Camping out can give you and the entire family a chance to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors, miles away from your busy city life. Bring along the smallest camping generator and you can also enjoy some of the small comforts of home, such as listening to the radio, a hot cup of tea, or keep your phone charged. Finding the perfect generator for your next camping trip isn’t always easy, considering there are so many models on the market these days. Are these generators really as easy to use as some campers claim they are? And how can you get the most out of your generator on your next camping trip? We’ll explore how you can use a small inverter generator, how to safely use one at your campsite, and some of the best features these compact generators have to offer.
The smallest camping generator can make all the difference on your next camping trip. These models typically feature a compact, lightweight design that makes them much easier to store and transport. They typically have a runtime that ranges from four hours to twelve hours, depending on fuel tank size. Compared to conventional generators, the camp generator is a better option because it’s incredibly quiet during operation and is considered more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.
Generator use when you’re camping in the backcountry or another type of secluded location can come with many benefits, providing the type of power you need when you’re far from civilization.
Read on to learn more about the camping generator, how it can change the way you camp and check out our top pick for the smallest camping generator that offers the best value, features, and runtime.
Recommended Camping Generator
- Quiet and fuel efficient 111 cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running watts
- USB port allows charging of portable electronics in order to stay connected. Muffler : Super Lo-tone. Start type: Recoil
- Produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion making it safe for laptop computers, TVs and game systems
- 1-gallon fuel tank for up to 6.5 hours of continuous operation at 25% load
- Parallel connector port allows connection between 2 units for more power
Heavier Duty Camping Generator
- Run time: Up to 10 at 1/4 Load
- Running Amps 21.7A
- Alternator: Permanent magnet
- Clean and instant power to keep appliances and other important electronics running during a power outage, 30545s engine speed reduces noise, fuel consumption and emissions
- Quieter than a traditional camping generator with enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner
Power When You Need it the Most
A generator is one item you don’t want to go camping without. These compact machines are designed specifically for camping and feature the type of whisper-quiet operation that allows you to use them at a campsite, without disrupting the surrounding campers.
Power-wise, most models can power up two to three small electronics at the same time, depending on how many outlets the generator has. The generator’s voltage rating is what will tell you how much juice it offers at one time, giving you a clear idea of what appliances you can plug in. With the smallest camping generator, you probably won’t be able to power up a TV or an air conditioner in your RV, but you can keep the hot coffee flowing and your smartphones charged.
If you’re on the fence about buying an inverter generator for your next camping adventure, we’ll discuss how these generators can really add plenty of value to your trip, not to mention a few important modern conveniences.
Keep Those Batteries Charged
When camping, most of us bring along flashlights and rechargeable lanterns, so we can make our way in the dark to search for more firewood or that inconvenient middle of night bathroom stop. With an inverter generator, you won’t have to worry about your batteries dying on you when you need them the most. Aside from that, buying rechargeable batteries and having a spare set charged and ready to go is not only convenient, but it can also save you a lot of money that’s otherwise spent on replacing costly flashlight batteries.
A Safe Light Source
On the same note, if you’re camping out and an open fire isn’t allowed, then you’ll need to use several lanterns and rechargeable lights to keep your campsite lit up. Again, the inverter generator comes to the rescue, allowing you to keep your campsite lights going during the night at campsites where open fires aren’t permitted.
If you don’t want to deal with a gas powered camping stove, then hook your electric griddle up to your generator and enjoy a hot breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Newer models of inverter generators are very energy efficient, providing four to twelve hours of runtime, depending on what you’re powering up. More powerful models can handle a couple of larger appliances at once, such as an electric griddle and a coffeemaker, while the smaller generators can handle just one larger appliance at a time.
The Perfect Solution for Sensitive Electronics
Even if you’ve gone camping to escape the pressures of your suburban life, the odds are you need to stay in touch with family or friends, especially if you have children at home.
An inverter generator runs clean, constant power, which is why it’s perfect for charging and powering sensitive devices such as tablets and smartphones. If you don’t want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere without your phone or iPad, then a small camp generator is a perfect solution.
How to Safely Use Your Camp Generator
Even though they’re small and light, an inverter generator can be dangerous to use if you don’t know the basics of generator safety. Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but if you have no experience with this type of machine, then learning how to properly set one up, use it, and store it, can be lifesaving in certain circumstances.
Now, let’s take a look at some important safety tips that most new generator owners aren’t familiar with.
- First up is setting up your generator in an area that’s safe for use and one that will protect the generator from debris, overheating, and damage.
- Generators are not designed to be used in the rain. In fact, doing so can not only potentially electrocute the user, but it can also severely damage the generator.
- Placing the generator in a sheltered dry area will keep you and your family safe, while protecting the generator from the elements. Even if you’re camping out during the summer, that random downpour can happen. So, before you leave for your trip, make sure you pick up a generator cover, one that’s designed to fit your specific model of camp generator.
- When storing a generator for the year, make sure you empty the fuel tank
- Before you use your generator at the start of the season, test its power output to ensure it’s running correctly. If you’re not familiar with how to do that, you can learn how by clicking here and reading our article on how to check portable generator output.
- Never allow the generator to run with no load. This can lead to overheating and serious damage
- A generator should be cleaned and receive routine maintenance at the beginning and the end of summer.
To learn more about generator use in inclement weather, click here to read our article on can a portable generator be used in the rain?
The Dangers of Poor Ventilation and Generator Use
As you know, exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly. Unfortunately, new inverter generator owners don’t always know about the importance of proper ventilation. A generator should never be used by an open doorway or window. The generator should be positioned in a well-ventilated area with plenty of airflow. Generators are not designed to be used indoors. If you’re camping out in your RV, make sure you keep the generator far away from the RV’s door and windows. Proper ventilation will prevent carbon monoxide from building up and will keep the generator nice and cool and prevent it from overheating.
Assembly and Setup
With some models, the assembly and setup process can be complicated. Most generators these days are easy to use, but if you’re new to generator use, then the assembly process can be somewhat complex. Before your trip, read the included user’s manual from cover to cover. Practice setting up and using the generator and do a test run of sorts. Make sure when doing so, you have an appliance plugged into the generator as running a generator without a load can lead to a variety of problems. If you’re struggling to set up the generator, contact customer service for troubleshooting help. This type of practice run will have you well-prepared for your upcoming trip and can prevent a lot of frustration later down the road.
Shopping for a Camp Generator
When you shop online for a new camp generator, make sure you check out each model’s runtime, ease of use, extra features, safety features, quality rating, and fuel efficiency.
We’ve covered how the best camp generator can be a true asset on your next camping trip, how they work, and how you can safely use one and get the most out of an inverter generator’s power and runtime. Below is our top choice for the leading, smallest camping generator on the market.
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 PowerSmart Series Portable Inverter Generator features seventeen hundred running watts, with two thousand, two hundred starting watts. It also produces less than three percent harmonic distortion, making it a safer option to charge your sensitive electronics, compared to other leading models.
The generator’s fuel tank comes in at one gallon, offering a runtime of eight hours with a twenty-five percent load capacity.
The generator allows for parallel operation and comes with a top of the line muffler, making this model one of the quietest running inverter generators on the market.
What We Love:
- Seventeen hundred running watts and two thousand, two hundred starting watts
- Safe for laptop computers, TVs and game systems
- Two 120V-20A standard household plug receptacles
- One 12V-20A DC outlet with an included USB adapter
- One gallon fuel tank
- 6.5 hour run time at 25% load
- Allows for parallel operation
- Operating volume of just fifty-nine decibels
- H-handle design for easier transportation
What We Didn’t Love:
- Is not CARB compliant
Click the button below to learn more about the P2200 or it’s more powerful sibling, the P3000.
Can a Generator Get Wet?
No. A wet generator is an unsafe generator. Generators are not waterproof, which means if they get wet or moisture makes its way into one of the outlets, the user can get electrocuted and the generator may become severely damaged.
Are All Camping Generators Easy to Transport?
Most are. The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator has a lightweight design that makes it incredibly easy to carry this generator to and from a campsite, store, and transport and is one of the leading models for its ease of use and innovative design. However, there are heavier models of inverter generators out there. These heavier models usually come with built-in wheels or a cart, designed to make transporting them much easier.
How Can I get More Power for my RV?
If your inverter generator is unable to provide you with the type of power you need, you can purchase an additional generator, one that’s compatible and comes equipped with a parallel operation port. Another option is to purchase an RV solar pal kit. The WindyNation Solar Panel Kit: 4pcs 100W Solar Panels kit, is considered one of the leading models on the market. These kits can keep your RV’s battery charged for several hours, allowing you to run larger appliances without the fear of draining the battery.
To learn more, click here to read our RV solar panel kit buyer’s guide.
What is the Quietest Generator for RV?
Most inverter generators have a reputation for their quiet-running operation. If you’ve ever used a conventional generator, then you know you can’t even hear the sound of your own voice when one is running. The inverter generator has a decent noise level range of fifty-two to sixty-seven decibels, which is why they’re often referred to as whisper-quiet generators. Basically, any of the leading models of camp generators will offer the same type of quiet operation that most RV owners and campers are looking for.
The smallest camping generator is chosen for its lightweight design, ease of use, and energy efficiency. Most of these models are surprisingly powerful, despite their compact size. Choosing the right camp generator should involve how much space you have in your trunk to transport a generator, how much power you need to run your appliances and keep your devices charged, and what type of budget you have to work with. Fortunately, these smaller generators are reasonably priced, so they can work with most budgets.