How To Run A Fan While Boondocking in your RV

One of the main challenges when boondocking is keeping the interior of your camper or RV cool. Without having access to AC or shore power in the wilderness, how can you run a fan while boondocking to keep the air flowing and cool yourself down?

You can run a fan while boondocking by using a rechargeable fan that can be charged with a power bank or with an inbuilt solar panel. Another option is to use DC-powered fans that can be used on solar power systems with little power consumption, and AC fans can be used with an inverter or directly on a generator.

A fan is a great way to lower the temperature in your camp vehicle to keep you and your family cool and keep the insects off you at night. Boondocking presents some challenges for running a fan, but it can be achieved by making some smart choices!

Can You Run A Fan While Boondocking?

Yes, you can run a fan while boondocking! An air conditioner unit may not be practical as a cooling choice while boondocking due to these units’ high energy overheads, so a fan is in fact a much better option.

If you do not have the portable power capabilities to support an AC unit, you may look for alternative cooling methods for boondocking.

A fan is the next logical step in looking for a cooling method, but is a fan suitable for boondocking? A fan uses significantly less power than an air conditioner unit, but it still requires electricity in some form.

By making a few smart choices when selecting a fan and ways to power the fan, it is definitely possible to effectively run a fan for boondock-style camping.

Ways To Run A Fan While RV Boondocking

Running any electrical appliance while dry camping requires planning and selective purchasing to ensure you get a product that will work and produce effective results.

The first consideration for running a fan while boondocking is an evaluation of the power generation capability of your camping vehicle. This would be the foundation to choosing the right fan for your camping needs and available power source.

The following power generation options of your camping vehicle will affect your fan choice for boondocking.

  • No power generation capability. If you have not yet fitted out your camping vehicle to generate power, you may have no way to produce power for a fan, but you still have the option to use a fan for cooling.
  • Solar power generation while boondocking. If your vehicle is solar equipped, your options for a fan are greater, with various fan types suitable for the job.
  • Running a generator while boondocking. If you have a generator to supplement power for boondocking, this will affect the most appropriate fan choice for cooling the vehicle.

Using Rechargeable Fans While Dispersed Camping

If your vehicle is not fitted with power generating capabilities and you generally use propane gas for cooking and heating, then rechargeable fans may be a good choice for you. They will not suck power from your battery bank as without solar, a generator, or AC power, you will have no way to charge it.

Most rechargeable fans will be battery-powered and can be recharged using a power bank or even via your phone charger in your car. Most of the rechargeable battery fans will give about a 20-hour run time on a single charge.

If you do not use your fan continuously, you could stretch this 20-hour fun time over a few days before the fan will need recharging.

There are many options for these types of fans available, but you should look for one with a minimum of a 5000mAh battery capacity, but preferably larger. The 7800mAh Camping Fan is an ideal option for this application.

7800mAh Camping Fan with LED Lantern, Ceiling Tent Fan with Remote Control, Power Bank, Battery Operated USB Rechargeable Fan , 180°Head Rotation Outdoor Portable Fan for Fishing, Outdoor, Office

Some of these portable, rechargeable fans, such as this Rechargeable Tent Fan, come with their own built-in solar panel to recharge the battery. This allows you to charge the fan with the sun, even if you do not have a solar system installed in your vehicle.

Camping Fan for Tent, Rechargeable Tent Fan with Lights, Solar Fan with Hanging Hook, Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan, Battery Powered Fan for Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Outdoor

The great aspect of these rechargeable fans is that they have applications no matter what type of power generation capabilities you have in your camping setup!

The only downside is that these fans can be a little underpowered, especially when camping in very hot weather.

Using DC-Powered Fans For Boondocking

If you have a 12-Volt DC system in your camping vehicle, powered by solar or any other 12-Volt power, then a DC fan is a potential fan for your boondocking adventures.

DC-powered fans generally work off 12-volt systems, which is the most common voltage standard for camping vehicles. An example of a 12-Volt fan that can be used for this purpose is the Go Gear SP570804 12 Volt Oscillating Fan.

Go Gear SP570804 12 Volt Oscillating Fan

These fans can work directly off 12-volt DC power without the need for any additional equipment or inverters to adapt the supplied power. The advantage of these DC-powered fans is that they generally have more powerful motors than the rechargeable versions. Consequently, they produce more powerful winds, resulting in more efficient air movement.

The disadvantage is that you cannot use these fans if you have no means of generating power for the fan to use. While these fans can be more powerful than the rechargeable versions, they are typically not as powerful as AC-powered fans.

The advantage is that you can use these fans on all vehicles that have a 12-Volt system. They can also be used on systems that generate AC power, such as running a gasoline generator using an AC to 12-Volt DC power inverter.

Rooftop Vent Fans

Another great option is a rooftop vent fan. Our favorite fan pushes far greater air than the stock bathroom fan and can either push air in your RV, or suck air out. These fans can exchange outdoor air very quickly and provide a breeze through all of your opened windows. This is a favorite for boondockers.

Our Favorite Rooftop Fan

Using AC-Powered Fans For Boondocking

AC-powered fans can be used with a 12-Volt system, an AC-powered system, or a gasoline generator to produce power.

AC-powered fans can be connected to a 12-Volt system by using an inverter that converts the 12-Volt input to an AC-output voltage that can power the fan.

If you have power outlets in your camper or RV that already offer AC-power output, you can simply plug the fan into one of these outlets to get it to work.

Likewise, running an AC fan off an RV generator is as simple as plugging the fan into an outlet from the generator or from your RV if you have your shore power plugged in, as long as the generator outputs the correct AC voltage.

The advantage of these fans is that they are more powerful and will generate faster wind speeds to promote faster cooling of the inside of your camper or RV.

The main disadvantage is that you need additional equipment to run these fans on a 12-volt system in the form of an inverter. These fans also draw substantially more power, making them unsuitable for some smaller solar installations.\

If you have what you need in order to power an AC fan then we have the perfect one for you! This fan is great for its sleek minimal design, meaning it will not take up a ton of space in an already cramped trailer, and it’s also quiet which is also great for small spaces.

Honeywell QuietSet Whole Room Tower Fan-Black, HYF290B


Keeping cool while boondocking is an important consideration in summer camping conditions. If you enjoy boondocking, a fan can be a game-changer for keeping you cool on a hot day and chasing the bugs away while you sleep.

Making informed decisions when looking for a fan for boondocking will enable you to find a fan that matches the power availability in your camping configuration and still enjoy the comfort afforded by a well-placed fan! Happy camping!

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