There is nothing like heading for the great outdoors and going on a camping trip. Exploring the wilderness during the day, and sitting around the campfire eating s’mores at night!
And no time is better for camping than summertime - when the days are warm and long, and the weather is hopefully on your side.
But that hot weather has a downside - a hot, sweaty tent.
There is nothing worse than having a good night’s sleep disturbed by hot, humid temperatures, and if you’re camping with a large family or friend group then it sometimes feels like there is no air in your tent at all.
Not only does a hot tent lead to a bad night’s sleep and irritable campers, but overheating and dehydration are extremely dangerous.
But there is a solution! Many tents now have air conditioning ports to help combat humid, uncomfortable camping experiences. But how do you choose?
Below are the five best tents with air conditioning ports to help you make your decision.
If you are completely new to camping or have never used an AC unit in your tent before, we also have a handy buyer’s guide and FAQs to answer your burning questions.
OUR TOP PICK
If you are heading out on a big family camping trip or camping with a large group of friends then the Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent is ideal.
Measuring 16 feet by 11 feet and with a 98 square feet interior space, this area can sleep up to five people. While the screen room measures 60 feet and can sleep another 3 people.
This tent includes a vent with an opening at the rear, so a perfect place for a window air conditioner.
The base of the AC port stands 10 inches off the ground. To avoid water damage, place the port on a 4x6 create or something similar as the base is not waterproof.
However, the top of the AC port is made from the tent material and is waterproof. Stake the gable over the AC during harsh weather conditions to protect it from the elements.
It’s worth noting that further protection may be needed in especially wet weather.
Speaking of protection, the inside of the AC port has netting to keep mosquitos and other pesky bugs out.
The full mesh roof and two mesh windows keep bugs out while keeping the breeze in. Using the air conditioning unit, you can add the removable rainfly to keep the tent nice and cool.
Further protection can be found in the double-stitched, lap-felled seams in the body of the tent.
They not only provide a shingle effect against water but keep the cool or warm air away from the air conditioner.
The attached screen room is spacious and multi-purpose. It’s a perfect place to shelter from the sun, enjoy a picnic, or just relax after a busy day in the great outdoors.
- Rear vent to place air conditioning unit - No need to worry about finding a safe place for your air conditioning unit to go. The rear vent is there and waiting for you allowing a simple and safe set-up.
- Spacious - With a floor size of 11 feet by 16 feet, a main room with an area of 98 square feet, and a screen room with an area of 60 square feet this tent is spacious as well as cool.
- Two doors and six windows - Lets the sunlight in and offers ample views of your surroundings.
- Shock-corded fiberglass roof frame with steel uprights and corner elbows combined with pin and ring for easy setup - These handy features eliminate one of the most stressful aspects of camping - setting your tent up.
- Mesh roof vents - The mesh material protects you from bugs while the vents allow the cool air in. Win-win!
- Not suitable for adverse weather - While the top of the AC port is waterproof, this tent may not be suitable to use in places that experience severe wind and rain.
- Light material - Lighter material means less durability, especially in harsh conditions as mentioned above.
- Zippers are not of great quality - The zippers are not suitable for bad weather either. There is no protective layer over most of the zippers so on wet days rain can leak through the zipper teeth.
With 3 rooms, this innovative Y-shaped tent can fit three queen airbeds or 12 sleeping bags. Perfect for a large camping trip!
There are also eight large windows that offer panoramic views of your surroundings.
As well as having an oversized ground vent to fit an air conditioner, this tent also comes with an electrical port.
No need to unzip the tent door, as this port provides easy and convenient access for electrical cords.
Also, instead of trying to run an electrical cord through the same port as the air conditioner, you can run it inside the tent through a separate hole.
This makes using electrical appliances a lot easier and hassle-free.
Ease of use is the name of the game with this tent. You don’t even have to assemble the tent because of its pre-attached poles. All you need to do is unfold and extend.
Its large size also makes the tent simple to move around in, and the three separate doors make this even simpler.
You can also stay organized with all of your belongings thanks to the six-gear pockets.
The removable room dividers also make this tent extremely versatile. The screen room can be used as a bedroom, or a place to escape from the bugs!
- Oversized ground vent - This gives you ample room to store an air conditioner.
- No assembly required - Stress no more about setting up your tent! This tent does it for you in under 2 minutes.
- Fully taped factory-sealed seams - These keep out moisture while keeping cool air inside.
- Multiple windows and doors - With 10 fully closable windows and 3 entry doors (one for each room), this tent lets in daylight and offers privacy.
- Electrical cord access - Easy electrical cord access means you do not have to run any cords outside the tent.
- Not suitable for windy weather - May not be suitable for use in places that experience adverse weather.
- Light fabric - The light fabric is less durable.
- May take longer than advertised to set up - While there is no assembly required for this tent it may take longer than 2 minutes to fully set up.
The Wenzel Kodiak Tent can sleep up to 9 people, has 2 rooms, and has a 7-foot center height. The area is 168 square feet.
The tent is straight-walled with a large mesh Dutch ‘D’ door and two bay and two picture windows.
While this tent does not have an AC port, it can easily be transformed into an air-conditioned tent.
This is because of the two external storage hubs you can access from outside the tent.
To turn one or both of these hubs into an AC port all you need to do is cut along the material to make a flap.
You can do this by making 3 ‘U’ shaped cuts along the bottom of the hub to create your own AC opening. You can also add velcro and zippers if you wish.
To protect yourself from the elements and stay cool, slide the air conditioner under the top of the storage port.
There is a mud mat, a fully covered rainfly, and a welded floor to keep you dry during wet weather. This also provides insulation to keep cool air inside.
While the tent is large it’s easy to set up. The tent has central hubs that connect the roof to steel uprights and a simple-to-use pin and ring system.
- Two rear locks/vents can be used to put in the air conditioner - While the tent does not come with an AC port ready to go, the rear locks and vents make it easy for one to be installed.
- Spacious - With a comfortable walk-in, a floor size of 14 feet x 14 feet, a floor area of 164 square feet, and a peak height of 86 inches, this tent is roomy and spacious.
- Sewn-in divider curtain with ‘I’ zipper - You can use this zipper to create separate rooms and have extra privacy.
- Mud mat at the front door - This helps to keep the inside of the tent clean and dry.
- Pre-attached guy ropes - These pre-attached ropes give the tent more stability.
- Not suitable for extreme weather - May be unsuitable for use in places that experience extreme weather.
- Not enough support structure - Despite the pre-attached guy ropes, this tent lacks a support structure and poles. It could be prone to collapse.
- Difficult to store - This tent may be difficult to put in its storage bag once dismantled.
The Core Cabin Tent with Screen Room has a center height of 86 inches, has a large floor plan, and can sleep up to 11 people.
It can fit 3 queen-sized air mattresses and a front screen room that can be used as a sleeping space.
It also has closable windows and full tent floor coverage so you can feel cozy and protected.
The tent has a handy ground vent for you to put your air conditioner in.
Also, if you’re concerned about items getting lost, you can store them easily using the gear loft with a lantern hook.
As well as an air conditioning port, this tent comes with an electrical cord access port too. This safe electrical port is fully closable when not in use.
- Ground vents that fit your air conditioner - A handy vent for you to store your air conditioner in a safe place.
- Fits 3 queen-sized air mattresses - This large tent gives you plenty of room to sleep comfortably.
- Gear loft with lantern hook and pockets - Plenty of handy storage solutions to prevent items from getting lost.
- Electrical cord access port - Allowing you to use electrical appliances safely and easily.
- Extra features included - This tent comes with tent poles, a rainfly, a gear loft, tent stakes, and an expandable carry bag.
- Not suitable for heavy rain - The light material is less durable and not suitable for bad weather.
- Zippers not great quality - The zippers on the tent are prone to get stuck and can be difficult to use.
Whether you’re camping by yourself or with a partner, the Bushnell Shield Cabin Tent is perfect for smaller groups, but is also available in larger sizes.
The maximum size sleeps up to 12 people. As well as being well-constructed and durable, it’s also one of the smallest tents with an AC port.
You can also use it in practically all weather, as it provides sun protection, wind protection, and is also waterproof if you get caught in the rain!
As well as having an AC port, it has plenty of other features to keep you cool, comfortable, and protected in hot weather.
It uses heat shield technology - a reflective coating on the underside of the rainfly. It blocks out the sun’s UV rays which keeps the tent cool and reduces brightness.
This tent doesn’t just protect you from hot weather though.
The tent has brilliant weather shielding features such as water-repellant fabric, a tub floor, and fully taped waterproof seams to protect you from heavy rain.
Meanwhile, its sturdy frame and heavy-duty tie-downs help it to withstand strong winds.
- Excellent ventilation - Keeps you cool and comfortable in warm, humid temperatures.
- Quick to assemble - This tent is quick and easy to assemble. The most time-consuming job is adding and removing the rain shield.
- Suitable for all-weather - The AC port and heat shield technology will keep you cool and safe in hot weather, while the water-repellent fabric will keep you safe from the rain.
- Useful carry bag - Comes with a carry bag with expandable zip to easily dismantle the tent.
- Issues with Zippers - Zippers are prone to get stuck and the large side panels on the tent do not zip all the way around.
Best tents with air conditioning ports - AC Access Buying Guide
As you have seen in the products reviewed, there are plenty of things to consider when buying a tent with an AC port.
While nearly all of these tents have ports you can easily slot an air conditioner into, this doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready to go.
There are also other things to consider including the size of the air-conditioner, the material of your tent, and insulation.
Before you buy, check out our handy guide below to prevent future stress!
It’s important to make sure that the AC opening is the right size or can be easily adjusted.
Firstly, 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 of 16 inches.
However, larger AC units may not be the best for camping. A compact air conditioning unit is more convenient to travel with and easy to carry.
AC port sizes usually provide 0.5 to 1 inch of space to fit your device and adjust. This wiggle room not only allows easier installation but it avoids any damage to your tent in the process.
Gaps will let in hot air and you will be unable to cool your tent.
These gaps will need to be sealed before the AC is turned on. Some tents have an elastic band or mesh to seal in your cooling unit.
Nylon and polyester are the most popular types of tent among campers and it’s easy to see why. Nylon fabric is lightweight and easy to use, while polyester is affordable, durable, and easy to take care of.
But Nylon fabric is not UV or heat resistant which makes it susceptible to heat damage, while polyester is not very breathable. This makes these materials ideal for a tent with an air conditioning unit.
Denier is also important to consider. This is the standard unit of measurement for tent fabric.
The denier is determined by the weight and thickness of the threads used in the tent fabric.
A higher denier count means thicker and stronger material, and it also means the tent can withstand prolonged exposure to the sun.
You should also consider coatings that weatherproof your tent, such as nylon and polyester fabrics. These are usually coated with a waterproofing spray.
The most common coating for tent fabric is Polyurethane (PU). This works well as a waterproof barrier and is more affordable than another commonly used coating, silicone.
Insulation is Key
No tent can ever be perfectly insulated from the forces of nature, but insulation is incredibly important, especially to how effective an air-conditioned tent can be.
Using these items below will make a noticeable difference to the insulation of your tent.
Normally, your tent will come with an extra insulation cover. This may be a tarp that you can put on your tent during warm days.
The tarp will keep the heat away from the tent instead of being absorbed. The shiny side of the tarp should be placed on the tent facing outwards and this will reflect sunlight.
Some tents do not come with a tarp but there are other options. If your tent does not have a tarp then an emergency blanket will do the trick.
These blankets also have reflectors on them. Just cover your tent with the blanket and secure the sheet with clamps to help keep your tent cool.
Pool noodles are also a great, affordable way to insulate and block out small leaks in your tent, as small openings can have a big impact on your air-conditioned tent working properly.
Duct tape is also an effective insulator to block leaks and also hold together any other insulating materials you may be using. Simply use the duct tape to tightly seal around the AC port and any other openings where air can escape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to use an air-conditioner in a tent?
It is natural to be concerned that using a heavy-duty electrical appliance in a lightweight tent could cause the fabric to burn or melt.
But there is no need to be alarmed. As the AC unit is above the ground, only the cooling unit will come in contact with the fabric.
The condenser on the outside of the AC is far enough from the fabric that the chances of the fabric melting or burning are almost zero.
Will an air-conditioner rip the fabric of the tent?
Designers of tents with AC ports use high denier fabric on that part of the tent. These ports use extra layers of fabric to avoid fraying. If you handle the tent and install your air-conditioner with care, there should be no damage to the fabric.
Could rain damage the air-conditioner in a tent?
Rain won’t be an issue with a fly trap. It will keep the AC’s outdoor unit safe from the elements and completely seal the port when not in use.
Will mesh ceilings let out cool air?
It’s worth bearing in mind that many 3 season tents have a mesh ceiling, this is so hot air can escape on summer days. However, this does create a problem when using an air-conditioner in your tent.
One solution is to put an extra layer between the mesh ceiling and the rain fly so cool air doesn’t escape.
How do I seal the indoor unit of my air-conditioner?
This question is often asked by campers. Most AC ports have some wiggle room to accommodate the frame of your AC unit. But most of the time this gap is left unfilled.
Many people choose to fill this gap with a cloth or tent fabric, but some companies have updated and improved their designs.
Using mesh, zippers, and velcro they have been able to get rid of the problems with gapping while not affecting the size of the ports.
How do I install an air-conditioner in my tent?
Believe it or not, setting up your air-conditioner is easier than buying a tent!
Portable air conditioning units are the easiest to install. All you need to do is place the exhaust hose out of our tent and you’re ready to go.
If you have a window-type air conditioning unit, you will need to prepare a stand or a crate. This should be able to support your AC unit and stand about 10 to 12 inches above the ground.
It’s important your stand allows your AC unit to breathe. If the outdoor unit is sealed off, the heat generated from the condenser could cause a fire.
As we have already discussed, there is no need to worry about an AC Unit catching fire though. They are designed for hot air to escape through the exhaust hose, and the intake cools the unit down while turned on.
How do you cool a tent with electricity?
Another important thing to consider is a power source. After all, without one, you will be unable to use your AC unit. Most campsite or parks have electrical outlets you can use to power your air-conditioning.
A good tip is to use an adapter that can convert an AC unit plug to a universal connector that will fit their sockets.
However, if you are camping in the middle of nowhere with no electricity at all, then it might be useful to invest in a small, portable generator.
This should be able to handle your AC Unit’s BTU. A good guide is that a 5,000 BTU air conditioning unit will work with a 4,000 Watt portable generator.
How do I install the AC unit on my tent?
It’s worth noting that most camping AC units have different structures and therefore need to be installed differently.
However, tents with air conditioning opens are usually at the rear of the tent and are raised about a foot or so. This is so you can place the AC on top of a stool or box and cool air can circulate the tent more effectively.
You will need an adjustable AC port if you’re planning to use a portable AC.
Fasten the exhaust hose through the opening without any gaps, and your tent will be nice and cool in no time!
It is important to keep an eye on your AC unit when it is in use, particularly on a humid day. The reservoir will fill up quickly due to condensation, so you must drain it regularly to prevent this.
Can I make an AC port in my tent myself?
Yes, you can!
If you’re already the owner of a perfectly good tent, you can certainly give it a cool, DIY upgrade.
If you’re into sewing, just grab your sewing kit, zippers or velcro straps, and fabric adhesive. Measure the dimensions of the port according to what AC unit you’re using, and 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 is to prevent the tent’s cloth from fraying when you begin stitching.
Spread some fabric glue, and then you’re ready to sew the zipper or velcro onto the cut-out.
If sewing is not your thing, however, there is still an easy way for you to enjoy a nice, cool tent. You can use a ‘no-sew’ adhesive to fix your zipper or velcro.
Make sure you measure everything before cutting and follow the above steps. To keep out bugs, use a mesh fabric or netting around the port.