portable air conditioner for camping

Beat the Heat: The Best Mini Portable AC Units for Camping

You’ve been looking forward to summer camping all year long. The fresh air, the starry skies, the campfire stories – it’s going to be amazing. But then you remember the unbearable heat you dealt with last year. Sweat dripping down your back, restless nights in your stuffy tent. Ugh! Not again this year! Don’t let another hot summer camping trip go to waste. We’ve got the inside scoop on the best mini portable AC units for camping this season. These compact cooling gadgets will keep your tent nice and chill so you can actually enjoy the outdoors. In this article, we’ll go over top-rated mini ACs that won’t cramp your camping style or break the bank. Read on for our picks to beat the heat on your next camping adventure!

Why You Need a Portable AC for Camping This Summer

Beat the heat

When you’re camping in the hot summer months, a portable AC unit can be a lifesaver. The sweltering temperatures inside your tent or camper can make it difficult to sleep and generally sap your energy during the day. A compact AC unit will allow you to cool your personal space so you can enjoy your camping trip in comfort.

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Convenience and portability

The best portable ACs for camping are small, lightweight, and easy to transport. Look for a unit that is self-contained, with a small footprint, wheels for moving it around, and a handle for carrying. Some can even run on battery power for a limited time so you have flexibility in where you place the unit. Being able to move the AC and place it where you need cooling the most, whether in your tent, camper, or outside under an awning, gives you maximum convenience.

Power options

For most portable AC units, you’ll need an electrical power source, like a generator or campsite hookup. But battery-powered options are good for temporary, on-the-go cooling. Some units can plug into a 12V car charger or USB port. The power requirements will depend on the size and power of the AC unit, so check the specifications to make sure your power source can handle it. With the right power options, a portable AC lets you stay cool wherever your campsite adventures take you.


Compact portable ACs designed for camping are relatively affordable, ranging from $50 up to $500 for a large, high-powered unit. At the lower end of the price spectrum, you’ll get a small, basic AC that runs on battery power and is best suited for one person. The higher-end models, while more expensive, will keep a large tent or camper comfortably cool and can run on AC or battery power for maximum flexibility. For most campers, an AC in the $200 to $350 range hits the sweet spot of good cooling power, portability, and affordable price.

Top 5 Mini Portable Air Conditioners for Camping

Black + Decker BPACT14WT Portable Air Conditioner

This popular portable AC unit is compact, lightweight and perfect for tent camping. At only 50 pounds, it’s easy to transport and the built-in wheels make it a breeze to move around. With 14,000 BTUs of cooling power, it can chill areas up to 350 square feet. The eco-friendly R410A refrigerant and energy saving mode help lower your carbon footprint while camping.

NewAir AC-10100E Ultra Compact Portable Air Conditioner

Weighing in at only 28 pounds, this is one of the lightest and most portable AC units out there. Don’t let the small size fool you though, it can still pump out 10,000 BTUs to cool rooms up to 300 square feet. The built-in dehumidifier removes up to 50 pints of moisture per day, perfect for damp, humid campsites. With three fan speeds, a programmable 24-hour timer and remote control, you’re in complete control of the temperature inside your tent.

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

For larger tents or campers, the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS is a great choice. Its 12,000 BTUs can cool spaces up to 400 square feet so you and your fellow campers can beat the heat in comfort. Unlike single hose units, the dual hose system is more efficient and environmentally friendly. An additional drain hose allows for continuous drainage, while the washable pre-filter and activated carbon filter keep the air clean and fresh.

Zero Breeze Z19CB Portable Air Conditioner

Weighing only 19 pounds, the aptly named Zero Breeze Z19CB just might be the most portable AC unit for camping. But don’t let its small size deceive you, it can still pump out a surprising 10,000 BTUs to cool areas up to 250 square feet. The rechargeable battery provides up to 5 hours of cordless cooling, allowing true off-grid comfort. For eco-friendly camping, its R134a refrigerant has a low global warming potential. A fantastic choice for small tents, campers and RVs.

Costway Portable Air Conditioner, 8000 BTU

For an affordable, no-frills option, the Costway 8000 BTU portable AC unit gets the job done. At 6000 BTUs, it’s best suited for cooling small spaces up to 150 square feet, perfect for a small camping tent. The LED digital display, 24-hour timer and remote control provide convenient control over temperature and fan settings. An environmentally-friendly R410A refrigerant and reusable filters make this an eco-conscious pick for budget campers. Lightweight, compact

How to Choose the Best Mini Portable AC for Your Needs

When shopping for a mini portable AC unit, consider how much cooling power you need and what features are most important to you. ###Size For camping, a smaller unit around 5,000 to 8,000 BTU will cool a small tent or camper efficiently without taking up too much space. Larger 10,000 to 14,000 BTU models can handle bigger areas but may be too bulky for some. Think about how many people will be using the AC and how much interior space needs cooling.

Noise level

Since you’ll be in close proximity to the AC, look for a model advertised as “low noise” or with a decibel rating less than 50 dB. Some ultra-quiet mini portable ACs are as low as 40 dB, which is about as loud as a quiet library. A louder AC can disturb your sleep and relaxation.

Extra features

Additional features to consider include a remote control, built-in timer, multiple fan speeds, and a venting kit for hot air exhaust. A remote makes it easy to adjust the settings from anywhere in your tent or camper. A timer lets you run the AC for a set number of hours before it automatically shuts off, and multiple fan speeds let you control how much cold air it blows. A venting kit vents the hot air away from your space so the AC unit works more efficiently.

Power options

Most mini portable AC units run on standard electrical power, but for camping you’ll want a battery-powered or rechargeable model. Some can run on a standard 12V car charger or clamps onto a car battery for hours of cooling. Rechargeable models with built-in lithium-ion batteries typically last 8 hours per charge. Make sure to consider how you’ll power and recharge the unit based on your camping situation.

By factoring in these specs and features, you’ll choose a mini portable AC unit suited perfectly for staying cool on your next camping adventure. And with the right power options, you’ll have no shortage of frosty air no matter how far off the grid you go. Stay chill!


So there you have it – some of the best mini portable AC units to keep you chillin’ while camping or enjoying the great outdoors this summer. With the ability to cool down small spaces, run off batteries or your car, and their compact size, these little lifesavers let you escape the heat wherever you roam. Just pick one within your budget that fits your needs. Stay cool out there, folks. And don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray too – the last things you want harshing your camp vibe are a wicked sunburn or mosquito bites! Enjoy responsibly and remember to respect nature. Happy trails!