Best Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Camping with family is one of the most favorite activities for most people. While summer is a lovely time of the year to camp, sometimes it can get unexpectedly warm out there on the campsite.

A portable air conditioner for camping is a perfect solution to this problem. In this review, we have searched out six of the best portable air conditioners for camping based on their efficiency, power, value for money, and several other factors.

In this review, you will learn:

  • Understanding Portable Air Conditioner Types.
  • How to choose the Portable Air Conditioner For Camping.
  • Answers to commonly asked questions about camping air conditioners.
  • Top six best portable air conditioners for camping.
Portable Air Conditioner For Camping Header

Understanding Types Of Portable Air Conditioners For Camping

When we talk about camping air conditioners, not all devices online are actual air conditioners in the technical sense. Evaporative coolers are also referred to as portable air conditioners by most manufacturers as well as consumers. This is why it is important to understand which type of machine can cool what size of tent.

What Is An Evaporative Cooler?

Evaporative coolers, as the name suggests, use the simple principle of evaporation to cool air. Outdoor air enters the cooler through specially designed water-drenched pads, which causes the water to absorb the heat from the air (and thus evaporate). The air left behind is cooled, and the machine circulates it in the room.

Evaporative coolers are excellent, low-energy, natural cooling mechanisms that do not require any dangerous gases for cooling (CFCs) and can work well in hot and dry conditions.

However, evaporative coolers are best not used in humid conditions because they will end up increasing humidity in your camp and make it very uncomfortable for you.

What Is A Portable Air Conditioner?

Portable air conditioners also draw in hot air from the room (or in the case of two hose ones from outside the room). They then circulate this air through a serpentine cooling coil, and the cold air is then circulated inside the room.

Portable AC’s are generally more powerful and can be used in both humid as well as non-humid areas. 

Camping Air Conditioners: Cooling Power, Cost & Area

  • Personal Evaporative Coolers: These cost somewhere between $20 to $75, and they can only cool down the area in front of them, about 10 to 20 square feet.
  • Large Evaporative Coolers: These cost around $100 to $1,500 and can cool a large area of anywhere between 100 to 1,000 square feet (depending on size).
  • Portable Air Conditioners: These can cost anywhere from $250 to $400 and can cool down about 100-400 square feet of area.
  • Window Air Conditioner: These ACs have a price range of $150 to $1,500. Depending upon their BTU, these can cool down an area of 150 to 1,000 square feet.

Related article: What Are BTUs On Air Conditioners

Bottomline

If you need cooling just for yourself, then a personal evaporative cooler would be your best option. However, for large tents, you can get portable air conditioners or window air conditioners for the best result.

Reviews: The Top 6 Portable Air Conditioners For Camping

1. Black & Decker Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

BLACK+DECKER BPACT14WT Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control, 7,700 BTU DOE (14,000 BTU ASHRAE), Cools Up to 350 Square Feet, White

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Features 

  • Portability: 8.5/10
  • Power: 8.2/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 9.5/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: Black Decker
  • Type: Portable air conditioner with wheels
  • BTU: 7,700 BTU
  • Power Source: Power outlet
  • Timer: 24 hour
  • Dimensions: 17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches
  • Other functions: Cooling, Fan, and Dehumidifiers

Pros

  • It can cool a room of 350 square feet with ease.
  • The wheels at the bottom allow easy movement.
  • It is easy to use with the remote.
  • It offers a three-in-one function with fan, cooling, and dehumidifier.
  • It has a sleep mode that allows quiet operation.

Cons

  • This portable air conditioner needs a power outlet to operate.
  • It is a heavyweight.

Bottom Line

This portable air conditioner from Black & Decker is ideal for cooling big tents. 

Detailed features

  • Portability: This air conditioner comes with wheels at its base, making it easier to move around. You can bring it with you on a camping trip with ease. 
  • BTU: With 7,700 BTU, this air conditioner can effectively cool a room or tent of size 350 square feet. On the highest setting, this air conditioner can offer a cooling of up to 65°F.
  • Power: This portable AC needs a power outlet to work. If you are going on a camping trip where you don’t have access to a power source, you may need to bring your own battery for it to work. 
  • Multipurpose Use: This air conditioner offers three-in-one functions. Apart from cooling, it also has a fan setting that circulates air and a dehumidifier function that keeps the air inside the tent dry. 

2. Yimusen Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Personal Air Cooler, Portable Evaporative Conditioner with 3 Wind Speeds Touch Screen Small Desktop Cooling Fan, Mini Air Conditioner Fan for Home, Bedroom Room, Office, Dorm, Car, Camping Tent

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Features 

  • Portability: 9/10
  • Power: 9/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 9.5/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: Yimusen
  • Type: Portable Evaporative Conditioner
  • BTU: Not applicable
  • Power Source: USB plug
  • Timer: Maximum 6 hours
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 6.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Other functions: Fan, Humidifier

Pros

  • It has three-speed settings for the fan.
  • This AC is easy to operate with a touch function.
  • It operates with a USB plug that you can connect to a power bank or your car.
  • It is compact and takes up less space,
  • The air filter is easy to clean.

Cons

  • This portable air conditioner offers cooling only in the front of it, not ideal for big tents. 

Bottom Line

This portable evaporative conditioner from Yimusen is perfect for providing instant relief from the heat with its three fan speed settings.

Detailed features

  • Portability: The compact size of this evaporative conditioner allows you to keep inside even a small tent. With only 2.38 pounds of weight, it is easy to carry around with you for a camping trip.
  • BTU: Since this is an evaporative cooler, it doesn’t have a BTU unit. However, this portable AC comes with three different speed settings, which offer cool air naturally. All you need to do is add ice and water in the tank of the AC and switch it on to get instant relief from the heat.  
  • Power: This AC operates on a USB plug. You can connect the plug to your car or even a power bank to get a cool and comfortable camping experience.
  • Multipurpose Use: Apart from providing cool air, this portable cooler has other functionalities too. The air that flows out of the AC is humidified and filtered, making it safe for you to breathe in.

3. Air Choice Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Personal Air Conditioner, Portable Air Conditioners with Icebox, Mini Air Conditioner with 3 Speeds, Table Fan for Room & Office, Air Humidifier, Air Cooler with USB Cable, Quiet, 7-Color Night Light

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Features 

  • Portability: 8.8/10
  • Power: 8.6/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 8.9/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: Air Choice
  • Type: Portable Evaporative Conditioner
  • BTU: Not applicable
  • Power Source: USB plug
  • Timer: Customised
  • Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7.4 inches
  • Other functions: Fan, Humidifier, Nightlight, Air purifier

Pros

  • This AC cools the air in seconds with its three fan speed.
  • It has a three-in-one function that offers to cool, humidify, and purify the air.
  • It also doubles as a night light with seven color LED lights.
  • It produces low noise.
  • This AC operates on USB power that you can plug into a power bank.

Cons

  • It is not appropriate for big spaces. 

Bottom Line

This evaporative conditioner is ideal for small spaces like tents for providing instant relief from the heat.

Detailed features

  • Portability: With just 7 inches of height, this AC is extremely portable for you to move around conveniently. The AC weighs only 2.25 pounds which is easy to carry on a camping trip.
  • BTU: This portable evaporative cooler doesn’t have a BTU unit. It has three different fan settings to offer the perfect speed for providing relief from the heat. Just pour some water and ice into the tank of the AC and turn it on.
  • Power: With a USB plug operation, this portable AC is convenient to use on a camping trip. You can plug it into your car or a power bank, and you will be sorted.
  • Multipurpose Use: This portable AC offers cool air, humidifies the air, and filters airborne particles (PDF). You can also use it as a nightlight with seven different color LED lights. 

4. TECCPO Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

TECCPO Portable Air Conditioner TAK04C, 8000 BTU Portable AC for Rooms up to 200 Sq.Ft, 3-in-1 with Remote Control

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Features 

  • Portability: 8.6/10
  • BTU: 8.5/10
  • Power: 8/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 8.8/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: TECCPO
  • Type: Portable Air Conditioner On Wheels
  • BTU: 8,000 BTU
  • Power Source: Power plug
  • Timer: 24 hours
  • Dimensions: 14.7 x 13.5 x 26.9 inches
  • Other functions: Fan, Air cooler, and Dehumidifier

Pros

  • This portable air cooler offers the lowest temperature of 65°F.
  • It comes fully assembled, which makes it easy to use.
  • It offers three in one functions of cooling and dehumidifying the air.
  • With the remote control, you can operate the AC from a distance.
  • It has wheels for ease of moving around.

Cons

  • The AC is heavier in weight and requires a power source for working.

Bottom Line

This portable AC is ideal for taking along with you while camping to offer relief from the heat in the entire tent.

Detailed features

  • Portability: This air conditioner is not very compact but still is easy to carry around. It has wheels at the base, which makes moving it around easier.
  • BTU: This air conditioner is ideal for camping with 8,000 BTU. It can cool down a room of up to 200 square feet. The lowest temperature setting of this AC can reach a minimum temperature of 65°F.
  • Power: The only problem with this AC is that it needs to be connected to an actual power source. Finding a power source near a campsite is sometimes impossible.
  • Multipurpose Use: This portable AC not only cools the tent but also has other functions as well. It has a fan setting that circulates cold air through the tent, and the air comes out dehumidified and purified.

5. Mekomy Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Mekomy Portable Air Conditioner, USB Air Cooler with 3-Speed, Personal Air Conditioner with LED Light, Evaporative Cooler for Small Room/Office/Dorm/Bedroom/Desk

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Features 

  • Portability: 8.3/10
  • Power: 8.4/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 7.9/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: Mekomy
  • Type: Portable Evaporative Conditioner
  • BTU: Not applicable
  • Power Source: USB plug 
  • Timer: 8 hours
  • Dimensions: 7 x 6.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Other functions: Air cooling, Humidifier, Nightlight

Pros

  • This air conditioner is portable in size and weighs less.
  • It has three in one functions.
  • The large capacity water tank lets you use the cooler for up to eight hours.
  • It operates on a USB port.
  • The fan makes less noise.

Cons

  • It won’t offer cooling for a large area.

Bottom Line

This air cooler from Mekomy comes with three in one function that lets you use it as a cooler and a nightlight, making it ideal for camping.

Detailed features

  • Portability: With only seven inches high, this air cooler is compact and easy to store in your car’s trunk while going camping. The air cooler weighs only 1.9 pounds, and even a child can carry it easily.
  • BTU: Being an evaporative air conditioner, it offers three different fan settings for different levels of air cooling. It has a water tank that you can fill with water and ice for cool and humidified air.
  • Power: This air cooler operates on a power source from a USB port. You can connect the USB cable to a power bank, laptop, or your car. You don’t need to plug it into a power outlet, making it ideal for camping. 
  • Multipurpose Use: This air cooler filters and humidifies the air while cooling it down. With LED lights, this air cooler can also act as a nightlight for better sleep.

6. AMAES Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Portable Air Conditioner, 5000mAh Rechargeable Battery Operated 120°Auto Oscillation 700ml Water Tank with 3 Wind Speeds, 3 Cooling Levels, Perfect for Dorm, Bedroom and Outdoors

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Features 

  • Portability: 7.6/10
  • Power: 7.4/10
  • Multi-Purpose Use: 7.9/10

Technical specification

  • Brand: AMAES
  • Type: Portable Evaporative Conditioner
  • BTU: Not applicable
  • Power Source: Battery Operated
  • Timer: maximum 9 hours
  • Dimensions: ‎9.85 x 7.75 x 6.55 inches
  • Other functions: Cooler, Humidifier

Pros

  • It is battery-operated.
  • There are three different power settings.
  • It comes with a triple mist spray setting.
  • The battery can last up to nine hours on a full charge.

Cons

  • You need to remember to recharge the battery between uses.
  • It can cool just the space in front of it.

Bottom Line

This battery-operated portable air conditioner is ideal for camping trips to have cool air without needing any power sources.

Detailed features

  • Portability: With a height under ten inches, this air cooler is compact. You can easily take it with you on a camping trip. It weighs only 2.4 pounds which is easy to carry around. 
  • BTU: Since it is an evaporative air conditioner, it doesn’t have a BTU unit. However, this air cooler comes with three different power settings for fan speed and spray. You can adjust the speed according to your preference. By adding water and ice to the water tank, you can have cool air in the tent.
  • Power: This air cooler is ideal for taking along while camping, with it being battery-operated. One full charge of the battery allows nine hours of cooling, depending on the spray setting that you choose.
  • Multipurpose Use: Apart from cooling the air down, this air cooler also humidifies and purifies the air. 

How To Choose A Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Compact Size

Since we are looking for an air conditioner for camping, size and portability are the main factors you would need to focus on. A compact-sized air conditioner will leave room in your vehicle to keep all other essential gear that you need for camping.

Another reason why it is important to get a portable air conditioner is that you would need to load and unload it from your vehicle. Larger the air conditioner, the more effort it would require to lift it. A small-sized air conditioner also ensures that your tent doesn’t get too cold during the night.

BTU

BTU or British Thermal Unit is a unit to measure heat. The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measured in BTU. Ideally, for every square foot of area that an AC needs to cool, it would require 20 BTU. 

Related article: What Are BTUs On Air Conditioners?

Power Source

A power source is needed for your portable air conditioner to work. Since you will be camping outside, finding a power source, there is very difficult. Unless you have a power source in the back of your car, like a battery or something, you would want an air conditioner that can run off a USB cable or rechargeable batteries.

Multi-Purpose Use

Having a portable air conditioner with multiple functions is extremely beneficial. You will get several uses out of a single appliance. 

Carrying so many things to your camp location requires space, and with all the gear you need for camping, you will always be in a space crunch. Having an air conditioner that can double up as a night light or humidifier can be space-saving.

Some Of The Commonly Asked Questions Related To Camping And ACs

Can you air condition a camping tent?

Yes, you can air condition a camping tent. Summer days are best for camping because the days are long and the weather is dry. However, they come with one major drawback, your tent being too hot for you to relax in.

You can use an air conditioner to cool your tent. There are a lot of varieties of air conditioners available that are suitable for cooling a small space. Most of them come with a rechargeable battery or work on USB power which makes them ideal for carrying to your campsite without worrying about a power source.

Will a portable AC cool a camper?

Traveling in a vehicle without AC is a nightmare in summers. If you are traveling in a camper or an RV, you would need a cooling source to cool your main area to sit back and relax on a hot summer day. A portable AC is an ideal solution for cooling a camper.

However, you would need to consider the area of the camper to make sure that you get an AC that can efficiently cool the entire space. You don’t want to spend money buying the wrong product that doesn’t cool the camper properly.

How do I keep my tent cool while camping?

Camping in summers is fun till the heat becomes unbearable. Here are some of the ways you can keep your tent cool while camping.

  • Fold up your tent during the day as the enclosed space acts as a greenhouse and absorbs the heat from the sun. It is always better to fold the tent after waking up and resetting it in the evening.
  • Or, you can use reflective material for your tent that will reflect the heat instead of absorbing it.
  • Setting up your tent in the shade of a tree is always a good idea.
  • Use a tent with window openings to let air pass through.
  • If the weather is clear, then remove the top part of the tent if possible.
  • Use a portable air conditioner for camping if possible.

How do you run an air conditioner in a tent?

There are times when the heat becomes unbearable, and you would need to consider getting an external cooling source to keep your tent cool during summers. A portable air conditioner for camping would be the ideal solution for you. However, to run an air conditioner in a tent, you need a power source. 

You can get those portable air conditioners that run on battery power or USB cable connected to a power source. Those would be fine to cool off the area right in front of them. 

However, to cool off your entire tent, you would need a proper air conditioner. You can get one that comes with wheels or else buy a separate portable AC stand. One thing to keep in mind is that such an air conditioner needs a power source.

Final Thoughts: Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Summers are the perfect time for going camping. However, it becomes impossible to stay in a tent with the heat on some really hot days. 

If you love camping as I do, then you can invest in a portable air conditioner for camping. While selecting a portable air conditioner for myself, I researched several air conditioners. I have reviewed the six best portable air conditioners based on their performance.

My top favorite air conditioner is the one from Black+Decker Portable Air Conditioner. While it needs a power source to work, it can effectively cool a large tent.

If you can not find a power source near your campsite, then the one from ​​Yimusen Portable Air Conditioner would be great for you as it runs on a USB cable that you can connect to a power bank or even your car. 

What is good about the Mekomy Portable Air Conditioner is that it is the cheapest option on the list. So if you are on a budget, then you can go for this portable air conditioner.

Related article: Best Heaters for Tent Camping

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