities makes it perfect for larger tents or gazebos. It’s whisper-quiet at just 49dB on the lowest fan setting, so you can leave it on while you are sleeping.
The Tosot is provided with wheels and an air exhaust hose to take away the warm air.
Can you air condition a tent?
Yes. Choose a portable air conditioning unit, like the ones we have reviewed. If you’re camping in a large trailer tent or mobile home, then you may prefer a more permanent fixture.
These air conditioning units can be mounted on the rooftop or a window. This type of AC unit is a good option for a solid roof, but not for the all-fabric tent.
That’s why a portable AC in a tent is one of the better options, and it also means that you can use the unit at home too
How to put air conditioning in a tent?
You will need to peg out your camping canopy using guy ropes, just as you would do with a tent. You can also buy bags that you fill with water or sand to hold the frame down. On beaches, you will have to buy longer stakes to keep your canopy from blowing away.
Here are a few suggestions:
Put your tent up in a shaded area. This will also protect the fabric of your tent, so it lasts longer.
Make sure you put your tent up correctly. Many modern tents have an inner tent with mesh roofing to allow for good airflow inside the tent. For rainy days and privacy, there is an outer rain cover that goes over and is secured by guy ropes and stakes.
These types of tents have good ventilation. On hot days you can remove the top cover altogether and allow air to flow through the mesh roof.
Air out the tent during the daytime by opening up as many vents as possible. Make sure that air is passing through any mesh openings that you have.
If you can get a reflective cover to put over the tent during the hottest hours, it will reflect the sun’s heat away.
If you run an air conditioning unit, make sure you maintain it too. if you don’t, it might not perform as well as it should.
Here are many more great ways of keeping cool whilst on an outdoor vacation.
How to make a tent cooler?
Make sure your tent is level so the portable air conditioning unit works correctly to keep you cool. Use a fan at the same time as a portable AC unit, if it doesn’t have one.
Keeping the cool air moving so it stays fresh as well. Make sure the drain hose on any humidifying AC unit, leads to the outside for the best results.
Battery vs mains powered
It’s not always possible to get mains power when you are camping, so that is a consideration. However, if you plan to always camp on commercial sites with power, then a mains powered unit is an option. Let’s take a quick look at the differences;
- Battery-powered units are usually evaporative coolers only and not an air conditioner as you find at home. Instead, it uses a water tank to mix cool water with air that it draws in with the fan to give a cool air mist. Often, this is enough to keep your tent at a reasonable temperature, but the batteries only have a short working time of a few hours. The main disadvantage of battery-powered air coolers is that they can just cool a small area.
- Portable mains-powered air conditioning units may not seem like the ideal choice for a tent, but they can work very well. So long as you have access to a power supply, these units can effectively cool large tents.
Evaporative air coolers
As we mentioned above, most battery-powered units, particularly the smaller and cheaper units, work using evaporative cooling. Instead of using a gas, such as Freon used in regular air conditioning units, the evaporative type just uses chilled water. You fill up a water reservoir, adding ice cubes for extra cooling. The unit draws in warm air, passes it through a cold water-soaked filter, and blows cool air. The cooling effect is limited but can be effective in small spaces.
Window vs portable air conditioning unit
While it’s true that window air conditioning units have greater cooling capacity than portable units, tents are not usually designed to accommodate window-style AC units. The downside to portable units is that they take up valuable space inside the tent. If you have a particularly large tent, then the window style may make more sense for the extra cooling ability.
An air conditioning unit’s cooling capacity is measured in BTUs and ranges from around 5,000 right up to 25,000 or more. When choosing your tent air conditioner, it’s essential to work out the size of the space you want to cool. A 5,000 BTU unit will cool a space of around 100 square feet, but this will also depend on where you site your tent. If it is in full sun, it may need a larger unit.
Outdoors camping can be so much fun. It would be a great shame not to do it because the weather’s too hot.
One way of cooling off at night time is to sleep outdoors in a hammock. You don’t need to worry about insects as we have that covered. Have a peek at our review on The Best Hammocks with Mosquito Nets.
Another way of keeping cool whilst camping is to take a larger tent and have plenty of room. There will be lots of space to use a portable air conditioner in one of the 5 best 12-person tents that we’ve reviewed.
This article was last updated on November 28, 2022 .
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