Some trends have come and gone quickly in the camping world. A few years back, it seemed like colorful tents (pinks, purples, green neon) was a new trend. However, that came and went quickly. Another trend, that seems here to stay, is the camping fans.
Since most people tend to enjoy camping during the summer, it’s little wonder that it quickly became inevitable that companies would start making fans for people while camping! After all, it gets hot inside tents when you also have a sleeping bag and a camping lantern in there.
So, camping fans became a thing and have stayed a thing.
With that in mind, it felt like it was time that I wrote my thoughts down for everyone on which were the best options out there so you can skip the ones that aren’t nearly as good.
Personally, I’ll share that I’m an extremely hot natural sleeper. It drives my fiance nuts, but I can’t sleep without the air conditioning on at home, even during the winter. For that reason, I actually really love fans at night while camping since that keeps me cold enough to go to sleep and stay asleep.
For this post, I’ll highlight:
- A buying guide of what you should be thinking about when looking at a fan
- The five best options in 2020
- A FAQ section on key questions you might have regarding fans while camping
So, let’s get started!
The Camping Fan Buying Guide
When you are looking at fans, there are a couple of things that matter. Regular readers will know that I’ll always make a point of adding a piece on weight below as well.
The key things to think about are:
- Power source: Many of these fans are powered by battery, but some are rechargeable and some are solar. If you are going camping for a while, or will use your fan a lot over a weekend camping trip, then it’s well worth your time to look for something other than straight battery power
- (if battery powered) Battery Life: Similar to above, if you are going to stick with a battery-powered fan, make sure you are well aware of how long it will last. More than a few camping vacations that I know of have been ruined because someone’s fan died and they struggled to sleep in the warm summer.
- Effective Area: As you might know, camping fans tend to be pretty small. For that reason, make sure you know how big your tent is and whether or not the fan in question is capable of cooling the entirety of the tent. I’d recommend getting a fan that is rated to be able to cool an area bigger than your tent
- Fan Speed/Noise: This thing will be going during the night. You want something that can keep a steady airflow but doesn’t keep you up at night due to being too noisy.
- Weight: As mentioned above, I always care about weight. Nothing sucks more than having to haul too much heavy gear with you while camping. You want a fan that is less than one pound so you don’t notice the impact on your pack while camping.
Now that I’ve outlined some of the key features you should think about with a fan, I’m now going to share my five favorite fans from 2020.
My Favorite Option: OPOLAR Rechargeable Battery Operated Clip on Fan
This is a great lightweight camping fan that can be used just anywhere from your tent or beach to your desk in the office to the treadmill bar or the baby stroller. This is so easy to carry around that you will not like to miss out on this no matter where you are going.
This fan has 4-speed fast air circulation that will last through the night, but allow you to pick the setting that is quietest and won’t wake you and your family up while camping. It has comfortable portability features that make it a robust partner for camping. It has tough clamps and pivots that make 360 Degree rotation. I’ve found that you can stick this just about anywhere in your tent due to the strong clamps on the bottom of it
It is equipped with a 10000 mAh polymer battery with 2A fast-charging with USB-C and Micro USB charging ports. If you have a portable battery pack or a laptop, you can recharge this fan every night with no difficulty.
- Power via batteries, USB cable, or USB-C
- Fan battery can be charged by cell phone adapter
- Good for biking, fishing, boating, barbeque
- Weak outside of a tent
- A little expensive
Best option for remote camping: OUTXE Camping Fan
This is a smart lightweight battery-operated portable fan perfect for your outdoor camping in remote locations that won’t have any light. The reason why is this fan from OUTXE has a little light in it for your tent if you need to get up in the middle of the night for any reason.
Designed with a hook specifically for tents, it can be easily clamped on to the tent, RV, camper or any strong and steady fixture. It has a 3-speed setting and can have 360 degrees vertical and horizontal rotation that ensures great airflow in the tent or in its coverage area.
It is equipped with a 4400mAh battery that can be charged through USB ports in comport, laptop, power bank, car charger, USB charger. On a low-speed mode, a fully charged battery can keep it running for a minimum of 34 hours while it can run for 9 hours on natural wind mode and 4.4 hours on strong wind mode.
- Whisper quiet, lightweight (11.8 ounces)
- Does not overheat
- Comes with a built-in light
- Easy USB charging
- 360-degree rotation
- Light can burn out quickly
- Not effective for large spaces
- Not as strong as a fan as some other options on this list
Best for buggy areas: .REENUO Camping Fan
I almost put this as my top overall pick….I thought about it for a while.
Here’s why: my absolute favorite place to go camping is on a lake in Wisconsin. But, since it’s a still water spot, the mosquitos and other bugs are an absolute nightmare. For that reason, I’m always trying to get rid of them.
This camping fan has a diffuser on it that you can use to place a repellant and not deal with bugs in the middle of the night, which is an absolute lifesaver if you leave your tent open.
So, I was tempted to put it as #1 but decided not too as it wouldn’t be fair to all of you who go camping in areas that aren’t as buggy!
Outside of the diffuser, this small portable camping fan brings strong wind power. But at the same time, it is a power-saver and stable fan that keeps running for hours and hours on a single charge. The head of the fan is fitted with an LED light that makes it an ideal piece of amenity for a tent camping.
It has 3-speed setting modes and is adjustable to 360 degrees vertically or horizontally. It has hook built-in at the bottom which can be used to hang or fix it just anywhere — in the tent or the nearby branches. Its outer body is highly stable and remains smooth even when the fan is running at its highest speed.
- Diffuser for bugs
- 12-month quality warranty
- Hanging clip is a little weird and doesn’t always work the way you want it too
- Not much effective in large open spaces
Best Entry Level Option: JOMST Camping Fan
I’m a football fan. This fan reminds me a lot of quarterback Alex Smith.
Here’s why: it’s good at a lot of things, but great at nothing. That’s what makes it the “Alex Smith” of camping fans and a good entry-level option.
This is a versatile light fan that qualifies to be one of the must-haves when you go camping in the wild. Hang it on the tent to dispel the heat and give you personal space and unforgettable travel experience. This fan gives strong winds while the noise level is extremely low.
It has two rechargeable 2500 mAh 18650 batteries that can last up to 40 hours at a low wind speed level. It comes with its own ultra-stable chassis, which guarantees smooth operation even at maximum wind speed. It can be placed on the table or mounted on the wall. This tent fan is perfect for outdoor activities. It has 4 wind-speed settings, and 2-level LED light settings. It supports 360-degree vertical and horizontal settings.
- Can work well at home or at a desk
- It can be charged by computer, laptop, etc.
- Small, compact, safe & durable
- Child’s finger cannot enter the fan
- Not great at anything
- USB charging randomly stops working at times
Best Long Life Fan: Amacool Camping Fan (with LED)
This is a versatile camping fan that combines camp lighting with a long amount of life. If you are going camping for longer than a weekend, or don’t know how you are going to recharge your fan while camping, then this is the best option for you.
It creates strong airflow and lights up your campsite stay in the night. It also creates pleasant aroma and drives away mosquitoes by using a repellant on the aroma diffuser pad. The camping has a hook built-in on the bottom which can be used to hang it from anything – your tent, rope, tree branches, etc.
It can be simply put on the desk, clamped on the baby stroller or used for your pets. On a full charge, the fan can run for 40 hours and the lights work for 440 hours. It can be run with USB cable powered by power bank, car charger or laptop.
- Long life
- Extremely quiet
- Portable & lightweight
- Saves space in your backpack
- Battery charging is time-consuming
Phew! That took a while to put together!
Now that the top 5 fans have been revealed, I figured this might be a good time to answer some of the key questions I’ve gotten/have heard about camping fans. Those questions and my thoughts on them are below, starting with some of the easier questions.
Is a fan important when camping?
The short answer is: it depends.
Are you going camping during the summer? Are you, or someone who will be in your tent, generally a hot sleeper? Do you want airflow in your tent?
In any of those cases, it’s absolutely worth it to get a fan. It’s better to have one with you and not need it than to get out to your camp sit and realize you’d rather have one.
However, if you tend to be a cold sleeper and don’t need the cooling benefits for a fan, then you can totally skip it.
Roughly speaking, I think ~50% of campers have fans.
How can I use a fan while camping?
The best, and most common, use of a fan is typically in your tent at night to cool yourself down when trying to sleep.
That being said, I love turning on the fan when coming back from a hike or any other time I’m sweating.
How to power a fan while camping?
A few years ago, most of these fans were almost always powered by disposable batteries. Now, they’re typically charged by USB cords. If you have a laptop with you, a power bank, or any other power source like a generator, you can use that to charge up your fan.
How to make a fan for camping?
This is a popular question as it seems a lot of people would rather make a fan instead of buying one.
I totally get it: it saves money and feels more environmentally friendly, which fits into the whole camping vibe anyways.
That being said, I have no clue how to do so! Sorry everyone!
What is the best fan for camping?
Honestly, it depends on what your goal is. If you go back to the buying guide, I outlined a bunch of different things to think about when it comes to your fan. Once you decide what matters (battery life vs recharging vs bug repellant), you can decide which one is best!
See you at the campsite!