During a camping trip, your tent is your home away from home, and making it as cozy as possible ensures an enjoyable stay. In hot conditions, the inside of the tent can get unbearably hot. It is no fun camping in a sauna-like tent. When you’re hot, sweaty, sticky, and heatwaves keep hitting you, it can be hard to stay in your tent let alone relax and sleep. Even a well-ventilated tent can feel suffocating.

For camping trips in desert-like conditions, the best tent air conditioner is a must-have camping comfort item. With a cool and refreshing breeze conditioning your tent, you can camp in comfort, sleep well, and not have to worry about heat exhaustion, stroke, and other heat-related issues. Below are the ten best tent air conditioning systems, evaporative coolers, and tent fans. They are compact, portable, and their tent cooling capacity is excellent.

How To Choose A Tent Air Conditioner – Buying Guide


It is important to take your time to analyze a camping AC unit’s features and specifications before you hit the order button. Here is what to take into account to narrow down the options and choose a tent AC unit that will deliver reliable airflow and suit your needs perfectly.


You want a lightweight and small tent air conditioner for camping, but it must also be powerful enough to cool your entire tent to a comfortable temperature. The BTU rating is what tells you how powerful a unit is. Ensure the model you choose has an appropriate BTU rating for your tent size.

A 5000 BTU A/C is sufficient for a family tent or a medium-sized tent up to 150 square feet. 8,000 BTU is sufficient for 150 to 350 square feet tents. Large tents covering 350 to 550 square feet require a high BTU output of 10,000 to 16,000.

Window or Room

Next, decide whether to go for a window AC or a room AC. Most Rv and car campers prefer window air conditioners because of their compact size and high cooling capacity. The cooling capacity of room air conditioners is also good, and they are easy to set up.


How easily you can move it around is a major factor to consider when choosing a tent air conditioner. Since it is not a stationary unit but something you will be packing and transporting to and from your camping destinations, the best camping air conditioners for a camping trip, hiking, and backpacking adventures are compact and lightweight, so they are not a burden to bring along.


There are two aspects of power to check. The first is what type of power source you will need. All tent air conditioners for camping require power to operate. Check what kind of power supply a unit needs and whether it is available at your campsites.

If your campsite has an electricity connection, almost any tent air conditioner will do. Unfortunately, electricity is not easy to come by at every camping site. Luckily, there are many battery-operated appliances available.


Moving air is noisy and any AC unit is going to make some noise when it’s running. What noise level is acceptable will depend on your personal feeling of what is noisy. You may be looking for a very quiet unit. On the other hand, you may be looking for an AC that makes some smooth white noise to sleep to.

The level of sound produced is different with every model and also depends on the operating mode. Some units make a lot of noise while others run quietly. Low mode is the quietest and ideal for quiet comfort at night. The high mode has the highest cooling capacity but is also the loudest.

Go through ten air conditioner reviews by users to get an idea of what to expect with a unit. Some models also indicate the noise level emitted in decibels.



Q: What makes a portable air conditioner for tents so convenient?


First of all, they are highly portable units — compact and lightweight — and thus easy to carry outdoors. Some of them even have roller wheels. Their setup is quick and easy and their cooling capacity is good. Even though they have a compact design, they blow a powerful breeze of cool air.

Q: Can one air conditioner cool several tents simultaneously?


Most tent air conditioners for camping are designed to cool one tent at a time. If two or more tents are set up in such a way that there is airflow between them, the cooling effect of one powerful unit can be felt in all of the tents. 

Q: What do I require to set up my portable air conditioner for tents?


The first thing you require is a source of power to operate it. Depending on your unit and campsite, the power source could be electricity, a portable generator, or batteries. Set up the tent AC in a well-ventilated area away from walls. The warm air in the tent needs a way out and you also require a venting system. Most units come with an exhaust hose that lets out warm air to the outside through an AC cutout in the tent, a window, or doorway.

Q: How many portable units do I need to condition one tent?


You only require one portable unit to condition one tent. Just make sure that the unit is the right size for the area you want to cool. If you have a small or medium size tent of up to 150 square feet, 5000 BTU is sufficient. A unit with 8,000 BTU is good for 150 to 350 square feet of space. To condition a large tent of 350 to 550 square feet using one unit, the portable unit should have 10,000 to 16,000 BTU.

Q: Does a portable air conditioner for tents consume a lot of power?


The power consumption of each unit is different. The amount of power consumed by a particular portable air conditioner unit depends on its BTU rating, how long it is on, and its Energy Efficiency Rating (EER).

A unit with a higher BTU will consume more power than a unit with a lower BTU. The longer you operate a portable AC, the more power it utilizes. The higher the Energy Efficiency Rating of a unit, the lower its power consumption. A good portable air conditioning system will also have a low, medium, and high mode so it performs efficiently in different temperatures.

Q: What is the difference between a portable AC and an evaporative cooler?


What differentiates these two air cooling systems is the cooling mechanism they utilize. A portable AC uses a compressor to cool the air and vents warm air to the outside through an exhaust vent. It is the best appliance when camping in hot but high humidity conditions.

Also referred to as a swamp cooler, an evaporative cooler uses water to cool the air through evaporation. It blasts out humidified air akin to a lakeside breeze and brings down the temperature by 10 to 30 degrees. Ventilation is essential to allow excess humidity to escape and fresh dry air to circulate. An evaporative cooler works best in hot, dry, and low humidity conditions such as in the Southwest and Midwest US.

Q: What is the purpose of the exhaust hose in a portable air conditioner for tents?

A: A portable air conditioner for tents uses a compressor to cool down a tent and vents the hot air in the compressor to the outside through the exhaust hose.

Q: Is a portable air conditioner capable of capturing moisture from the air in my tent?


Most portable air conditioners are capable of capturing moisture from the air in the tent. The moisture condenses upon coming into contact with the cooling compressors and most units have a reservoir for collecting the condensed moisture. 

Q: Why are portable air conditioners the best choice for tents?


Portable air conditioners are the best AC units for camping because of their ease of packing and transporting and ease of setup. They have a space-efficient design, and their tent cooling capacity is great.

Q: Is a portable air conditioner noisy?


A portable AC for camping will make some noise as it moves air. The level of noise produced is different with every model and also depends on the operating mode. Some air conditioners make a lot of noise while others produce just a low hum. Low mode is the least noisy and high mode the loudest.

Globo Surf Overview

When camping outdoors in the summer or desert-like climates, air conditioning is a camping comfort essential. It will enhance the enjoyment of your trips and reduce your susceptibility to heat illnesses. There is nothing like entering a cool and refreshing tent after trekking or hiking all day long in the sweltering heat. You can’t go wrong with any of the units in our best portable tent air conditioner reviews. You just have to pay attention to the features and specifications to ensure that you choose the perfect air conditioner for your tent and camping conditions. 

More Camping Reviews:

How about you? Which of the tent air conditioners on our list is your top choice? What camping AC unit have you tried? Have some tips on keeping a tent comfortable when camping in hot weather? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below!

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!