Back in 2019, as a part of my assessment of the Zero Breeze Mark II transportable AC unit, I invoked the sacred title of Tim Curry and one in every of his most incredible roles, Herkermer Homolka, within the 1995 camp traditional Congo. (“It’s the lost city of Zinj. Which I have looked for all my life.”) Never thoughts the speaking gorilla and the fist-sized diamonds simply mendacity round on the bottom within the jungle, for me this was a film about keep cool once you’re out within the boonies.
As I commented three years in the past, the Zero Breeze Mark II was a partial manifestation of the transportable air conditioners seen in that movie. But at 26 kilos with the battery connected, and at a value of $1,599, the cumbersome system wasn’t sensible for informal or cell use. It was greatest suited to extra stationary pursuits equivalent to cooling enclosed truck beds or everlasting constructions like a scorching she-shed.
Recently the corporate reached out to me to say that issues had modified with the Mark II, that the Mark II unit I initially reviewed was truly a prototype, and that the ultimate model is waaaaay higher now. “In the future, the new generation of off-grid air conditioners will be more efficient and used in more scenarios,” wrote a imprecise and anonymous rep on the firm. “Now, we’re very happy that Mark II is not only being used for RVs, truck stops, campers, etc., but we’re also getting feedback from very specific people.”
I don’t know what any of which means, however I did say I might take a look at the up to date product to see what has transpired with it over time.
In the grand scheme of issues, not lots. This isn’t a Zero Breeze Mark III however relatively a Zero Breeze Mark II.1 launch, with some minor beauty upgrades and a smattering of recent options that enhance its utility. Otherwise, it’s just about the identical product as earlier than.
Let’s begin with what hasn’t modified a lot. The general design stays similar, a silvery tackle-box-meets-snowblower design that also measures roughly 20 by 13 by 8 inches. A large 35-Ah/840-Wh battery attaches to the underside of the system for taking it on the go. As with the unique Mark II, the battery nonetheless must be wired to the blower with a small pigtail cable, a baffling and unnecessary complexity. When I weighed the system with its battery again in 2019, I obtained a complete weight of 26 kilos. Today’s weigh-in got here in at a shocking 30 kilos, which is even 1.5 kilos heavier than the unit’s acknowledged specs.
As for the modifications, the largest is seen proper once you unbox it: The new Mark II can nonetheless function with out a battery via its A/C adapter, however you now not want a second energy adapter to cost the battery. The similar energy adapter can function each units. No, you continue to can’t cost the battery and function the air conditioner on the similar time, however eliminating the necessity for 2 separate adapters is a wonderful repair.
A pair of recent equipment come within the field, together with a drain tube so condensation doesn’t drip throughout your tent and a 3rd extendable air flow pipe along with the unique pair. Two of those pipes can be utilized to route scorching exhaust to the outside; the brand new third pipe attaches to the chilly air output and allows you to direct it elsewhere, so that you don’t have to sit down proper subsequent to the (nonetheless loud however possibly a bit quieter) Mark II in an effort to be within the cool air blast zone. The battery pack additionally features a USB-C port for charging private units, along with two USB-A ports and a 12-volt DC socket.
But one of the best information is the Zero Breeze nonetheless works fairly properly, although I couldn’t discern any actual practical distinction from earlier than. If you don’t thoughts the noise, the system can blast chilly air at a fairly wholesome clip, and the smaller the house, the more practical the cooling is. A thermostat on the entrance shows the temperature of air popping out of the unit, and it dips beneath 60 levels Fahrenheit surprisingly shortly. Battery life seems to have improved barely, based mostly on my testing with the brand new unit. I ran the unit off a totally charged cell and obtained over 4 hours of working time at most energy earlier than the unit began to peter out, in comparison with about 3½ hours on the 2019 unit. Dial down the output degree and you’ll stretch the working time fairly a bit, in fact.
All of which brings us to the large query, and it’s the identical one as earlier than: Who’s going to make use of this factor? Glamping sounds rather more tolerable when local weather management is on the desk, however a lot much less tolerable when your yurt is full of the equal noise of a few hair dryers. The $100 value lower since 2019, at the very least, reduces a few of the sting attributable to all of the racket.