Best Family Camping Tent Fans For Those Hot Summer Days - ipanergy

by Regina Wu
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Best Family Camping Tent Fans For Those Hot Summer Days - ipanergy

In those hot, sunny, summer days, a tent can get very hot. The best family camping tent fans can make a real difference. Manufacturers work hard to provide active, floor to ceiling, ventilation flows but sometimes that just isn’t enough.  For most of us, the answer is to use a tent fan to increase the tents air circulation.

What are the features of the best family camping tent fans? An effective family camping tent fan must:

  • Have enough fan power to circulate the air in a large family tent
  • Provide multiple settings – sometimes, just a little extra circulation is required
  • Utilize multiple power options – battery, 12V DC, 110V AC, rechargeable
  • Be quiet in operation. On hot still evenings, the fan is likely to stay on all night
  • Last for at least 24 hours if rechargeable
  • Be small and lightweight. It will take up valuable space in your camping packing
  • Not so much a must have, but it is useful where fans are multi functional. Integrating LED lanterns is a popular option

A tent fan that has excellent functionality with hooks for hanging, long battery life, a built-in light, and various speed settings are the best for tents.

What Is A Tent Fan

A tent fan is any fan that circulates air around the space in your family camping tent. There’s nothing too special about them.  Some manufacturers make and market fans just for camping. Any portable fan can do the job though.

The advantage of fans specially build for camping and outdoor use, is that they will often have a degree of water or moisture protection. These are the fans that include features like lights, hooks to hang them, and even radios!

What Are The Best Features Of A Tent Fan?

Fan Speeds – Air Circulation

Fans do nothing to cool the air. If you absolutely must have your tent cooled, you can look at tent air conditioning units. These do exist but are much more complex and expensive than the humble tent fan.

Any cooling effect from fans is achieved by circulating hot air around and out of the tent. In this sense, the aim of the fan is to help the tents ventilation features by ensuring air is kept moving.

Having a fan blow directly over your skin will help cool you down. The moving air encourages moisture and sweat on your skin to evaporate. The evaporation takes heat from you body and so cools you.

Positioning of the fan is important. Put it near a low-level vent and it will draw air in from the outside and move it up and out through the mesh ceiling. Wherever you put the fan you should be seeking to improve the tents ventilation.

So, tent fans are all about air circulation. The best fans are going to be able to circulate enough air to make a difference. They will also have multiple speed settings to allow control of the air circulation depending on conditions.

Condensation Prevention

Condensation can be a slight problem in family camping tents. It frequently occurs in spring or fall when it has been hot in the day, but temperature falls at night.

Keeping a fan gently circulating air in the tent helps prevent condensation building and becoming a problem.

Those of you who spend much of you camping time doing watersports also tend to be at risk of condensation – particularly if you are forced to bring our kit into the tent at night to drain. A fan will help the drying process and, by keeping the air circulating, reduce condensation.

Fan Power Sources

There are lots of options for powering you tent fan. If you on a leisure campsite with the luxury of electric hookup, you can use just about any portable fan. This is true if you are wild camping and use a camping inverter/generator to provide power.

For most of us our options are likely to be battery powered fans.  Even here there are several options:

  • Rechargeable – fans with build in rechargeable batteries. These will usually have a mains lead to recharge the battery.  Many will also have a DC port so they can be recharged via a cigarette lighter lead
  • Standard batteries –  fans are available that will take anything from AAA batteries on up to D Cells.  Most fans that will make a difference in a family camping tent need to be quite big to circulate sufficient air.  These are likely to take 6 or 8 D cell batteries.  D cells are quite large and can get quite heavy if you need to carry replacement sets.
  • DC input ports – many fans will have DC ports either for use with an adapter (so you would need an electric hookup or generator), or for use with a cigarette lighter lead.
  • USB ports – fans powered by USB ports are almost always small, personal, low powered devices. They are unlikely to be of much use in a large family tent. As a personal fan powered from your laptop or portable power pack, USB fans can be useful

Fan Battery Life

Ideally, we want fans that are powerful enough to circulate lots of air around a large family tent, and which will run for a whole camping trip on one set of batteries.

A fan’s battery life has a lot to do with the fan speeds used. The higher the speed, the less time the batteries will last. Fans with more batteries are likely to last longer.

You can extend the battery life by using lower fan settings and by only using the fan when absolutely necessary. Sometimes that is just not going to cut it. You need the maximum possible air circulation, and you need it now. 

As with every battery powered device – the longer the batteries last the better.

For all replaceable batteries you are likely to see variants of this message: “For best performance, always use fresh alkaline batteries. Do not mix old and new batteries. Do not mix alkaline, carbon-zinc or rechargeable battery types.” From our own experience, using alkaline batteries makes a real difference.

NOTE: Manufacturers often will not quote expected battery life. There are too many variables in battery type and fan usage.

Noise Levels

All fans make some noise in operation. The noise will come from both the motor and the action of the blades moving the air. Larger fans can move larger quantities of air at a slower rpm and are usually much quieter than smaller fans. To move the save volume of air, a smaller fan much rotate much faster. The faster the blades move, the more sound produced.

Fan design can make a big difference to the noise produced. For us, the quieter the fan the better. For others, a tent fan creates a sort of soothing, white noise that they find relaxing.

Choose a tent fan that fits with your own tolerance of noise.

Fan Size And Weight

For a family tent you are going to need a larger fan to achieve the required air circulation. Remember, you are going to have to pack the fan in your camping gear. Look for fans that fold flat when not in use.

Larger fans don’t have to be heavier. Manufacturers will often give a weight for the fan without batteries fitted. Just note, if you need to carry 2 sets of 6 or 8 D cell batteries, it is going to add weight to your packing.

Extra Features

It is quite common for fans to come with additional features. The most common is LED lights. LED lights take very little power so they are a useful add on.  On higher settings, fans do take notable power. In some of the fans we have seen the LED may become dim when the fan is used on high settings.

Floor space in a tent can be limited. A hook to hang tent fan is a great feature. The hook of a tent fan gets the fan up and out of the way. Within most tents, there are loops of material on the ceiling and walls that are meant to hang things from.

by Regina Wu


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