11 Best Camping AC Units

The 11 Best Camping AC Units

Staying cool while camping in hot weather can make the trip much more enjoyable, so adding an air conditioner to your camping gear is an excellent investment. The best camping AC units are frankly a must for everyone.

However, finding a camping AC unit that’s easy to pack and transport yet reliably delivers the cool air you want can seem daunting. That’s why we put a bunch of portable air conditioners to the test and highlight the top performers in this guide.

With a quality small portable air conditioner for camping, you’ll be able to tent or RV comfortably no matter how hot the weather!

Can I Really Use a Portable Camp AC in a Tent or RV?

Yes, you can use portable air conditioners for camping. In fact, you can buy a tent with AC connections built-in, making it a breeze to hook up and keep cool.

Adding a portable RV AC is also fantastic when your recreational vehicle doesn’t have a unit, and you want a place to escape the heat and relax while on summer camping trips.

A tent with AC port and extra features to contain the cool air is a great way to bring along a unit and have it seamlessly blend into your campsite setup.

A portable AC unit for camping not only stops uncomfortable sweating while trying to sleep but also can provide a pleasant white noise inside your RV or tent that drowns out any annoying sounds from wildlife, traffic, or fellow campgrounds guests.

With the ability to run tents with AC off a generator or power station, you’ll never be without the cool air you desire, even when camping off-grid.

Features to Look For in a Camp AC

Cooling Square Footage

Most air conditioners will have a BTU (British Thermal Units) rating or state how many square feet the unit will cool effectively.

The higher the BTUs, the more powerful cooling the unit will provide. However, you’ll be battling a lack of insulation and possible power source issues when trying to cool down a tent or RV.

You don’t want a camping tent with AC to be only mildly cool when you could have invested in a more powerful unit that will keep you comfortably cool instead.

Power Source

The issue most campers will find when using an RV or tent with air conditioner is having a way to power the unit when staying at primitive campgrounds or boondocking.

If you know you’ll have shore power available; you can opt for a standard window air conditioner if you don’t mind hauling the extra bulk and weight on the camping trip.

However, for the most camping-location flexibility, you’ll want to consider getting an AC that can run off a battery, another 12-volt source, or a generator.

The best camping ac units

AC Size and Weight

Camping gear should always be as lightweight and compact as possible to streamline packing, transport, and use of the item during your trip.

Find a portable AC that will deliver the cooling power you require in the lightest and smallest package possible, including any accessories.

AC Type

There are two air cooling unit types; an AC and an evaporative cooler. Most camping ACs are really evaporative coolers.

An air conditioner plugs in or is hard-wired into a home or business. This AC draws interior air into the unit, cools the air, then a fan blows the air back into your space. During this process, moisture is pulled from humid air and drains outside the unit.

An evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) works by passing outside air through cooling pads inside the unit where the water evaporates and absorbs the heat, then blows that cooler air into your interior space.

Evaporative coolersare more energy-efficient, run more quietly, and are better at cooling small spaces such as tents or RVs. You can also place an evaporative cooler indoors, while a standard AC must be either partially or entirely outside.

11 Best Camping AC Units

Check out these top AC units that can transform your camping experience during hot weather:

1. Frigidaire 5000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Size: 16″ x 15.25″ x 12″
Weight: 35.3 pounds
Cooling area: 5,000 BTU / 150 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $160

The Frigidaire Window Air Conditioner is a top pick of campers because it’s affordable and has enough cooling capacity for most single or couple-sized tents or small teardrop or travel trailer RVs. Plus, you can spend a bit more to upgrade the BTUs for larger spaces.

Best Features:

  • Effortless Temperature Control for even cooling
  • Easy-clean filter to trap dust
  • Reduces humidity in the air while cooling
  • Noise during operation isn’t annoying/disruptive
  • Usable in residential settings between camping trips

Cons:

  • Not easy to mount in thin RV window frames without extra support
  • Units for larger spaces (more BTUs) get expensive

2. Haier HPC12XCR Portable Air Conditioner

Size: 27.75″ x 16.88″ x 14.25″
Weight: 55 pounds
Cooling area: 12,000 BTU / 350-450 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $400

The Haier Portable Camping AC is the one to pick if you want to keep a large tent with AC port or camping trailer cool.

Best Features:

  • Dehumidifying option
  • Electronic controls with full-function remote
  • On/off timer
  • 3 cooling and fan settings
  • Comes with 5-foot exhaust hose

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Expensive

3. Trustech Evaporative Cooler Tower

Size: 11.82″ x 9.45″ x 42.52″
Weight: 13 pounds
Cooling area: 120 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $160

Out of the 11 AC units, the Trustech Evaporative Cooler Tower is very lightweight and has a tiny footprint, making it a great choice to cool down a small tent when camping. In addition, the low-energy unit is ideal for running off a portable power station or solar setup.

Best Features:

  • Ultra quiet in fan or cooler mode
  • Oscillates 70 degrees
  • Three fan speeds and settings
  • Programmable timer

Cons:

  • Requires 110V power source
  • Must refill water reservoir 1-2 times a day

4. Black & Decker BPT08HWTB Portable Air Conditioner with Heat

Size: 17.32” x 13.98” x 28.15”
Weight: 65.5 pounds
Cooling area: 8,000 BTU / 350 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $479

The Black & Decker BPACT14WT AC + Heat is an excellent investment for anyone who loves to camp in both hot and cold seasons. The unit can cool the air down to 64°F and also can warm air up to 90°F with the built-in 11,000 BTU heater on chilly winter days.

Best Features:

  • Cool, fan, heat, and humidity-level settings
  • Follow Me remote control doubles as a thermostat for better temp regulation
  • Handle and caster wheels make it easier to move
  • Includes ventilation hose and reusable air filter

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • Must remember to drain the unit if used in high humidity

5. Honeywell HF0CESVWK6 Portable Smart Wi-Fi Air Conditioner

Size:‎ 16.3″ x 13.6″ x 28″
Weight: 63 pounds
Cooling area: 10,000 BTU / 450 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $484

In the 11, The Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi Portable camping AC units is perfect for medium to large tents or RVs for use as a fan, a dehumidifier, and of course to keep you cool. Smart Wi-Fi allows you to start the unit when out on excursions so you can return to a cool tent or RV.

Best Features:

  • Auto mode or sleep mode with smart thermostat
  • 24-hour timer
  • Remote control, voice commands, or WiFi commands through the app
  • Washable filter with alerts when cleaning is necessary
  • Digital LED display
  • Includes ventilation kit, drain pan, drain hose, and insulation tape
  • Thermal overload protection

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and awkward to carry or move

6. Batlofty 120° Auto Oscillation Personal Mini Air Cooler

RV Air Conditioner

Size: 9.06″ x 6.14″ x 5.71″
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Cooling area: 2-7 feet from the unit
Power source: Rechargeable battery (max 9-hour run time)
Price: $60

The Batlofty Personal Mini Air Cooler is a light, compact, and affordable way to achieve some comfort while camping in hot weather. While this unit won’t cool down a large area, it does a great job of keeping a single person from overheating. With no need to plug the unit in, you can easily place it anywhere.

Best Features:

  • Super small and lightweight
  • 120-degree oscillation blows cool air in a wider area
  • 3 wind and cooling settings on touchscreen display
  • Runs quietly
  • Tank for water/ice lasts for 12 hours
  • Recharge the battery through car charger, laptop, power station, or 110V outlet

Cons:

  • Must wait 3-4 hours for unit to recharge between uses
  • Only cools a short distance in front of the unit
  • Must use ice for best cooling ability

7. NTMY Portable Air Conditioner Fan

Size: 8.26″ x 3.54″ x 10.23″
Weight: 2.12 pounds
Cooling area: 4 feet in front of unit
Power source: Plugs into any 2V+ USB power strip/power bank/adapter
Price: $50

The NTMY Portable Air Conditioner Fan has a slim design and easy-grip handle to carry this little wonder on every camping adventure. The fan portion can tilt, so you can direct airflow where you want it, and it even has a sponge for the addition of scented oils for a spa-like vibe. This unit is for you if you desire a budget-friendly way to enjoy a camping tent with AC.

Best Features:

  • Three fan/cooling settings plus a timer
  • Convenient top-fill water/ice container
  • 7 light options to set the mood
  • Runs quietly
  • Works as humidifier in dry climates

Cons:

  • Requires plugging into a power source
  • Cools a very small area

8. MIDEA EasyCool Air Conditioner

Size: 18.98″ x 21.89″ x 14.65″
Weight: 64 pounds
Cooling area: 10,000 BTU / 400 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $399

In the 11, The camping MIDEA EasyCool Window AC units gets high marks from campers because it runs so reliably, reduces humidity, and can cool a mid-size tent or RV down to 62°F if necessary. As with another standard window/portable AC unit, you must only enclose the front panel inside your tent or RV.

Best Features:

  • Remote control
  • EcoSave and SleepWell programmable modes
  • More compact than other window/portable AC units
  • Powerful fan keeps interior evenly cool
  • Washable filter
  • Dehumidifies air

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy to transport
  • Need to make special accommodation (mounting/drainage) for RV or tent use

9. MightyKool K2 Personal 12-Volt Cooler

Size: 11.5″ x 10.25″ x 7.75″
Weight: 6 pounds
Cooling area: 3-8 feet in front of fan
Power source: 12V
Price: $279

The MightyKool K2 Personal 12-Volt Cooler blows out 25 mph of cool air through two vents and uses only water to lower air temperature to a comfortable level. This swamp cooler plugs into a 12v vehicle charger (great for motorhomes), or you can use an adapter for other power options.

Best Features:

  • Simple design with single knob operation
  • Durable metal construction
  • Carry handle and solid top (can use as a small table)
  • Small and light enough to store and carry with ease

Cons:

  • Runs fairly loud when set on high
  • Must monitor and add water regularly

10. LIFEPLUS 3 in 1 Bladeless Air Cooling Fan

Size: 13.7″ x 9.5″ x 31.2″
Weight: 18.71 pounds
Cooling area: 120 sq. ft.
Power source: 110V
Price: $149

The LIFEPLUS 3 in 1 Bladeless Air Cooling Fan is a safer option for a camping tent with air conditioner when you have kids and pets. The unit works wonderfully to maintain lower temps inside your tent or RV on hot summer days and nights. The design is sleek, doesn’t take up much floor space in tight quarters, and works as a fan when you don’t need the extra cooling ice water achieves.

Best Features:

  • Remote control or direct-button operation
  • Easy-fill and clean, large-capacity water tank
  • 3 modes and speeds plus sleep timer
  • Low-noise operation and 360° circular wind
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Runs about six hours on a single fill

11. EENOUR QN750 Portable Air Conditioner

Size: 29.53″ x 13.58″ x 14.96″
Weight: 22 pounds
Cooling area: 2,900 BTU / 50 sq. ft.
Power source: 12V or 120V or 240V
Price: $999

To finish the 11 best for camping, the EENOUR QN750 Portable Air Conditioner may be a shock to your wallet, but the investment in this powerful, compact cooling unit is worth every cent if you want a tent with AC. The technologically-advanced Panasonic twin compressor ramps up cooling speed so you can enjoy a blast of refreshing chilly air down to 60°F in any camping situation.

Best Features:

  • Includes adapters, AC/DC power cords, vents, and drain hose
  • Cools down air temperature by 16°F in just 5 minutes
  • Use indoors or out for direct cooling
  • Hoses easily slip into tent or RV so unit can stay outside saving interior space
  • Three fan settings, plus sleep mode
  • LED display and built-in handle

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best Camping AC Wrap Up

There’s no need to be miserable while camping in hot weather, especially when trying to sleep after a day of strenuous outdoor activities.

Check out our top camping AC units above, and find the ideal solution to keep cool!

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