There’s nothing like a cool breeze on a hot and humid day of camping, but Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. Wouldn’t it be nice to cool things down inside your tent on sweltering summer nights?
Some campers are turning to portable tent air conditioners to cool down hot evenings. Two popular brands run on either battery power or a 12-volt adapter.
Tent Air Conditioners – KoolerAire and O2Cool
The machines rely on ice or cold packs and fans to cool the surrounding air. In the case of the KoolerAire model, a cooler is filled with ice and the unit is placed just inside the top. A fan disburses the cold air from the ice chest into the outside environment. It does not require any additional hoses or water supply and operates on a 12-volt adapter plug.
The O2 Cool tent air conditioner includes an AC adapter but can also run on eight D cell batteries. Like the KoolerAire, the O2 requires no additional hoses but uses up to four pounds of ice placed into the machine to fan cold air onto users.
The O2Cool has three settings – icy breeze (available when ice is placed in the box), mist and fan.
The advantage of these small air conditioning units is they are highly portable, more inexpensive than others and do not require much setup. They are simple to operate, running on ice and a small power source.
User Reviews of Tent Air Conditioners
The disadvantage is there seems to be some discrepancy as to whether or not they actually work.
Several users were disappointed, especially with the KoolerAire. Much of the frustration stemmed from an expectation it would cool a large area, which it didn’t.
Some users found they actually work better with frozen bottles of water or Blue Ice. This keeps the air from getting damp and spare frozen packs can be used for other purposes until needed in the unit.
The O2 Cool, which is a bit more expensive, seemed to fare better because its cold air can be blown directly onto users. It will not cool off a large area, either, but because it is a self contained unit the O2 has the advantage of being a personal air conditioner.
On the flip side, since the KoolerAire fits inside a cooler and blows air through a small hole in the top, it can be difficult to direct the breeze in a particular direction.
Satisfied users of the O2 said it will definitely cool someone down as long as the air is blowing right on them. Others noted its operation requires a large ice supply.
For campers looking for a bit of relief during the hottest summer months with little cost, an inexpensive tent air conditioner may be the right accessory. Just don’t expect miracles from a less-than-200-bucks camping gadget. It will certainly help but it’s not a real air conditioner like the one at home.
A tent air conditioner shouldn’t be expected to lower the temperature of a large area by any huge amount, but they will provide some relief from the heat.