Summer camping season can become incredibly hot inside a tent. However, 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. But, unfortunately, it’s never fun sleeping in a pool of sweat, which 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 most significant benefit of having a tent with an AC port is staying cool and sleeping better. Summer is a great season for camping, but it can also be boiling in your tent at night.
You won’t enjoy your camping trip if you’re up all night because of the heat, making you tired and cranky during the day.
Tents with air conditioning ports help make the most humid and horrible nights tolerable.
They give you a way to escape the mid-day heat.
They provide relief at night, but they also offer you comfort when the sun is strongest.
The coolest times during a hot heatwave 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, creating a nice cool place to relax or take a nap.
When purchasing the best tent with an AC port, what features to look for?
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 comes 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 allow .5 to 1 inch on each side to fit your device and adjust. This wiggle room will enable 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 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 among campers. Nylon fabric is lightweight and easy to use. But, this material is not UV or heat resistant, making it susceptible to damage in extreme heat.
On the other hand, polyester is more durable, easy to maintain, and affordable. In addition, this fabric isn’t very breathable, making it a good choice for a tent with an air conditioning unit.
It would help if you also considered the denier, 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 more substantial material. A higher denier also means the tent can withstand prolonged exposure to the sun.
Finally, consider coatings that will help with weatherproofing your tent. For example, nylon and polyester fabrics are often coated with a waterproofing spray, usually polyurethane (PU) or silicone. Polyurethane is the most common coating for tent fabric. It works well as a waterproof barrier and is 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, including a tarp that you can put on your tent on hot days. The tarp would have a shiny side that 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 purchase emergency blankets. These blankets also have a reflector on them. All you need to do is cover your tent and secure the sheet with clamps.
The Wenzel Klondike Tent for eight people includes a vent with an opening, 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. So you will need a 4 x 6 crate or something similar. Use this to keep the aircon unit off the ground and the wet floor.
The top of the AC port is the waterproof tent material. Stake the roof 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 98 square feet of interior space. This area can sleep five people, and the screen room with 60 square feet can sleep three more people.
You can use the attached screen room as a sun shelter, picnic room, or gear room to relax in. The entire 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 tent’s body, providing 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 three-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, providing convenient access to an electrical cord without unzipping the door.
You can run the electricity for the air conditioner inside the tent through a separate hole, which is more manageable 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 to 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.
- An oversized ground vent fits an air conditioner.
- Sets up in under 2 minutes with no assembly required
- Sleeps, 12 people
- 3-room tent
- Two-room dividers included
- Fully taped factory-sealed seams to keep moisture out and cool air inside
- Ten fully closable windows
- Three entry doors – 1 for each room
- Electrical cord access
- Rainfly included
- Carry bag included
- 17 tent stakes included (steel)
- Six 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, you can quickly turn it into an air-conditioned tent 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. Then, all you need to do is cut along the material and make a flap. You can do this by making three cuts in a ‘U’ shape along the bottom of the hub to make your own custom-made AC opening.
You can add some velcro or a zipper to create a simple AC opening if you’re good at stitching. Next, 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.
There is a mud mat, fully covered rainfly, and welded floor to keep you dry in wet weather, providing 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.
- you can use two rear lockers/vents 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 – it could collapse
- Challenging 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. In addition, 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 a 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
- It 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
- One 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. So this will not cause any issues.
The condenser on the outside of the AC is far enough from the tent’s fabric. Therefore, the likelihood of melting or heat causing damage is almost impossible.
Rips to the tent
If you are careful about tent material, you don’t need to worry about rips. Designers who add AC ports to the tent will use a high denier fabric for that port area. These ports use extra layers to avoid fraying.
Rain is 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 to 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. However, you don’t want all your efforts to maintain a cool tent wasted.
Not being able to seal the indoor unit of the air conditioner fully
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 by using 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 than buying a tent.
If you have a window-type air conditioning unit, you must prepare a stand or create one that should go about 10 to 12 inches above the ground and hold your AC unit.
The stand must allow your AC’s outdoor unit to breathe. 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, you might need to invest in a small portable generator, which 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 and 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. For example, tents with air conditioning opens are usually found at the rear of the tent and raised a foot or so, allowing 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 to use a portable AC, you need an adjustable AC port. You can then fasten the exhaust hose through the opening without any gaps, which will ensure the unit cools the area.
You also need to give your AC unit more attention during use. For example, you will need to drain the reservoir frequently on a humid day because 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 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. Then, mark the part you plan to connect your zipper or velcro onto.
It’s important to layer the location with fabric adhesive before sewing, which will prevent the tent’s cloth from fraying when you begin stitching. Then, after spreading some fabric glue, you are ready to sew the zipper or velcro onto the cut-out, which 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 good to include a mesh fabric or netting around the port to keep out insects, which will also secure the indoor system within the tent.
The tent with the AC port you choose will depend on your preference. Also, the size of the group and the nature of your camping trip. AC always remembers it’s not an exact science when setting up your tent camping. Setup will involve trial and error to find the best design for your camping needs.
If I had to pick my favorite choice from those above, I would go with the Wenzel Klondike Tent for eight people. First, you can set up a window air conditioner at the back of the tent. Then, it would help if you placed 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 straight inside the tent. In addition, 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. This year, avoid hot and stuffy weather by investing in a tent air conditioner. This will help keep you cool and comfortable throughout your camping trip.