Tent Air Conditioner Plans...

I’m looking for plans on building a tent air conditioner using a cooler and ice. I know I’ve seen the plans before but I just can’t find it again. I’ve found pre-built units ( http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=30944087&memberId=12500226) in Campmor, etc. that run off of a 12 volt lighter plug. But, I’m looking to build my own using a battery operated fan.

If anyone has an idea as to where I might be able to find some plans, I would greatly appreciate it.



I didn’t even know these existed! Do you think you can beat the $40 price, or are you thinking of a more elaborate system?


Just more crap to pack & unpack…
Up to you though, if you want to do it. I just open the vents on the tent & let the breeze blow through.

If you want an air conditioner, stay at home…

Use the air conditioner mother nature intended. That is what camping is all about- “Getting away from people & the hustle & bustle” -Right?!

A tent is made for a shelter while you sleep. That is all. At night the sun is down & the temp drops. Open your vents & unzip your bag. This technique has worked for me for 20 years. It may work for you. Zip up the screen, but unzip the door…

I haven’t had to haul an extra cooler or ice or batteries or fan… Just the stuff I want to haul around…lol

Paddle easy,


Not worried about the price…
I just think I can make one out of the hundred (slight exageration) coolers I have at home. I also would like to make mine where it did not need a 12 volt supply.


In Da South…
I’ve lived in the North, West and South…The South has such high heat/humidity ya really NEED Cooling at times…I lived near Detroit for a while…it gets hot but not like down here…

Don’t bother
Unless you live in low humidity the only way to cool is with a real air conditioner. I know people that have tried the ice, fan thing. It blows cool air for about 10 seconds then they say it feel just like a fan.

If you are in a dry area, swamp coolers are very effective as are misting units.

Your in South Carolina. Won’t work.
This is just a simple evaporative cooler. We call them swamp coolers back home. Lots of homes use them instead of an AC or to reduce AC usage. They work well out west because of low dewpoint and humidity. They don’t work in the south. They cannot evaporate the moisture out of the air effeciently enough to remove the heat.

There are lots of nice little pop-ups and trailors out there if someone in your group needs a little luxury when camping. Start saving your pennies for all those good deals on used RV’s…

Or , as an alternative

Hold your breath!!

Coffee, get ready!!!

(drum rollllllllllllll)

Get a Hennessey Hammock! Almost as good as A/C.



I will guarantee you that if it is still
90 deg and 95% humidity when I go to the coast in 2 weeks to camp, I’ll be looking for the No-Tell Motel.I grew up AC-less in Charleston and have no desire to sleep on sweat soaked sheets ever again.

Boater World
At our local Boaters World store in Sarasota theeey carry a factory built model just like you describe. Not sure, but I think the price was under $50. Not sure, but West Marine may also carry this item.

Try this…
Not that I would bother but here you go.

Go the the junkyard and find an old but small radiator. Preferably with an electric fan attached. Buy two 75 foot Garden hoses, a 1 GPM (gallons per minute)12 volt pump.

Place tent near the water, Throw one end of the hose into deep water, but the end must float a couple of feet above the bottom. Cut the hose near the other end and attach the pump, the other end adapt to fit on the radiator. Attach the other hose to the leaving side of the radiator to discharge back into the lake.

Bring 12 volt power to fan on radiator (fan must blow into tent through coil) and bring 12 volt power to pump.

Assuming 60 degree entering water temp to coil and pulling 95 degree air through coil, you should be able to drop the temp at least 15 to 20 degrees. Lot’s of variables involved here so not guarentee on final discharge air temp.

12 volt battery might last about an hour, unless you keep your vehicle running and constantly charging the battery.


Why don’t you just beg Borrow, or buy a regular ROOM AC unit and put it in your tent L

It’s amazing…
how a simple question for advice on finding plans can get so distracted.

I have no desire to build an elaborate contraption with hoses and radiators that would coest more than the one you can buy at Campmor. I know all about opening vents on a tent. (You would have to be stupid not to know that one, Coffee.) I also know I can buy an RV and say the heck with tent camping but…

Most of you seem to want to knock down my question and tell me I don’t need it, it won’t work, it’s a waste of space, etc. Well, to half way justify the original question here’s an explanation:

I’m looking to build one so I can take a few folks that I work with camping. For those that don’t know I work with children and adults with disabilities. Some of these folks have some problems when dealing with the heat and direct sunlight. Alas, they want to try some outdoor stuff even in the dog days of summer. I’m mearly tring to find a way to cool off a tent in case one of them is having difficulty. I’m not looking to cool it down to 60 degrees or anything like that. I just want to make it bearable in case I need to. I’m looking to build my own because money is always tight and if I can build one cheaper than buying with loosing nothing but my time, great.

I guess if you have some ideas on finding plans great send it to me. Otherwise, complain about my lack of sense and stupidity somewhere else.

Maybe you should’ve…
Put the when & why in the origional post??!! That would’ve cut down on some of the hashing you recieved.

My advice stays the same… Open the vents… Or go to a “state park” with electrical hook-up & take a fan…

Or if such person has a reaction to heat and you are camped near a lake or river, wet down a towel & coverthem with it… There is not much more you can do.

Or just buy the “cooler thingy” and get it over with. If it woks for ya on one trip without incident, then it has paid itself off!!

My origional post remains ask a question vaguely— Get a “common sense” answer.

Paddle easy,


I hte to reply to you about this but…
Coffee, I did ask a specific question about where to find plans on the “swamp cooler.” I didn’t ask a vauge question about how to stay cool in a tent.

True, but maybe if you had stated the
reasoning for wanting the plans?? People may have been more helpful with their posts.

Sad to say that the circumstances are what they are to get a “decent/helpful” reply. But that is the way America works… :frowning:

Sorry, but my advice about buying it & getting it over with or the state park is all I can give ya.

Other than that… Andy’s contraption may be it. Or go to a place that sells the things & see how it works & duplicate it as cheaply as possible…

Paddle easy,


Evaporative cooling
Pour a bucket of water over the tent every 15 minutes or so. The evaporating water on the fabric of the tent will provide some cooling effect. If the wind is blowing gently, it’ll work better.


PS I still like my previous idea, would be a sight to see lol


What I use at work!

– Last Updated: Jun-09-05 3:48 PM EST –

Price is a little steep & they leak, but you stay cool (or warm)!

Your idea sounds like a Red Green thing!! Do you watch him toooo much? HAHA!!