Will a Hairdryer Drain a Car Battery While Camping?

Will a Hairdryer Drain a Car Battery While Camping? Getting your hair dry while camping is a challenge. Your standard home, handheld hairdryer will be rated at 1200-1600W. For a 12V car battery that will draw 100-130Amps – roughly the same current it takes to start a small car like a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic. Drawing that sort of current is going to drain your battery fast. Worse still, you could damage your battery quickly.

Smaller car batteries are designed to provide high amperage for starting your car. They can supply that current for a short period only. In very cold conditions you might draw up to 300-400Amps. Drawing this sort of current for anything longer that 20-30 seconds could damage you battery.

Even travel hair dryers like the BabyBliss below, is rated at 1000W. Like all appliances containing electric motors, it will easily draw 2000W for a very short time when you switch it on.

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So to answer the question, “Will a Hairdryer Drain a Car Battery While Camping”

Heck yes.

Given the amps involved, you should never attempt to run a hairdryer from a car battery.

So, Can I Use A Hairdryer While Camping?

We know how important looking after your hair is to many people. So much so that we wrote a whole post on How to Dry Your Hair While Camping. In that post we identify just 4 ways we recommend using a hairdryer when you are camping:

  • Limit your camping trips to National or State Campgrounds that Provide shower blocks with hair drying power outlets.
  • Go to a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground. KOA provides a wide range of camping experiences for tent campers from Glamping to Tent pitches with electric hookups
  • Check ahead. Find out if the campground you are going to visit supports electric hookups for tents. Just about any campground that takes RVs will have electric docking points for the RV. Check if they have any for tents.
  • Use an inverter-generator. This is the solution we use for most of our in-tent electrics

Electric Hookups

If you want to use an electric hookup on any campsite your are going to need an adapter to link up to either the 30Amp or 50 Amp outlets.

There is a wide range of adapters available. Most people will be perfectly happy with a simply connector with an outdoor power lead.

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If you are worried about the safety of having electricity in your tent you might like to opt for something a bit more sophisticated (but much more expensive).

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In either case you are going to need a heavy duty, outdoor extension cord

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Hairdrying While Wild or Dispersed

If you want to do a little wild camping (dry camping or boondocking) and still want the luxury of a hairdryer, the easiest option is to use an inverter generator.

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Modern inverter-generators are small, very efficient, extremely quiet and have clean, versatile outlets. You can power a range of AC and DC appliances directly from an inverter-generator.

Hairdrying – Solar Power

We are spending a lot of time looking at solar power for camping. With folding panels now producing 120-150W readily available there is no doubt that solar power is a reality.

The problem is that you need quite a lot of extra kit to make solar work for you:

  • Solar Panels
  • Charge Controller
  • Inverter
  • Battery or other power store.

Obviously, if you need 1600W to power a hairdryer, you cannot use solar panels to charge it directly. In all practical setups, the solar panels are used to charge up the battery. For maximum performance, you need a deep cycle or leisure battery.

Just as you would with your car battery, you need an inverter to change the 12V of the battery to the 110V needed to drive the hairdryer.

Deep cycle batteries are much better at maintaining longer term amperage draw that a car battery.


To power an hairdryer, you still need about 100A current. In fact, as the inverter is only likely to work at 80% efficiency, you are going to need a power drain of about 130A. That’s more than we want to take from our batteries.

For us, the best use of solar power to dry your hair is direct. Lie, down. Sunbathe for a while.

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Keith Longmire

Keith Longmire

I’m the guy that loves camping, insists on family camping trips, and the editor and owner of Campingsage.com

I love camping and the outdoors. Through this site I hope to help you enjoy it too.

About CampingSage

CampingSage is all about comfortable family camping in tents.  It is written by campers, for campers.

Affiliate Disclosure

Clicking on some links and images on this site may take you to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate the Camping Sage earns from qualifying purchases.

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