Best Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Last updated: September 18, 2021

Looking for the best portable air conditioner for camping? You are in the right place. Camping activities are done by many Americans, especially in summer. According to statistica, more than 40 million people (about twice the population of New York) partake in camping activities each year.  

When camping especially in summer, it can get hot and having something to cool your tent or your environment is something that you want to have by your side the next time you go camping.  

In this article, we have put together 7 best portable air conditioners for camping activities including the best tent air conditioner.  

Before we dive into detailed reviews of each of portable AC units we gathered, we have compiled a chart that that will help you quickly go through and get an idea of all the several types that we recommend. 

As an Amazon Associate, We may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Our Picks: Best Portable Air Conditioners For Camping

Image Product Details   Price
Cool Breeze Mark 2 No. of people: Up to 6
Cooling Capacity: 2300 BTU
Weight:16.5 lbs
Noise levels: 52dB
Check Price
backpac BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT
Cooling Capacity: 550 BTU
Weight: 52.9 lbs
Noise levels: 57db
Coverage: Up to 250Sq. Ft.
Check Price
cordlessblower Mini Air Conditioner Fan USB/Battery operated
personal air cooler
Cooling Capcaity:0 BTU
Check Price
cordlessblower Whynter ARC-14S Noise level <56db
Cooling Capacity: 14,000 BTU
 Net weight: 73 lbs
Power Consumption: 1300 W
Check Price
cordlessblower SereneLife SLPAC10 Noise level <56db
Cooling Capacity:
6000 BTU
 Weight: 55.1 lbs
Power Consumption: 1150 W

Coverage: up to 400Sq.Ft
Check Price
cordlessblower Honeywell 8,000 BTU Noise level <52db
Cooling Capacity:
6000 BTU
 Weight: 62.8 lbs

Coverage: up to 450 Sq.Ft
Check Price
cordlessblower MIDEA MAP14S1CWT Capacity: 8200 BTU 
Weight: 67.9lbs
Power Source: 120V
Coverage: up tp 330 Sq. Ft.


Check Price

How Many BTU Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Well, it depends on many factors. But this is one of the important things that you need to consider before buying a new air conditioner for camping. When you choose right, you will feel right.  

You first want to look at how big your room or space is because smaller units for your room will struggle to keep your room cool and in turn you will need to continuously keep them running and more running will mean more electricity cost. But that is not what you want.  

And on the other hand, a bigger air conditioner, too big for your room or space will quickly cool the room without dehumidifying your space while leaving you feeling cold and clammy. 

Chart For BTU Needed Per Square Foot

Size(Sq.Ft) 100 200 300 400 500 800 1000
Needed BTU 5000 7000 9000 10500 11500  8000  21000 

However, one thing you should notice is that these are just estimates for rooms. For tents, especially which are not well insulated, you should expect a slight difference in terms of the Btu needed per square foot.  

What Kind Of Portable Air Conditioners Are There?

So, there are two basic types of portable air conditioners namely the ventless and the ventilated portable aircons.  

The ventilated type use the refrigerant, and there is a compressor that is involved in the cooling of the air in your room by absorbing the warm heat from the air then the heat is vented out.  

However, the ventless or most known as the evaporation air-conditioners use the water which is placed in the system itself to bring about the cooling. This is achieved by evaporating this water in the system.    

So, we have only put together what truly works as air conditioners to provide you with the best cooling experience when you need it.  

How Do Portable Air Conditioners Work

1. How Single-Hose Portable ACs Work

These work by letting in air from within the room then cooling it. Cooling happens when the air is drawn into the unit and passes over to the coils, then cooled by the refrigerant which circulates within the coil.  

 When the cooling on the air is taking place, the moisture and the heat is generated, this heat is exited through the exhaust vent.  

The process causes the air to reduce in volume which decrease the air pressure of the room,  

As a result, of this, more air is drawing in from the outside. This air again needs to be drawn in by the air conditioner and the cycle continues.  

However, to increase the efficiency of the air conditioner, it is advisable to seal off openings of the room to the outside or insulate the rooms to reduce the amount of outside air that is drawn when the air conditioner is working is minimized. Your room will cool down quickly by doing this. 

2. How Duo Horse PACs work?

These come with two exhaust hoses which differentiates them from the single hose portable ACS. Because of their duo hose design, these may be little bit involving when it comes to installing them but they have other good side about them such as efficiency.  

One exhaust vent draws air from outside the room. Then this air is conditioned according to your set temperature. Then the other exhaust is used to exit the moisture and the heat generated during the conditioning of the air.  

The processes of using two exhaust vents makes this type of portable ACs more efficient. 

Things You Should Consider When Buying An Air Conditioner?

Cooling Capacity  

Getting a portable air conditioner for camping that meets your cooling needs should come first. You should to check on the BTU chart. We have provided a Btu chart above thought it is specifically for room sizes but can be used to give you an estimate of what you may need for your tent or RV.  

The PAC should be powerful enough to cool your room without getting strained. On the other hand, it does not have to be too big. To calculate the capacity of your PAC you need, you can use 400-600 BTU per person as your reference. But again, that is just an estimation.  

The number of BTU needed can also depend on several factors such as the size of your tent or room and the type of insulation and all that.  

Size and weight  

Obviously, you want a small portable air conditioner that will be convenient for you to carry around. For example, you want something lighter that will not strain your muscles carrying it from your vehicle to the camp site. Ideally battery powered cordless portable units can weigh anywhere around 20 lbs. while the stand portable units weight around 50 lbs.  

Remote control  

They make our life convenient. you need a remote control for things like setting timers, checking the current temperature levels that time when you are comfortable in your bed so you do not need to walk up to your PAC unit to check what is on the screen.  

Noise Levels

Some PACs naturally make louder noise when in operation. And a good quiet environment is what you want especially at night.  

Some of the models can be noisy which can be very cumbersome especially when you want to have a noticeably quiet night. Ensure that you get something that is anywhere less than 60 db. so that you are not interrupted by the noise.  

Many manufacturers however have invested time and money in trying to make air conditioners quieter. But normally you will not find this kind of information in their marketing material.

However, you can find useful information regarding this on the customer reviews. You do not want something that will keep you awake during the night because it is too noisy. So, you may want something with sound levels less than 60 decibels.  

On and off timers: Most of the recent air conditions come with timers. These are particularly useful for automatic operation of your air conditioner. For example, you can set timers to automatically switch on the air conditioner at specified time or you can also set up the timers to switch of the air conditioner at some time after you fall asleep.  

Price  

Your budget will determine what kind of portable aircon you will buy. However, sometimes higher price does not always guarantee better performance.  

Air conditioners with lower BTUs are cheaper than those with higher BTUs.  

Other Features (Not necessary!)  

Built in Wi-Fi  

Most recent models come with built in WIFI and are pairable with Alexa and google assistant. You can give them voice commands for specific functions like, setting temperatures, switching on and off even when you are not at home.  

They can remain connected to your mobile. But nevertheless, the remote control is still enough to help operate your PAC

The 7 Best Portable Air Conditioner For Camping

Zero Breeze Mark 2

CHECK PRICE

The Zero Breeze Mark 2 is a specially designed portable air conditioner for camping.It is among the best portable air conditioners on the market.

This portable unit is 50 percent smaller than the conventional air conditioners. It weighs just 16.5lbs. So, interns of portability, you can carry it around with you by your hands without any pressure. 

No generator is required for this modern innovation. It can be run by any 24v battery or the battery which comes with the unit. Its power consumption is 240W, which is by far lower than traditional air conditioners. 

The noise levels are also reasonably low, 52 dB which is lower than an average air conditioner on the market.

So, in terms of noise, it is quieter than most portable units on the market. This unit is smaller in size so you are sure it will not eat up much of your space.  

It comes with duo exhaust vent which makes it comparatively more energy efficient than many air conditioners and can also cool your space faster (can cool 30F temperature in 10 minutes.)

This is a portable unit which is powered by a battery. 

Its cooling power is small, 2300BTU. It is not meant to cool the entire room but personal spaces (24-40 square feet) on the hottest day of the season.

But it can cool down the entire queen size area at night. So, with this unit, you will get the sufficient cooling that you want even through the night. 

This is also ideal for use in trucks, RVS and boats of course not big boats. 

Pros:  
 
This is a small unit, it is lightweight (16.7lbs.) and so easy to carry. 
 
It is energy efficient, uses 240W on robust working mode and 120W on sleep mode 
 
It is quieter compared to other aircon units (52db) 
 
Cons
 
Although it does work as an air conditioner, it is too pricey for an average camper. 

BLACK+DECKER BPP06WTB

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Are you looking for a powerful yet quiet portable air conditioner? Then this 6000 BTU unit is the right unit to keep you cool the whole summer anywhere; home, office, or campsite.  

If you want a PAC that will give you a quiet night while cooling your environment then this unit is a perfect fit. 

It becomes extra quiet on its sleep mode, giving you the freedom to rest without been disturbed. 

This powerful unit will provide you with fast cooling for your space, it is effective for cooling rooms up to 250 Sq. Ft. Perfect for campers, cabins, or small rooms. 

Installation for this unit is quick and easy. Simply wheel it to the desired location or room and use the portable window kit adapter which is included in the package and lug it to an outlet 

Maintenance and cleaning of the unit is also amazingly easy. It also comes with a removable air filter. It has a remote control and has a 24-hour timer which gives you the power to control energy used by this unit. 

Though portable, you will still need a generator to have it operating at your camping site where there is no nearby utility power supply. 

This is a self-evaporating unit, so there is no need for you to drain the water whatsoever.  

It is also a dehumidifier which is small in design, so it does not take up much of your space. However, the noise levels rated for this unit are at 52 db. which is comparatively OK. This is quiet enough to keep your baby asleep comfortably.  

The power cord Is notably long 83 fit 0.5 inch to hello you plug in the socket without using a socket. 

Pros

self evaporating

powor full, 6000BTU can quickly cool down small roooms

quieter, 52db considered quieter

Cons

Is not reachargable, needs constant power such as generator

Expensive to run uses at 1050 watts to run

Mini Air Conditioner Fan

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

This is a great mini air conditioner and evaporator. Please note that this is not a real air conditioner and does not have any cooling capacity. It is is however best for cooling mini spaces like for one person when you put it your Desk. 

This unit is small in design making it the best for portability and very affordable. It runs off the battery which makes it wonderful to be used anywhere and best as personal tent air conditioner. 

This unit uses 4000mAh and the fan can run continuously up to 16 hrs. It can be used anywhere where there is no power supply. it supports Type-c charging meaning that you can connect it to the power bank or USB port of any lap and it is going to charge.  

For the battery to get fully charged, it will take up to 5 hours of charging. It has ultra-quiet function that can be used during sleep hours to help you sleep much better. It also has a 2-4hour timer function that can be utilized to automatically switch on and off modes even when you are sleeping. 

Something to note about this unit; 

  • It has a 500ML water tank 
  • Comes with 3 wind speeds 

Pros:  
Small and light weight, very portable 
 
When the air around your space is dry, this unit will add humidity to it. 
 
Provides with LED Light in the night. 
 
 
Cons 
This is not a true air conditioner. It works as an evaporator cooler that will only cool small space. 
Not suitable for use in RVs. 

SereneLife SLPAC

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

This is an actual portable air conditioner and if that is what you want then consider the Serene Life model. It has a simple upright design and can stand comfortably on it is on. The unit also comes with attachments for mounting if that is an option for you. 

You will need 120 power supply to power this unit. You may need to carry a 1000W generator that will provide 120 v for this unit.

This unit weights 43lbs and its cooling capacity is 12000BTU so it can provide cooling for up to 10 people comfortably. 

This portable unit has wheels for easy mobility to help you move it to any place it is needed. The fan and all the speeds can be controlled by that the remote control it comes with. 

This 12000 BTU portable conditioner is just as powerful as a window air conditioner, it can cool any room, and can cool them just within minutes. It has a built-in humidifier that brings about cool and dry air.

This is done by removing the moisture from the air. It removes 1.8 liters per hour, leaving your room more comfortable. 

Pros
More cooling power 12000 BTU 
 
Quieter operation, up to 55db 
 
cons 
A bit expensive to run, uses 1150W 
 
You should carry a generator

Whynter ARC-14

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

If you need a unit that will cool your room quickly, which is more efficient, then the duo hose whynter  portable unit is the best fit for you. This 14000 BTU unit will cool your room or space fast due to the duo hose operation. 

This unit is suitable for rooms up to 500 Sq. Ft. It is a 3 in one which works as a humidifier as well as a fan. The Whynter ARC-14 model also has an extended horse as compared to the others. This unit uses an eco-friendly 32 refrigerant. 


Pros:  
Energy efficient due to its duo hose operation 
Has a washable pre-filter 
 
Cons  
Does not come with the heating functionality 
It has a weight: 73 lbs. and gross weight: 100 lbs., heavy 
 
 
 
     
     

Honeywell 8,000 BTU

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Honeywell model will keep you cool all the time. It can cool down rooms up to 350 Sq. Ft. It is a small portable air conditioner meant to cool down smaller spaces. But if you want fast cooling, you must position it near the space or spot.  

It is an energy efficient unit compared to the whole house air conditioner because it will only cool down the room space that you need to be cooled. 

Apart from that, this 8000 BTU unit will offer you an easy and faster installation as it comes with both the window accessory kit and the adjustable window bracket. 

Not only that it has a washable filter which makes it easier for you to clean and maintain, protecting it from hair and dust. 

It has an easy-to-use interface, with three fan speeds. In addition to that, it has a 24hr hour energy saving timer that gives you control over 24 hours energy saving. 

Most notably, more additional features have been added to this version, namely, a dehumidifier which removes a claimed 24 pints/24hours and a fan has also been added. 

It is a self-evaporation portable air conditioner, meaning that you will not be inconvenienced by draining the water from this unit, which it does automatically. 

But note that, when you are using it as a dehumidifier, you will need to drain the water. However still, only in quiet high humidity rooms and it has duo drainage options for draining, giving you the flexibility. 

It is comparatively lighter than most other portable air cons. 

Pros
Works as an air con.


Cons
You have to carry generater.





MIDEA MAP14S1CWT

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

This portable unit is simple in design and comes with an intuitive LED display. It has also a compact remote control that you can use to set timers, change modes, and control temperatures. 

The MIDEA MAP14S1CWT model has a built in Wi-Fi and voice control functionality. This portable air conditioner enables you to connect to your smart phone and control it from anywhere.  

You can also set a schedule, and switch modes. You can control your portable ac using voice command. It is pairable with Alexa or with Google assistant. 

Customer Reviews and Scores 

The Midea MIDEA MAP14S1CWT is an ideal model for camping. It is a 3 in one unit, it works as a dehumidifier and as a fan as well. If you are looking for a portable aircon that does that job, then you will really love this model. 

At the time of writing this review, they were over 3K reviews and this model received average of 4.3. from out of possible 5 stars. 

I should also mention that the reviews rating on Amazon are on the positive side overall. But they were also points raised by customers who were not satisfied. “I found that the “washable and reusable air filter” was missing.” 

However, it seems that was an isolated issue as there is no other customer who raised a similar issue. Other customers posted” I love it one of the best things I invested in the whole entire year.” 

So that really makes me to recommend MIDEA MAP14S1CWT as well. 

Pros:

Comes with wheels for easy mobility.
The air filter is washable/reusable.

Cons:
Does not have ability to heat


Conclusion

A good portable air condition should be portable. It should be easy and convenient for you to carry your unit to and from your camping site or anywhere you want to take it. Portability should not be an issue. In this case, a portable air conditional should be smaller in nature and lightweight. 

Apart from that, you must look at how powerful it is. Your unit should be powerful enough to cool down the temperature in your tent. A powerful air conditioner will save your energy and will also last longer since it will not be running constantly to keep your environment cool. See a chart of the needed BTUs per Sq. Ft.. 

A good portable air conditioner should also be quiet. You do not want a noisy one that will disturb your sleep. A quiet air conditioner will help you sleep better. Ideally should look for something with noise levels not more than 60 decibels. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can you run a portable air conditioner Continuously?

Yes, it is possible to run your portable conditioner continuously. But you should keep in mind that running it continually will cost you electricity. Just as with any electrical appliances, running them for a long time increases the chance of getting worn out quickly 

Portable aircons are designed to automatically switch of the periodically just as the refrigerators are made.  

However, when you are not using it or when you are not around, its best to set timers to automatically switch on or switch off your unit. 

Do air conditioners work without a window?

A window is necessary if your PAC has an exhaust hose. It is needed for your system to function properly. However, if there is no window, you can still vent your hose through the wall or roof. 

What happens if you do not vent an airconditioner? 

Well, the portable air conditioner works by extracting heat from the air around you and disposing it through the vent. However, if you do not vent your air conditioner then you will not get any cooling that you would expect to get. 

Do air conditioners bring in fresh air from outside

No, Air conditioners do not bring in fresh air from the outside. That is because they are not designed to do so. This is how air conditioners work; they  draw air from your room, cool it by extracting heat from it) and then blow it back to your room. 

Is air conditioning exhaust harmful? 

No. air conditioning exhaust is not harmful. It is just air at a higher temperature. The air conditioning principle is like how your home refrigerator operates. So, air from the exhaust is just the heat that is extracted from air in your room. 

A window is necessary if your portable AC unit has an exhaust hose. It is needed for your system to function properly. However, if there is no window, you can still vent your hose through the wall or roof. 

What happens if you do not vent a PAC? 

Well, the portable air conditioner works by extracting heat from the air around you and disposing it through the vent. However, if you do not vent your air conditioner then you will not get any cooling that you would expect to get. 

Do air conditioners bring in fresh air from outside? 

No, Air conditioners do not bring in fresh air from the outside. That is because they are not designed to do so. This is how air conditioners work; they  draw air from your room, cool it by extracting heat from it) and then blow it back to your room. 

Is air conditioning exhaust harmful

No. air conditioning exhaust is not harmful. It is just air at a higher temperature. The air conditioning principle is like how your home refrigerator operates. So, air from the exhaust is just the heat that is extracted from air in your room.