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Do Pop-Up Campers Have Air Conditioners (and Do They Work)?

Summer is a great time to get out to a campground and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. Summer is also the time when temperatures can creep up to uncomfortable highs. While you may not be able to do much about the outside temperatures, you can make it a bit cooler inside your pop-up camper. Let’s explore how a pop-up camper air conditioner can save the day when it comes to those hot, muggy summer days.  

Do Pop-Up Campers Have Air Conditioners? 

If you find yourself wondering if pop-up campers can have air conditioners, you aren’t alone. Many people see pop-up campers and wonder if they would be comfortable during the hot summer months.

Thankfully, the answer is yes; many pop-up campers do come with air conditioners. They’re not always standard, though. If having an air conditioner is important to you, be sure the model you select comes with one or that you can install one. 

pop up camper

Do Pop-Up Camper Air Conditioners Actually Work? 

Pop-up camper air conditioners work similarly to air conditioners in any other RV. The difference you may encounter is how well the camper will maintain its temperature. Having a canvas exterior makes it more susceptible to heat.

The canvas will hold the cool air in, but not as efficiently as a hard-sided camper. To maintain a cool temperature in a pop-up camper, try to park in the shade and run the air conditioner continuously. 

➡Learn What You Need To Know About Your RV Air Conditioner

Can You Install an Air Conditioner in a Pop-Up Camper?

If you already own a pop-up camper and don’t have an air conditioner, you aren’t completely out of luck. Many people who own a pop-up decide to install an air conditioner themselves or have one professionally installed. 

Unless you’re well versed in air conditioning components, this task might be best left up to the professionals, especially if you’re going with a roof-mounted air conditioner. The last thing you want is to develop a leak due to improper installation. 

Install a RV Roof Top A/C Unit on a Forest River Pop Up Camper Tent Trailer

Benefits of Using an Air Conditioner in a Pop-Up Camper

Camping can be very comfortable in a pop-up camper. Air conditioning can make your experience even better on those sweltering summer days. Let’s look at why some people decide the cost of an air conditioner is worth it. 

Sleep Better

Not many people enjoy sleeping when it’s hot and stuffy. If you’ve spent all day battling the heat, you probably want to crawl into a nice cool space to get some rest. Having an air conditioner in your camper can help you recharge, so you’re ready to face another hot day of camping. 

Pro Tip: Don’t lose sleep over loud air conditioners! These are the Quietest RV Air Conditioners.

pop up camper air conditioner
Air conditioner on a pop-up camper

Camp Comfortably in Hot Weather

Sometimes you just can’t take the heat any longer. It’s moments like these when a pop-up camper air conditioner can be beneficial. You can take some time to cool down as you rest before going about your day.

Additionally, an air conditioner doesn’t just cool the air; it helps reduce the moisture in the air. That means you can enjoy a more comfortable camping experience and not worry about humidity inside your camper. 

How Much Do Air Conditioning Units for Pop-Up Campers Cost?

As with everything in the RV world, the cost for a pop-up camper air conditioner can vary greatly. Prices range from $200 to $1,500 depending on the type of unit, installation fees, and power. Portable air conditioners will be the most budget-friendly, while permanent rooftop air conditioners will cost you the most. 

Portable Versus Roof-Mounted Air Conditioners for Pop-Up Campers

Should you go with a portable or roof-mounted air conditioner for your pop-up camper? If you’re not interested in cutting and drilling into the roof, go with a portable unit. The good news is if you do choose a portable air conditioner, you’ll save money. However, they’ll eat up space that a roof-mounted unit wouldn’t.

➡Check out our 5 recommendations for Smallest Portable Air Conditioners and if they’re a fit for your setup.

Pop Up Camper Heater & Air Conditioner Basics | Quick-Start & Troubleshooting Guide

If you want ease of use and maximum efficiency, a roof-mounted air conditioner is a great choice. Plus, you won’t give up any living space. They’re easy to use, and once installed, can stay permanently in place. However, you’ll pay more for both the unit and installation.

How to Keep Your Pop-Up Camper Cooler Longer

If you’re camping in a scorching location, your pop-up camper air conditioner might need a little help to keep you cool. Choosing a shaded site can make a big difference. It’s hard to battle the sun beating down on canvas, even with the best of air conditioners. If you can find a well-shaded site, you’ll be one step ahead of the heat. 

It might be tempting to open your windows to let a breeze in. But if the breeze is hot, it won’t do you much good. It’s better to keep the windows closed and your air-conditioned air in.

Like in sticks and bricks homes, having a clean filter helps the air conditioner run efficiently. If the filter gets clogged, the air conditioner must work harder to cool your camper. Replacing your filter is relatively inexpensive and very important for maintaining your pop-up camper air conditioner. 

Stagnant air can feel uncomfortable and hotter than it is. A fan can aid in circulating the cooled air and provide some much-needed airflow. Keep a fan running any time you’re in the pop-up camper to distribute the air-conditioned air. 

Don’t let a sweltering forecast ruin your camping trip. It’s possible to camp in hot conditions and still be comfortable.

pop up camper on hill

Would you purchase a pop-up camper without an air conditioner, or would that be a deal-breaker for you? Drop a comment below.

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Carol A Forrest

Sunday 25th of July 2021

We put an air-conditioner on our pop-up and it was great. If I got another, I would put A/C on that one also. It was a bit expensive, but worth every penny!!!

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 25th of July 2021

That's good to hear. Sometimes the price of staying cool is worth it! :)

Mark Morton

Saturday 24th of July 2021

I have a rock wood premier 2514g with a Dometic Brisk Air 13500 a/c . Is there anyway to make it quieter. I have serviced it and clean the filter and coils.

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 3rd of March 2022

Hi Mark, unfortunately, many of these AC units are notoriously loud. Not sure if your model would be able to support any sound dampening material?