Once in a while, we miss the bliss of the outside world, life away from the daily routines and boring cultures and lifestyles. Those are the moments when you need to retreat and camp away from the comfort of your home. Could be in one of your favorite national parks or reserve, on the mountain slopes, plains, etc. Sometimes though, your planned happy camping experience can be ruined by extreme weather or climatic conditions. Especially during the summer seasons, high temperatures can be a nuisance. To ensure your happy moments against such interference, a portable air conditioner for your camping tent is a good solution.
Whether you are lucky to have access to power in your tent or not, all you need is a model that suits your situation. There are those that require electricity to operate, whereas others rely on batteries.
Are Portable Air Conditioner Worth In A Camping ?
Portable air conditioners are worth every hype. Considering the convenience they bring and comfort during your camping period, investing in these units is everything. If you plan an interrupted solo fun moment with your family at camping, a portable Air Conditioner is the way to go. You will transfer the comfort of your home to that camp.
To fully tap the importance of air conditioners, ensure that you make your selection based on your needs. Tailor the features to fit your tent best, and you won’t regret it.
Key Considerations Before Buying Portable Air Conditioner for Camping
When looking for your camping portable Air Conditioner, you need to consider some factors to get the best fit. You don’t need to purchase a device that won’t thoroughly cushion you against summer wrath. Mind the following factors, and you won’t regret your choice;
Portability is relative and varies from one camper to the other. One person will consider a 100lb air conditioner portable, whereas to others, that is too much. It all boils down to the means of transportation one intends to use. Therefore, think of a reasonable weight in relation to your luggage.
If you don’t plan to carry heavy stuff, then you’ll have to consider lighter units that you won’t strain to transport. How many people you are who can help in transportation is also important. You don’t want to purchase an AC that will be hard to load in your car, forcing you to call for help.
Do You Have Electricity?
- Yes – Most of the modern camping sites are powered with electricity. However, you cannot assume that when purchasing your tent air conditioner. It would be best if you were sure. If yes, that means you can go for any portable model. So, you have to carry out reconnaissance or conduct the management to inquire about the availability of electricity.
- No –if you are camping off the grid, your options will be limited. It would be best if you had portable units that run on batteries. Most of such today run on 12V batteries, and even though they don’t run for long, they are better than none. Some will actually give you the option to charge them in with your car.
AC Power Level (BTUs)
Your AC power unit is closely connected with your power source. BTU stands for British Thermal Units, which indicate how much energy an appliance uses to work optimally. In the case of air conditioners, it means the energy an AC needs to cool or heat a given room effectively. Generally, the higher the device BTUs, the higher the power it contains, and the bigger space it can cool. In the case of AC units, though, all you need is constant cooling in your tent.
A small tent, for example, a 150sq. Feet tent and a powerful 15000BTUs air conditioner; it’ll cool it within a short time. However, this has its downsides. The unit will keep going on and off simultaneously as the temperatures fluctuate. This causes it to wear out easily as the unit is underutilized hence reducing its lifespan. When purchasing your tent AC doesn’t rush for highly rated ones without considering the area to cool.
Tents are listed in terms of the number of people they can support. For example, we have 2-person, 4-person tents, etc. These not being exact measurements doesn’t include the extra spaces for luggage and air conditioners.
You need to get the exact size of your tent in terms of square footage. This will guide you decided the best air conditioning unit. You can allocate every person to be accommodated in the tent at least 30 square feet.
Another thing is the number of people to share a sleeping space. The more the number of people per sleeping space, the much your AC will need to work to suppress the body heat. So, all these factors are put together to determine the approximate energy you’ll need to cool your tent.
The knowledge of the campsite isn’t enough for the successful choice of your cooling unit. You have to dig deep and understand the power ratings and proximity. Different places may have different voltages. If you want to use an AC unit, make sure you have prior knowledge of their hookups. The standard numbers you’ll encounter range from 5amps to 16amps. It will help you to avoid blowing up the circuit or, worse end, causing blackouts to even your neighbors.
Additionally, you may also have to purchase an outdoor extension cord so that the power can reach your unit. If you choose the battery route, you need to think of the backup mechanisms. This may involve carrying an extra pair of batteries or having a charging station.
Air Flow & Ventilation
Just as is the case with the other scenarios where the air conditioners are used, you need to consider the airflow to your tent. The battery-powered units can fully work with the ventilation provided in the tent. The electric air conditioners though, require ventilators that link them to the outside. Basically, the window units need larger vents since they are twice bigger as those in the tents.
The good news is that with the growing popularity of portable air conditioner for camping, the manufacturers are increasing tent ventilation. These are able to accommodate AC without struggling. If your tent lacks this crucial feature, you can utilize one of the tent doors or the window.
How much noise an AC emits is a crucial factor to consider as a buyer? Even though the noise will be absorbed by the natural surroundings and minimized greatly, it’s worth careful. This is important when you need absolute silence during your camping period.
To know the noise level of an air conditioner, check the decibel units mostly displayed on the unit. Any noise level below 60 is acceptable and you can accommodate and even to neighbors. Note that if that level exceeds 70 it can become an issue.
The brand you choose is very crucial as, in a great way, it can affect the quality of your AC. One, there are tested brands that mean people have used them and are satisfied with their performance. New brands in the market may pause a challenge when it comes to efficiency and lifespan. In most cases, good brands have many positive reviews for users. On the other hand, less known about units will have many complaints from customers who have interacted with them.
Therefore, it’s important to consider global brands and local branches where you can get help in case of anything. You shouldn’t settle on an AC that you’ll have to throw away in case of one-part malfunctioning.
This is one factor you need to be very careful with. An expensive price tag on a product doesn’t mean it is the best. You need to look at all considerations and the features to make the best decision.
Portable AC units, no matter how popular they become, they remain under the luxury category. Therefore, their cost ranges from relatively cheap to the most expensive ones. So, it will be upon you to decide according to where your budget rages and the level of comfort you want. There are actually many cheap portable units that you can use instead of spending lots of money.
The 10 Best Portable Air Conditioner for Camping
To help you get the best air conditioner for your tent, we’ve compiled a list of top 10 best units in the market. Our selection is based on different factors and that means you can get the best products in this list.
1. Black + Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
Black and Decker is a trusted brand across the globe. Their portable AC units are popular for their top quality and durability. The vent hose is long enough giving you the freedom to place your unit whenever you want. For example, you can face your device facing the living room during the day and the bedroom at night.
This 8,000 BTU unit is sufficient enough for a small tent of up to 150 sq. Feet. Also, it is compact enough to fit in small spaces. This AC is not hard to install as you just need to wheel it in the tent vent and connect its hose, and power it on.
One outstanding feature is that it combines three functionalities, i.e., cooling, fan, and dehumidifying modes. It doesn’t make much noise, so you don’t have to worry about disturbances at night.
- Combines three modes in one machine i.e. fan, cooling and dehumidifying
- Can effectively cool a 150sq. feet tent.
- The Black + Decker brand is very famous
- Doesn’t produce much noise
- Easy to install and operate
- Not good for larger tents
- The exhaust pipe is bulky
- Have challenges in maintaining equal room temperatures.
2. Tripp Lite Portable Air Conditioner
This is among the most potent portable AC with a 12,000 BTU mostly used in spot cooling in data centers and electronic stacks. You can easily mount this unit in your tent and has got a timer such that you can set it to switch itself on and off automatically.
The good thing is that you don’t need to modify your tent to fit this unit, and you don’t even need a stand. All you need is to connect the 71-inch ducts to your AC and attach it to the tent and power on.
One major demerit associated with this unit is that it is a bit heavy, weighing 68 lbs. However, it is compact enough to allow transportation during camping. Even though not made for campers, this unit is performing awesomely in this field.
- It is easy to set up in the tent
- Very powerful
- It is compact
- Has a remote control management feature
- It is very heavy
- Its lifespan is questionable
3. ZERO BREEZE Portable Air Conditioner
Used in your tent, this AC unit effectively regulates the temperatures to the desired levels. It weighs approximately 12 pounds, making it highly portable when transferring it from one tent to another or cars.
It is a multipurpose unit with a built-in dehumidifier that helps to eliminate the dampness that people mostly experience in camps. The one unique thing with ZERO BREEZE is that it got long battery life. So even if you are out of power, you can be sure of service for up to 5 hours. Additionally, the battery is interchangeable, meaning you can afford extended service.
One major downside is the ventilation system. The vent must face the outside of the tent, or else it’ll mess with your interior temperature regulations due to spewing excess warm air.
- It is lightweight
- Combines cooling and dehumidification functions
- Its battery lasts long up to 5 hours
- Its battery is interchangeable
- Has an awkward venting system
- After turning off, you have to wait for some time before powering it on again.
4. EdgeStar 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner – White
This is a three-mode machine with a dehumidifier and fans-only modes added. The best thing is its portability as you can easily transport and store it in your house when not camping. The 14,000 BTU enables it to cool larger tents measuring up to 500 sq. feet.
EdgeStar uses self-evaporative technology and also allows remote control. These are among the top features you can only find in a few air conditioners. So, if you are looking for a feature-filled AC, this may interest you. Besides, it also comes fully packaged with its own window kit.
- Incorporates fan and dehumidifier modes
- Powerful enough to cool larger tents of up to 500 sq feet
- Allows remote control and with a timer
- Uses self-evaporative technology
- Consumes a lot of power
- Temperature and decibels can be altered
5. VHOME NPE-14H AIR Conditioner, 14000 BTU, White
It is such an easy to install portable air conditioner. If you want an AC that you’ll want to set on your own within minutes and with near-instant results, this is it. However, one major demerit worth this product is its noise. It makes a lot of noise, which you may find hard to endure at night.
Its features though are interesting, and you may want to try it. It a multipurpose unit that is has heating, dehumidifying, and fan-only modes. Purchasing it means you won’t require stand-alone devices.
Also, it comes with its installation kit and a remote-control feature. Coupled with a 24-hour timer, you can comfortably regulate your tent climate.
- Simple and lightweight
- Combines a fan, dehumidifier and heater
- Has a 24-hour timer
- Allows remote control
- Very noisy
- Leaves bad odor in the tent
6. Uninex SAC1800 Indoor/Outdoor KOOLZONE Mobile Spot Cooler
Being a spot cooler, this air conditioner doesn’t need any assembling. All you need is to transport it to your tent and immediately start experiencing the results. Ideally, spot coolers are like traveling with your house AC to the campsite.
Unlike most portable units, you don’t need to create space for it inside your tent. You just place it outside, and it’ll vent cool air inside. If you have a small tent with few occupants, this model will serve you best. Additionally, it doubles up as a heating component that you can use during cold night.
The unit also has got a dehumidifier incorporated. However, it requires some bit of manual work where you’ll need to drain the condensation after some time.
- It is multifunctional with a dehumidifier and a heating option
- Doesn’t require special hook up
- No assembly needed
- You don’t need a large floor space
- Brings comfort during outdoor events
- The campsite must be electrically powered or use back up batteries
- It is expensive
- Very loud
7. Emerson Quiet Kool 150-Sq. Ft, EAPC8RD1 Portable Air Conditioner
This awesome portable air conditioner is best for two to four people tents. It is well packed with excellent features that make it an ideal option for campers.
First of all, despite being heavyweight with 53 pounds, it is fitted with both side handles. These ease the unit maneuverability. You’ll also need to allocate some little space for it in your tent. However, it is well equipped with a good ventilation system in which the AC can be fixed and work effectively. Besides cooling, this unit is also a dehumidifier.
In terms of the powering tech, Emerson Quiet Kool uses self-evaporation technology. This means you don’t have to drain the drip pan manually.
- It uses self-evaporation technology
- It is quiet
- Uses a programmable timer and a remote control
- Has handles on both sides which increases its maneuverability
- It is very heavy
- Doesn’t come with a window kit
8. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5, 000 BTU 115V Air Conditioner
If your camping tent has a ground vent that can fit an air conditioner, this can be a good fit. The unit temperature modes and regulators are straightforward to use. So, you basically need to plug in the device and use it. This AC weighs 41 pounds, but its compact structure eases its maneuverability.
Comfortably, our little magician here cools 150 sq. feet indoor rooms. However, with the tents, the unit may have to work harder to deliver the same results. So, since intent, the air escapes easily, reducing the cooling area to about 100 sq feet can maximize the unit efficiency. If you have larger tents, you can go for higher-sized devices for this model.
- It is lightweight
- Conserves power since requires low power to operate
- Easy to mount on the tent vent or customized slots
- It is very quiet
- It is bulky
- Effective for small spaces
9. Icybreeze Cooler Blizzard Package
Icy Breeze is one of the most popular brands, choosing which package to purchase is a challenging task. This unit presents one of the best options available in the market, especially when camping off the green regions. It is a perfect companion for campers with its simplicity and cheap cost.
This air conditioner can be powered by 12V batteries. Therefore, you don’t have to worry every time you are confronted with a lack of power. This powerful unit allows you almost to change the temperatures in your tent immediately.
- Uses a 12V batteries
- Simple to set up and operate
- Very cheap
- Very portable
- Cannot achieve regulated temperatures
- Hard to maintain constant temperatures
10. Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner
The ZeroBreeze is the ultimate deal among the cheapest and portable air conditioners. Basically, this unit was designed for people living in places without electricity. So, this is an excellent alternative to the Icy Breeze Cooler Blizzard Package.
The unit runs on its inbuilt battery and can last up to 5 hours, depending on how you set it. With a power source, the 12 V adaptors can aid in prolonging the battery life. This unit is powerful enough to cool a 50 sq. feet tent.
The additional features of this unit make it outstanding. For example, the Bluetooth speaker, LED display, and USB port.
- It is lightweight and very portable
- Has a build in LED display
- Can run on batteries
- 3W Bluetooth speaker
- It is a bit expensive
- Not very effective when you expect immediate results.
How To Install A Portable Air Conditioner In Camping
To set up a portable AC in your tent you’ll need the following components;
- A ventilated tent with a customized AC vent.
- A standard AC window unit.
- Improvised stand such as a milk crate or a tree stump. You should never place your unit on the ground as it will not deliver optimally.
- Sealing materials such as small pieces of cloth, towel, or part of a tent.
- You can also have a drip pan for collecting the condensed water, which may otherwise dampen your tent.
Once you have all the materials ready, follow these steps below to set up your air conditioner;
- Place the AC on the stand at the tent ventilation and align it properly with the vent.
- Tie the flap above the AC unit to protect it against the rain.
- Place some sealing material in the space between your unit and the tent vent. This will help to prevent the air from flowing in and out through the gap.
- Close all the other ventilation and spaces in the tent.
- Power the unit on then regulate the temperatures as you wish.
Maintenance Tips To Improve The Performance
If you observe the following tips, you’ll be sure to get the best results from your AC units;
- Never place your AC directly on the ground. You can purchase a stand or use the improvised ones such as milk crates or tree stumps.
- Please keep all the power connections off the ground to prevent them from getting wet.
- In case of heavy rains, unplug the electrical connections and wait until the rain stops or lets up.
- Ensure the front part of your AC doesn’t get wet.
How much is the AC unit for a camper?
The cost of portable AC units varies with sizes and the features associated with them. The general range for tent air conditioners is $200 to $1,000.
What size AC do I need for my camper?
The size of your AC unit is determined by the size and the number of people occupying the tent. The larger your tent is, the bigger size of an AC you’ll need. Also, if you have many people sharing the tent, you need a more powerful AC.
How can I insulate a tent to help the AC?
Altering the structure of your tent so as to insulate it further is not allowed because of safety reasons. It is recommended you purchase a tent that best satisfies your needs or easily complements it with the best AC unit for your space.
This doesn’t mean you can’t improve the efficiency of your tent. Placing your tent in such a way that the sun rays do not directly fall, has proved to work magic. So, you can use some dark and waterproof fly on top to increase the cooling effect.
What do RV air conditioners run on?
Basically, the RV conditioners cool the tents by removing heat. The compressor inside the AC is tasked to circulate heat and compress the refrigerant steam in the unit.
Can RV AC units be recharged?
Yes. However, recharging an RV air conditioner can be more challenging than charging the normal home ACs.
How do you cool a large tent?
Ensure that you use an air conditioner whose size is directly proportional to the size of your tent. You should also ensure that the AC works as recommended observing all the recommendations.
Which air conditioner is best for a large tent?
EdgeStar 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is the best for large tents measuring up to 500 Sq. Feet.
Can You Use a Window Air Conditioner in a Tent?
Yes, it is possible. Actually, most people prefer window air conditioners. They are more powerful than the other models. However, they present a challenge to tent users as you may be forced to cut the tent sometimes in the process of customizing your unit.
Will camping tent portable air conditioner work with solar panels?
Yes, they do. However, air conditioners being high power-consuming devices, you’ll require very powerful solar panels to power these units in your tent.
If in your calendar you have a summer camp appearing, it just might be about time to get your camping portable air conditioner. We’ve compiled a great list of the best products in the market that will guide you in your shopping. It doesn’t matter where you intend to visit; there are various models that you can go for and never regret it. You don’t want to ruin your fun being soaked in the sweat; get your match from the great collection we have for you.