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.
Tent Fans in This Review
We have included 5 tent fans in this review. As with most items in the camping market, there are lots of fans to choose from. If you don’t like any of the fans we cover here, please use our guide and investigate the fan that best meets you needs.
- 02Cool 10” Fan
- AGPtek 2-in-1 Tent Fan
- Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan
- Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan, Rechargeable Outdoor
The CampingSage Choice
If you don’t want to read the full review. Our favorite camping fan is the
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 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.
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.
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.
What Are The Best Family Camping Tent Fans Of 2020?
If you have read any of our tent reviews, you will know that we recommend at least 8-person tents for a family of 4. Tent sizes of 10-person, 12-person, and larger tents are very much preferred for slightly larger families and groups.
In this review, we are considering fans that are able to circulate the quantities of air needed to make a difference in a large, family camping tent.
The O2Cool Treva is, as it says in the name, a 10inch fan. It has 2 speed settings. Even on low, the fan is reported to keep the air in a large tent (24’ x 12’) circulating.
It is a free-standing fan designed to sit on a solid surface or the floor. So there are no hooks for hanging it up. It folds flat for storage and transportation.
Power comes from 6 D batteries. There is a DC port but no adapter is supplied. Batteries are reported as lasting for around 20hrs on high setting, and up to 53hrs on low power.
|Size of fan inches||10|
|Size in use||11 x 12.6 x 12.8|
|Air circulation (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Good on low setting.|
Strong on high setting.
|Mounting||Freestanding – no hooks|
|Power sources||6 D batteries (not supplied)|
DC port – AC Adapter not included
|Weight – pounds||2.4|
|Sized Packed – inches||12.6 x 12.8 x 5|
|Noise level (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Very quiet|
|Battery live (hours)(based on users’ subjective assessments)||Low setting – 53 High setting – 20|
|Additional features||2 x LED lights – can be used independently of the fan Carry handle – fan comes with its own carry case too|
02Cool Treva 10” Camping Fan – We like
- Good circulation levels even on low setting. Powerful circulation on high
- Reasonable battery life
- Adjustable LED lights – 3 brightness settings
- Inclusion of DC port
02Cool Treva 10” Camping Fan – We don’t like
- Heavy, D Batteries
- No AC adapter included
- No cigarette lighter socket adapter
The AGPtek is a 2-in-1 fan and light. It has a hook to let it hang from the ceiling of your tent – just make sure you have a tent with integrated lantern hooks. The 18 LEDs are contained in a adjustable ring allowing the light to be directed wherever required. The ring can be rotated to serve as a base so the fan can be used in a freestanding mode.
There are 2 fan settings. Power is supplied by 2 D Cell Batteries. Battery life is quoted as up to 50hours fan only on low setting.
|Feature||AGPtek 2-in-1 Tent Fan|
|Size of fan inches||4|
|Size in use||6.25 x 6.25 x 7.25|
|Air circulation (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Weak on low setting.|
OK on high setting.
|Mounting||Hook mounted. Option to be free standing (LEDs not available in free standing configuration)|
|Power sources||2 D batteries (not supplied)|
|Weight – pounds||1.2|
|Sized Packed – inches||6.1 x 7.1 x 6.1|
|Noise level (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Very quiet|
|Battery live (hours)||Low setting – 50 – fan only High setting – 30 – fan only Low fan + Lights – 37 hours|
|Additional features||LED lights – can be used independently of the fan Water resistant|
AGPtek 2-in-1 Tent Fan – We like
- Hanging hook
- Adjustable LED lights
- Good battery life
- Only needs 2 D Cell batteries
AGPtek 2-in-1 Tent Fan – We don’t like
- Fairly weak circulation. You would need multiple fans to effectively circulate air in a large family tent
- LEDs can’t be used when fan is in free standing mode
We believe the are identical fans available on Amazon under different brands. You may be able to save a couple of dollars by shopping around for the best deal:
- Camping Lantern 2 in 1 Camping Ceiling Fan Light LED Battery Tent Ceiling Fan
- iMBAPrice Deluxe Outdoor Camping Lantern 2-in-1 Combo 18 Super Bright LED Light and Fan
Coleman’s track record in selling innovative camping gear seems to have deserted them with this fan. It has some interesting features – for example,
- Child friendly foam blades.
- Optional rechargeable power pack
- The ability to hang the fan using a carabiner clip, and the fans free standing stand, are neat ideas.
It is fair to say that this fan divides opinion. Unfortunately, there are too many users reporting that the fan doesn’t do what it is meant to do: circulate significant volumes of air. Innovation and features are no good if a fan doesn’t do its primary job.
The light has bright settings for general use. It can also be used as a night light providing extra comfort for younger members of your party. It’s a great help if anyone needs to get up during the night.
The fan has three-speed settings. Lights and fan are operated independently.
The free-standing option is nice to have but the fan is prone to falling over at the slightest provocation.
|Feature||Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan|
|Size of fan inches||6|
|Size in use||10.2 x 7.1 x 11.8|
|Air circulation (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Poor “Useless, get more of a breeze from a fart.” Anon|
|Mounting||Hanging via carabiner clip or magnet Stand for use in free standing mode|
|Power sources||4 D batteries (not supplied) Optional rechargeable powerpack|
|Weight – pounds||3.24|
|Sized Packed – inches||Not known – assume 10.2 x 7.1 x 11.8|
|Noise level (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Contradictory experiences. Some users report the fan as quiet. Other people say the foam blades are easy to deform/damage and the fan then becomes very noisy.|
|Battery life (hours)(based on users’ subjective assessments)||Low setting – 30 High setting – 10|
|Additional features||LED lights – can be used independently of the fan Foam blades|
Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan – We like
- Some nice innovative features – foam blades, optional rechargeable power pack, etc
- Hanging and free standing options
Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan – We don’t like
- Doesn’t provide enough blow
- Rechargeable power pack expensive
- Heavy – we wouldn’t want to bang out head on this fan when it’s hanging from the roof of the tent
- Unstable in free standing mode
The Geek Aire Fan is easily the biggest fan in this review. it also does the best job of doing what a fan is meant to do – circulate air. With its size comes additional weight. This fan is a hefty 8.8pounds.
Unlike all the other fans here, the Geek Aire doesn’t have any fancy LED lighting. It saves its technology for operating the fan. There is a fully variable speed control. Next to the speed control is an LED display which shows remaining battery life.
Usable time is not the highest here either. Geek only claim 3-20 hours continuous use. However, it can be fully charged with a 3-hour charge. Of course, a quick recharge is not much use if you don’t have a hookup or generator to charge from.
|Feature||Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan, Rechargeable Outdoor|
|Size of fan inches||10|
|Size in use||14.49 x 6.02 x 12.80|
|Air circulation (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Excellent – 1300CFM|
|Power sources||In built, rechargeable. Full recharge in 3hrs calimed|
|Weight – pounds||7.25|
|Sized Packed – inches||14.49 x 6.02 x 12.80|
|Noise level (based on users’ subjective assessments)||Low – 50dB claimed. That is much quieter than normal conversation levels.|
|Battery life (hours)(based on users’ subjective assessments)||4.5 to 24 hours depending on usage|
|Additional features||Fan can be tilted through 360 degrees. Not sure why this would be an advantage|
Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan 10inch – We like
- Powerful air circulation. Geek Aire are the only brand to declare the air moving capabilities of their fans in cubic feet per minute (CFM)
- Variable speed control – you can experiment to find the setting that is most comfortable to you.
- Integrated, rechargeable power pack
- Fast recharge time
Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan 10inch – We don’t like
- There is no DC power option. The DC port can only be used to charge the battery.
- Battery life is not great at 4.5 to 24 hours
- Needs mains power to recharge. If you are camping in hot conditions you are probably only going to get one to 3 days use out of this fan. In a 5-day camping vacation you are going to need to recharge this fan. Unless you have a hookup or use a camping generator, the question is, how?
- Expensive compared to other fans in this review
Tent fans are an excellent buy for any camper who is serious about comfort during the warmer vacations to the woods. As CampingSage is all about comfortable family camping in tents, we are all for using a fan to keep the tent cool.
When we started this review, we had a list of 11 or 12 fans to consider. It quickly became clear that most of those fans were more suited as personal fans. They could not generate the power to create sufficient air circulation to make a real difference to the insides of a large, family tent.
The list was reduced to the 4 candidates we have considered above. Even here, the xxxxx and the yyyy do not have the air moving capabilities we are truly looking for. Which brings us to just 2 candidates:
- 02Cool Treva 10” Camping Fan
- Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan, Rechargeable Outdoor
There is no doubt that the Geek Aire is the better fan. However, it’s shorter battery life and the need to access mains power to recharge, mean it is not entirely suited to our datum, 5-day camping trip. Afterall, if you have access to mains power, you can choose from just about any mains powered fan. Your options expand enormously.
The CampingSage Best Family Camping Tent Fan is:
Just remember to pack a few extra sets of those D cell batteries.