Best Portable Air Conditioner for Camping in Tents in 2021

Camping is fun but it isn’t always a reinvigorating experience. Although you may expect peace and tranquillity sleeping under the stars when you head out on your camping adventure, the opposite may often occur. Nature’s peace and quiet can only get you so far, especially if you’re stuck in a tent in the middle of summer that feels like a sauna, dehydrated, and stressed.

However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. By investing in the right kit, you might be able to catch up on some beauty sleep in the great outdoors. A portable air conditioner unit will not only keep the tent comfortable and cool, but it might even transform your entire summer camping experience into a delightfully positive one.

There are many cooling options to consider if you have a campsite that’s powered by electricity. But in the case where there is no power, you can consider battery-operated appliances that are available on the market to help you cool down. A tent air conditioner is one of the most cost-effective solutions that will make a big difference while camping out in the heat.

Types of Air Conditioners Best for Camping Tents

Electric A/C units for camping usually require a little more work to set-up but they’re often more reliable than their battery-operated counterparts. Most smaller portable A/Cs are also completely functional for home or apartment use, hence they’re easier to purchase and have wider model choices on the market. Here are a few different options for electric AC for camping:

Window ACs

These units are the same units that supply cool air to a bedroom or small apart and they run on about 5000 BTUs to keep an area of 150 square feet cool, making this the ideal choice for an average-sized tent. This option does require a ventilation spot that fits the entire unit, so you may need to alter your tent to accommodate it.

Small Portable ACs

These are more powerful than window ACs with the ability to cool spaces up to 400 square feet at 12000 BTUs. However, these models themselves can be quite bulky with some weighing up to 100 lbs. Some are set on wheels to help you maneuver them around easily.

While portable AC units require ventilation, they usually only need a smaller hose instead of space of an entire unit. Most of these portable A/Cs also work as dehumidifiers with an internal tray to collect excess water.

Spot Cooler

A spot cooler is the heavy-duty model of portable A/Cs and often resembles their full, permanent in-home counterpart.

Running at 15000 BTUs, these ACs are the most powerful portable options. Most buyers purchasing this option are often looking to fix them in a more permanent location such as a garage or workshop, but if you’re willing to put in the heavy lifting and extra setup, they can be perfect for camping tents as well.

12V Portable AC

Battery-powered AC units are easier to set up and use but are also less reliable and powerful than the electric versions. Most 12V portables are also more compact, so they are good to fit into tents or smaller spaces with no power source nearby.

The main way that these 12V-powered units work is that the user will need to fill the unit with ice (or water, in some cases) and a small fan will work to push hot air through to convert it into cool air. These units are recommended for smaller tents and personal use rather than large settings.

Factors to Consider in a Portable Air Conditioner for Camping

There are many types of tent air conditioners available on the market. Some are battery-powered fans, evaporative coolers, ice chest blowers, window AC, and room AC.

Generally, the climate at campsites gets significantly cooler after midnight, so you’ll need to choose a tent air conditioner that matches the climate you are in. The best portable air conditioner for camping is a combination of the following features:


The AC units used while camping is often moved around a lot. So, you’ll need to consider how portable the unit is. The lighter it is, the better it is. If your AC unit is not compact, it might be very difficult for you to move it.

Power Source

You need to check if your portable air conditioner is able to provide a sufficient cooling effect in a small closed space. It should be powerful enough to maintain the same temperature throughout the night without overheating or breaking down.


The size of the portable air conditioner refers to its overall unit size as well as the cooling capacity size. The air conditioner has to be as compact as possible for easy maneuverability as discussed above.

In terms of cooling capacity, you won’t want to get one that’s too big or you might feel cold and damp, nor too small or it might only be able to cool a specific area. You need at least 5000 BTU (British Thermal Units) capacity for a good-sized family tent. The three common sizes of portable air conditioners are 5000 BTU, 6000 BTU, and 8000 BTU.

Room or Window

There are two types of portable air conditioners. Window ACs have to be rigged to exhaust air through the window of the tent and usually provide superior cooling capacity. Room ACs tend to be bulkier but they’re much easier to set up than window ones. Moreover, they’re also convenient for using in houses too.

Air Flow & Ventilation

As with any tent sleeping experience, you will need to consider the air flow and ventilation for your air conditioner. 12V AC units won’t require any extra ventilation other than that is built into your ent while electric AC units will require ventilation to the outside.

Window air conditioner units require large vents the size of the unit. This is proven by the fact that half of the AC fits inside the tent while the other half outside of the tent. Portable A/Cs require a smaller vent for a tube to exit the tent.

Noise Levels

The level of noise any air conditioner emits is a key concern for buyers. When camping, however, this becomes less of a priority since your natural surroundings will likely soak up most sounds generated from your air conditioner.

Nevertheless, you should always look at units that generate anything under 60 dBa so that it won’t bother you or your neighbors. Once you have a noise level above 70 dBa, it might start to become more of an issue.


Though the buying decision should depend more on the features above, we cannot deny that price does make a difference in the final decision. The best AC unit to buy should be reasonably priced within your budget and yet able to perform as expected. There’s no point in spending money to buy an unreliable unit that won’t cool your tent down just to save a couple of bucks.

2021 Review of the Best Portable Air Conditioner for Camping in Tents

1. Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner for Camping

Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner is one of the best air conditioners and it really does it all. Zero Breeze is the first outdoor air conditioner manufacturer in the world and has upgraded its Zero Breeze Z19-B model according to the feedback from their first 1,000 customers, so you can rest assured knowing it will be perfectly suited and adapted to all your outdoor needs.

The Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable boasts a built-in 1100 BTU patented micro compressor with enough cooling capacity to drop your room temperature from 90℉ to 72℉ in a 50 square feet closed tent. Since it has been designed with camping in mind, this portable air conditioner is your all-encompassing camping companion.

Instead of just being an air conditioner, this camper AC includes four additional features: a fan, a USB charging station, Bluetooth music player, and LED lighting to keep you and your group entertained and cool on your outdoor camping adventure.

Because the Zero Breeze Z19-B portable air conditioners are designed with a camper in mind, this model is eminently portable. It weighs only 12.8 pounds and is one-fifth the size of average air conditioners. It is without a doubt that Zero Breeze has designed this tent AC with portability in mind.

Aside from that, the Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable model offers super quick installation. All you need to do to set it up is to snap the exhaust hose and drain the hose into the corresponding port and insert the power cord to get it going.

This air conditioner model also has multiple powering options, including a wall outlet, gas, propane, or lithium-powered portable generator, and a 12V car battery. The company will even be launching a matching generator too. With all these features and benefits, the Zero Breeze Z19-B portable air conditioner is surely the perfect air conditioning choice for your camping trip.

As the pioneer manufacturer for camping air conditioners, it is hardly surprising to find Zero Breeze at the top of the market in terms of price point. However, you might just need to think long and hard about whether this is the right tent air conditioner investment for you to warrant the expenditure.

You would like this product if:

  • You want a multifunctional air conditioner with various features: AC, fan, USB charging station, Bluetooth music player, and LED lighting
  • You want the best portable air conditioner as this is very light and is ⅕ the size of average tent air conditioners
  • You want the best air conditioner that’s specifically designed for camping

You might not like this product if

  • You prefer an air conditioner that comes with its own generator
  • You’re on a budget as this best tent air conditioner costs a fortune

2. Zero Breeze Mark 2

The Zero Breeze Mark 2 is a trademark of pure cooling performance and elegant design. Not only does this camping AC unit offer a unique and attractive look, but it also delivers the task quite reliably. This portable camper AC uses advanced technology that cools your camping space in no time. Plus, its portability even allows you to carry it almost anywhere you want with no issue.

The cooling operation is second to none. With highly efficient cooling, it keeps the heat at bay even during the hottest days in summer. At the same time, it has a user-friendly design and operability that’s very simple and easy for any camper to use.

A number of positive responses from recent buyers suggest that this portable air conditioner has an outstanding quality. Many campers are amazed by its efficient cooling and superb operation and have even commented that this may just be one of the most advanced and user-friendly air conditioners available.

The bottom line is that the Zero Breeze Mark Two is a reliable solution to keep your sweat off while camping in the summer. Simple, easy to use, and highly efficient, this AC unit makes for a great camper purchase to carry around anywhere for cool fresh air.

You would like this product if:

  • You want to carry and use the AC anywhere you desire
  • You like a user-friendly device that is simple and easy to use
  • You want a tent AC that provides a cool and soothing experience that is also highly efficient and reliable
  • You want a portable air conditioner with a remarkable battery life that uses advanced technology

You might not like this product if:

  • You plan on using this for very long durations as you may be required to charge the battery once in a while

3. IcyBreeze Cooler Chill Package

The IcyBreeze Cooler Chill Package might just be your saving grace on a really hot camping day. Not only does this continually cool the air in your tent, but it can even hold up to 30 pounds of ice to help keep your drinks and perishables cool.

This portable air conditioner features a 3-speed fan to circulate fresh, cool air around the tent at different speeds. With the ability to reach a wind speed of 25 mph, you have control to cool your tent to just the right temperature.

However, it is worth noting that this air conditioner only has one nozzle for the cool air to come out from, so it might take longer for it to cool your tent compared to the other models reviewed. Nonetheless, with the double whammy of being able to cool both your tents in the morning and keeping your beverage cold, the dual functionality of this product may outweigh the slower cooling speed.

Another amazing feature of this product is that it comes in two variations to suit your power needs and requirements while out camping. If you purchase the 110V model, you can choose to plug it into wall receptacles to run your IcyBreeze cooler continuously the whole night. This is great for those with a full electric hookup. However, this may be difficult to locate at camping sites.

Alternatively, you can also charge the battery pack with the 110V model with the battery charger provided. This means that you can set off on your camping or backpacking trip without the need for an electricity hookup. However, your use of the air cooler is obviously going to be limited by the charge time.

Another option to use during camping is the 12V model. We would recommend getting this if you’re going car camping or plan on setting your tent near your car. This is because the IcyBreeze 12-Volt power supply cord plugs into the cigarette lighter or car charger in automobiles to provide continuous cooling without the use of rechargeable batteries.

The bottom line is that this is an excellent luxury accessory to help you out on hot camping days and nights. This tent cooler does come with a relatively high price tag, but it might be worth it if you need to invest in an ice cooler anyway.

You would like this product if:

  • You want an air cooler that has a 3-speed fan and can deliver airspeed up to 25mph
  • You enjoy the flexibility of multiple power outlet options
  • You want a multifunctional portable AC unit that can also act as an ice cooler

You might not like this product if:

  • You don’t want to only have a small nozzle for cool air to exit
  • You’re on a budget as this portable air conditioner might be a little pricey

4. YACHANCE Personal Space Air Cooler

For those with a smaller budget, especially if you need the best tent air conditioner to cool a smaller tent, then the YACHANCE Personal Space Air Cooler could just be the perfect choice for you.

This little portable cube-shaped product can even be loaded with water or a cooler to offer you the perfect relief of cold air in a small tent, or at least just enough to cool your body as you wake up under the blazing hot sun’s rays.

Although the YACHANCE Personal Space Air Cooler doesn’t work as a traditional tent AC unit in terms of cooling all the air in the room and helping you lower the general ambient temperature, it does have an additional feature to help you filter out bacteria and dust.

The added water feature also means that you get a steady flow of cool, fresh air. On its lowest setting, this AC unit promises six hours of cooling. The camper unit even has three different fan speeds for you to regulate the temperature according to your needs.

One downside to this model is that it does fail a little when it comes to power. We recommend this portable AC to be used as a personal air conditioner, or for small groups only. However, a plus point for this small portable AC unit is that it only uses 10W of power, making this cooler energy-saving and eco-friendly.

Aside from that, this portable air conditioner even has the added benefit of LED backlights to help you navigate and adjust settings in the dark. It is also chargeable with a micro USB, making it an easy model to take with you.

You would like this product if:

  • You want a portable air conditioner that comes with an internal air filter
  • You like a tent air conditioner with LED lights for easy navigation in the dark
  • You prefer to have the option to add water or ice cubes for enhanced cooling
  • You want an energy-saving tent air conditioner

You might not like this product if:

  • You don’t want to risk your tent area being damp
  • You often camp on uneven ground as the water can spill if not kept level

5. LifeSmart Indoor/Outdoor Single Port Air Cooler

If you’re looking for a cheaper air conditioner for camping, then this is another reliable model that you can consider. The LifeSmart cooler is a great option for you if you think you might be near an electric hookup for some of your camping trips. However, if you don’t have a mains power to connect this to, you can also keep it running on 12v, meaning you can bring a battery to run it if you’re leaving camp to go backpacking for a few days.

This air conditioner is an evaporative cooler, leaving you a lovely refreshing mist when it’s in use. It is the perfect option if you’re looking for ultimate cooling and dehumidifying on a really hot day. However, one thing you need to note with evaporative coolers is that they work best in dry, hot weather conditions rather than damp weather.

Nonetheless, this cooler has the cooling power to lower a room temperature by 30 degrees. Though it works well in dry, hot conditions, there have been a few reports of the model failing from overuse, overheat, or if the conditions aren’t right.

You would like this product if:

  • You like to have 2 power outlet options
  • You want an evaporative cooler that delivers cool mist while helping to also dehumidify a room

You might not like this product if:

  • You frequently camp in humid environments as this model works well in dry, hot conditions
  • You need a portable air conditioner for backpacking as this model is best used at the site with an electric hookup

6. Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier and Fan

This portable air conditioner from Honeywell provides powerful airflow and conditioning in a small and compact package. This is a model worth investing in if you’re looking to buy a portable air conditioner that’s fit for a house or indoor use, rather than just an air conditioner for camping.

However, this AC unit model is not designed for outdoor use and can be quite expensive. So if you’re planning to invest this much in air conditioners, you’d want the product to be able to accommodate multiple uses.

The main disadvantage of using this model for outdoors is that it’s plugin only, meaning you’ll need to be in a campsite with an electric hookup or be able to connect it to an RV site via a power cord for it to work.

Although this portable air conditioner is not perfectly suited for camping, this is probably one of the most efficient tent air conditioners out of all the models we have reviewed. As long as you have an electricity supply, this AC unit will help you stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.

It is also one of the lightest in its class weighing no more than 45/49 lbs. With the addition of smooth-gliding wheels, this cooler is eminently portable if you’re camping with your car.

Another major benefit of this model is its quiet operation. Even when turned on at the highest speed, the portable air conditioner only produces 50-53 decibels, which is the same level of sound as a normal conversation.

Combine this with its 25-hour energy-saving timer and remote control, this is the perfect portable air conditioner for leaving on while you sleep in warmer climates. On top of that, this is also a very low-maintenance air conditioner for camping with a washable filter and filter change alert.

You would like this product if:

  • You prefer a portable air conditioner with a quiet fan and comfortable noise levels
  • You want better portability as this lightweight air conditioner comes with smooth-gliding wheels
  • You want energy-saving features such as a 24-hour timer and remote control

You might not like this product if:

  • You plan to frequently bring this with you outdoors as the air conditioner is designed for indoor use
  • You’re on a budget as this air conditioner might be a little expensive

How Much Cooling Do You Need?

Tents don’t come with electric power or centralized cooling systems. So, in order to keep cool in the tent, you’re going to need a generator, to be at a campsite with an electric hookup, or have air conditioning units that run on battery power.

Portable battery-powered A/C units have a capacity to cool down a room the size of 50 to 250 square feet. For a 150 sq. ft. tent, you will need an AC unit that has a 5000 BTU rating to be able to keep the tent cool. Any lesser BTU and you will not be able to stay cool enough all night. With that, the bigger the tent is the more BTU rating your air conditioner needs.

Battery-powered units typically run on 12-volt batteries and have a battery life of approximately 10 hours on as low as 40W. These portable units usually weigh around 10 to 70 lbs, but their efficiency is in no way related to their weight. Their weight only plays a factor in terms of portability.

Performance for each unit is different. Some air conditioners can keep the tent temperature to as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit for just one hour while others may hold the temperature for as long as 10 hours. The performance will all depend on the model you buy.

Moreover, the temperature can dip considerably at night in the woods. So, a camping air conditioner 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 unit can be adjusted to lessen the cooling power since the dip in temperature outside should be enough to keep your tent cool enough.


A good AC for camping needs to have enough capacity to cool your camping tents completely and should feature more than one mode. Spot coolers with features such as cooling, fan, and a dehumidifier are ideal, but it also needs to be lightweight and portable to facilitate carrying it around to and from the campsite easily.

Each of the air conditioning units we have reviewed above is some of the best cooling solutions for camping trips because they have the necessary features required for an outdoor adventure.

Depending on the amount of power you need and the price you’re willing to pay, there is definitely a suitable air conditioning unit that’s available for all your camping trip needs. A good camping air conditioner can certainly make a world of difference in the enjoyability of your trip.

We hope today’s buying guide and review of the best tent air conditioners have given you sufficient information to be able to make the final decision on which tent air conditioner will best meet your camping requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a portable air conditioner in a tent?

Yes, you can put a portable air conditioner in a tent but you need to consider things like ventilation and airflow. A 12V powered battery A/C unit might not require any additional ventilation than the one built inside the tent but other models may need an outlet for ventilation. Electrical units will most definitely require outside ventilation and cannot be placed inside the tent.

Can you use a window-mounted air conditioner in a tent?

Yes, you can use a window-mounted air conditioner in a tent. In fact, most campers prefer window air conditioners over others as they provide more cooling capacity than a normal air conditioner. However, with these units, installation can pose a huge problem since you need to customize your unit to fit in your tent. This may even require you to cut the tent for the perfect fit.

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