Anyone have any experience with a tent air conditioner?

I’ve been looking at a few portable heaters online to use in my tent while camping. Also found that people have made DIY tent air conditioners. Which is better? Is there another way to keep my tent cool that I haven’t thought of yet. any thoughts are appreciated.

We used Mr Heater Big Buddy on a recent Feb camping trip and it was awesome for a couple nights. One of the nights we noticed the inside of the tent was getting really moist from humidity so I would be aware of that because we were quite wet in there. We only ran the heater for an hour or two while playing card games before bed.

I’m curious to know if anyone has any ideas for the a/c! That’s the only complaint with our rooftop tent is that it gets toasty in summer. We have a couple fans we run, but being able to have cooler air flow would be great!

1 Like

You might try a small battery fan hung from the light loop at the top of the tent. A little bit of air movement does a lot and most of them can run on Lo/med through the night.

I’m looking at a window unit ac for my tent for a trip in July. Specifically an LG 6000 BTU that weighs 40lbs–which isn’t too bad for a window unit. There are some out there at 35lbs, but I think I’ll need more than 5000 BTUs in July in central Alabama. Or I may decide it’s too much trouble and just cancel the trip.

The DIY “swamp coolers” are only good if you’re camping in a dry climate. Not good if humidity and/or dew point is high.

1 Like

If the tent is not in the shade most of the day, it’s likely to get quite hot inside just from absorbing sunlight and heating up the air trapped inside, basically the greenhouse effect. Try to pitch the tent where it will be in shade as much as possible. Otherwise, I’ve had some luck using one or two of those metallic silver mylar emergency/rescue blankets, and a few clothespins to hold it on as a “sun fly”. Unfortunately you will probably never be able to get those folded up again afterward and back into the tiny bag they come in.

This is where a portable air conditioner will probably work best. They aren’t that efficient, but when youre’ talking about cooling a tent, efficiency isn’t really your game.

You might be able to fit the exhaust through the “power” passthrough of the typical colman, but you might have to use the zipper opening. The decent units are >=$500 though.

The Petcool options was popular for the Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailer crowd a few years back. Easier to transport, setup, and disconnect than a small window unit.

Seems those are no longer available or have changed names. The ClimateRight products are very similar, particularly the ClimateRight CR2500. They connect to the conditioned space via hose (similar to a dryer vent hose) so it is fairly easy to adapt to different tents, trialers, or small campers.

I have used a small window unit for my truck topper and it was ok but I had to create a makeshift wall (for the tailgate area) with an opening for the unit out of plywood and 2x4 so it was a bit of a pain to setup and take down.–GFBhDeARIsACH_kdZ9BLJKdhDCvArPbaTXy1ZwPit8-UwE1Igw79SSyDXALCARWjTG5FcaAizLEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

I have an Ozark Trail Dark Rest 10 person instant cabin tent, and yes I chose Ozark Trail intentionally. Not the best construction, but the design works, and with copious amounts of waterproofer pretty storm tight, but I digress…

The tent has these huge ground vents. I literally just stuff a small window unit up against the ground vent from the outside, and then block off the remaining part of the screen with Reflectix.

The Tent is a 10x14, the AC is a 6.5K BTU unit.

Some things to help your tent in the heat.

#1. Pitch it in the shade.
#2. Provide additional shade. I pitch mine with a 13x13 EZ Up next to it, AND I pitch a 12x24 tarp OVER it, covering the back side to that sun can NOT beat directly down on it from door side, roof, or back side.
#3. Close off the opposing floor vent.
#4. Put something over the triangle roof vents on each end to block air flow and limit hot air from coming INTO the tent.
#5. I have 2 off brand LED light / tent ceiling fans. Use these!
#6. I have a 10" AC / DC powered portable fan. Use this, OR if you are running off of shore power and not a tiny generator, bring a box fan from home to keep the air moving…
#7. Once the heat of the day starts going, turn the AC off, and open the windows. You need the tent to breathe unless you want the AC going all day long.

The DIY ice chest AC ideas, if you are in a high humidity environment, will do nothing but make you completely miserable as they only add a LOT more moisture to the air and it quickly becomes hotter, and more humid. I’ve tried them and not going down that path again…

If you don’t mind wet, you COULD bring a sheet from home, and a spare cooler filled with ice water. Soak the sheet and use it as a heat sink while you try to sleep. It will eventually evaporate and you’ll get hot again, just wake up, resoak, wring, go back to bed…