Summer camping trips can be a ton of fun, but they can also be hot and sticky, especially in a tent full of campers. If you’re anything like me, you’ve sat in your tent on a hot summer night and wished you could have an air conditioning unit for your tent so you could cool down enough to fall asleep.
Well, good news! You actually can have AC for your tent, and we can help you choose the one that’s right for you! This buying guide is designed to highlight the top air conditioners for summer camping, each with its own set of features that are ideal for hot weather camping.
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
Best Camping Air Conditioners
- hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
- Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler
- IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner & Cooler
- Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
1. hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Featuring an oscillating cool-air outlet, multiple modes, and a timer, all of which are controllable via the touch panel or remote control, the hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is our overall top pick for the best tent air conditioner.
The hOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner cools large tents with ease – making it our best air conditioner for family tents. Thanks to the 14,000-BTU capacity, the hOmeLabs portable AC has enough cooling power for up to 700 sq. ft. Furthermore, a wide-set air-distribution panel swings up and down, allowing cool air to reach every corner of your tent.
You can set this portable AC unit anywhere from 62 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, the unit can be set to “auto mode” which allows the AC to select the best temperature. And if all you want is a cool breeze, the dual-speed fan can be activated.
It also has a built-in dehumidifier with impressive coverage of 5,500 sq. ft. In fact, the unit is capable of removing 100 pints of moisture from the air per day.
The hOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner weighs 70lbs, although is easier to move than you would think. Four wheels allow you to roll the unit, instead of lift. Furthermore, the unit features two integrated handles on either side.
2. Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
Window AC units are another popular choice for cooling tents, especially larger tents. Some tents even have ports for setting up your window unit, but you can use them with just about any tent.
Our favorite window air conditioner is the Frigidaire Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner. It has seven different temperature settings, plus a quick cool/warm mode to add an extra punch of speed to temperature adjustments.
It’s able to cool up to 150 square feet and is able to dehumidify as well, pulling 1.6 pints of water out of the air each hour. Say goodbye to a muggy tent interior on hot days!
The AC unit uses washable filters for convenience. Speaking of convenience, the 72″ long power cord may mean you don’t have to bother with extension cords to access your site’s power source. And if you ever lose power for any reason, Effortless Restart means that the AC will go right back to the previous settings when power is restored.
This AC is covered by a one year warranty.
3. Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler
Our previous tent air conditioners have built in dehumidifying capabilities, but this next one works in almost the opposite way. That makes it ideal for camping in areas like the American Southwest where humidity is low.
The Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler is, as the name states, an evaporative cooler. That means it pulls in warm air and uses water evaporation to cool it. Then a powerful 525 CFM airflow fan spits out the cold air (with some of that evaporated moisture) to cool your tent. Think the cooling effect of fresh air that’s just blown across a lake.
Unlike traditional air conditioners, there’s no hot air output, so there’s no need for annoying exhaust hoses. You just have to make sure that the water tank doesn’t empty. You can also fill the additional ice compartment for even faster cooling.
A low water alarm gives you a heads up when the water tank needs to be refilled without having to look at the LED display. The included remote control allows you to use all the evaporative cooler’s functions without having to get up, including choosing from the four fan speeds and setting the auto-timer.
4. IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner & Cooler
This next pick is another evaporative cooler that also functions as, well, a regular cooler. You know that cold water that pools at the bottom of your cooler as ice melts? The IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner & Cooler uses that water to cool down air the same way our last pick does.
Since cold water isn’t building up so much in the bottom of the cooler, it’s not causing your ice to melt faster, which is handy since while the ice is waiting to melt, you can use it to keep your food and drinks cold just like you would in a regular camping cooler. All in all, the IcyBreeze has a 38 quart volume.
If you’re looking to stay cool but cut down on the amount of gear you’re bringing, the IcyBreeze is a great option since it takes up barely more space than another cooler of the same volume. It’s also useful for campsites where you down have a power hookup, since it uses a 12-volt rechargeable battery.
A battery and charger are both included with the cooler, but you may want to pick up a spare or two so you can continue to run the AC while the previous battery charges. IcyBreeze also sells a number of other useful accessories, like power supplies, an airflow splitter for dual hose setups, extension tubes, and a corded remote.
Just like a regular cooler, this one has large wheels and a handle to help with portability.
5. Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
Our last tent AC is also the most portable, not to mention the most budget friendly by far, though its smaller size means it also has the lowest cooling capacity.
The Evapolar evaCHILL is an evaporative air cooler like our last two picks, so it uses water to cool the air. It’s less powerful, though, only capable of cooling 45 sq. ft. in the area in front of the cooler, so it’s best used in small tents.
Don’t let the cooler’s small size fool you though. The tank is surprisingly large for a cooler of this size and allows the cooler to run for nine hours between refills. You do have to use it with Evapolar’s evaporative pads, but they’re fully biodegradable, so you don’t have to feel bad about creating trash.
The evaCHILL also has a built-in LED light that produces a soft blue light that makes a perfect nightlight.
Final Thoughts on the Best Tent Air Conditioner
All of these tent air conditioners are high-quality pieces of equipment that can effectively keep the inside of your tent feeling cool and refreshing. If you camp in a humid area, you’ll want to go with one of our first two picks, which are more traditional style AC units. On the other hand, if you camp in a dryer area, one of the last three is probably the best for you.
For a more affordable way to keep your tent cool, check out some of our other tips on keeping cool in the summer heat, or look into our top picks for the best tent fans. And whether you go with a traditional AC, an evaporative cooler, or a tent fan, take a look at the best hot weather camping tents for tents that will also do their part in keeping you cool.