best RV and Camping Generators

RV and Camping Generator Review

If you’re lucky enough to own a RV or Motorhome you’ll understand when I say that nothing beats the feeling of loading up your RV and hitting the open road. Being able to choose your destination and taking all your home comforts with you has to be one of the best ways to travel. Camping also has the benefit of getting you closer to nature and being able to totally relax and forget about work and bills.

Just because you love the outdoors doe not mean that you have to leave all those little luxuries that we have in todays society. Phones and GPS give you the added security when exploring the wilderness. Having lights at night and cooking facilities makes camping and traveling in your RV that much easier and more enjoyable. 

You don’t have to strip out all of the modern comforts we have these days to be a true camper or RV owner. Having the backup of constant power no matter where you are or what situation you’re in is a real comfort. 

Whilst many modern RV’s have built-in generators some don’t and many are not equipped to run all the equipment we take with us. When camping paying for electric hook-ups can be expensive. Especially if you’re staying for a week or two.

There are many generators on the market that will be perfect for your RV or Camping vacation. But choosing the right one can be a little overwhelming with all the power options, sizes and Prices. 

We put together this comprehensive RV and Camping Generator Guide to help narrow the choices down for you to make it easier for you to purchase the right generator for your needs. We have brought in some industry experts and experienced RV owners to help us make our decisions. You can trust our findings as we are NOT connected to any manufactures and don’t have any allegiance to a specific company or brand.

You find at the top of the article our TOP 5 RV & Camping Generators split down into 5 categories. This will save you time reading the whole article. We have included some helpful tips and advice at the bottom of this article. So, be sure to check that out before purchasing one.

In a hurry? Here are our Top 5 Picks!

Editors Choice
WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter...
Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series...
High Wattage
DuroMax XP4400E 4400 watt 7-Hp RV Grade Gas...
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual...
Quietest Model
Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable...
Title
Wen 56380i
Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000
Duromax XP4400E
Champion Dual Fuel
Westinghouse iGen4500
Prime Delivery
-
-
Fuel Type
Gas 2.2 Gals
Gas Powered 1.5 Gals
Gas 3.9 Gallons
Gas & Propane 3.4 Gals
Gas Powered
Run Time per tank
7 Hours half load-12.5 hrs 25% load
10hrs on 25% load
8 Hours at 50% load
9 Hrs Gas & 11 Hrs Propane full tanks
Up To 18 Hour Run Time. 3.4 Gal Fuel Tank
Noise Level Under Load
58 db
58 db
69 db
68 db
52 db
Wattage
Starting 3800W - Continuous 3400W
3500 Surge & 3000 Watts Running
4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running
4750 starting watts, 3800 running
3700 Rated Watts and 4500 Peak Watts
Weight
55lb
96 Lbs
120lbs
119.0 lbs
98 lbs
Size
23.2 x 18 x 20.1 in
26 x 14 x 21 in
24 x 17 x 17 in
26.3 x 24.8 x 22.9 in
18 x 10 x 15.5 in
Number of outlets
(2) three-prong 120V receptacles, (1) AC 120V NEMA TT-30R RV receptacle, (1) 12V DC receptacle, (1) 5V USB port, a digital load and fuel display
(4) 120V Household Outlets (1) 12V-5A, DC Outlet (1) USB Port (1) Parallel Port,LCD Display
2 x 120v 20A Household sockets, 1 x 120/240v 30A Twist lock
1 x 120V 30A RV, 1 x 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets
(2) 120V Outlets; (1) TT-30R RV Outlet; (2) USB Ports
Our Rating
9.4 Out of 10
9.3 Out of 10
9.4 Out of 10
9.5 Out Of 10
9.5 Out of 10
Warranty
2 Years
3 Years
2 Years
3 Years
3 Years
Editors Choice
WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter...
Title
Wen 56380i
Prime Delivery
Fuel Type
Gas 2.2 Gals
Run Time per tank
7 Hours half load-12.5 hrs 25% load
Noise Level Under Load
58 db
Wattage
Starting 3800W - Continuous 3400W
Weight
55lb
Size
23.2 x 18 x 20.1 in
Number of outlets
(2) three-prong 120V receptacles, (1) AC 120V NEMA TT-30R RV receptacle, (1) 12V DC receptacle, (1) 5V USB port, a digital load and fuel display
Our Rating
9.4 Out of 10
Warranty
2 Years
Best Price On Amazon
Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series...
Title
Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000
Prime Delivery
-
Fuel Type
Gas Powered 1.5 Gals
Run Time per tank
10hrs on 25% load
Noise Level Under Load
58 db
Wattage
3500 Surge & 3000 Watts Running
Weight
96 Lbs
Size
26 x 14 x 21 in
Number of outlets
(4) 120V Household Outlets (1) 12V-5A, DC Outlet (1) USB Port (1) Parallel Port,LCD Display
Our Rating
9.3 Out of 10
Warranty
3 Years
Best Price On Amazon
High Wattage
DuroMax XP4400E 4400 watt 7-Hp RV Grade Gas...
Title
Duromax XP4400E
Prime Delivery
-
Fuel Type
Gas 3.9 Gallons
Run Time per tank
8 Hours at 50% load
Noise Level Under Load
69 db
Wattage
4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running
Weight
120lbs
Size
24 x 17 x 17 in
Number of outlets
2 x 120v 20A Household sockets, 1 x 120/240v 30A Twist lock
Our Rating
9.4 Out of 10
Warranty
2 Years
Best Price On Amazon
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual...
Title
Champion Dual Fuel
Prime Delivery
Fuel Type
Gas & Propane 3.4 Gals
Run Time per tank
9 Hrs Gas & 11 Hrs Propane full tanks
Noise Level Under Load
68 db
Wattage
4750 starting watts, 3800 running
Weight
119.0 lbs
Size
26.3 x 24.8 x 22.9 in
Number of outlets
1 x 120V 30A RV, 1 x 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets
Our Rating
9.5 Out Of 10
Warranty
3 Years
Best Price On Amazon
Quietest Model
Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable...
Title
Westinghouse iGen4500
Prime Delivery
Fuel Type
Gas Powered
Run Time per tank
Up To 18 Hour Run Time. 3.4 Gal Fuel Tank
Noise Level Under Load
52 db
Wattage
3700 Rated Watts and 4500 Peak Watts
Weight
98 lbs
Size
18 x 10 x 15.5 in
Number of outlets
(2) 120V Outlets; (1) TT-30R RV Outlet; (2) USB Ports
Our Rating
9.5 Out of 10
Warranty
3 Years
Best Price On Amazon

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10. WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt

WEN’s 56380i is a bigger generator than anyone would need to bring with them, but then RVs run many large appliances. 3400 watts of power is at hand with a peak performance of 3800 watts to cover surges. A giant 2.2-gallon fuel tank will keep this machine going for over 8 hours from full.

The engine is also huge, at 212cc. Despite this mass, WEN has managed to keep it quiet, only 55-57 decibels. To preserve the carburetor, the fuel is automatically drained and switch off when the run setting is turned to Auto-Off. This helps with starting after long storage periods.

A great variety of sockets, from a standard 12-volt and USB socket, to duplex 120-volt sockets for normal appliances, plus a 30-amp RV socket. And if that is not enough power, there are parallel connectors, so that you can wire in another WEN Generator.

A large engine comes with a lot of weight, 111 pounds, and even two people would struggle to lift it. This model does come with a foldable handle and wheels to make moving it along tarmac easier, but you still need to get it on to the ground.

  • Starting 3800W — Continuous 3400W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 2.2 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8.5 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 55-57 dB.
  • Weight: 111 lb. (50.35 kg).
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: We loved the auto fuel drain off from the Carburetor to reduce maintenance and safe storage when not in use.
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

9.Westinghouse iGen4500

If you could sum it up in one word BEAST!,  But the Westinghouse iGen4500 is still lightweight enough to be pulled on its wheels by a single person. A strong retractable handle makes pulling it easier, but this still weighs 98 pounds (dry weight), you would need help to get it out of an RV.

You cannot hook this generator up in parallel, but it will make 3700 watts in continual use. Voltage production comes with less than 3% THD. A 3.4-gallon fuel tank is enough to keep the engine chugging away for up to 18 hours from full and run as quiet as 53 decibels.

A 212cc 4-stroke ensure a steady rate of power delivery for any RV needs you have, and the TT-30R RV socket makes this delivery safe. On the control panel, you can see fuel and power output in LED bars. There is also a central meter that rotates information on fuel reserves, run time, and voltage.

A good number of sockets such as a 1- and 2-amp USB socket, in case you want to sit next to the generator and charge your phone. The RV socket is rated for 30 amps and duplex 120-volt socket for plugging in standard appliances.

  • Starting 4500W — Continuous 3700W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 3.4 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 18 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 52 dB.
  • Weight: 98 lb.
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: For RV owners there is no better generator if you want plenty of power. Our Top Choice!
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

8.DuroMax XP4400EH

The DuroMax XP4400EH has a dual-fuel engine which means that you can run this on regular 4-stroke gasoline or liquid propane. Propane runs cleaner, and not only is it better for the environment, but it also will not block engine parts, as normal fuel will over time. The generator will run direct from a regular propane bottle, which you would use for a BBQ. Alternatively, there is a 3.9-gallon fuel tank for gasoline.

The dual-fuel engine is a large 208cc, but using propane makes this a cheap engine to run. Propane lasts in storage, unlike gasoline, which needs throwing away after a few months. Conveniently placed on the top of the unit is a mechanical fuel gauge, so you can give it a quick glance now and then.

There are two 120-volt 15-amp standard sockets, which can change to 240 volts if required. And if you want, a single 30-amp RV socket focuses all that power into one line, to power all your appliances. Protected by a breaker, and grounding bolt, this is a very safe machine to use.

The unit comes on a steel frame with sturdy wheels and a handle to make moving it solo easier. Noise-wise, this is not as quiet as some other brands, the lack of paneling means that all the noise escapes. This is affordable and hard to beat the power for those on a budget.

  • Starting 4400W — Continuous 3500W
  • Fuel Type: Dual Fuel (gas or propane)
  • Capacity: 3.9 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load 12 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 69dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb. (21.32 kg).
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: If you need a tough, solid and reliable generator this could be the one for you.
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

7.Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel

Dual Fuels like the Champion 3800 watt run on propane or gasoline, giving you the flexibility to run off your LPG bottle. And on propane, the engine will run for up to 10.5 hours. The 224cc engine is air-cooled with an electric battery-powered starter, no more fighting a cold recoil starting in the morning.

3800 watts is impressive, and that increases to 4750 watts with overload protection. There should not be an issue, even with everything plugged in. The inverter makes 120 volts through a VoltGuard surge protector.

Large tires mounted to the steel frame help with the weight, but you would need a strong hand to get it in and out of an RV. And this will increase dramatically when its 3.4-gallon fuel tank is full, and the engine oil is topped up.

There are two standard appliance sockets rated for 20 amps and an L5 lockable socket rated for 30 amps. The panel also has a 30-amp TT socket and grounding bolt to safely connect your RV. All these sockets have molded socket protectors to prevent dirt from entering when unused. And an Intelligauge display shows the voltage, hertz, and runtime of the engine.

  • Starting 4750W — Continuous 3800W
  • Fuel Type: Dual Fuel (gas or propane)
  • Capacity: 3.4 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 9 hrs. On gas 10.5 hrs. On propane.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 68-69 dB.
  • Weight: 122 lb. (55.34 kg).
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: One of the easiest generators to start that we tested out of these 10
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

6. Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator


This 4-stroke generates 15 amps with a peak output of 18.3 amps for 120 volts. Meaning that the Yamaha EF2200iS will cover power surges of up to 2200 watts and produce 1800 watts under normal conditions. 55 pounds is a manageable load to lift off the back of a pickup, and the Yamaha muffler keeps the engine noise down to 57 decibels.

The side panel covering the engine oil filer and air-filter is easy to remove and hides the fuel lock. The 79cc Yamaha air-cooled single-cylinder engine runs off a 1.24-gallon fuel tank, which will keep it running for up to 10.5 hours at quarter-power.

And If you need more amps, Yamaha has installed Twin-Tech parallel sockets, so you can link two generators. In addition, there are two 15-amp 120-volt 3-pin sockets, with a 30-amp RV socket. The circuit is easy to earth by connecting an earthed wire to the grounding bolt on the front panel.

  • Starting 2200W — Continuous 1800W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 1.2 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8.1 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 48-57 dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb. (21.32 kg)
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: You know you're getting a quality item with Yamaha!
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

5. Honda EU2200i


You thought portable generators had peaked, and then the Honda EU2200i turns up. The 120cc Honda motor will last up to 8.1 hours on 0.95 gallons of fuel under quarter load. The EU2200i generates 15 amps at 120 volts and will work in parallel with other Honda generators.

Honda’s 4-stroke piston travels on a horizontal shaft, with an overhead camshaft, part of the reason the engine is so quiet. 47 decibel of noise emission at 25% power is incredible — you would struggle to hear it running in a library.

There is one 12V DC output rated for 100 watts and dual 120-volt standard sockets rated for 15 amps. The EU2200i will power up to 1800 watts of electronics with ease as well as an extra 400 watts to cover power spikes from fridge pumps.

You would think it unlikely, that with all this power and soundproofing, this unit would only weigh 46 pounds. But, the EU2200i is one of the best generators for camping currently available.

  • Starting 2200W — Continuous 1800W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 0.95 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8.1 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 48 dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb. (21.32 kg).
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: We like the 2 stage fuel burn off system for longterm storage.
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

4. Generac 6866 iQ2000

A Generac iQ2000 generator will run in parallel with another iQ2000, but it needs the bespoke Generac connector kit to do so. Even without it, it will still produce 13.3 amps at 120 volts, with a peak of 18 amps. Plenty for running a fridge or a small electric cooker in a camper. The unit has a grounding bolt, to make using large appliances safer.

The 80cc 4-stroke engine is of Generac’s own design, with classic overhead valves. The manufacturer claims the engine to be quieter than a Honda — other tests put the noise level at around 60 decibels. 60 decibels are still a low level of noise, around the level you would need to talk in a restaurant.

There are only two 120-volt standard sockets, which are parallel ready. And on the panel LEDs to show the fuel level and a power bar displaying the percentage of the 1600-watt capacity reached. Three modes, ranging from turbo to economy, let the user control the efficiency of the motor. The unit weighs 55 pounds.

  • Starting 2000W — Continuous 1600W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 1.06 gals.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 7.7 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 60 dB.
  • Weight: 51 lb. (23.13 kg).
  • Warranty: 1-Year

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: If you're considering Generac for an RV consider going for the bigger IQ3500 Model
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

3. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200

The Briggs and Stratton P2200 is rated for 1700 watts at 120 volts with a sine wave inverter that runs at less than 3% THD with a peak rating of 2200 watts. A reasonable 1-gallon fuel tank, which will run at quarter load for up to 8 hours. Briggs & Stratton motors have a good reputation, and many manufacturers use them.

There are two standard US 120-volt sockets at 20 Amps, each with a reset button for surges. The P2200 has a 12-volt DC car outlet with dust cover, also with a reset switch. And a covered parallel socket so that you can connect another P2200 and double your amps.

This engine is a 111cc 4-stroke, which runs at a quiet 58 decibels. For the size and power of this generator, 54 pounds is more than reasonable. And the H-handle makes it easier for two people to carry it. If this still sounds heavy, Braggs & Stratton make a wheeled trolley for it to buy separately.

  • Starting 2200W — Continuous 1700W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 1-gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 58 dB.
  • Weight: 54.6 lb. (24.77 kg).
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: I suggest the P2200 for camping and the larger P3000 for RV's
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

2. WEN 56125i Super Quiet

There are lots of nice things to say about Wen generators in general and the 56125i is no different. Their prices are very reasonable, considering the 18-amps the iPro2500 can generate. And the engine is very efficient, taking 10 hours to deplete its 1-gallon fuel tank.

It is not common to find a 4-stroke 98cc engine that only weighs 48 pounds and produce up to 2500 watts. For safety, there is a covered GFCI outlet with two 20-amp 120-volt sockets. The panel also boasts two covered USB sockets and covered parallel sockets to wire up another generator.

All this is protected with a sine wave inverter of less than 3% Total Harmonic Distortion. A grounding bolt helps the user to make it all safer to use at a campsite. And the iPro2500 makes less noise than your average library, at 52 decibels. 

  • Starting 2500W — Continuous 2200W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 1-gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 10 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 52 dB.
  • Weight: 48 lb. (21.77 kg).
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: Inexpensive model that was easy to start and set-up.
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

1. Pulsar G2319N 2,300W Portable Generator

 

Rated for 1800 watts with a peak output of 2300 watts, this generator from Pulsar will cope well with heavy demand. A 1.18-gallon (4.5 L) fuel tank is enough to last the engine 4.8 hours on half-load and up to 6 hours in economy mode. And it runs quietly at 59 dB from 10-foot, around the same amount of noise your camping neighbor will make while talking normally.

To keep your sensitive electronics safe, Clean Power watches over the voltage to ensure the current is smooth. This is helped a little with the use of a large 80cc 4-stroke motor.

A single USB socket means you can plug in a smartphone without an adaptor. There are two 120-volt mains socket outlets. A 12 -volt car socket outlet for similarly styled adapters. And there are two outlets to allow for parallel connection to other generators of the same series.

  • Starting 2300W – Continuous 1800W
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Capacity: 1.18 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 6 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 59 dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year

Pros

Cons

Reviewers Thoughts: Solid unit that with 2300Watts for under $500 and inexpensive.
Carl
Keen Golfer & Camper

Best RV and Camping Generator Buyers Guide & F.A.Q

Generators are the perfect way to enjoy the modern convenience of technology, in the beauty and freedom of the great outdoors. A quality generator will provide you with reliable power for lights, tools, and devices like your music player or cell phone. Choosing the right generator for you camping trip will be easy with our guide below

In the deep wild, you can light up your campsite. This will help keep predators at bay. You can listen to your favorite songs, heat or cool off your RV, run the grill for a backwoods barbeque, and more.

Should you end up in a situation without power, your generator will provide backup, quickly. Whether it comes to luxury or emergency, generators are simply invaluable.

Inverter Generators vs Conventional Generators

The first thing you need to know are the two primary kinds of generators: invertor, and conventional. The difference you will notice first between these is in the noise level.

Inverters are known for their exceptionally quiet functionality. This has made them highly sought-after by campers seeking to preserve the peace of nature. Inverter generators are also more compact, and more conservative of fuel.

The most significant difference, however, is in the power supply that they create. Inverter generators have three different phases: high-frequency AC, to DC, and then back to AC (whereas conventional generators have just one).

Because of this, inverter generators are much more stable. In fact, you could compare them to your power outlet at home! This makes inverter generators ideal when it comes to running delicate devices, such as your music player or cell phone.

Inverter generators do tend to be a bit more expensive, so if you are looking to power larger tools, or don’t care as much about noise, a conventional generator can make an alternative option that is particularly cost-effective.

Types of Generators - Fuel

There are generators that run on gasoline, propane, solar, natural gas, or diesel. Some generators, known as hybrids, are even dual-fuel or tri-fuel. There are pros and cons to each type of fuel, as listed below.

Gasoline

Gasoline-fueled generators are some of the most popular out there. Compared to diesel, solar, and propane, they are quite affordable. Gas is readily available in most places as well.

The main downside to gasoline generators is that they require a bit of extra upkeep and care. Gas has a short-lived shelf life of 12 months, approx. Gas that has been left sitting in storage inside the tank needs to be replaced with new. This is also a particularly flammable fuel. Gasoline may become hard to obtain during a power outage. In a nutshell: gasoline generators are cost-effective and require some maintenance.

Gasoline generators offer about 125,000 BTUs per gallon.

Diesel

Diesel generators are both efficient as well as being low-maintenance. In fact, diesel is the most efficient generator fuel, offering 138,700 BTUs per gallon of fuel.

While gasoline will degrade after a month, diesel remains good for a few.

Diesel generators work the most smoothly with heavy loads. Lighter loads can cause issues that are technical. Compared to gas, solar, and propane generators, the most noise is generated by Diesel. For quiet, public areas like campgrounds, this may prove less than ideal. Diesel is often the generator type of choice for private camping, often with an RV.

Propane

Propane generators are very popular when it comes to camping and RV. Unlike gasoline or diesel, propane will not degrade over time. The shelf-life is said to be infinite. As far as storage goes, this is clearly both practical, and impressive.

These generators function more quietly than Gasoline or Diesel. They are also clean-burning.

Propane is one of the less efficient fuels, offering only 91,300 BTUs per gallon. Propane also requires its own, separate tank. This gives the generators more bulk.

Solar

As their name implies, solar generators are solar-powered, rather than running off fossil fuel. Solar generators are perhaps the quietest kind available. They are eco-friendly and sustainable.

Unfortunately, this is reflected in their price. Solar generators are some of the most costly out there. They are a worthy investment, but not one that can be afforded by everyone.

Solar generators can sometimes offer less wattage compared to those fueled by gas, natural gas, propane, or diesel. This makes some of them most suitable for smaller devices, tools, and the like.

Natural Gas

Natural gas generators are some of the quieter generators out there. For campers, this is ideal. Natural gas is more emission-compliant than the regular gasoline alternative.

The main downside of natural gas generators is that the fuel is not as widely available as some. This, combined with relatively high consumption of said fuel, makes for generators that can be tricky to run. However, if you already know you have easy access to natural gas, a natural gas generator may make a fine choice.

Dual-Fuel or Tri-Fuel

The most impressive generators are dual-fuel or tri-fuel. When it comes to versatility and convenience, these are the ultimate.

Propane and gasoline capability are typically offered by dual-fuel generators. Tri-fuel may even accept diesel or natural gas as well.

The ability to source your fuel in a few different places is a lifesaver in case of an emergency, such as a power outage or earthquake

Weight and Size

The more powerful the generator, the longer it can run… and the greater its size and bulk. This is the trade-off. A larger generator is more difficult to lug around and maneuver.

They tend to have additional parts that get in the way as well. There is, of course, a purpose for this bulk. Large generators can potentially power an entire motorhome, including the fridge, air conditioner, and grill… impressive!

Small generators, on the other hand, take up comparatively little space. They are lighter and easier to lift, and the most convenient for travel. You can combine two small generators to create a set-up that is both compact and powerful. Small generators of 1000W are perfect for phones, lights, tools, and the like.

When looking at the weight of a generator, be sure it is the ‘dry weight,’ which refers to when the generator is empty of fuel. A generator can gain 2-6 pounds with a full tank.

Wattage

The greater its wattage, the larger the generator. For a home generator, the size and weight are not of much consequence as it will be static. In a camping scenario, on the other hand, you will doubtless want a generator that is compact, lightweight, and overall portable, for travel.

2000-2300W generators are a great choice for running cell phones, lights, and other smaller, less powerful devices. For larger tools, such as a grill, you will want 2300-3000W. RV’s typically call for at least 3000W, sometimes more.

Some camping generators can adjust their engine power according to their load. This means light appliances will give the machine a break and save fuel, yet it can also jump to full throttle, and power your entire RV.

Quick peek at the types of appliances that can run on these generators and the wattage they use!

The appliances listed below give you a feel for the amount of power ( Watts ) some general appliances use. This will help you make the right desicion when purchasing a new portable generator. However, to work out the exact size generator you’ll need visit our SIZE CALCULATER guide which explains in more detail exactly how to work out the wattage of generator you’ll need.

AppliancesRunning WattageStart-Up Wattage
Tablet Computer10W15W
32" LED TV20W60W
Cooling Fan40W60W
Freezer40W60W
Lights 60W bulb60W60W
Refrigerator150W300W
Electric Drill800W1400W
Lawn Mower1000W1500W
RV Air Con1300W3400W

Usage

The right generator for you depends, of course, on what purpose it will serve. Are you looking to power an RV, or just a few devices at your campsite? Following are a few ways that you can use your handy generator.

Light up the Campsite

One of the first uses of electricity was to create illumination in the dark. This allowed activities to continue later into the evening, both in the home, and out of doors. When the sun sets over a campsite, especially in the later hours, it becomes pitch black. This brings most activity to a stop rather quickly.

You may have difficulty keeping your footing on an uneven forest floor. Additionally, an unlit campsite is far more appealing to forest critters, big or small.

At your local campsite, electric lights can deter raccoons and other nocturnal scavengers. In the deep wilds, like the mountains or jungle, electric lights can even help keep bears or wildcats at a safe distance

Music

For tent-campers or RVs in their own private area, generators offer the option to listen to music. With a powerful generator, you can listen to tunes while the generator also runs the grill.

With your friends and family, some music and some food, you can create a backwoods barbeque that is downright festive.

Backup Power

Of course, one of the top uses of a generator is as backup power. In an emergency or power outage, your generator will be there. Use it to charge a cell phone, run a space heater, or even power the air conditioning in your RV.

Power appliances in your RV

There are generators powerful enough to run the appliances in your RV. This includes things as little as the microwave, or as extensive as the entire air conditioning in the RV. Generators can even power a stove or grill. Generators are a luxury, and convenient and practical as well.

Portability and Travel

Portable generators are comparatively compact, lightweight, and they typically have features such as adjustable handles and wheels, to aid you in your travel.

You can also combine two smaller generators, as touched on above. Just have them separate and take advantage of how compact and lightweight they are for travel. Once you have arrived at the campsite, and are all set up, you can connect them wherever they need to be… for double the power, with less bulk.

Where to Obtain Fuel

Gasoline. Gasoline is perhaps the most readily available source of generator fuel. You can find it at any gas station, of which most cities have several.

● Natural gas. Compared to gasoline, diesel, propane and solar, natural gas is harder to come by. This fuel is available only at natural gas stations.

● Diesel. Like gasoline, you can find diesel easily, at any gas station.

● Propane. You can find propane at your local hardware store. Unlike gasoline, with its short shelf-life, you can store propane for an infinite amount of time.

● Solar. Solar generators are some of the most expensive, but you get what you pay for. Solar generators can power up wherever there is sunlight. So, almost anywhere.

How Long Is Your Camping Trip?

Some generators last longer than others or have a greater running time. The best one for you depends, in part, on the length of your camping trip. Will you be gone for just the weekend, or an entire week? Take this into consideration, along with the running time and the adequate storage of fuel.

Running Time

When looking for a generator, keep an eye out for a running time of at least 8 hours. This will allow you to leave the generator running while you sleep, if necessary.

Diesel generators run for up to 14 hours. Solar generators vary widely; some can run for several hours, some just a few. Propane generators will run for 7+ hours, typically. A natural gas generator will last 8-10 hours. This is, of course, a general guideline.

Fortunately, most generators will list their specific running time.

User-friendliness

The best generators are not just effective, but easy to use as well. There are many user-friendly features that you can look for.

For instance, automatic shutdown when the oil is low. This will prevent damage that could otherwise be caused to the engine by low oil. Some generators have their own LCDs or volt meters, or fuel gauges to measure the level of gas or oil.

You can even find generators with a wireless, remote start feature. This allows you to start or stop the generator from within your car or RV.

Another thing to consider is who will be using the generator. Make sure that you pick a generator of an appropriate weight and size, with all due consideration toward portability and travel.

Things To Check Before You Leave For Your Vacation

1. Check and change the oil. Before you can get your generator going, it will need a good old-fashioned change of oil. This is because the oil in the tank will have become stale. Some suggest that putting fuel-stabilizer in the tank prior to storage will prevent the oil from becoming stale. However, the oil will still deteriorate over time. With stale oil, you risk start-up issues or even a total generator breakdown. The best course of action is to refresh the oil entirely, so your generator can run like new.

2. Service. Before your generator is ready to run, it will require a bit of basic maintenance. First, use a dipstick to check the level of engine oil. You should make sure that the level of oil is as close to the full mark as possible. Next, ascertain that the batteries are clean. You may use a damp cloth to wipe these. If there is corrosion at the terminals, it is advised that you remove the cables, and then proceed to clean the terminals with a baking soda solution. Be very careful not to get any of this solution into a battery cell. From here, you may rinse the solution away with a damp cloth, dry the area, and then replace the cables accordingly. Finally, coat the terminals with petroleum jelly to avoid ingress of moisture.

3. Change the oil and filter at the proper intervals. These should be listed on the generator itself.

4. Run a test. Connect your RV or devices to the generator now, to make sure that it will work. Better to find out about a connection difficulty outside of the forest rather than within.

5. Make sure you have all your leads and adapters. For 30-amp with a 4-prong outlet, you must find a 30 amp, 4-prong cord. For a 30-amp outlet with 3 prongs, you must find a 30-amp cord with 3 prongs accordingly. And so on.

 

Campsite Rules

Do Campsites Allow Generators?

Yes, most campsites do allow generators. There are a couple of conditions: your generator must not create too much noise, and you must not run it for too long at a time.

It is advisable to use your generator to cool your RV, or to grill, and to turn the generator off as soon as you can. This will not only help preserve the peaceful atmosphere of the campsite, but it will also allow you to conserve fuel.

Noise Level

Most generators have a sound rating, measured in decibels. Many National Park Service Campgrounds limit the noise your generator can make to 60 decibels or less at 50 feet. Campers often visit the forest to escape the noise of the city. Using quiet generators is a courtesy to other campers, nature, and yourself.

rv at night
Quiet generators on campsites and at night are a must. You don't want to keep everyone awake at night!

Keeping Your Generator Secure

Hiding your generator is the best, more sure-fire way to keep it secure. Chains and locks are clipped too easily, and a quality generator can be a definite theft draw. When it is not in use, store your generator in your RV, tent, or the like, covered up for good measure.

Proper Storage

To store your generator properly, empty it of both oil and fuel. Then store it in a cool, dry, and secure place. Inside your home or garage is ideal. While camping, hide your generator, as directed above.

How To Reduce Generator Noise

Stick to 4000W or below

The higher the wattage, the more noise a generator will create. To keep your generator at the required 60 decibels at 50 feet (or less), you should opt for one that is 4000W or below. The quieter the better, when all is said and done.

Adjust the Consumption Speed of Fuel

Some generators have the option to adjust the consumption speed of fuel. Not only is this more efficient, but it tends to significantly reduce generator noise as well. Have your generator on this setting as often as possible; both to help conserve fuel and to conserve the natural sounds of the outdoors. The best generators are ones that function powerfully, while still promoting an environment that is peaceful.

Pick A Generator That Runs On A Quieter Type of Fue

Perhaps the loudest generator fuel is diesel. These generators tend to create over 60 decibels of sound from 50 feet, which, for camping, makes them less than ideal. Gas is a better alternative. Propane is even quieter than gas, and solar generators are generally the quietest of them all

Make Sure The Generator Is Far Away Enough

Most generators list how many decibels of noise they make. This can be helpful but be sure to look closely. Some specify this decibel rating only from a certain distance (usually about 23 feet away). Place the generator as far as it can be from the campsite.

Face Exhaust Pipes In The Right Direction

You can reduce the noise in your campsite simply by making sure the exhaust pipes are facing the right direction. Face them away from yourself and other sites, so that they can vent the noise into the empty forest or elsewhere.

Place The Generator On A Rubber Mat To Reduce Noise

Did you know that a good portion of the sound your generator makes is due to vibrations? Setting your generator on a hard surface, such as a board, can cause it to vibrate even more so. Instead, try a sound reducing rubber mat. Rubber is renowned for its ability to absorb shocks, vibrations, and the like.

Summary: Choosing The Right Generator For Your Camping Trip

As you can see, generators are fantastic machines. They can bring light and music to your campsite, provide warmth, charge your cell phone, power up the grill, and far more.

There are propane generators, gasoline generators… even solar generators, which are eco-friendly and sustainable.

Choose the right generator for your camping trip, and it is sure to continue to serve during adventures to come.

You can enjoy the luxury and convenience of modern electricity, in the beauty and fresh air of the great outdoors. Have the best of both worlds.