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Camping Tents With AC Ports (2020 edition)

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Let’s face it: Summertime camping can be a hot and muggy affair. But, with the right camping tent with AC, you can stay cool and comfortable, even when the temperature outside is sky-high.

Finding the right camping tent with an AC port can be challenging since you have so many great options to choose from. To help you out, we created this ultimate guide to finding the right tent for your warm-weather camping needs.

Reviews of the Top 5 Best Camping Tents With AC Ports

When doing our research for this article, we looked long and hard for the best camping tents with AC ports on the market today. 

However, despite our best efforts, we were only able to find two tents – the Bushnell Shield Series Instant Cabin Tent and the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin tent – that have true AC ports. This means that they can be used with a traditional window AC unit, like what you’d find in your home.

The last three models on our list don’t have AC ports that allow you to install a window AC in the tent. Instead, they have E-ports, so you can place an extension cord inside the shelter for use with a portable free standing air conditioner.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you want to use a window ac unit, then you’ll need one of the first two tents on our list. Otherwise, if you have a portable air conditioner for tent camping, then any of these great shelters are a solid choice.

1. Bushnell Shield Series Instant Cabin Tent

  • Value:
  • Weather Resistance:
  • AC Compatibility:
  • Interior Space:
  • Ease of Set-Up:

The Bushnell Shield Series Instant Cabin Tent is one of the few shelters on the market today with a dedicated AC flap for use with window AC units. This tent features an instant set-up design with pre-attached poles, so it can be set up in about two minutes.

We particularly like this tent because it has a large open floor plan with an impressive 80 inch (2m) center height. This means that it is tall enough to allow most campers to stand upright and walk around without having to hunch over.

However, this tent with air conditioning also comes with two removable room dividers so you can create up to three separate living and sleeping spaces for up to 12 campers. Additionally, the Instant Cabin Tent uses heat shield technology, which is a reflective coating that blocks UV rays for a cooler sleeping experience while camping.

Pros

  • Camping tent with AC flap for use with window AC units
  • Removable room dividers can create up to 3 separate areas in the tent
  • High center height allows you to stand upright
  • Heat shield technology creates a cooler interior temperature

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Very heavy (59.9lbs/27.2kg)


2. Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Tent 12

  • Value:
  • Weather Resistance:
  • AC Compatibility:
  • Interior Space:
  • Ease of Set-Up:

The Ozark Trail Instant Cabin is our second tent with an AC port for use with window AC units. Thanks to its pre-attached poles, which simply need to be unfolded and extended, the Instant Cabin can be pitched in just seconds.

This tent is particularly popular because it has three separate rooms – each with their own AC port. This allows everyone to have privacy and personal space while camping. Additionally, the tent has large mesh windows on all sides for ample ventilation to supplement your portable air conditioner stand.

For outdoor lounging, this shelter also has a sizable front awning, which provides some extra protection from the sun. It also has two separate doors, so people can get in and out of the tent at night without having to crawl over their camping companions.

Pros

  • Three separate rooms for added privacy
  • Large windows and AC port for plenty of ventilation
  • Front awning allows for shaded outdoor relaxation

Cons

  • Combination of high center height and weak poles isn’t great for very windy conditions
  • Very heavy (61lbs/27.7kg)

3. CORE 10 Person Lighted Instant Tent

  • Value:
  • Weather Resistance:
  • AC Compatibility:
  • Interior Space:
  • Ease of Set-Up:

The CORE 10 Person Lighted Instant Tent is a versatile shelter for use on warm weather camping trips. While it doesn’t have a dedicated AC flap, it does have an E-port that allows for electrical cord access to power a small AC unit for a tent.

This tent can house up to 10 people with its spacious interior that can be divided into two separate rooms for added privacy. It has an assortment of different gear storage pockets to help campers stay organized. Meanwhile, the large screen porch allows for added lounging space but is also a great spot to store extra equipment.

We particularly like the tent’s 84 inch (2.1m) center height, which is high enough for most people to walk around comfortably. Plus, the tent has built-in LED lighting so you can still hang out and relax at night. It also has adjustable vents on either side of the tent for better airflow on particularly hot days.

Pros

  • Built-in LED lighting and E-Port for powering an AC unit
  • High center height for added comfort
  • Large interior with room dividers, plus a screen porch
  • Plenty of gear storage options

Cons

  • Lack of bathtub floor causes some weather-resistance concerns in heavy rain

4. Coleman Elite WeatherMaster 6

  • Value:
  • Weather Resistance:
  • AC Compatibility:
  • Interior Space:
  • Ease of Set-Up:

The Coleman Elite WeatherMaster 6 is a family-friendly camping tent for summertime adventures. It features a large screen room for relaxing on hot days or for storing excess gear that you don’t want to bring inside the tent body.

This tent has built-in LED lighting that can provide up to 81 hours of illumination on three different light settings. It also has an E-Port so you can connect a portable air conditioner for camping to your campsite’s hookups using an extension cord.

Additionally, the WeatherMaster has multiple mesh windows with nylon coverings that can be rolled down for added ventilation. The tent also has an angled door with an awning and a durable bathtub-style floor with inverted seams to help keep the rain out in foul weather.

Pros

  • Built-in LED lighting with up to 81 hours of power on one set of batteries
  • Large screen porch provides extra living space and gear storage capacity
  • Angled door with awning for added weather resistance

Cons

  • Does not have an instant set-up system
  • Not great in very windy conditions

5. Coleman Tenaya Lake 8

  • Value:
  • Weather Resistance:
  • AC Compatibility:
  • Interior Space:
  • Ease of Set-Up:

The Coleman Tenaya Lake 8 is a comfort-oriented tent for family weekend camping adventures. It has a dedicated E-Port for tent AC hookups that can be sealed off when not in use.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Tenaya Lake is its built-in closet that has an integrated shelving unit and hanger bar. This allows easy access to your clothes and makes it easier for you to stay organized when you’re outside.

Additionally, this tent has Coleman’s Fast Pitch system, which uses pre-attached and color-coded poles to speed up the set-up process. Finally, the Tenaya Lake has a removable room divider that allows you to create two separate rooms for added privacy during your trip.

Pros

  • Built-in closet for clothing organization
  • Removable room divider to create separate living and sleeping spaces
  • Quick and easy set-up with pre-attached and color-coded poles
  • Hinged door makes for easier access to the tent but can also be tricky to close tight

Cons

  • Some waterproofing concerns with large mesh windows and door
  • Can take a while to set up, especially the first time

Air Cooled Camping Tents Buyer’s Guide

Finding the right tent for your needs is all about knowing what to look for. Up next, we’ll walk you through some of the basic things to keep in mind while shopping for your next tent with an AC flap. Plus, we’ll give you some top tips for adding a camping air conditioner unit to your tent.

How To Choose Camping Tents With AC Ports

Ease Of Set-Up

Unless you really enjoy pitching tents, it’s usually best to get a tent with an instant set-up design. This style of tent comes with pre-attached poles that simply need to be unfolded and extended to complete the pitching process, saving you time when you get to camp.

Weather-Resistance

The main purpose of a tent is to protect you from the wind and the rain. However, some tents do this better than others. If weather-resistance is your number one priority, look for a tent that has a full-coverage rainfly, which can provide better protection from the elements.

Alternatively, all mesh windows and doors on a tent should have zippered nylon panels that can keep moisture out in the rain. A tent with a durable bathtub-style floor and seam-sealed zippers is also a must-have if you’re camping somewhere that’s particularly rainy.

Interior Space/Sleeping Capacity

The amount of interior space you need in your tent depends on two factors: how many people you camp with and how much gear you carry. A larger group requires a bigger tent to be able to accommodate everyone while also maintaining some semblance of personal space.

But, if you also tend to pack a lot of gear, then you might want to get an even larger tent than you technically need. Doing so will help everyone in your group stay more organized without feeling like you’re trampling all over each other during your trip.

Room Dividers

Room dividers are an important but often overlooked aspect of any family camping tent. Many modern tents come with removable dividers that can help you reconfigure your shelter into a living and sleeping area or two separate bedrooms.

These dividers are very useful if you’re camping with another family or if you have older kids. Having these dividers can help ensure that everyone has the personal space and privacy they need while you camp.

How To Add AC To A Tent

When shopping for a tent with an AC port, you need to also decide what kind of camping air conditioner unit you want to use. Here are your two options and how they affect what kind of tent you can use:

Window AC Unit

A window AC unit, like what you might have in your home, can be used only with a tent that has a proper AC flap. The main benefit of using a window AC unit is that they can generally have more cooling power

This means that you can often use a fairly small window AC unit but still cool a large tent during the hottest days of the summer. Plus, they tend to be quite affordable and easy to find.

Portable Tent AC Unit

Portable tent AC units are an ideal choice for someone that doesn’t have a tent with a dedicated AC flap. To use one of these air conditioners, you simply need a tent with an E-port that can accommodate the device’s plug cord.

Although portable tent AC units tend to be a bit more expensive than their window-based counterparts, they actually sit inside the tent. This means you can place them wherever you want inside your shelter to better direct the flow of air wherever it’s most useful for a more comfortable camping experience.

Too Hot To Go Camping? Install Air Conditioning In Your Tent

FAQs

Here are our answers to some of your most common questions about tents with AC ports:

How Can I Keep My Tent Cool?

You have a few options when it comes to keeping your tent cool while camping. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Pitch Your Tent In The Shade. A tent sitting in the sun will heat up much faster than one in the shade. So, opt for sheltered campsites in the trees whenever possible.
  • Use A Camping Air Conditioner Unit. Portable air conditioners are a great option for cooling down your tent when you’re in a developed campground with hookups.
  • Open Up All The Vents And Windows. Most tents come with built-in vents and many others have windows. If it’s really hot outside, make sure these are all opened up to encourage airflow.
  • Remove The Rainfly. If you’re not expecting any rain, consider removing the rainfly of your tent. This will expose the mesh tent body, providing you with more airflow as you sleep. But, you should always be ready to put the fly back on to your tent if it starts to rain.
  • Try A Camping Fan. Small camping fans can be a useful way to get even more airflow in your tent. They are particularly useful if you have a big tent and just one air conditioner unit to cool everything down. Plus, some are battery-powered, so they can be used without hookups.

Do You Need A Tent With An AC Port?

A tent with an AC port is a must-have if you’re looking to use a window AC in your tent. However, if you have a stand-alone portable AC unit, you can use a tent that only has an E-port for extension cord access instead of an AC flap.

Can You DIY A Tent With An AC Port?

If you’re not happy with the different camping tent with AC port options available to you, or if you already own a tent, you might be wondering if you can DIY an AC flap. While you certainly can make your own tent with an air conditioning hole, it’s not necessarily a good idea unless you’re very confident with your sewing skills. This is because, without precision sewing skills, you could end up making a lot of unnecessary small holes in your tent fabrics, leading to leaks over time.

Making your own AC opening is potentially a more economical way of cooling down your tent. However, if done incorrectly, this can permanently damage your tent and make it impossible to use. So, if you do choose to DIY a tent with an AC port, be sure to measure your air conditioner quite a few times to avoid any mistakes. 

Additionally, keep in mind that if you want to get a new AC unit, you’ll need to find one that has the exact same dimensions as your old one. Otherwise, it might not fit in your DIY AC port.

The Verdict

After reviewing all of these great tents, one stood among the others as the clear winner. If we had to choose just one of these tents, we’d go for the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 12 because it offers an exceptional amount of interior space, an easy set-up process, and full AC compatibility, thanks to its built-in AC ports. 

At the end of the day, what’s important is that you find the best tent for your needs. Thankfully, you have plenty of great tent options to choose from when it comes to staying cool during your next summer camping trip.

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