Summer camping season can become incredibly hot inside a tent. The best tents with air conditioning ports can help to make the hottest day more bearable.
It might be hard to find a way to cool off, especially if you aren’t near a watering hole. I know how horrible excruciating summer weather can be. I’d much rather be cool and comfortable. It’s never fun sleeping in a pool of sweat. This is why an aircon can be helpful.
In this article, we’re going to review the following best tents with AC ports:
- Wenzel Klondike Tent – 8 Person
- Ozark Trail 3 Room Instant Cabin – 12 Person
- Wenzel Kodiak Tent – 9 Person
- Core Cabin Tent With Screen Room – 11 Person
What are the benefits of having a tent with an AC port?
They allow you to have a better night’s sleep
The biggest benefit of having a tent with an AC port is that you can stay cool and sleep better. Summer is a great season for camping, but it can also be extremely hot in your tent at night.
If you’re up all night because of the heat, you won’t enjoy your camping trip. This will also make you tired and cranky during the day.
Tents with air conditioning ports help to make the most humid and horrible nights tolerable.
They give you a way to escape the mid-day heat
Not only do they provide relief at night, but also provide you relief when the sun is strongest.
During a hot heatwave, the coolest times are in the early mornings and late evenings. These are the best times for hiking, fishing, or even a canoeing adventure.
But the middle of the day from noon to 4 pm can be seriously hot. So if you are camping and the heat is too much to bear, you can get in your tent and turn up the AC. This creates a nice cool place to relax or take a nap.
What features to look for when purchasing the best tent with an AC port?
Make sure the air con opening has the right size or can be adjusted
Before you buy a tent with an AC port, find out the type and size of your air-conditioning unit. For example, the framing of window units of a 5,000 BTU come in standard size bunches by 16 inches. But, larger units may not be ideal for camping. It’s easier to have everything compact and more convenient to carry.
The AC port sizes usually provide an allowance of .5 to 1 inch on each side to fit your device and adjust. This wiggle room allows you to move your unit in with ease. You don’t want to worry about ripping your tent during this process.
Other tent models have an elastic band or mesh sheet to seal in your cooling unit. You will need to seal in the gaps before turning on your AC. These gaps will let hot air in and you won’t be able to cool your tent.
Check the quality of the fabric
Nylon and polyester are the most popular type of tent fabrics with campers. Nylon fabric is lightweight and easy to use. But, this material is not UV or heat resistant which makes it susceptible to damage in extreme heat.
Polyester, on the other hand, is more durable, easy to maintain, and affordable. This fabric isn’t very breathable, which makes it a good choice for a tent with an air conditioning unit.
You should also consider the denier. This is the standard unit of measurement for tent fabric. It asses the weight and thickness of the threads used in the tent fabric. A higher denier count means thicker and stronger material. A higher denier also means the tent is able to withstand prolonged exposure to the sun.
Finally, consider coatings that will help with weatherproofing your tent. Nylon and polyester fabrics are often coated with a waterproofing spray.
This is usually polyurethane (PU) or silicone. Polyurethane is the most common coating for tent fabric. It works well as a waterproof barrier and is also more affordable than silicone.
Look for a tent with an AC port that has better insulation
Your tent will usually come with an extra insulation cover. This might include a tarp that you can put on your tent during hot days. The tarp would have a shiny side which faces outwards. Use this to reflect sunlight from the tarp. It will help keep the heat off the tent instead of being absorbed.
If the tent you buy doesn’t have this cover, there are other solutions. You can buy emergency blankets. These blankets also have a reflector on them. All you need to do is cover your tent with it and secure the sheet with clamps.
The Wenzel Klondike Tent for 8 people includes a vent with an opening. This is the perfect place for a window air conditioner at the rear of the tent.
The base of the AC port is 10 inches off the ground. You will need a 4 x 6 crate or something similar. Use this to keep the aircon unit off the ground and off the wet floor.
The top of the AC port is the tent material which is waterproof. Stake the gable over the AC to keep it safe from the elements. You may want to consider further protection, especially in wet weather. The inside of the AC port has netting to keep mosquitos out.
The tent measures 16-feet by 11-feet and have a 98 square feet interior space. This area can sleep five people and the screen room with 60 square feet can sleep 3 more people.
You can use the attached screen room like a sun shelter, picnic room, or gear room to relax in. The full mesh roof and two mesh windows keep bugs out and let the breeze in. When using an air conditioning unit, you can add the removable rainfly to keep cool air inside.
There are double-stitched, lap-felled seams throughout the body of the tent. This provides a shingle effect against water. It also helps keep cool air from the air conditioner.
- Rear vent to place air conditioning unit
- Floor size 11 ft by 16 ft
- Floor area 98 square feet (main room) and 60 square feet (screen room)
- Peak height 78 inches
- Canopy/ fly – polyester with 600 mm PU coating
- Floor – welded polyethylene
- Doors – 2
- Windows – 6
- Convertible screen room with inverted ‘T’ style door and inside flap zippered windows
- Removable seam-sealed fly
- Mesh roof vents
- 2-zippered side windows with inside flaps
- Shock-corded fiberglass roof frame with steel uprights and corner elbows combined with pin and ring for easy setup
- Not for severe wind or rain
- Lighter material is less durable
- Zippers could be better quality
The innovative Y-shaped Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Tent is a 3 room tent for 12 people. This tent fits three queen airbeds or up to 12 campers in sleeping bags on the floor.
It has an oversized ground vent that also fits an air conditioner. It also has an electrical port. This provides convenient access for an electrical cord without unzipping the door.
You can run the electricity for the air conditioner inside the tent through a separate hole. This is easier than trying to run it through the same port for the air conditioner.
This tent requires no assembly because poles are pre-attached to the tent. Simply unfold and extend. There are three separate doors. They allow for easy access into nature from three rooms.
There are eight large windows – great for panoramic views. There are also six gear pockets to help you stay organized. Removable room dividers allow you to use the screen room as a bedroom or a bug-free front porch.
- Oversized ground vent fits an air conditioner
- Sets up in under 2 minutes with no assembly required
- Sleeps, 12 people
- 3-room tent
- 2 room dividers included
- Fully taped factory-sealed seams to keep moisture out and cool air inside
- 10 fully closable windows
- 3 entry doors – 1 for each room
- Electrical cord access
- Rainfly included
- Carry bag included
- 17 tent stakes included (steel)
- 6 gear organizer pockets
- Construction – polyester and steel
- Not ideal in windy weather
- The lighter fabric is less durable
- It may take longer than advertised to setup
The Wenzel Kodiak Tent sleeps up to 9 people. While this tent doesn’t technically have an AC port, it can be turned into an air-conditioned tent easily. This is because it has two external storage hubs that you can access from inside the tent.
You can turn one or both of these hubs into an AC port. All you need to do is cut along the material and make a flap. You can do this by making 3 cuts in a ‘U’ shape along the bottom of the hub to make your own custom-made AC opening.
If you’re good at stitching, you can add some velcro or a zipper to create a simple AC opening. Slide the air conditioner under the top of the storage port. You will have protection from the elements while staying cool inside.
This tent offers a comfortable walk-in, 2-room, straight-walled, and 168 square feet of area. It can sleep up to 9 people comfortably. It has a 7-foot center height and a large mesh Dutch ‘D’ door with two bay and two picture windows.
In wet weather, there is a mud mat, fully covered rainfly, and welded floor to keep you dry. This also provides more insulation for keeping cool air-conditioned air inside.
This tent is easy to set up for a large tent. It has central hubs that connect the roof to steel uprights. There is also a simple-to-use pin and ring system.
- Two rear lockers/vents can be used to put the air conditioner
- Floor size 14 ft x 14 ft
- Floor area – 164 square feet
- Peak height 86 inches
- Canopy/Fly – polyester with 600 mm PU coating
- Floor – welded polyethylene
- Doors – 1
- Windows – 4
- ‘D’ style door with inside flap zippered window
- Removable seam-sealed fly
- Triangle-shaped bay windows
- Corded steel frame with molded corner hubs
- Sewn-in divider curtain with ‘l’ zipper creates separate rooms
- Mud mat at the front door to keep the tent clean
- Pre-attached guy ropes for more stability
- Not for very windy weather
- The tent could use more support structure and poles – could collapse
- Difficult to put back in the storage bag
The Core Cabin Tent With Screen Room sleeps, 11 people. It has a large floor plan making it feel like a home away from home. This tent has handy ground vents that allow you to fit your air conditioner.
The tent fits three queen air mattresses with a center height of 86’’. There is also a front screen room that you can use as a sleeping space. It also has closable window panels and full tent floor coverage. Also, a gear loft with lantern hook and pockets to store items.
There is an electrical cord access port too. This port is fully closable when not in use.
- Ground vents that fit your air conditioner
- Sleeps, 11 people
- Fits three queen air mattresses
- Center height – 86’’
- Front screen room with closable window panels and
- Full tent floor coverage
- Gear loft with lantern hook and pockets
- Electrical cord access port
- Includes tent, tent poles, rainfly, gear loft, tent stakes, expandable carry bag
- 1 year limited warranty
- Not for heavy rain
- Light material is less resilient
- Zippers could be better quality
What problems and concerns do people have with tents with AC ports?
Worry about overheating from electrical use
Many people worry that a heavy-duty electrical device in a lightweight tent could cause the fabric to melt. But, since the AC unit is above the ground, only the cooling unit will touch the tent’s fabric. This will not cause any issues.
The condenser on the outside of the AC is far enough from the tent’s fabric. The likelihood of melting or heat causing damage is almost impossible.
Rips to the tent
If you are careful about tent material, then you don’t need to worry about rips. Designers who add AC ports to the tent will use a high denier fabric to that area of the port. These ports use extra layers to avoid fraying.
Rain getting to the AC unit
With a fly trap installed, rain won’t be an issue. The trap will keep rain and other elements off the AC’s outdoor unit and completely seal the port when not in use.
Mesh ceilings letting cool air escape
Keep in mind that many 3 season tents have a mesh ceiling. They were designed like this so they can let hot air escape during hot summer days. Yet, this becomes a problem when using an air conditioner.
The cool air escapes out the mesh ceiling. Keep this in mind when buying a tent with an open mesh ceiling.
One solution is to put an extra tarp layer between the mesh and the rain fly so that the cool air doesn’t escape. You don’t want all your efforts to maintain a cool tent wasted.
Not being able to fully seal the indoor unit of the air conditioner
Most AC ports have an allowance to accommodate the frame of your AC unit. This gap is often left unfilled. It causes a source of discussion among users.
Many choose to seal the gap with a cloth or tent fabric. Other people are more creative with their approach. Some companies have thought of a few ways to improve the design. This is by using a mesh, zippers, and velcro to solve the issue without reducing the current size.
Consider other gear you might need for the AC system
Setting up your air conditioning system is a much easier process compared to buying a tent.
If you have a window-type air conditioning unit, you will need to prepare a stand or create. This should go about 10 to 12 inches above the ground and can hold your AC unit.
It’s important the stand allows your AC’s outdoor unit to brief. If the outdoor unit is sealed off, the heat generated from the condenser can cause a fire.
Portable air conditioning units are much easier to install. Place the exhaust hose out of your tent and you’re ready to go.
Can portable AC cause fire? Don’t worry about your condenser causing a fire. The design of these units allows hot air to escape through the exhaust hose. The intake cools the unit down while turned on.
How do you cool a tent with electricity?
You also need to consider a power source. Without a power source, there is no way you could use your AC unit. Most campsites or parks have electrical outlets. You can directly plug your AC unit into them. Consider adapters that can convert your AC unit plug to a universal connector that will fit their sockets.
If you’re camping out in the wild, then you might need to invest in a small portable generator. This should be capable of handling your AC unit’s BTU. Keep in mind that for a 5,000 BTU air conditioning unit, a basic 4,0000 Watt portable generator will work.
Once you have everything in place, you can plug in your AC enjoy the cool comfort of your tent.
How to install the AC unit on your tent?
Most camping AC units will have different structures and installation procedures. Tents with air conditioning opens are usually found at the rear of the tent and raised a foot or so.
This allows you to put the AC on top of a stool or box and circulate the cool air around the tent more effectively.
If you’re planning on using a portable AC, then you need an adjustable AC port. You can then fasten the exhaust hose through the opening without any gaps. This will ensure the unit cools the area.
You also need to give your AC unit more attention during use. For example, on a humid day, you will need to drain the reservoir frequently. It will fill up fast due to condensation.
–> If you are looking for an air conditioner for your tent, find our reviews of the best tent air conditioners for camping here.
Should you consider a DIY solution?
Maybe you already bought a tent that doesn’t have an AC hole. You can definitely change your existing tent by using a few household items.
There are two ways to produce your own tent AC port:
Method #1 – Sewing: If you are good at sewing, all you need is your sewing kit, zippers or velcro strips, and fabric adhesive. All you need to do is measure the dimension of the port according to the AC system you are using. Mark the part you plan to connect your zipper or velcro onto.
It’s important to layer the location with fabric adhesive before sewing. This will prevent the tent’s cloth from fraying when you begin stitching. After spreading some fabric glue, you are ready to sew the zipper or velcro onto the cut-out. This will work as a resealable flap of your AC port.
Method #2 – No Sewing: If you’re not good at sewing, you can also use a ‘no-sew adhesive to fix your zipper or velcro. Follow the above steps to make sure to measure everything right before cutting. It’s a good idea to include a mesh fabric or netting around the port to keep out insects. This will also secure the indoor system within the tent.
The tent with the AC port you choose will depend on your personal preference. Also, the size of the group and the nature of your camping trip. When setting up your tent camping AC always remember it’s not an exact science. Setup will involve some trial and error to find the best setup for your camping needs.
If I had to pick my favorite choice from those above, I would go with the Wenzel Klondike Tent for 8 people. You can set up a window air conditioner at the back of the tent. All you need to do is place it on a crate to lift it off the ground.
The generous interior space of 98 square feet and 6.5 feet of headroom allows you to stand up straight inside the tent. You can enjoy the attached screen room like a sun shelter, picnic room, or a gear room to relax in. The tent also has a high level of insulation which is ideal for keeping in cool air.
Summer is one of the best seasons to go camping and there is no reason to be uncomfortable. Avoid hot and stuffy weather this year by investing in a tent air conditioner. This will help keep you cool and comfortable throughout your camping trip.