If you’re planning to hit the road this summer then a roof vent, like the Fantastic Fan, is an essential piece of kit to add to your campervan.
A roof vent helps keeps air flowing through your tiny home, and being able to create a breeze inside is such a relief on hot days. If you’ve done your research properly then you’ll have heard of the Fantastic Fan, the most well know roof vent out there. But is it worth the hype?
Benefits of A Roof Vent
When I first hit the road, my campervan didn’t have a roof vent. It simply wasn’t something I thought about adding to my build as I had never travelled in a van before.
After hanging out with friends on the road who did have a fan, I soon realised the benefits. As well as allowing air to flow through the van and keeping the space cool on hot days a roof vent, like the Fantastic Fan, has many other benefits.
1. Removing Moisture and Smells When Cooking
The realities of a long road trip mean that you will encounter rain at times, and you won’t want to keep the door open when cooking. Or you might be trying to stealth camp, wanting to keep a low profile. In both of these cases, cooking inside is a nuisance as the whole space feels damp and will smell of your dinner for days.
Having a Fantastic Fan or other roof vent means that all this moisture is drawn out of the van, no matter the weather, making cooking much more pleasant.
2. Allowing Air In At Night
On hot nights it’s crucial to keep cool for a good night’s sleep. If you’re wild camping, then you may not feel secure enough to leave your windows or doors open to let air in. Having a roof vent allows air to circulate the camper safely. It also draws out all the moisture created when sleeping, preventing a build-up that can lead to damp.
3. Can Keep Open When Out
Again, a roof vent is safe to keep open where an unlocked window is an invitation for a break-in. This allows air to flow through the van even while you are out for the day, meaning it doesn’t become unbearably hot for when you return.
4. Can Replace Air Conditioning
A Fantastic Fan is an excellent alternative to air conditioning and is a much more efficient way of keeping cool. It’s easy to fit, much cheaper and uses less electricity to run, meaning it can be powered from an off-grid electrical set up.
If you are planning on taking any furry friends on the road with you, then there might be times when you need to leave them in the camper for short periods, when going to a supermarket for example. In this case, they must be able to keep cool so that they don’t overheat. A roof vent is an ideal way to make sure your pets are safe inside the RV.
6. Efficient To Use
Roof fans run off of 12v electricity (RV batteries) and use minimal power. This makes them an ideal way to keep your camper van cool, without needing to plug into the mains electricity. At full speed, most fans will only pull 3 to 4 amps, leaving plenty of power for other items.
Fantastic Fan — The Review
Campervan accessory moguls Dometic own Fantastic Fan. With this brand name behind them, it is easy to see why the vent is so popular, Dometic products are reliable and perfect for van life. And the Fantastic Fan is no exception. The latest Fan-Tastic vent, model 7350, comes with many extra features to make this fan stand out from the crowd.
The Fantastic Fan 7350 comes with a remote control, that makes getting the most out of your vent easier. You can set your desired room temperature, by using the remote, and the fan will automatically start and stop as the temperature rises above, or drops below this level.
Having a built in thermostat is a great system that allows you to forget about the fan once you have set the temperature. This is fantastic at night, as the heat level is kept constant so you can get a good night’s sleep.
The remote control also allows you to switch the fan on or off without needing to get up and find the buttons on the fan itself; this is great if your RV has a high ceiling that is tricky to reach.
The remote control brings this product into the 21st century, but if, like me, you can lose things even in such a small space, you can also control all functions from the Fantastic Fan itself.
Fantastic Fan Rain Sensor
The Fantastic Fan 7350 has a rain sensor. The exterior sensor automatically closes the vent when it starts raining and gets wet. This feature has positive and negative points.
On the plus side, the sensor will stop any rain coming into the campervan so that it doesn’t get wet inside. This can be useful, especially in the night or if you have left the vent open while out.
However, closing the vent isn’t always a good thing, even if it is raining. Just because it isn’t raining it doesn’t mean it’s not hot or that it won’t get stuffy inside. You may also be in the middle of cooking and require ventilation to avoid a build-up of moisture.
Instead of a rain sensor, we would prefer to see a rain cover on the Fantastic Fan, that would allow you to keep the vent open and on, and ensure the inside of your camper stays dry. You can, of course, purchase a vent cover that does just this, but that is an additional $50 to spend.
All Fantastic Fan models have the same dimensions, 35.5cm x 35.5cm, which is a standard roof vent size. If you are replacing an old roof vent, then it is likely that it will have the same dimensions. This makes the product easy and quick to fit.
Be sure to double-check, otherwise, you may end up needing to cut a bigger hole or, even worse, with a fan too small for the hole that is already there.
The Fan-Tastic Vent 7350 retails for around $400. This sounds pretty pricey, but most fans are around this price point, and the Fantastic Fan is powerful and a great option to keep your camper cool. The Fantastic Fan is one of the best fans on the market, and we would definitely recommend it.
As well as the Fantastic Fan, there are plenty of other roof vents on the market, and it is important to make sure you choose the right one for your camper. It is tempting to buy a cheap alternative but, in my experience, these are not worth the money.
Cheap fans are usually less powerful, so struggle to have any impact of the internal temperature of your camper and do not draw moisture out as they should. They are also very loud, which is annoying and will put you off using it.
Are you looking to gather information on other types of roof fans? Check out our camper van roof vent article.
The leading competitor is the MaxxFan Deluxe. This roof vent has slightly less ‘fancy’ features compared to the Fantastic Fan but is still a good product. It is also about $100 cheaper.
While the MaxxFan Deluxe comes with ten different powerful fan spreads, it is not fitted with a thermostat. No thermostat means the fan will not automatically turn on and off create your desired room temperature. In my opinion, this is the primary way that the Fantastic Fan is better than the MaxxFan, especially for use through the night.
There is one way that the MaxxFan has improved on the Fantastic Fan, and that is a rain cover. Thanks to the vent cover, you can use the MaxxFan while it’s raining, and your camper will stay completely dry. As the rain cover is integrated into the vent’s design, it is sleek and looks better from the outside. It also won’t cost you and extra $50.
The Fantastic Fan is a great roof vent that would be ideal for anyone travelling in a van. For the optimum experience, we think the Fantastic Fan needs to be paired with a rain cover, and are slightly disappointed that this doesn’t come included in the price and integrated into the design, like the MaxxFan.