In days gone by, camping may have meant roughing it and living alongside nature. But in modern times, let’s face it, we all want to look our best and even when we are getting back to nature, we’ll still need some of our creature comforts. One such comfort is the hair dryer. However, packing your salon-style, expensive hair dryer isn’t the most practical thing.
But the 12v hair dryer is a great alternative for long weekends in the tent or caravan. The problem is, there are so many out there, so which is the best 12v hair dryer?
All our reviews at Campfire Magazine are independent and honest.
What Is A 12V Hair Dryer And Are They Any Good?
A 12v hair dryer is a small, lightweight hair dryer that often makes use of the cigarette lighter port in your car or vehicle from which it draws its power. These are excellent for camping for many reasons including their compact design which makes them easier to pack as well as being the perfect alternative to having to towel dry your hair.
For many people, their hairstyles require the use of a hair dryer and even if yours doesn’t, using a hair dryer will take the chill off on those cold mornings, rather than walking around with wet hair.
However, if you are used to a powerful hair dryer with a whole host of features and frills, a 12v might be something of a downgrade. We aren’t denying that these are excellent accessories for the avid camper but we have to face the reality that they won’t ever harbour as much power as their home-use counterparts.
That being said, when you’re pushed for space and the only power you have comes from your vehicle, they can be something of a lifesaver. So, are they any good? We’d have to say yes.
What Is The Best 12v Hair Dryer?
12v hair dryers have fast become one of the most favoured personal care accessories for campers, so it’s not surprising that manufacturers are selling them in their millions. To save you the hassle of having to trawl through products online, we have put together this list of what we consider to be the best 12v hair dryers available.
OUR TOP PICK
When folded, this hair dryer measures just 11x15cm making it ideal for packing into your rucksack or holiday suitcase. What’s more, it has varied speed and temperature settings allowing for greater versatility. There is also a concentrator nozzle for smooth styles which can be removed when it isn’t needed.
The hair dryer also has a nice aesthetic design and comes in a white and teal colour, which we realise isn’t essential, but it’s a nice touch. It weighs just over 1lb so is extremely lightweight and comfortable to use. Perfect for camping in your car too.
Two speed settings
Wire is not very long
Two heat settings
Could be hotter
This is an incredibly affordable little hair dryer that is excellent for travelling whether that is for camping and caravanning or any other type of adventure. It is fully foldable making it much easier to store and boasts a long power cable of 1.2 metres which is perfect for those who want a little more freedom when drying their hair.
The User portable hair dryer features two speed and heat settings as well as an overheating protection making it incredibly safe.
Long power cable
Some problems with the dryer not getting hot enough
Two heat settings
Two speed settings
BONUS HAIR STRAIGHTENERS
We know that styling your hair on the go might take more than just a hair dryer but again, packing all of your appliances can be tricky. This 12v hair straightener is the perfect way to tame flyaways, smooth the hair or even make pretty waves. It comes with a maximum heat of 180º which is more than enough for most hair types.
Furthermore, this hair straightener is incredibly lightweight and portable. It measures just 11cm and when open, has a width of 6cm. It isn’t difficult to see how it would slide easily into your bag, I've already found space in my VW Beach California for mine
Not suitable for thicker hair due to smaller size
Weighs just 160 grams
Top temperature of 180º
Curved edges for curling the hair
What To Look For In A 12v Hair Dryer
You can look at hundreds of products online and still remain unsure as to what the best option would be when choosing a 12v hair dryer. Before you click ‘buy now’ on anything, take a look over our buyers guide that will give you some handy tips on picking a high-quality 12v hair dryer that is suitable for your needs.
Nobody likes a heavy hair dryer at the best of times, they can make your arms ache while you’re using them and they feel bulky. So, when you’re camping, and perhaps having to carry all of your equipment from point A to point B, the last thing you want are heavy accessories weighing you down.
One of the main points of the 12v hair dryer is that it is lightweight and portable so always be sure to check the weight on the product description.
In addition to this, you should look at how compact the hair dryer is. For the most part, these appliances have a folding handle which means that they can be easily packed into your bag and forgotten about until you need them.
Just because you are out in the wilderness, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider how easy it is going to be to dry your hair. Many 12v hair dryers come with variable heat settings which allows you to choose something that will work best for your hair.
That being said, there are some that have a single heat setting which is ideal for general use or people who don’t have particular hair needs to meet. If you want something that will simply allow you to dry and go, this might be a better option.
The length of your power cable will determine how far you can be from the plug socket when drying your hair. If you have a portable mirror, you’ll be much more free to sit wherever you please to dry your hair. However, if you have a fixed mirror on the wall of your caravan, you may need something with a longer cord.
Also, it is imperative to keep in mind where the power cord will lie while you are using your appliance. Is it going to cross a walkway and serve as a tripping hazard, for example?
Hair dryers come with a wattage that indicates how powerful they are. While it can be tempting to go for a lower wattage which typically means that the hair dryer will be cheaper, this may not always be beneficial. If you have very thick hair that takes longer to dry, a more powerful model will get the job done more quickly.
That being said, for people who are staying in a caravan, the limited power supply should be a consideration.
Depending on your hair type and how you style it, you may need various attachments for your hairdryer. While other types of hair dryer may come with a huge selection allowing you to create a wealth of styles, these compact models tend to come with fewer. That being said, there are those that have a few essential attachments so it is worth keeping an eye out for these if you want something a little more versatile.
The last thing you want when you are trying to enjoy nature is an appliance that is incredibly loud. Many modern electrical appliances boast quiet operation and this is even more important if you are on a busy campsite and don’t want to disturb your neighbours.
A 12v hair dryer is a great appliance to have for your next camping adventure. Not only will it allow you to style your hair as you would at home, but it will also prevent you from having to air dry your hair which can leave you feeling uncomfortable.
However, with such a vast array to choose from, there is a risk that you will end up with a substandard product that doesn’t need your needs. Check out our top picks and take a look over our buyers guide to ensure that you always get the best 12v hair dryer for your money.