From remote emergency work to camping in the great outdoors all tents suffer from heat retention in hot or humid areas. Tent air conditioning can either be a luxury or a necessity and the solutions can be as simple as your pockets are deep.
Insulation of tents is very poor, so having a frosty interior will take more than the usual amount of energy but it is achievable with some planning.
For the weekend camper that wants to take the edge of the midday heat for a little nap the solutions are as simple as a little DIY tent air conditioner project or some cheap camping gear. A bit of planning and some passive cooling methods is a good start for a cool tent.
Tent fans are the simplest way to help cooling a tent, but is only marginally effective and as the saying goes “its better than nothing but worth nothing”.
Evaporative coolers are the next level of cooling. These can either be a DIY unit or a purchased one. They come in 12v DC or more substantial 220/240v units.
If there is no power at your site 12v DC (read battery) is your only option. A car battery with a small solar panel will give you more than enough power for your cooler with extra to spare for a stereo.
For the tradesmen living in the bush that needs a little more comfort, you’ll need gear that is a bit more substantial and a power source will be a must. Portable coolers or refrigerant air conditioners (window air conditioners) are your answer. Evaporative coolers are less effective in humid areas so window air conditioning units are the best option.
Most tents needs a bit of modification to duct the cool air in and dump the hot air outside. Power cables should be approved for outdoor use and should be rated for at least 15 amps to avoid overheating.
There are some cheap mini units that work great for small tents, but if we are talking about a 10-man tent, do yourself a favor and get a bigger unit.
Extra insulation will help with cooling, a flysheet over the tent and an emergency blanket over that works great. Make sure all holes and windows are closed, what was a great tent for a nice breeze to flow through must now be locked closed.
Emergency/relieve work can achieve “at home” comfort level with some specialised equipment at a premium cost and weight. Generators can provide the power and these units are bulky and heavy, so logistics must be considered for these options.
It’s not always possible to carry all this gear with you, but camping in comfort is so worth it. The novelty of camping in the great outdoors wears off quickly if you wake up dehydrated in an oven every morning when the sun comes up, or trying to fall asleep in a pool of sweat. I always make sure that there is a bit of space for my tent air conditioner and my family enjoys our camping holidays so much more.