Best Tent With AC Port To Keep You Cool Outdoors

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Summertime temps got you hot and bothered? There’s an easy fix: The best tents with an AC port allow you to bring climate controlled bliss into the great outdoors. No more scorching days. No more sweaty nights.
Tent with AC Port - Best Overall
Our Best Choice Overall: The Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin

This is The Wise Adventurer’s guide to the best tents with AC ports currently on the market. There’s really nothing quite as luxurious as bringing a portable air conditioner along on a hot camping trip. A tent with an AC port is a great place to relax during the day, and an even better place to sleep comfortably at night.

After testing and analyzing all the most popular AC-compatible tents on the market, we found that the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin was the best choice overall. This tent features plenty of space for families or large groups, goes up quick thanks to its instant-tent design with pre-attached poles, and features multiple AC ports giving you all the flexibility you need to set up your shelter however you like. It also happens to be surprisingly affordable for such a large shelter, which may be its best feature overall.

The Ozark Trail won’t be everyone’s first choice though, and we get that. Not everyone wants a 12 person shelter or has the money to spend on one, which is why we’ve included a wide selection below of our favorite tents of every size and price.

If you’re new to the whole “air conditioner in the tent” thing, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom tells you everything you need to know to pick the best tent with an AC port for your next adventure, and includes helpful tips on how to select the right AC unit for whatever tent you decide on as well.

Alright. Let’s chill.

TentBenefits
Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin: Best Tent With AC Port OverallSmart and spacious floor layout, with the added bonus of an integrated exterior awning. Fast instant cabin setup with multiple AC mounting options. See Review
Bushnell Shield 12 Person Tent: Best Overall QualityExcellent weatherproofing, tough materials, tons of interior space, and multiple AC port options. Addition of reflective interior fabric makes your air conditioner’s job easier. See Review
Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Tent: Best Tent With AC Port On A BudgetA super affordable tent with a built in AC port and a convertible screen room. A great option for couples seeking a little outdoor luxury. See Review
E-Z UP Camping CubeA unique option that converts any 10×10 pop up shelter into a tent. Handy “doggie door” works great with any type of AC unit. See Review
Core 12 Person Instant CabinA big family tent at a great price. Tons of interior space and livability with versatile AC mounting options for DIY’ers. See Review
Coleman Weathermaster 6An affordable 6 person model with great weather protection and an added screen room. A great match for any freestanding AC unit. See Review

Best Tent With AC Port

Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin: Best Tent With AC Port Overall

Tent with AC Port - Ozark Trail
Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 55 pounds (25 kg)
Packed size: 52” x 14” x 13” (132cm x 36cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 16’ x 16’ (488cm x 488cm)
Peak height: 82” (208cm)
Occupancy: 12
Shape: Cabin
AC port compatibility: Dual ground-level ports
Best for: Three season camping for families and groups
Price: $$

First on our list is the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin: A spacious cabin-style tent with a unique floor plan we can’t say enough good things about. Ozark Trail built this cabin with multiple AC inlets inside its bedrooms, which gives owners flexibility on where to mount their air conditioners, or even the option of running multiple AC units for custom climate control.

We love the layout of the Ozark Trail because rather than taking the usual “one big rectangle” approach, this tent uses an L-shaped floorplan to create three separate rooms around a shared covered outside area. This “backcountry front porch” is protected from the sun thanks to an integrated awning, which only requires a single support pole (included) and guy out to pitch. It’s a smart touch for such a large tent, as chances are you’ll want a place to hang outside the shelter and/or store wet gear when camping with a large group.

The Three Room Instant Cabin also features an “instant-tent” design similar to the Bushnell below, which adds simplicity and convenience to a tent this size. We will say that the extra features like the awning and ground-level ventilation/AC ports require some extra time to setup compared to a standard cabin-style tent, but it’s well worth the extra 3-4 minutes you’ll spend getting it pitched correctly.

Aside from that, we don’t really have any major complaints with the Ozark Trail. As a budget-friendly tent, its materials aren’t the thickest on the market, but they’ve held up fine for hundreds of campers in everything from clear sunny days to pouring rains. We will point out that although each of the three rooms (separated by integrated dividers) is large enough to house a queen-sized mattress, chances are you’ll probably end up using this tent as a two-room model. That’s because trying to wedge an internal AC unit and a mattress into either of the side rooms makes for a cramped/awkward living space, so you’d be better off using a smaller bed or combining two of the rooms into a “master suite” instead. If you prefer an exterior-mounted AC unit instead, this won’t be a concern.

Pros:Cons:
– Unique three-room layout
– Instant cabin convenience
– Exterior awning adds livability
– Setup takes a bit longer than your typical instant tent
– Queen beds fit awkwardly when using interior AC unit.



Bushnell Shield 12 Person Tent: Best Overall Quality

Tent with AC Port - Bushnell Shield 12
Bushnell Shield 12 Person – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 62 lbs (28kg)
Packed size: 49” x 11.5” x 11.5” (125cm x 29cm x 29cm)
Floor size: 18’ x 11’ (549cm x 335cm)
Peak height: 80” (203cm)
Occupancy: 12 (6 and 9 person also available)
Shape: Cabin
AC port compatibility: Dual ground-level ports
Best for: Three season family/group camping
Price: $$$

If you’re looking for a tent with an AC port, we’re going to go out on a limb and say you’re a big fan of (a) comfort and (b) convenience. If so, take a look at the Bushnell Shield series of AC-compatible tents.

We’re fans of these tents because in addition to housing dual ground-mounted AC ports (one on either side of the tent), they also feature an instant-tent setup system using pre-attached poles and hubs, which means even the largest 12 person size goes up in well under 5 minutes.

AC users will also appreciate that underneath the rainfly of the Shield, Bushnell applied a reflective silver coating, which works to reflect the sun’s rays and keep the interior of the tent cooler. That means your AC won’t have to work as hard to keep the tent cool, which should help to extend its service life.

Materials and construction are high quality throughout, with an all-steel frame and 150D polyester rainfly and canopy (both of which are fully seam sealed). Unfortunately that burly spec sheet also translates to a seriously bulky (and heavy) tent when the Shield is packed away, so be prepared to haul over 60 pounds should you choose the largest model. Aside from that our only real complaint with the Bushnell Shield is that although it’s a “three room” tent, all three rooms share the same single entrance and exit. You might appreciate that fact, since there’s one less door for your precious cool air to escape from, but it can be a pain when sharing the Shield with larger groups.

Pros:Cons:
– Dual floor-mounted AC ports adds versatility
– Heat-reflective treatment is ideal for AC use
– High quality materials throughout
– Instant cabin convenience
– Heavy/bulky when packed
– Three rooms all share single door



Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Tent With Screen Room: Best On A Budget

Tent with AC Port - Wenzel Klondike 8
Wenzel Klondike 8 – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 26 lbs (11.8 kg)
Packed size: 28” x 12” x 11” (71cm x 30cm x 28cm)
Floor size: 192” x 132” (488cm x 335cm)
Peak height: 77” (196cm)
Occupancy: 8
Shape: Cabin
AC port compatibility: Single ground-level port
Best for: Small families/couples
Price: $

If you’re shopping for a tent with an AC port but looking to keep the spend to a minimum, check out the Wenzel Klondike 8. We’re fans of the Wenzel for a few reasons, the most notable of which being its excellent second room that converts into a screened in porch for bug-free relaxation.

Simply unzip each of the four massive windows in the Klondike’s front section, and you’re good to sit and hang with plenty of room for a pair of camp chairs, a cooler, a card table, and then some. We also like that the main sleeping area of the Klondike can be completely closed off from the super-ventilated porch section, which means you won’t be letting all your cool air out of the bedroom while you hang outside.

All things considered the Wenzel Klondike is a spacious tent with near-vertical walls and a stand-up height ceiling in the main sleeping area, which makes it an outstanding value for the money. Even without an air conditioner, the Klondike manages excellent ventilation thanks to its impressive collection of zippable mesh windows throughout the canopy, so your comfort isn’t solely dependent on your AC unit should you choose to travel without it.

As far as drawbacks go, the Klondike does have a few of the trappings of a budget tent you’ll want to take note of. First, the integrated interior storage options (pockets, organizers, gear lofts etc.) are pretty limited, so keep that in mind if you travel with lots of gear. Second, although both the rainfly and canopy are designed to handle rain, we recommend adding an extra waterproofing treatment for peace of mind. This is a good idea on any budget tent, and a particularly good one for tents like this that use a “roof-only” rainfly design rather than a full-coverage fly.

Pros:Cons:
– Affordable
– Convertible screen room
– Excellent ventilation
– Seams could be better protected
– Second room isn’t stand up height



E-Z UP Camping Cube

Tent with AC Port - E-Z Up
E-Z Up – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 14lbs (6.4 kg)
Packed size: 31” x 10” x 10” (79cm x 25cm x 25cm)
Floor size: 111” x 111” (282cm x 282cm)
Peak height: 76” (193cm)
Occupancy: 6
Shape: Cube/Cabin
AC port compatibility: Single ground level port
Best for: Three season camping for smaller groups or families
Price: $

The E-Z Up Camping Cube is one of the most interesting tents on our list for a few reasons.

The first, and most obvious, is that it isn’t actually a stand-alone tent. That’s because the Camping Cube was designed by E-Z UP to be clipped into one of their popular straight-leg 10×10 shelters rather than having its own frame.

The second is that it isn’t technically designed for use with an AC unit. In fact, the AC port on the Camping Cube is actually a doggie door. The fact that E-Z UP included a dog door on a tent in the first place gives them bonus points in our book, but the fact that it doubles as a super-versatile AC port is what really seals the deal.

We love that although the Camping Cube is technically designed for use with an E-Z UP branded shelter, it actually works just as well with just about any brand. That’s good to know because most of us have some kind of Coleman, Ozark Trail, or similar pop-up canopy laying around for beach days and/or tailgating, so chances are you’ve already got the frame you need to make this tent work. Simply clip the cube into the legs and ceiling of your pop-up canopy, stake it down, and you’ve got a super-spacious, super-tall shelter ready to go.

The Camp Cube is a great option if you’ve already got a pop-up shelter, but if you don’t, just know that (a) you’ll have to buy one to make it work and (b) the weight and packed size listed above doesn’t include the frame/canopy this tent requires. Pop-up canopies tend to be pretty big and bulky due to their heavy-duty frames, so make sure you take the added size and expense of buying and transporting one into account. Aside from that, the main drawback to using a “doggy door” as an AC port is that there’s no mesh to keep the bugs at bay. You can seal up the port decently well using the integrated zipper, but you’ll have to rig something up yourself if you want it to be 100% bug and critter-proof.

Pros:Cons:
– Quick and easy clip-in setup
– Tons of interior space
– Open AC port works for internal or external AC units
– Requires a separate 10×10 shelter to use
– Open port isn’t bug-proof



Core 12 Person Instant Cabin

Core 12 - 2
Core 12 – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 48 lbs (22kg)
Packed size: 49” x 16” x 11.5” (125cm x 41cm x 29cm)
Floor size: 216” x 120” (549cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 80” (203cm)
Occupancy: 12
Shape: Cabin
AC port compatibility: Dual ground level vents
Best for: Three season camping for families or groups
Price: $$

The Core 12 Person Instant Cabin is a favorite for large groups and families thanks to its roomy interior, stand-up height ceilings, and three room dividable layout. It’s got pretty much everything you’d want in a large cabin style tent including a pre-attached pole design for quick and easy setups, multiple doors for entry/exit, and enough space inside for three queen mattresses. In fact the only thing the Core Cabin seems to be missing is… well… an AC port.

At this point you’re probably wondering: Why is a tent with no AC port on this list? Well, the Instant Cabin made our list because it’s one of the easiest tents out there to modify for AC usage without sacrificing any weather protection. That’s because one of the best features of the Core Cabin is it’s excellent ventilation, which owes it’s outstanding performance to two large adjustable vents near the ground on either side of the tent. Both of these vents are 100% weatherproof and protected by a layer of mesh of keep bugs at bay. They also happen to be the perfect place to route an AC vent: By simply measuring the diameter of your AC’s exhaust tube, and then cutting a slightly smaller circle in one of the mesh sections, you’ll be able to thread your AC vent outside of the tent where it belongs while still keeping a bug-tight seal on your shelter.

The fact that there’s one of these large vents on either side of the tent adds to its overall versatility, as does the fact that there’s a weatherproof electric cord port directly beside the ideal AC mounting spot. The Core Cabin is a great three-season tent at a great price, but as a budget-conscious shelter, it needs a little TLC before headed into the wild. We definitely recommend treating the entire tent (including the seam-taped rainfly) with an extra coating of DWR treatment. We also recommend using a little finesse when setting up the Core, as it’s 68D polyester fabric is decently tough, but not nearly as robust as some options on our list.

Pros:Cons:
– Fantastic ventilation system
– Pre-attached poles for quick and easy setup
– Multiple rooms/multiple doors
– May require slight modification for your AC unit
– 68D fabric isn’t as tough as some
– Extra rainproofing recommended



Coleman Weathermaster 6 Person Tent

Tent with AC Port - Coleman WeatherMaster
Coleman Weathermaster – Photo from manufacturer

Specs:
Weight: 32 lbs (14.5 kg)
Packed size: 41” x 10” x 10” (104cm x 25cm x 25cm)
Floor size: 204” x 108” (518cm x 274cm)
Peak height: 82” (208cm)
Occupancy: 6
Shape: Dome
AC port compatibility: Best suited to freestanding AC units
Best for: Three season camping in any weather
Price: $$

The Coleman Weathermaster is a match made in heaven for interior-only AC units, so if you’re planning on using an air conditioner like the popular Black + Decker BPP series, you’ll want to give it a look.

Unlike your average AC-friendly tent, the Weathermaster is a more compact six-person model, but punches way above the weight class of your typical six-person tent. That’s because the Weathermaster 6 has room for two queen-sized mattresses and an air conditioner, and still has plenty of room left to walk around inside.

Technically the Weathermaster is another tent without a dedicated AC port, but don’t let that deter you: It’s got a trick up its sleeve. Because the Weathermaster 6 features a screened in (and rainfly covered) front porch, it’s the perfect candidate to run an internal AC unit with the exhaust vent piped through the door between the two rooms. Just zip the entryway down as tight as you can over the AC vent to prevent cool air from escaping, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to worry about bugs because the entire porch is critter proof thanks to its fine mesh panels, and because the Weathermaster 6 features a second (hinged!) door on the side, there’s no need to constantly come and go through the screen room.

We don’t have any major complaints about the Weathermaster 6. It’s a budget friendly tent with a ton of extra features and excellent weather protection. If you’re considering going the Coleman route though, you’ll want to keep two things in mind: First, the screen room is “floorless” so although it’s great for relaxing and/or storing gear, it’s not 100% waterproof and you’ll be standing on whatever type of bare ground lies under the tent. The second is that because there’s no dedicated external AC port, the Weathermaster isn’t a good match for “window” style external AC units. Most folks prefer the portable interior type units anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind if you prefer the exterior variety.

Pros:Cons:
– Excellent weather protection
– Bonus screen room
– Roomy for a six person model
– Floorless screen room
– Interior AC unit only



Buyer’s Guide For The Best Tents With An AC Port

What makes a tent with an AC port so cool? Apologies for the pun, but in all seriousness, there’s nothing quite like a climate-controlled tent. Heat and humidity are just part of the outdoors experience, but if you’ve got an AC port in your shelter, you don’t have to bring them into the tent with you.

Size And Shape

Air conditioned tents are pretty much always large camping tents, and as such, we heartily recommend you buy as much tent as your heart desires. The sky is the limit here, whether you want an 8, 10, or 12 person model. Some are even larger than that, but just keep one thing in mind as you shop: The more interior space your tent has, the more powerful your AC unit has to be to cool it down.

Tent with AC Port - Size and shape
The Ozark Trail Three Room: Perfect AC compatibility

Generally speaking, all air conditioning units’ cooling capacity is measured in “BTU” which is short for “British Thermal Units.” There’s a long explanation as to how they got that name and what it means, but for now just know that more BTUs = more cooling power.

Make sure to compare your AC unit of choice to your tent of choice to determine if they’re a good match. You’ll want to calculate the total floor space of your tent (in square footage), and then compare it to the BTU output of your AC. On average, you need about 23 BTUs per square foot of floor space to keep your tent cool. You can use the chart below for reference, or just multiply the floor dimensions of your tent together, then multiply that number by 23 to get an idea. So for a 15’ x 15’ floor, you would get:

(15’ x 15’) = (225 sq. ft) (x 23 BTU) = 5,175 BTU

 

Tent Floor DimensionsFloor Space (sq. ft.)Recommended BTU
10’ x 10’1002,300
10’ x 15’1503,450
16’ x 16’2565,888

Most portable AC units run well over 5,000 BTU, and are able to handle pretty much any tent on the market. Remember it’s ok to have an AC with more power than you need, just make sure you don’t buy one with too little.

Materials

The best tents with AC ports follow the same rules for materials as any good outdoors shelter: Sturdy weatherproof fabrics and reliable frames.

Since you’re interested in using an air conditioner to begin with, it should be safe to assume that you’ll be car camping with your tent exclusively, and therefore shouldn’t be overly concerned with the overall packed size or weight of your tent.

For that reason, we generally recommend looking for the toughest frame and thickest fabric you can find and afford. In terms of frames, the best are made from either steel (which is tough but heavy) or aluminum (which is tough and light, but expensive). Some tents will use a combination of metal poles and fiberglass ones, while others will use fiberglass exclusively. Just know that while the use of fiberglass poles doesn’t necessarily make a tent bad, you’ll want to pay attention to the thickness and quality of any fiberglass poles used in a tent you’re considering. If they seem particularly flimsy or are regularly reported to break under stress, you should look elsewhere.

AC Compatibility

As you may have noticed from our list above, there actually aren’t very many tents that are specifically designed for use with an air conditioner. What that often translates to is finding a tent that works well with whatever type of AC you prefer (interior or a “window unit” style) with a little creativity and/or modification. Tents with bug-proof screen rooms, for instance, are great for running AC without requiring any actual physical modification of their canopies.

Tent with AC Port - AC Compatibility
Example of AC window unit mounted on the Ozark Trail Three Room

The best tents with AC ports either feature a wide (and weather protected) ventilation system near the ground, or an adjustable opening to the outside (like a second entrance or auxiliary opening) with enough space to route an AC exhaust tube through.

Your main goal here should be finding a design that works with your AC unit without compromising your weather protection and without significantly compromising your bug/critter protection as well.

Tips For Using A Tent With AC

If you’re interested in adding air conditioning to your tent, generally speaking you’ve got two options for AC units: Freestanding units like the Black + Decker mentioned above, or “window mounted” systems that can be repurposed for outdoor use.

We overwhelmingly recommend sticking with the freestanding “interior” type units for two reasons. First, the window-mounted units are best used outside of the tent, which means you have to both get them up off the ground using a crate or something similar while also protecting them from rain using the tent’s rainfly, canopy fabric, or a separate tarp. It’s a lot of extra gear to tote around, and typically isn’t worth the hassle of setting up.

Tent with AC Port - Tips
A great freestanding AC unit: Black + Decker

Second, freestanding interior type units work best when used with their external heat duct systems (which you route to the outside of the tent via an AC port, window, or door) but they don’t actually need them to cool the tent town. Granted, these units are much more efficient when used with the exhaust hose, but if you don’t feel like messing with them or modifying your tent to accommodate one, these air conditioners will still cool things down considerably without the hose properly routed.

Conclusion

Considering all the features mentioned above, we found that the Ozark Trail Three Room cabin was the best tent with AC port overall. Its combination of copious interior space, a thoughtful layout, and versatile AC mounting options make it a standout product, and the fact that it’s comparatively affordable is just icing on the cake.

Our Best Choice Overall: The Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin

If you’re in the market for a AC-compatible tent made from the toughest materials out there, we recommend taking a look at the Bushnell Shield series. Bushnell’s Shield tents are a match made in heaven for air conditioning, especially considering their heat-reflective fabric treatment that makes your air conditioner’s job that much easier.

Lastly, if you’re keen on running air conditioning but want to keep your spending thrifty, consider the Wenzel Klondike 8. The Klondike is an AC-ready tent straight out of the box with some added features (like a top-notch screen room) that won’t break the bank.

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