If you’re camping in a hot climate, you know how much of a difference a slight breeze can make. Now think – what if you could bring the breeze with you, wherever you camp? Having a fan is a great way to increase comfort at the campsite, but getting away from it all often means getting away from electricity. The solution? Bring a solar-powered fan!
So what is the best solar powered fan for camping? My favorite one is this multi-functional tabletop fan that simultaneously plays music, works as a flashlight, and cools you down. Its seven-hour lithium battery stores the power of the sun long after it has dipped below the horizon, so you can keep cool all night long.
These fans vary widely in quality and effectiveness. Choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging, though; many don’t have the battery life, charging capability or cooling power needed, and those that do are often difficult to transport. Finding the right balance is key to getting a camping fan that will satisfy you for years to come.
Last update on 2020-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Best Solar Powered Fans for Camping
1. Hereta Multi-Functional Solar Fan
This fan does it all – keeps you cool, illuminates the campsite, plays music, and, if needed, charges your phone. No other camping fan on the market does all these things and does all of them so well, and it’s all thanks to the larger than average lithium-ion battery inside the fan.
With just the fan running, the battery will last about seven hours; just enough time for hot and humid nights in the tent. Using the 26 LED lights, it goes for about nine hours without the fan. If you plug a phone in or play music though, don’t expect to get a full seven hours of spinning fan blades.
There are only two issues with this setup, the first being that it’s a little more expensive than most battery-operated camping fans of a similar size. That’s to be expected, it has its own charging system, but it’s something to think about when you’re looking for a fan to cool the tent down.
The other problem is that it’s easy to tip over when charging; the solar panels fold out of the top at an odd angle, and because the fan has a relatively small base, it can get knocked over by a strong breeze. Keep an eye on it and maybe stack some rocks or a book nearby to give it more stability.
- It comes with a built-in radio and 26 LED lights
- It has a large internal battery to power the fan, lights, radio, or devices all night long
- Easy to carry around
- Solar panels are difficult to deploy without knocking the fan over
- Somewhat expensive
2. Garosa Solar-Powered Mini Fan
This fan is one of the smaller solar-powered fans that are being sold right now, with blades that are just six inches in diameter. As such, it has the least cooling power of the fans being reviewed, but also requires the least amount of storage space.
In order to cut down on weight, most camping fans are made from cheap plastic, which doesn’t give them a very long lifespan. Thankfully, the Garosa is built with a durable metal grille to protect the blades from any would-be hazards around the campsite.
However, to keep costs down, Garosa neglected to include an internal battery on this fan. That means you can’t charge USB devices with it or even use it without the solar panel or external power source. Many of us already carry a power bank while we’re camping, though, so this isn’t a huge problem.
If you live in a hot or humid climate, the Garosa’s lesser cooling capacity could be a disappointment. However, if you just need a little extra airflow and already have a power bank to use on cloudy days, this could be an excellent addition to your camping gear setup.
- It takes up almost no storage space
- Durable metal frame
- Can run off a power bank when the sun isn’t shining
- Blades are too small to cool even a 2-person tent
- The fan has no internal battery
3. Cowin Solar Fan System
If you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful solar-powered fan, the Cowin is a definite contender. This is no mini-fan, the blades are a full sixteen inches in diameter – the same size as many household pedestal fans.
To run those large blades, the Cowin comes with a 15-watt solar panel that can keep the three-speed fan spinning on high or charge up its internal battery for after the sun goes down. That battery can also be used to power the fans LED light system too or charge up USB devices, and unlike many of the other solar-powered camping fans, this won’t deplete half of its capacity.
There’s no way around it, though – this is not a very portable fan. It weighs over fifteen pounds and, even in its collapsed state, is about two feet tall and a foot and a half wide. It’s more at home in developed campsites, where it can run off AC power (campground outlet or vehicle inverter) when the sun isn’t shining strongly enough.
The Cowin is a rather expensive fan, designed for a specific set of campers that aren’t concerned about portability or storage, but want the very best when it comes to cooling power.
- The fan has large blades to move more air than almost any other solar-powered fan
- Can run off AC power if you’re at a more developed campsite
- Charges USB-powered devices
- It has a large LED light for evening illumination
- Cost is several times higher than conventional camping fans
Takes up a lot of space
Finding the Best Solar Fan for Camping – Buyer’s Guide
Finding a great camping fan shouldn’t be an overwhelming task, but using sunlight to power your fan introduces some extra variables that need to be considered before making a purchase.
How much sun does it need
Solar-powered fans aren’t finicky; most are designed to run on the very low voltage the panels can produce on cloudy days. If you want your fan to keep spinning, though, look for one with a large enough solar panel and low enough voltage requirements for your area’s weather.
Large solar panels take up a lot of storage space, but the more surface area you have, the less direct the sunlight needs to be to give the fan a charge. Larger fan blades require more energy to spin, so if you don’t have 300+ days of sunshine each year, you might need to downsize to keep it running. On the other hand, the less sunlight hitting you, the less you’ll need those blades spinning anyways.
Getting the right power source
Harnessing the power of the sun is obviously the goal with any solar-powered camping fan, but it shouldn’t be your only option. Cloudy days will hamper any model’s charging abilities, and many of us like to stay cool at night too.
Some models come with an internal battery, typically lithium-ion, which can be charged throughout the day using the solar panel. If you want the fan to cool your tent through the night, get one with at least seven hours of battery life.
Others lack an internal battery but can be tethered to a power bank, which drastically increases your options for keeping the fan going. If you’ve already got a large power bank to charge your phone and other USB devices, finding one that doesn’t have an internal battery but can charge from an external source will save some money.
Additionally, if you camp in RV parks or more developed campgrounds, there’s likely an outlet somewhere nearby. This could be used to charge the internal battery on some fans or power it throughout the night or a cloudy day. Having this option is especially important if you choose a fan that requires a lot of power.
Important features to consider
Getting a fan with adequate cooling power is the most important consideration, but most solar-powered camping fans come with a few other beneficial features.
The most common component is a light, which most of us already have at our campsite – be it a headlamp, lantern, or a string of LED lights. The fan’s lights typically don’t consume a lot of power, though, so they’re a convenient feature to have and won’t be too much of a drain on its battery.
Models that incorporate an internal battery can usually charge USB devices like your phone or a Bluetooth speaker too. In a pinch, this can be incredibly helpful, but most fans have a small battery, and charging devices on it could reduce its capacity by half. You should only use this feature on very sunny days when the fan’s battery is already charged.
My Choice for the Best Solar Powered Camping Fan
No solar camping fan will fit everyone’s needs, but you can’t beat the versatility on the multifunctional camping fan mentioned at the top of the article. It’s the best solar powered camping fan because it’s small, but has decent cooling power, while also sporting a large enough battery to run the fan, radio, and lights throughout the night. The fact that you can charge it during the day and use it to cool the tent at night is probably its greatest asset.
However, some campers will need a lot more cooling power than that fan can provide, and for them, the Cowin fan is an excellent choice. It’s pricey, but it cranks out as much of a breeze as any plug-in model and can be used at night if you have outlets at your campsite or a power inverter for your car.
The Garosa fan packs down to almost nothing and has enough cooling power for a single person. Its lack of an internal battery puts it below the multifunctional camping fan in my book, though.
Top Rated Solar Powered Camping Fans
Last update on 2020-08-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2020-08-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API