Best Tent Fans for Camping: 5 Options Which Actually Work

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Video best fans for tent camping

Camping in hot weather can be miserable without a fan (it’s a lot easier to deal with cold than heat when camping!). You’ve basically got five options for tent fans: using a normal portable fan at a campsite with an electrical outlet, USB-powered fans, rechargeable battery fans, battery-powered fans, and jobsite fans.

Top Pick: Koonie 10,000mAh USB Fan This is an all-around good camping fan for small and medium-sized tents. It runs up to 48 hours without electricity and can also be run on a power bank when its battery dies.

Also read: Tips for Camping in Extremely Hot Temperatures

1. Outlet Fan + Campsite with Electric Hookup

If it is going to be very hot and you are car camping at a proper campground (i.e. not primitive camping), it is worth spending the extra fee to have an electric hookup. Then you’ll be able to use a normal outlet fan. You’ll also be able to use the electric hookup for other things like your electric food cooler.

If you go this route, please remember…

  • You’ll need a VERY LONG extension cord which is RATED FOR OUTDOOR USE.
  • Your tent needs to have an E-port. A lot of family tents have “e-ports”, which are holes that allow you to run an extension cord into your tent. If your tent doesn’t have one, you’ll need to run the cord through the doorway, which can be a tripping hazard or require you to have an even longer extension cord.
  • Fans are LOUD. This can make it annoying to sleep, especially when the tent is next to your head in an already-cramped tent. Resist the urge to bring your largest, most powerful fan.

2. USB-Powered Fans

If you don’t have an electric hookup at your campsite and only have a small tent, then USB fans are probably your best option. USB fans have built-in batteries. This means you can use the fan without any power. However, they also can be run on a USB source (such as with a power bank or through your laptop). Some have other power options too, such as being able to run on normal batteries or AC/DC power.

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USB fans tend to be quieter than outlet fans. They are definitely more portable, so you don’t have to worry about dragging a massive fan in/out of the tent. Some even come with tripod stands and little clips so you can hang the fan from the top of your tent.

If you use a USB fan for camping…

  • Pay attention to the built-in battery capacity: The bigger the capacity, the longer the fan will run on a full charge.
  • Each person will probably need their own fan. USB fans are not very strong. To get a good breeze in a bigger tent, you will need multiple fans. Ideally, each person gets their own fan so they can position it however they want.
  • Don’t go too cheap. I got a really cheap USB fan for a July trip to Dubai when my daughter was an infant. The fan was basically worthless because it was so weak. The cheap Lithium battery also died quickly (yes, battery quality matters).

Recommended USB Fans for Camping:

The Koonie Misting Fan is a good option. The 10,000mAh battery lasts 6-48 hours, depending on the mode. It can also act as a power bank to charge your other devices. The clip makes it easy to attach to your tent roof and you can adjust the fan direction. It’s a bit pricy though.

3. Rechargeale Battery Fans

Like USB fans, rechargeable camping fans have built-in batteries. The difference is that you usually cannot run them off of a USB source (so you can’t run it off of a power bank). When the battery dies, you’ll need to recharge it before you can use it again. Recharging is usually through a standard outlet, though some fans can be recharged with your car’s cigarette lighter or other options.

While USB fans are more versatile, rechargeable battery fans tend to be larger, stronger and more durable. If you need a fan to use outdoors when camping — especially for cooling multiple people — these are going to be more effective than tiny USB fans.

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Recommended Rechargeable Battery Fan:

The Geek Aire fan is an awesome option. It has a 15,000mAh built-in battery which can run for 2-18 hours depending on the setting. It is IPX4, which means it is waterproof enough to handle some light showers. The Geek Aire camping fan is also one of the only ones which has metal blades and a really durable construction. It’s definitely a pricier camping fan though!

4. Battery Operated Fans

These types of fans only run on batteries. I personally don’t recommend using a battery-powered fan for camping. Most of them use D batteries. The fan will need to use a LOT of D batteries to give you any sort of airflow – which means the fan will be stupidly heavy. Guess what? It’s going to be hard to hang a heavy fan from the top of your tent! Expect 8 D batteries to last approximately two nights of camping.

Rechargeable D batteries are expensive and you probably don’t have any other gadgets which use them. Your probably better off using a USB camping fan. If you really want one which runs on batteries, then try to find one which uses AA batteries instead.

This O2COOL Treva stroller fan is an okay option. It uses 4 AA batteries instead of D batteries, has a clip and rotating head so is easy to position, lasts 11-14 hours depending on the setting, and actually provides enough breeze to ventilate a small tent.

Note: I’ve heard bad things about the Coleman CPX 6 camping fan. As one camper said of it, “It’s weak and noisy. The worst combination. I wouldn’t mind the noise if it actually moved air but it doesn’t.”

5. Jobsite Fans

A lot of tool brands make jobsite fans which work with their cordless tool batteries. While I haven’t tried them, lots of people swear by the Ryobi jobsite fans for camping. This one works on their 18v battery or an extension cord. Dewalt, Milwaukee, Craftsman and other major tool brands also make 9v and 18v battery fans.

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If you already have a cordless tool set, then it is very affordable to buy the fan. Buying a fan with the battery will be fairly expensive though. I’m not sure whether it’s worth it to go that route (expect to pay at least $100 for a fan + battery + charger). Jobsite fans are almost always going to be a lot more powerful and better quality than USB fans. So, if you go camping in hot temperatures often, it might be worth the cost.

What about Solar Powered Camp Fans?

In theory, you can run a USB fan off of a portable solar panel. However, you’ve got to be realistic. The charge needs to be constant enough to keep the fan going – which isn’t going to happen. You might have issues like the fan going off if a cloud passes over it. You will be better off using the solar panel to charge a power bank, and then using the power bank to run your fan.

But forget about those fans with built-in solar panels. Even if they do give you a breeze (and that’s a big if), there are serious issues. For starters, Lithium batteries shouldn’t be left in hot temperatures — so it’s a stupid idea to leave a fan in the sun to charge the built-in battery.

And, assuming that the fan works when set in direct sunlight, do you really want to sit in direct sunlight? I’d rather be in the shade than next to a fan in the sun!

Sources:

https://www.campingforums.com/forum/forum/camping-chat/tent-camping/3408-tent-camping-in-extreme-heat

Tent fans
byu/Mikesiders inCampingGear

Battery Powered Tent Fans
byu/Turfyleek93 inCampingGear

Image credit:

“Cool but unnecessary camp luxury” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Beige Alert

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>