How effective is portable or window AC in a popup?

WesternRover

New Member
Sep 3, 2022
2
Thanks for the replies to my first question which suggest the popup with air conditioner I was looking at may have too many repairs for me, who is not very handy. I might need to get a popup without A/C and use a window unit or possibly portable A/C.

How effective is window or portable air conditioning in a popup trailer? I would probably be parked in the sun on land my in-laws own in southern Nevada where I can expect highs in the 90s, working on a laptop from "home" most of the day.
 

Raycfe

Waterford Ct.
Oct 3, 2007
18,437
Waterford, Ct
You really will need to cover the roof to give the camper some shade. Maybe something like an Easy Up or two.Cold air falls so a window AC doesn't work very well mounted near the floor. Mounted on a stand and blowing thru the screen would work better and doesn't take up any floor or cabinet space. A portable AC just has to exhaust thru the screen, the air outlets are usually on the top can be moved around (a little) or put on a bench or box.
 

Luke 01

Member
Jan 1, 2015
19
Catawba, SC
Thanks for the replies to my first question which suggest the popup with air conditioner I was looking at may have too many repairs for me, who is not very handy. I might need to get a popup without A/C and use a window unit or possibly portable A/C.

How effective is window or portable air conditioning in a popup trailer? I would probably be parked in the sun on land my in-laws own in southern Nevada where I can expect highs in the 90s, working on a laptop from "home" most of the day.
Definitely will work but in the situation you are describing you will need to insulate the bunk ends at a minimum here's a pic of what I did and it makes a huge difference. Also you can add it to the windows too real easy to do.
Lowes has the supplies.
Inbox me for details if you would like
 

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kcsa75

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2013
5,929
Kansas City
We had an 8K BTU floor model AC in our Pup. We put it on one of the counters and ran the vent out the screen. It can get hot in Kansas in the summer and that thing would freeze you out.

I would also suggest Pup Up Gizmos to add some insulation.
 
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jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,866
Northern Virginia
Do not go with a window unit as you need the AC as high as possible. I had used a window unit that I balanced on the lip of the camper and a shelf. Unfortunately all the cold air immediately sank to the floor without going to the bunk end Even with a fan just couldn’t push enough of the air off the floor. Even at night the bunk end was still hot as blazes so I converted the table as a bed and slept there. I can’t comment on the standing units but the thing going for them is they are higher off the ground so it will have better chance of getting the air into the bunk end especially if you have fans To give it a further push. Personally I would go with the roof top unit to free up counter space then use bunk end fans to further push air further into the bunks. You will need shade and you will need PUGS on the bunks. If no shade you will definitely going to need reflectix in your windows to help reflect the sun away from the camper.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,141
...at least it's a dry heat...

:)

You can close off the bunks during the day to get the most out of your AC, and if one is unoccupied, keep it closed at night, too.

Will you be somewhere that cools off at night?
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
3,076
DFW, TX
Depends on the size of your PUP. I have a 12’ box, slide out dinette and dual king bunks. In TX summers an 8k btu portable made little difference to me. That one time I used it was due to an electrical wiring issue in my power center that prevented using the roof air for a day.

In full sun my roof unit (13.5k btu) will keep it to around 80 in 105+ temps. That is with PUGS and reflectix in all the bunk windows and the dinette side windows and no awning.

With awning and at least partial shade I can get it down to low 70s in the same conditions. Add in the portable I have and I can maintain high 60s, and it will get down to the 50s at night.

Less brutal summer temps are easier to deal with.

I also have a number of oscillating fans to help circulate the air, and the portable unit sits on a counter, not the floor.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,407
Get a roof mounted RV air conditioner. That is optimally suited for the job. A window air conditioner is not an optimal solution in a popup.

Many are less than the 13.5kbtu of a rooftop RV air conditioner.
Installation will be inferior.
The cold air will blow near the floor where convection doesn't help.

So if you want a lower-BTU air conditioner sticking through the side of the popup blowing air at the floor, go for it. Others think that's a great solution. But there's a reason that RV air conditioners are a completely different form factor, and mounted on the roof.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
209
We have an 8000 BTU one in our camper and it does okay... not great, but we sleep comfortably at night. The most important thing I think with pop ups (and campers in general) is that any solar load is a KILLER. We have camped in shade and in full sun in hot temps and during the day the AC just barely keeps up. You're not going to freeze the camper out during the day without some help. At night however it does keep the camper very comfortable in hot weather. Pop up gizmos and/or reflectix help a lot. For us, that's the most important part as we're not really spending any time in the camper during the day.

I do agree however that a roof top AC is going to have the most BTU capability. The big problem you'll have with a similarly sized window AC cabinet mounted unit is being able to put enough air through the condenser coil. that is hard to do in anything over 8000 BTUs IMO, unless you can hang the back of the AC unit out of a hole directly vented to the outside. You also lose a cabinet in the process. I will probably keep an eye out for a roof mount one to retrofit onto our camper at some point but for now this works just fine, and it's a whole lot cheaper than a new rooftop unit. We paid $150 for this one on clearance at Target.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
209
Oh yeah, important to get a fan to help circulate the air, and a discharge vent you can aim upwards.
 




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