Camping out during the summer or winter months can provide the type of peaceful getaway you really need, to reset your mind and spend quality time with the family. With the right type of inverter generator, you can also bring along important appliances and devices, designed to make your trip that much more enjoyable. But what size of generator for camping can handle the job? How do you figure out what size of generator for camping is needed? We’ll explore what the best camp generator can do, how many watt generator for camping you need, and what you’re looking at in terms of the power, runtime, and price.
What size generator for camping will power all my gear? This depends on the type of devices and appliances you bring along on your trip. If you simply need a generator that can keep your laptop, smartphones, and tablets charged, then a one to two thousand watt model will work just fine. If you need a generator to run your AC in your RV or power your electric camping stove and coffee pot, go for a model that’s around two to three thousand watts. The best way to find a generator that offers the type of power you’re looking for is to total up the wattage of all of the devices you’re bringing and find a generator that can handle that type of load.
Camping generators are now more popular than ever. Figuring out the right size of generator for your next camping adventure is easy if you know what to look for and have a basic understanding of how an inverter generator works and how much power you really need, based on the type of devices you’re bringing and their individual power needs.
Read on to learn how to find the perfect camping generator for your next trip and check out our top choice.
The Quiet Generators of Today
Modern inverter generators can be used for many different types of applications. If you’re online checking out potential models for your camping trip, you’re sure to stumble upon terms such as standby power, camping, or caravanning, which shows you what a specific model can really handle.
Models that are specifically designed for camping or RV’ing will allow you to bring along essential devices, even when you’re nowhere near a power source. But what generator features are available and which ones will matter the most to campers?
Let’s find out.
Generator Features Campers Will Appreciate
When describing a generator’s features manufacturers tend to use several techy terms, which can be confusing.
But when you’re searching for a generator for camping, the features that you want to pay close attention to include:
- Weight: The camp generator’s lighter size is one of the biggest draws, aside from its quiet operation. The term dry weight refers to the weight of the generator when the fuel tank is empty. Take this into consideration if you’re looking for a lightweight model. Depending on the size of the fuel tank, a full tank can add two to six pounds of weight to the generator.
- Runtime: The runtime refers to the amount of time a generator runs before you need to refill the fuel tank. This is determined by the generator’s efficiency, fuel tank size, and the load applied. Manufacturers will usually provide the runtime for twenty-five percent, fifty percent, and ninety percent loads. Keep in mind that a camp generator will usually throttle up or down automatically when the operation is based on load size.
- Power output: Inverter generators can have a max power rating of one to three thousand watts. Higher wattage models are suitable for powering fans, ACs, and TVs. Typically, the wattage rating is listed as two numbers. One number indicates the generator’s power capability at half load, while the other rating is how much power the generator provides at ninety to one hundred percent power load. How many watt generator for camping? Base this on the type of devices and appliances you’ll be bringing along on your trip. In order to determine the exact power rating add up the wattage that’s needed for each device you’re bringing. Some generators aren’t strong enough to run several devices at once. Instead, you may only be able to power one or two devices at a time.
- Noise level: At times, it can be difficult to determine how loud or quiet a specific model is. It’s usually a detail manufacturers don’t include. For camping purposes, you’ll need a generator that features around fifty to sixty-eight decibels. This will usually meet the noise requirements that most campsites have. Usually the listed decibels for a generator refer to how loud or quiet the generator is based on load level. If the decibel listed on the spec sheet is fifty to sixty decibels, pay attention to the load percentage, which will be listed right next to it. Often, a generator is at its quietest when it’s at twenty-five or fifty percent load capacity.
Extra Features that are Essential for Camping
While the features we discussed above are important, there are additional features that will come in handy for the camper, including parallel capability, oil and fuel gauges, and circuit protection.
Parallel capability allows you to hook up one generator to another, which is perfect if you need more power.
Circuit protection protects the generator from overheating or overloading. It does so by switching off the AC power output if a short occurs or if the load draw is excessive.
For a camping specific generator, look for a model with one to two thousand watts. These smaller models will have the perfect noise level rating at fifty to sixty-five decibels. However, these smaller generators usually only have a runtime of four to six hours.
The best-selling Westinghouse iGen2200 inverter generator is compact, fuel efficient, quiet running, with a ten-hour runtime on a full tank and with a ten percent load.
In terms of voltage, most models of camp generators will come equipped with two one hundred and twenty-volt outlets, for a total of two hundred and twenty volts. If you’d like to learn more about camp generator power, click here to read our article on the smallest 240v generator.
Generators that are quiet running and offer the type of runtime you’re looking for based on whether or not you want to run an appliance during the night, will be at the top of your list in terms of what features to look for in an inverter generator. If you don’t plan on bringing along a lot of gear, then you may only need a small generator to keep your tablets and smartphones charged, or a generator you can use in the morning for a fresh pot of coffee.
While the Westinghouse generator is a popular model and one that’s widely used amongst campers, below you’ll find our top choice of generators to use specifically for camping out in the backcountry.
The Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt camp generator is one of Honda’s best-selling models. It’s able to operate a wide range of devices and appliances, is highly portable and features the type of whisper-quiet operation that these generators are popular for.
It operates at forty-five to fifty-seven decibels, depending on the operating load. This lower than average noise rating makes the generator perfect for RV’ing and camping use and it’s a great option if you want to supplement your power use in your RV. Since it’s parallel compatible you can purchase two models for twice the power, for a total of forty-four thousand watts. Like other models in Honda’s camp generator line, the EU2200i also comes with the eco-throttle system, making it highly fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. This feature allows the generator to closely monitor engine speeds and switch up the speed based on the load.
What We Love:
- Eco-throttle feature
- Energy efficient
- Ten-hour runtime
- Lightweight design
- Parallel compatible
- Lower than average noise rating
What We Didn’t Love:
- Does not come with a fuel gauge
Click the button below to learn more about this popular model by Honda.
How Can I Keep My RV’s Battery Charged?
Aside from using an inverter generator when you’re camping out or caravanning, solar panel kits for RVs is another great option and one that’s very environmentally friendly. Aside from finding a brand you can trust and solar panels that can easily take a charge, you’ll also need to find the right size of solar panel kit for your RV. Our choice is the WindyNation Solar Panel Kit: 4pcs 100W Solar Panels kit, which comes with all the gear you need to keep your RV’s battery charged. This set is also easy to install, use, and maintain, giving you a little more freedom in terms of where you can camp out. With a camp generator and the right solar panel kit set, you’ll no longer have to solely rely on power sources at rest stops or campsites.
Click here to read our RV solar panel kit buyer’s guide to learn more.
What Size Generator Do I Need to Run My RV’s AC?
If you don’t already know, RV air conditioners can be huge power hogs, but if you’re camping out in the middle of summer, or caravanning across the country, then using your AC day and night is a must.
If you want to use an inverter generator so you can keep your air conditioner on throughout the night, then the right size generator will depend on the size of the AC. As an example, if your AC needs around three thousand watts to start and two thousand running watts, then you’ll need a generator that offers three thousand watts. The right wattage rating will prevent the generator from overheating or shutting down and can ensure your AC is up and running, allowing you to beat the heat.
What’s the Difference Between an Inverter Generator and a Regular Generator?
Instead of running on AC power, the inverter generator’s engine is connected to an alternator. The alternator produces AC juice, like the larger conventional generators. However, the AC energy is converted to DC, then back to AC. This is why the inverter generator offers cleaner emissions compared to conventional generators.
What are the Advantages of an Inverter Generator?
Inverter generators are much easier to use, maintain, and repair, compared to conventional generators. Their lightweight design makes them highly portable, so you can easily transport and store your generator when not in use.
They’re energy efficient, so you’ll spend less on fuel costs, and they come equipped with some great safety features that are designed to prevent damage to the engine.
Basically, the inverter generator is a better choice for use when you’re camping or traveling in your RV. They can also be a great option if you need a small backup generator to use in the event of an emergency. However these generators aren’t tough enough to provide power for an entire house, that’s where the conventional generator shines.
Inverter generators are much quieter than conventional generators, which is another reason they’re such a popular option for RV’ing and camping.
The modern inverter generator brings with it a whole new level of convenience for campers and RV owners who want to stay connected to the outside world. It also makes an excellent choice if you’re searching for a generator you can rely on in the event of a power outage.
What size generator for camping? Pick one that has enough juice to power your devices. For most camping trips a two to three thousand watt model should be sufficient. However, if you have lower power needs and need a generator to keep your sensitive electronics up and running, then a one to two thousand watt model should work just fine. Ultimately, it will depend on your power needs. Before you buy a generator, calculate all the wattage per device or appliance, add it up, and this will give you the total wattage you need from a camp generator that’s perfect for you and the whole family.