Hi, I’m Travis and my Merrel Moab boots were definitely made for walking. I’ve gained a decent mileage, visiting various hiking Meccas: from Appalachian Trail to Vasquez Trail in Garland Ranch Regional Park.
So, if you’re planning to camp in summer or in one of these hot-boiling places like Kalalau, Twelve Apostles Lodge, or Sierra High Route — a well-conditioned tent is a must. It’s actually one of the mandatory rules for hiking in summer. Along with rehydration, electrolyte balancing, and starting out early in the morning.
When picking a tent for summer, pay attention to:
- Cooling. Throughout the journey, you will need to take a break when the heat reaches its acme. A tent with an AC unit will be your chamber of chill. Plus, extra insulation can shield your body from turning into chicken alfredo.
- AC unit. Examine its BTU — it’s responsible for cooling. For instance, 6 000 BTU can cool up to 250 square feet. The more, the better as they say. But also don’t forget about compactness.
- Fabric. Check its Denier parameter. It’s responsible for the thickness of the fabric. The more Denier you get, the more protection a tent will provide. At the same time, thickness doesn’t let your tent breathe much.
- Safety. It’s not a portable bunker, of course. But such a tent can be securely sealed from the inside. And no obnoxious insects will break-in. It’s especially gainful in the tropical trails like Cordillera Huayhuash.
Tents with air conditioning can’t save you from a flash flood or earthquake. But in my arsenal, it’s a must-have tool for hiking in summer. Along with the sun protection, anti-sweat and blister socks, first aid and potassium-charged drink mix.
Tents & AC — Best Picks for the Hiking
I’ve prepared my top 6 picks of the best tents with AC. It features solid models only, optimal for your hiking goals and budget. Enjoy!
Dream House Luxury Outdoor Waterproof Tent: For All 4 Seasons
The runner-up on our list, Dream House, is an ideal solution for camping in places like Laurel Mountain, Hoh Rainforest or Cashiers. In other words, where it rains a lot.
This tough guy can handle the most whimsical weather. Thanks to its canvas construction, which is crafted from cotton, it shows an amazing waterproof quality. Additionally, we have here double-stitching to increase weather-protection.
It’s an air-conditioned tent, thanks to its marquee-like architecture. It includes a sturdy groundsheet that is also zippable.
Should it be a hot day somewhere in Arkaba Walk, you can simply roll up the sides of the tent. And voilà: ventilation is ready. No more “how to air condition a tent” questions.
Add a portable AC unit, and the tent will save you from the 45+ C temperature no sweat. But what I like about Dream House’s tent the most is its versatility. Thick but breathing canvas, can endure the worst weather, including pouring rain.
You can also use this tent in winter. There’s a stove hole on the side, so you can keep your shelter warm. And make a cup of chicken soup with noodles and bread crumbs to last you through another layover.
Plus, I’d like to notice that it’s a stout marquee. Ropes and pegs are quite sturdy. Once you install the tent, putting every detail in its place, it won’t be too easy for nature’s elements to dishevel your humble shelter.
I’m not sure what the biggest wind velocity it is that our brave tent can handle. But as the testing showed, it handles 15 mph wind rate decently. So, a violent thunderstorm or a blizzard won’t get to you while you’re safely inside.
The only nuisance you may have to deal with is the first time, debut leakage. Should the clouds gather above this tent for the first time, it will let some rainwater inside. This issue is due to the cotton shrinking. It will need time to adapt to the rain first. But once it’s done, you’ll be fully protected.
To sum up, I enjoy the Dream House’s product a lot. It comes in a variety of sizes: from 9.8ft to 19.7ft diameter. It’s easy to ventilate the tent’s interior. And it can handle the rough weather quite well. Plus, it’s not exclusively a summer tent. Serves great in winter too.
- Size: Diameter 6 meter i.e. 19.7ft
- Easy to ventilate;
- Suitable for all seasons;
- Stove place;
- Four sizes to choose from.
- First-time leakage trouble.
Ozark Trail 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent: An Air-conditioned Camping Tent
Ozak Trail is a legit portable house. With it, you can accommodate a dozen hikers at the same time! Such a kingly size would suit a very large family, an expedition group or a squad that is planning to partake in a festival like Burning Man.
It’s an outdoor tent + air conditioner in one. It’s possible thanks to its construction, which doesn’t disrupt the airflow. Plus, there’s a shaded corner, which can be a life-saver when it’s scorching outside. And the large windows provide some nice ventilation.
Ozark Trail is a lazy hiker’s dream. I mean it’s extremely easy to set up. And disassemble too. Such know-how is hidden in its poles that are directly attached to the tent by default. That means no more brain cracking over which thingie goes in what place.
At the same time, it is the biggest downside of Ozark Trail. The problem is: the poles aren’t replaceable. Should one of them break, you have two options: become a handyman who’s capable of hacking the tent’s architecture. Or just throw it away.
At the same time, Ozark is amazingly good at weather resistance. It never suffers from leaking. Though, I hope you can tolerate microscopic dripping in the corner. But it’s an issue that basically all tents on the market share.
But you also need to be careful and avoid shaking it. It has a mesh ceiling. Rainwater concentrates there over time. So, once the tent is joggled, this liquid will drop on the floor. (Adds extra homicide points if someone was sleeping inside).
I recommend you use a patch of a tarp to be placed above the tent. Simply set up the tent under the tree branches and put the tarp on them. Additionally, you could use some silicone spray to increase the tent’s water resistance.
With all that in mind, Ozark Trail is a cool choice. It can fit three king-size airbeds. It’s roomy and pretty cool in the summer. And if you add an AC unit — one of the top luxury tents with air conditioning is at your service.
- 16' x 16' instant cabin tent
- Enough space for 12 people;
- Good weather resistance;
- Super easy setup;
- Large windows;
- Stays cool.
- Irreplaceable poles.
SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner: The Best Tent Air Conditioner
Our next item is an AC unit for tents. No matter how many windows your marquee has, having a portable conditioner is a total must. Especially if your journey is taking place in an arid, scorching area.
So, SereneLife seems to be a strong little beast. Its British thermal unit (BTU) is 8,000, according to the manual. But I’d give it more like 9 or even 10k BTU! It generates a mighty stream of cold air, which is enough to fill a room in an actual house — 215 square feet! So, it’s not just some small tent we are talking about.
It’s a compact guy with 14.6’’ L x 13.8’’ W dimensions. With all that, the unit is pretty weighty: 53 lbs. Not that you can’t carry it on your shoulders, but I’d suggest you take it with you on a car trip.
It’s an intuitive gadget with all three modes to use. You have the classic Cooling, Dehumidifying and Fan mode. Once you hit the start button, the little guy will automatically bless you with a gentle breath of the refreshing cold air.
We also have an inbuilt dehumidifier. It is actually a splendid addition. Often hot climates are in partnership with extreme, intoxicating humidity. Their duo can turn your marquee into a greenhouse in about one hour.
Plus, you already know what dangers intense humidity brings: mildew, allergens, mites, asthma attacks, etc. Especially if your tent stays for a few days on the same spot.
SereneLife has envisaged and solved this problem. So, now your tent life will be safer, easier to handle, and more sterile. Plus, with a reduced humidity level, you will enjoy air conditioning even more.
Another feature to make hiker’s siesta comfier is the remote control. With it, you can regulate the fan rotation speed, set the mode, select a humidity level, set a timer, and even switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. It’s a sleek remote control with digital buttons.
But all this goodness comes at a price. SereneLife consumes about 900W and, therefore, should be plugged into a car battery. There is no built-in accumulator or anything. So again: take it for a car trip.
What I also like is that the AC is equipped with small wheels. They make it much easier to relocate it inside the tent. Maybe it’s a trifle, but still a pleasant one. And with all its parameters, SereneLife is a nice choice for the camping tents with air conditioning ports.
- HANDY AND PORTABLE: The SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner System features a lightweight, handy, sleek body design intended to be used in the bedroom, living room or garage at home or office. It features rolling wheels for easy portability.Construction Material : Engineered ABS Housing
- 8, 000 BTU;
- Enough to cool down a large area;
- Three modes;
- A bit pricey.
Frigidaire Mini-Compact Air Conditioner: For Tents With AC Opening
Frigidaire is another companion for your camping tent with an AC port. It’s a tad humbler in terms of power: only 5, 000 BTC. Still, it’s enough to cover an area as big as 150 square feet. To be honest, it’s an impressive result for such a compact ’wind machine’. And it’s more than enough to take care of a hiking tent.
The dehumidifier is also on the menu. It’s capable of drying about 1.1 pints per hour, which again is impressive. So, your marquee will be filed with a nice, gentle breeze. And no severe humidity of your current location will ruin the blissful stopover.
Another clever feature present is the economizing mode. While it’s on, Frigidaire will activate fans from time to time. It has a measuring unit, which monitors the air temperature at this very second. Once the temp is higher than it’s needed, fans will get to work and circulate the air.
I wouldn’t say that Frigidaire is noiseless. No, it makes those rumbling sounds that are typical for an AC device. At the same time, it’s still pretty quiet. And I can’t say that its functioning causes an irritating cacophony. (Which is especially irksome at night).
As for its parameters, this conditioner needs your window to be 13 inches high and 23-36 inches wide. Standard dimensions I might add. So once the camping is over, this guy won’t have to stay in the garage collecting dust. Instead, you can put it to use in one of your rooms.
The last, but not least is the bundle of certificates Frigidaire can boast of. Two of them are the Energy Star certificate and the UL Listing certificate.
These badges of merit guarantee that you’re dealing with a safe and eco-friendly device. So, I guess it’s alright to keep it going during a hot night somewhere in Gypsum Sand Dunes. Down with the cursed stuffiness!
- 2016 energy star: 12.2 energy efficiency Ratio (EER)
- Cheaper than rival models;
- 5, 000 BTU;
- Compact & lightweight;
- Cools a tent quickly;
- Relatively quiet.
- Soft metal casing.
Lasko Misto Outdoor Misting Fan: For Tents With an Air Conditioning Hole
Lasko Misto is probably the smallest AC unit I’ve ever seen. (Except for handheld fans). The brand has been around for 100 years! And despite its somewhat Polish name, which literally means sweet place, the company is originally from Philadelphia.
This little buddy weighs merely 16 pounds. Perhaps, this is why it’s classified as a ’picnic air conditioner.’ Its lightweight body is covered entirely with plastic. (An extra protective measure).
The unit is humble in size: 16.25×12.3×14.85 inches. So, it’s the most portable item on our list. But don’t be fooled by its modest appearance.
Lasko seems to know how to bring the cold. It’s capable of lowering the heat with up to 25-30 degrees, thanks to its three nozzles. Plus there are three fan modes that regulate the rotation speed.
This AC unit is enhanced with the built-in misters. Watch out if you get too close to Lasko: it will mercilessly spray you with water. Sadly, you have no control over the misters and can’t make the water stream less or more intense.
The gadget is accredited with the Blue Plug patent. What does it mean? That means that Lasko minimizes the risk of catching on fire. In case there’s something wrong with electricity or wiring, it will cut the power off.
What I also like is its long, 72-inch cable. Plus, you can use Lasko in a damp area worry-free. First, there’s a ground-fault circuit interrupter that prevents a possible short circuit. Second, the plastic casing prevents rust. Also, it’s resistant to the capricious weather.
All in all, Lasko is a peculiar beast. Small and sturdy, it will take 30 degrees out of the current temp. It has simple humidifying know-how. And it’s a charm when it comes to transportation.
- ✅【ADJUSTABLE COOLING COMFORT】Outdoor misting fan features automatic internal louvers to create wide-sweeping airflow, which helps evenly distribute the mist; Pivoting fan head adjusts up to 90 degrees to direct the mist and air where you need it the most
- Relatively cheap;
- Highly portable;
- Prevents circuiting;
- Three fan modes;
- It decreases heat by 30 degrees.
- Misters can’t be regulated.
SHSTFD Portable Air Conditioner Fan: The Smallest Item on the List
Our last cooling gladiator, SHSTFD isn’t an air conditioner in the regular sense. I’d rather characterize it as a sophisticated mini-fan and humidifier for personal use. Its size is extremely humble: 5.7’’x3.9’’x9.5”.
This gadget is so small, you can easily put it on your desk or nightstand. This compactness is a benign factor when it comes to camping. And behind this austere size, we have a feature palette that doesn’t put our little guy to shame.
First, it has three wind modes. Even at the medium speed, this gizmo does a good job at cooling. But only if it’s close to you. Its little fans can’t refresh an entire tent or room.
Additionally, it’s enchanted with a mini-humidifier. Put some ice or water in the special compartment and voilà — the air will get a dosage of healthy moist for 4-6 uninterrupted hours.
For some extra effect, you can use oil: rose, aloe, etc. Just feed some to the gadget, and your favorite odor will permeate the tent.
Plus, when it has ice inside, it can actually cool the air down. But only a bit. So, don’t expect the same effect you’d usually get from a legit air conditioner.
SHSTFD is simple to use and maintain. If you’re planning a camping tour that lasts more than a week, you will need to clean the reservoir. Don’t worry though, it takes just two minutes.
To recap, I’m really satisfied with what the little boy can do. It blows, cools down and humidifies. It weighs merely 1,91 lbs — super easy for transportation.
And although it cannot generate breeze for the entire tent, as long as you keep it near, you’ll be cool. So, if you don’t want to cough up money for any camping tents with AC, try this solution.
The only problem you might have, in my opinion, is occasional water leaking. Just in case, put a towel or a patch of rubber underneath the gadget. Since it uses ice/water for humidifying, it’d best be prepared for such mishaps.
- 🍃 MULTIFUNCTION - You can use it as a normal little fan, or you can by adding water and some ice in the tank as an air cooler.Can also be used as an air circulator and mist humidifier. ◉ This Fan is for Personal Use, no coolant, can’t cool down room, please don't put the fan too far away from you to use.
- Basically pocket-size;
- Three functions in one;
- Can humidify the air.
- May leak.
- Too weak to cool down the whole tent.
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent: ATent With an AC Flap
What I like about Wenzel is that its internal chambers are separated. First, we have an area that serves as a hybrid of a dining room, kitchen, and living space. Here you can take care of your daily hiking routine, hang out together, or have an assembly.
The second chamber serves as a bedroom. It’s a clever move that allows keeping the resting space free of dirt, crumbs, Nutella smudges, coffee spills, and other pesky trifles. If there was sound isolation, this tent would be my #1 of all times.
Another feature I adore the shielded porch with an attachable floor. It grants extra protection from the tiny intruders: beetles, June bugs, spiders, mosquitoes, dragonflies, and so on. Unless you’re aiming to get an extra protein dose, your food will be well-protected from the little residents of your hiking area.
Assembling Wenzel Klondike is easy. If you’ve never done it before, it’ll take you 30-40 minutes max. If you’re an experienced ’tent architect’ — make it 15 minutes. I like its construction, as the fiberglass roof does a good job of protecting you from the whims of weather.
However, keep in mind: it’s not a backpack thingie. A bit heavy, Klondike is more of a glamping decision. And it’d best be transported in a car. At the same time, it has no cable holes. So, if your AC unit is powered by a car battery, you’ll have to improvise.
All in all, it’s a great tent with an air conditioner window. It’s spacey, cleverly sectored, and easy-to-assemble. If you plan a family trip to Mount Rainier this summer, Wenzel Klondike is hands down perfect.
- Convertible screen room with inverted "T" style door and inside flap zippered windows
- Two chambers;
- Ample space;
- Fiberglass roof;
- Air conditioning windows;
- Anti-bug protection.
- No cable holes;
- Not for backpacking.
The Hottest Coolants
Hopefully, my reviews will help you make the right choice. Let’s revise a bit. If you’re searching for a tent for summer/hot area, then focus on:
- An AC port.
- Proper Denier parameters.
- Good isolation and anti-bug features
- The fabric: it should breathe and be moderately lightweight.
I also suggest getting a bit of tarp, silicone spray, and spare poles if you can. This will provide extra weather-resistance and be insurance against construction mishaps.
As for the AC units, I recommend paying attention to:
- Humidifying feature.
- Lengthy power cord.
- Portability, (size & weight).
- Sturdy casing, shielded with plastic.
- The BTU parameter and the cool-down area.
It also wouldn’t hurt to check whether the anti-circuit protection is present. If you happen to camp somewhere in Redwoods’ national park or Mount Waialeale, the damp area may destroy your conditioner in the best case. Going up in flames is the worst scenario.
Also, examine if your AC is immune to rust, ultraviolet and other aggressive conditions. If it’s a lengthy hiking adventure we talk about, it would suck to lose the only source of blissful breeze before you’re done camping.
As for the rest, my today’s picks will make your journey way less scorching. Stay tuned to learn what else you must have when camping in summer or in a hot, desert-like area. I plan to review more useful products and share more valuable tips for fellow hikers.
So, what are your top tricks at tackling the heat? Do you take AC with you when hiking? What is the hottest place you’ve been to so far? Let me know in the comments!