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But it’s also no surprise that it gets HOT here in Nebraska in the summer. Like…REALLY hot. And Humid. And Sweltering.
Ok, you get the point.
Now, with two little ones camping with us, we knew we needed to find the best tent fan to help us all stay comfortable. (Here’s our Camping With Toddlers Survival Guide)
At a Glance: Top Picks For Best Camping Fan
Keep on reading to figure out the best tent fan for you as well as my other top recommendations.
Who Needs a Camping Tent Fan
A camping fan can make all the world of a difference when out enjoying nature. Even just a simple portable travel fan that you can use to make your nights a little more comfortable can be a life saver.
When camping, you are supposed to be ENJOYING yourself.
If you are overheated or so hot that you can’t sleep (making you miserable and grouchy the following day), then what is the point in going?
Here are a few types of campers that would get the most out of a portable camping fan and the best tent fans.
You’ve seen on this page that just because we have small children doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped traveling, camping, and having adventures. Sure, camping with a toddler and a baby can be a challenge at times, but it is also rewarding and fun.
However, one of the challenges with camping with such little ones is heat exposure. Babies can’t control their body temperatures and they definitely can’t take off a layer when they feel they are too hot at night.
Having the best camping fan at your camp and in your tent is going to help keep them properly cooled and safe.
Once past a certain age, you don’t have the issue of children not knowing how to kick off covers or take off clothing to help keep them cool.
No. Instead you just have whiners. If you have kids, you know EXACTLY what I mean.
“But I’m sooooo hoooooooot” (as they do alligator rolls in their sleeping bag ensuring that EVERYONE is now fully awake and aware of their misery)
Now, the whining is annoying in and of itself. However, we all know that children of all ages need certain amounts of sleep. If they don’t get it then you are in for a day of hell tomorrow. And when you are out camping, you need….well, happy campers!
Best Fan For Tent Camping With Children: Sky Genius Battery Operated Clip On Fan.
Why? This fan is easy to clip onto the side of a portable crib even when inside the tent (Here is our all-time favorite travel crib)
Now that we have Gretel, we love to go Glamping in Nebraska. But even before her, sometimes we liked to tent camp lavishly depending on our location.
One way to make camping a bit more glamorous is to be comfortable at all times. There are some pretty great tent fans with all the bells and whistles (lights, mosquito repellent, radio and more!)
Just like those young babes, the young at heart also need to be wary of heat exhaustion. A portable fan for tents are a great way to help keep people who may have heat sensitivities comfortable in hot climates.
Anyone Wanting a More Enjoyable Camping Experience
At the end of the day, anyone camping can use and appreciate a tent fan. If it makes your camping excursion more comfortable, then it’s a great thing to bring along! Considering they are so affordable and many are incredibly easy to pack (like this super lightweight portable handheld fan), why not?
People Who Use a Tent Fan (And our best tent fan suggestion for each style) Are:
- Hammock Campers (Something lightweight and with hooks to hang from suspension, like this)
- Backwoods Camping (A battery powered fan with long battery life, like the OPolar)
- Thru Hikers and Backpackers (Best Backpack Fan)
- Family Campers
- Tent Campers (Best Tent Fan)
- Pop Up Campers (This Hanging Ceiling Fan)
- RV Campers (A high powered fan, like this if you have a hookup)
Which Fans To (Possibly) Skip
You might be wondering why a few other “Top Rated” Camping Fans are not included in my list. Here are the ones that others rave about but I’m skipping!
Coleman Tent Fan With Light and Stand: This got booted from my list because if you want to use the rechargeable battery pack, you need to purchase it separately. If it all came as one, I might feel differently about this one. Read the reviews yourself though to decide if it would work for you.
O2Cool 10 Inch Portable Fan: Another “Best of” camping fan but it got the chop from my list because of the exorbitant amount of batteries it requires. 6 Double D batteries eventually add up in cost when needing to be replaced frequently. Other than that, this actually is a decent fan to consider though. Just read the reviews first.
However, if you want an O2 Fan, the 5 Inch option is the better choice. Granted, it is much smaller, but also requires fewer batteries.
Power Options for Portable Fans For Tents
How are you planning on getting your tent fan to work?
Well, again, this may depend on the type of camping you are doing.
If you are at an established campsite, you may even have electric hookups, making for a fan, like this one, a great option.
Pros To Electric Power:
- Don’t need extra supplies to make it work (besides maybe a quality outdoor camping extension cord)
- Can be high powered
- Often are bigger giving off more air
- Can be heavier, bulkier and too big to lug around
- Need an electric hookup, which all campsites don’t have
Battery Powered Fan
Battery operated fans for camping are a popular choice because you don’t have to worry about finding electricity.
Pros To a Battery Operated Outdoor Fan:
- Don’t need electric hookups
- One of the strongest portable power options (will last the longest)
- Batteries are cheap and easy to buy
Easy to pack??
- Need to bring plenty of batteries
- Batteries are heavy
- Improper disposal of alkaline batteries is horrible for our environment
- Battery life often doesn’t last long??
- Aren’t always very powerful??
Types of Battery Powered Camping Fans
- Rechargeable battery operated fan
- Solar Powered (more on this next)
- Mini Battery Operated Fan (???)
Solar Powered Tent Fan
A solar camping fan is an absolutely great option if you are staying put in one place for camp and are in a particularly sunny location.
Pros To Solar Operated Fans:
- You don’t need extra supplies
- Doesn’t harm the environment (by using unnecessary batteries, which just end up in landfills for ages or leak)
- They can quickly lose their charge
- Requires Sun (won’t charge well if in a cloudy location)
USB Powered Fans
I actually really love this option for a tent fan. Even though I unplug as much as I can while out camping, I also do tend to have my phone and a portable power bank with me just in case.
Since I already have the power charger and cable, it’s a great way to keep a fan going.
- You may already have most of the necessary supplies on hand
- A powerful power bank can last a long time
What to Consider For the Best Tent Fan
Types of Camping Fans
There are actually a ton of different kinds of camping and tent fans. Below is an entire section dedicated to this. Some examples are:
- Battery Operated Fans
- Mini Personal Fans
- Electric Hand Fans
Even if you are unpacking your car right next to your tent, having an easily portable fan is essential for packing. A few things to consider is:
- How Compact
Depending on the type of camping you do, weight may or may not be an issue.
If you are car camping where you unload and set up camp right near your car, then weight won’t matter much to you.
However, if you are backpacking and setting up camp nightly, then you are going to be watching every ounce you pack.
If you plan on hanging your fan from your tent, you are also going to need a fan that doesn’t weigh much.
The size of fan is going to depend on what you need it for.
For example, is it just you in your tent? Then a small portable fan will probably suffice. Not only do you not need a huge fan, but if you have a small tent, you don’t have a lot of space to spare on the floor, which is why a hanging tent fan, like this one, is perfect for small tents.
Or, are you in a 6 person tent with your whole family? Then a large battery operated fan or even an electric tent fan is going to be more useful than a dinky mini personal fan.
How Long Does It Last
If you are constantly needing to change out batteries because your tent fan sucks the juice out of them nightly, then that is just plain annoying and is a waste of batteries.
Alternatively, if you have a solar fan and find yourself on a particularly cloudly camping trip, then you are basically just lugging around extra weight and gear.
Make sure you get a camping fan that is going to last several uses, if not your whole trip!
Note: Most fans that give a max run time is based on the fan running on LOW.
Output of Air
A high power fan can be great to use at your campsite as well as inside your tent. It can help keep away pesky mosquitos and then also keep you cool at night, especially if you are in a larger 4-6 Person Tent.
But maybe you don’t need that. Maybe just a small personal fan that you can turn on when you feel particularly warm is all that you need. You don’t need anything super powerful, just a light breeze to help keep you comfortable.
I think it goes without saying that you don’t want to buy a fan for camping just to have it bust on you.
Make sure you read the reviews and are looking for things like:
- Life and Longevity: Are people reporting it busting within a few usages
- Cheap Plastic: If you accidentally drop your cordless fan is it going to shatter?
- Flimsy Blades: Are the fan blades well made enough to actually produce a breeze
- Warranty: A good warranty can be a great sign of a good product and a company that stands behind what they produce
This is actually a funny consideration because it is actually a personal sleeping choice.
Many people will say to make sure you have a tent fan that is quiet.
I’m going to go against the grain here and suggest that while of course, you don’t want some rackety machine waking up any camp neighbors or animals, some people actually prefer or even need some white noise while they sleep and a fan can be exactly that!
If you need silence to sleep, get a fan with plastic blades, these are quieter.
If you like a bit of sound to lull you to sleep, metal blades have a bit more white noise to them.
Not all camping and tent fans are going to be waterproof. However, it is a nice thing to look for considering that you ARE going to be outdoors and you simply just never know when Mother Nature will decide to get a little teary eyed.
Even if it doesn’t rain, you may find yourself in humid weather or waking up to a dewy morning.
Accessories And Extra Features
Tent fans can come as basic as a mini handheld fan to pretty dang fancy. Here are a few extra features that can really make a good tent fan a great one.
Tent Fan Light: It’s really useful and super handy to have a light in your tent. Having a 2 in 1 combo camping fan light is great for reducing gear to pack
Radio: Yup! Some tent fans even have a radio! This is actually pretty nice, especially when you live and camp in a place like Nebraska (AKA Tornado Alley!) to be able to tune into current weather advisories…or just to crank up some tunes!
Hooks: Being able to hook up your fan to your tent can really help to get the air flowing properly in your tent at night. It’s also nice when you can hook your fan to other locations outside of your tent during the day
Stands: Alternatively, having a good stand for your tent fan can also make sure the whole tent is getting a good breeze and is great to be able to take out to a table during the daytime.
Where Are You Going To Put Your Portable Camping Fan
Hanging Tent Fan
I love a fan that can hang from the tent. It doesn’t take up valuable floor space and can really disperse the air output throughout the tent.
However, not all tents have a place to hang a fan from. Make sure that your tent has poles or somewhere sturdy enough to hold a fan. While some tent fans actually have magnets, like this one, you still want to be sure that your fan won’t come crashing down.
If you have children, be sure that either your hanging ceiling fan is absolutely secure and/or that it has a protective cage. The last thing you need on a camping trip is a kiddo injured due to a falling fan.
If you have a fan that stands on it’s own, simply place it on the floor of your tent. Make sure no sleeping bags and bedding are going to restrict any airflow.
If you have a vented tent, try placing it near the mesh, where it will be able to suck in some of the fresh outside air to help with good circulation
A fan with a stand is also great for camping because you can easily set it outside on a table or on the ground
Tent Fan Lights
If you are wanting to use your fan as a light as well, then you’ll want to place the fan near where you’ll get optimal lighting.
Putting it near the door is a great place, not only for the air circulation, but this is often a place where you need light as you fumble for your shoes during those middle of the night bathroom runs!
I have been on too many camping trips where we’ve been caught in the rain and stuck inside the tent. Having a light that covers the whole tent so we could play cards or read a book is really useful in comparison to a flashlight that we have to hold or only shines in one spot.
As you can see, there are a lot of really great and extremely affordable camping tent fans. Yes, it is one more piece of gear, but when you actually get a great night’s sleep because you aren’t miserably hot, you’ll be glad you have it in your stash!
Other Ways To Stay Cool In Camp
In addition to using the best tent fan to help keep you cool, if you really want to stay comfortable at night while camping in hot weather, do a few other things to your tent to maximize your comfort.
Set Up Camp In The Shade
I know it sounds pretty obvious, but setting up your camp in the natural shade is going to help keep it cooler. Even just a little bit of shade will help, so if there aren’t a ton of trees, at least put up the tent where it will be shaded during the hottest hours of the day.
Do you ever see people put reflective blankets in the windshield of their cars to keep them cooler in the summer?
It’s the same concept for your tent. You can get really cheap reflective strips that will help bounce the sun beans off and away from your tent, keeping that space a bit cooler.
Set Up Camp Near Water
Breeze over water can be a natural air conditioner, so if you can, pitch your tent near a stream or even a lake.
Just make sure you have good repellent as water also brings mosquitos at dusk.
Take Down Your Tent During The Day
Depending on how quick and easy to tear down and set up your tent is, this is actually the best option for keeping your tent cool.
Granted, some tents are a hassle to put back up, so this option isn’t ideal for everyone.
Remove The Rain Fly During the Day
If you can’t take your tent down, then at least just remove the rain fly. Since these hug your tent, they are going to trap in heat and moisture. By removing them (if it’s not going to rain), you can let some fresh air in and out of your tent.
Open Up The Vents
A lot of tents have mesh vents. Make sure that all of these are open during the day so that any heat that does get in can easily escape.
Speaking of mesh, if you haven’t already gotten a tent or in the market for a new one, consider one with a lot of quality mesh siding for plenty of air ventilation.
Light Colored Tents
Dark colors tend to attract heat, so getting a light colored tent is not going to retain that heat as much as a darker colored one.
Try Hammock Camping
Hammock camping is a great way to pack light and stay cool even in warmer months. In fact, anything below 70 degrees and you are actually going to find yourself needing a hammock sleeping pad or a quality hammock underquilt because of the air circulating underneath will make your chillier than you’d ever expected!
Use Sheets or Sleeping Bag Liners (Best kids sleeping bags)
Instead of heavy sleeping bags, just cover up with sheets.
If you’ve got kids, here are some of the best kids sleeping bags for all occasions, including summers.
So there you have it!
Who know there were so many camping fan options out there!? What are a few of your top priorities when looking at a tent fan?
Do you know anyone who LOVES to camp? Share this with them so they can be comfy while outdoors in the heat!