Air conditioning while camping. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But there are a few constraints to keeping your canvas camper a cool 72 degrees – namely power (and lots of it).
OK, so you don’t need a flux capacitor and tube of uranium to power an RV air conditioner, but sometimes it feels that way. Technically, most RV air conditioners (including in a small popup camper) require 30-amp electrical service for power. This is different than most residential power outlets and is why you typically require an electrical hookup campground to use the air conditioner.
Generators and A/C
Your camper’s battery will not power an A/C. Not even for a second. It won’t even turn on.
You will typically need to generate at least 2,800 watts with a portable generator in order to power the air conditioner. Turn off the generator and your A/C will shut down too. Some generators like the Honda EU3000 will generate thus much (or more) from a single generator. Some smaller generators can be chained together to create the necessary wattage.
Perhaps it’s better just to camp in a cool, shaded location not needing air conditioning. With the help of a roof vent fan, an extended awning, and all of the windows unzipped on your popup, it can keep surprisingly cool, even with temperatures into the 80s or even 90s.