Best Camping Generators of 2020

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Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in your free time. Aside from being adventurous, spending time in the wild enables you to expand your mind by interacting with nature. If you want to take a break from a monotonous routine, then camping is an ideal choice. When packing for the outdoors, you must include all the necessary gear. This includes a power supply, like a camping generator. This is important especially during winter or mountain camping. A camping generator provides you electrical energy outdoors. You need detailed information before getting the most suitable generator for your needs, since the many options on the market can be confusing. That’s why we’ve reviewed nine of the best camping and RV generators for you to consider.

Table of Contents

 

Best Overall Camping Generator

1. Champion Dual Fuel Inverter Generator for Camping

Champion 3400 Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Inverter Generator with Electric StartType: Fuel Inverter
Noise Level: 59 dba
Weight: 99 lbs
Power: 3400 W

Champion is a big name in the industry as a trusted brand for indoor and outdoor use. The Champion 3400 Watt unit has high-quality features for excellent performance wherever you are. It operates on gasoline or propane and holds 0.6 quarts of oil, with a low oil shutoff sensor. What’s more, it runs silently with 59dBA for 7.5 hrs. on gasoline and 14.5 hrs. on propane, suitable for RVs and campsite use. It is also lightweight and portable, weighing only 99 lbs.

The 3400-watt generator features a cast-iron sleeve to ensure high durability, and an electric start features a three-position ignition switch (including a battery). With a quick touch panel, you can easily access all the controls and functions in one place. In the economic mode, you save on fuel and enhance engine life. The generator produces clean electric power of less than 3% THD, for safe use with sensitive electronics. Pair it with a various champion inverters to increase power.

What we like:
Dual fuel, quiet operation, lightweight/portable design, easy to use, parallel ready
What we don't:
Costly

 


 

The Quietest Generator for Camping

2. Westinghouse iGen 2200 Watt Quiet Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen 2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter GeneratorType: Fuel Inverter
Noise Level: 52 dba
Weight: 46 lbs
Power: 1000 W

Running at only 52 decibels, the Westinghouse iGen 2200 is an ultra-quiet generator suitable for cars, RVs and camping. It will not cause disturbance to you or the people around you when running. The unit has a small footprint but carries 1800 running watts with 2200 starting watts, which is enough power for all your camping needs. Weighing only 46 lbs., you can easily carry the generator on your outdoor trips. What’s more, it’s not bulky, making it easy to store and transport. It is powered by gasoline and features two 120V 20 Amp outlets, and two USB ports.

Unlike conventional generators, the iGen 2200 inverter generator is far more fuel-efficient. It operates for 12 hours on just 1.2 gal. of fuel. If you want to extend the power, it is compatible with a Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord to deliver more power. It’s safe to use on your sensitive electronics because it produces clean, stable power of <3% THD.

What we like:
Lightweight, compact, quiet, safe on sensitive appliances, extendable power, fuel-efficient, powerful
What we don't:
The oil switch frequently malfunctions

 


 

Best Budget Camping Generator

3. Jackery Compact Battery Generator for Camping

Jackery Portable Power Station with Emergency Backup Lithium BatteryType: Battery Power
Weight: 6,6 lbs
Power: 100 W

Weighing only 6.6 lbs., the Jackery Power Station Explorer 240 is compact and highly portable for the camping. A 5-in. width and 8-in. height makes it compact for backpacking. An easy-to-carry handle also enables effortless transport. The unit is perfect camping or RV use because it operates quietly and without vibrations, allowing a peaceful time without disturbing fellow campers. What’s more, it doesn’t emit vapors that may affect your health or natural surroundings.

A rechargeable 67,000mAh Lithium-ion battery powers the Explorer 240. It boasts a 240W capacity (16.8Ah, 14.4V) for powering all your small devices outdoors. Its US standard AC outlet, safely accommodates your small appliances drawing 200W or less. A pure sine wave inverter produces clean, stable electricity to prevent damage to your devices. An LCD screen displays the battery status at all times. Even in sun, you can view the readings with the screen’s backlight.

What we like:
Extremely lightweight, conveniently powers small appliances, compact, LCD screen, quiet operation, pure sine wave, easy to use
What we don't:
Not suitable for medium and large appliances

 


 

Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

4. PAXCESS Portable Power Generator for RV or Camping

PAXCESS Portable Power Station Generator with 110V AC Pure Sine WaveType: Battery Power
Weight: 5,9 lbs
Power: 110 W

If you’re looking for a compact, yet powerful generator for your camping or RV adventures, then this PAXCESS power station is ideal. It weighs only 5.9 lbs. and features an ergonomic handle for easy carrying. The design not only allows easy transport, but it also ensures easy use, integrating a single AC output and 3DC 12V with 2 USB 3.1A ports ideal for a wide range of applications. This is your perfect emergency backup power for camping and RV because it operates quietly without vibrations. Besides, it doesn’t emit harmful hazes while running, making it safe to use.

The PAXCESS portable camping generator has a large power capacity to power your appliances for long periods. It boasts 27 18,650 high-density lithium battery packs and 280W, sufficient to power CPAP for nights and charge your laptops and power mini-refrigerators on the go. It charges via a variety of methods, whether the sun charging, a wall outlet, or your car. Charging time varies by method, but takes an average of 6-10 hrs. to reach full charge.

What we like:
Lightweight, simple operation, easy to carry, 3 charging methods
What we don't:
Needs charge to reactivate

 


 

Best Solar Camping Generator

5. Renogy Phoenix Solar Generator for Camping

Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator with Solar Kit for Outdoor CampingType: Solar Power
Weight: 42 lbs
Power: 150 W

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, then the Phoenix generator by Renogy is a suitable companion. It features many benefits in a compact, portable design. For starters, it includes a solar power system for emergencies, mobile and off-grid applications. It is compact and lightweight for all your outdoor activities. It features an ergonomic design with a sturdy, raised handle for easy carrying. The Phoenix is a dependable unit in the great outdoors delivering power up to 210W, an LED flashlight, and multiple outputs and inputs for all your power needs.

The Phoenix includes a 16AH lithium-ion (NMC) battery that delivers limitless power for conveniently charging your devices. A PV terminal enables the efficient 20W monocrystalline solar panels to expand up to 100 watts. The unit charges at a 0-45 degree temperature and offers separate AC/DC options, so you can turn one off when not in use. We would highly recommend Renogy to anyone looking for the best solar generator for camping.

What we like:
Lightweight, compact, easy to use, expandable power, multiple output/input ports
What we don't:
Fragile construction with the solar panels, doesn’t power CPAP for long

 


 

Other Best Options

6. Atima Quiet Portable Gas Power Camping Generator

Atima Small Portable Inverter Generator with Gas Powered Yamaha Engine for RV and CampingType: Fuel Inverter
Noise Level: 54 dba
Weight: 50,7 lbs
Power: 2000 W

With a longstanding track record of producing the best engines in the world, Yamaha proves its reputation with the Atima AY3000I. This generator provides world-class performance with a its MZ175 Yamaha engine, delivering power and reliability. An industrial design features an aluminum alloy frame with an ergonomic finish, making the generator simple to operate, with two wheels for easy maneuverability. You can pull a folding handle opposite the exhaust to avoiding hot surfaces.

The AY3000i is a powerful generator that powers your camping accessories or a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner. It allows you to make juice in your blender, brew coffee, light up your tent, use a slow cooker and more. Your campsite should provide maximum serenity and this generator is the perfect companion, because the 3000w engine operates quietly and produces 54.3 dB noise when running. An LCD screen displays the status of all functions including voltage, frequency, current, power, maintenance alerts and more.

What we like:
Powerful engine, quiet operation, attractive and easy to operate design, powers more electronics, legible maintenance alerts, high-quality build
What we don't:
Expensive

 

7. ROCKPALS Battery Power Small Generator for Camping

ROCKPALS Small Generator with Lithium Power StationType: Battery Power
Weight: 7,3 lbs
Power: 300 W

The ROCKPALS RP300W is a powerful device with a compact design that provides easy storage and portability. The latest in the ROCKPALS series with lots of powering options, it includes an enhanced 120AC (300W/ 600W surge) standard outlet for powering laptops, air mattresses, lamps, fans and more. The 4x12V DC powers a CPAP machine, car refrigerator, air fan, and other devices under 96W. 24x devices connect with 1x24V DC and include 4x5V USB ports for your GPS, phones, cameras, etc.

Weighing about 7.3 lbs., the Rockpals 300w is extremely lightweight and is an excellent alternative for emergency backup at home or when traveling. With 280Wh (3.7 75Ah/12V 18.7Ah) Lithium-ion batteries, it is strong enough to deliver powerful performance and lasts much longer. It includes a pure sine wave inverter that provides clean electricity that is not harmful for human consumption. What’s more, the generator runs silently to ensure peace and tranquility in the wild.

What we like:
Lightweight, clean energy, powerful, easy to carry and operate
What we don't:
No battery status indicator

 

8. WEN Super Quiet Portable Generator for RV Camping

WEN Quiet 3800 Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut OffType: Fuel Inverter
Noise Level: 57 dba
Weight: 82 lbs
Power: 3100 W

When camping or in the RV, silence a night provides a serene environment for relaxation. The WEN 56380i is the best companion in this situation due to its extremely quietly operation. Its 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine runs at 57 decibels per quarter load and is EPA III and CARB compliant, suitable for camping and RVs. The engine produces 3800 surge watts, as well as 3400 rated watts, to run for 8.5 hrs. with half-load. It also includes a digital wattage meter that displays all the info you need to monitor the unit, such as voltage, wattage, runtime, etc.

The WEN 3800w handles all your sensitive electronics because the inverter produces a pure sine wave that is not harmful. It features a lightweight and ergonomic design for easy portability. What’s more, it includes wheels and a folding handle for easy storage and transport. A fuel shutoff prevents blockages with minimal maintenance by using up all the carburetor fuel.

What we like:
Super quiet, lightweight, easy to carry and store
What we don't:
Tall, requires a frequent oil change

 

9. Briggs & Stratton 3000 Watt Inverter Generator

Briggs Stratton Power Smart Series Portable 3000 Watt Inverter GeneratorType: Fuel Inverter
Noise Level: 58 dba
Weight: 85 lbs
Power: 3000 W

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart series is a very portable inverter generator for all your outdoor trips. It uses the quiet power technology that, when activated, adjusts engine speed to minimize noise. This conserves fuel and extends runtime. With a 25% load, the unit operates at just 58 decibels, quieter than traditional generators. It uses 2600 running watts and 3000 starting watts with the Briggs & Stratton OHV, 171cc engine. The unit features four 120V outlets, one 12V-5A, DC outlet, and USB and parallel ports to power various appliances.

The P3000 PowerSmart generator offers a compact, lightweight design that features a collapsible, luggage-style handle and 6-in. wheels to ensure easy storage and transport. Weighing 85 lbs., you can lift and carry the unit by hand with ease. A legible LCD screen displays the used power, unit hours, maintenance alerts and more. You can connect two PowerSmart inverter generators for even more power.

What we like:
Lightweight, compact, portable, long operating time, quiet, fuel-efficient, easy start
What we don't:
Pricey

 


 

Camping Generator Buying Guide

camping generator reviews
If you’re planning to spend time outdoors, you need a proper source of backup power. The right camping generator makes everything easier and manageable while you’re away from electricity. Since the market is filled with plenty of options, it becomes quite difficult to get the right generator outdoors. The ultimate buying guide below explains the features and characteristics you need to buy a generator that’s right for you.

The Top 6 Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Generator

  1. Why You Need a Generator for Camping

    The outdoors can be very unpredictable. Electricity may be scarce and power outages may occur. In these cases, a camping generator comes in handy to power your appliances. With a generator for camping and RVs, say goodbye to dead phone batteries, even in the remote locations. A powerful generator can also charge your car, bike or boat to ensure that nothing interrupts your adventure. At night, you can use a generator to light up your tent and the surrounding area. This enables both you and others to see. You can also use it to entertain yourself by streaming music or videos on your laptop and you may need a generator to use the electric portable camping shower. Knowing these things, you should include a generator on your next outdoor adventure.

  2. Power Performance

    Before buying a generator for camping, first determine what you need to power. To do this, list out all the camping essentials that may need power, then add together the total wattage they’ll require. If you only plan to power lighting, then minimal power is required. However, if you need to power kitchen and entertainment appliances, you’ll need maximum electricity for sure.

    Secondly, check the starting wattage for larger devices as they often require more power to start than to run. Once you know how much power the devices require, choose a generator that meets your needs. If you discover that the generator you need is too expensive, then find ways to reduce your camping appliances. It’s more economical to use a natural campfire, for instance, than to carry your electric grill. The fewer items you need to power, the more money you’ll save.

  3. Noise Level

    Since their introduction in 1873, generators have been known as noisy machines. This discourages some from buying one. A noisy generator for indoor use will just affect you and your family. However, if you use a noisy unit outdoors, it will disturb your surroundings. Conventional generators come at a lower cost, sacrificing need for silence. Fortunately, some affordable generators on the market today provide quietness and efficiency for a peaceful outdoor adventure.

    Quiet generators flooding the market, thanks in large part to the advent of inverter generators. Inverter generators feature innovative engines that vary in speed depending on the load. They regulate their speed according to the power required. This, in turn, makes them a lot quieter than traditional generators that produce unnecessary noise. Sound is measured using the decibel symbol (dB). So, the higher the decibel, the louder the generator. If you want a peaceful stay in the outdoors, consider going for one with a lower decibel measure.

  4. Fuel Type and Consumption

    The type of fuel a generator uses determines how long it runs based upon consumption. Gasoline is the most common fuel, probably since it is readily available at gas stations. In the case of a power outage, gasoline becomes unavailable though since it relies on electricity at the pump. This type of fuel is also not the most efficient. These engines consume more gallons of fuel in a limited run time. Portable options use gasoline to fuel the generators, but a short shelf-life and high emissions make this option unsafe for the environment. Gasoline is also highly flammable.

    Generators using diesel fuel are the most fuel-efficient. They are powerful and will burn fewer gallons of fuel per given time on a full load. Just like gasoline, diesel is almost readily available. Unlike gasoline, diesel has a longer lifespan so long as the engine is maintained. These generators cost a lot more than gasoline counterparts and are easy to operate. During a power outage, it becomes almost impossible to pump diesel. Also, this fuel produces high emissions, and some areas limit runtime due to ecological concerns.

    A propane generator delivers clean power for all your sensitive electronics. A unit with 2000watts can run on 1.18 gal. of fuel on 50% load for a clean 6 hrs. Propane fuel is easy to store and enjoys a long shelf life. Since it produces clean power, you don’t have to clean the engine as much. You should know how much fuel the generator burns on 100% (full) load. A full load is when all the electric devices connected to the generator consume all the power that it generates. More often than not, manufacturers state the consumption levels at either 50% (1/2) or 25% (1/4) load.

    Battery-powered generators are the most portable and have the advantage of recharging through solar panels. They operate smoothly and silently, with zero emissions. However, you will have to pay lots of $’s for this type of generator. What’s more, recharge very slowly and don’t deliver more power than their counterparts.

  5. Size, Weight, and Portability

    top rated generators for camping
    Mobility is a key feature when choosing a small generator for camping. For this reason, you should pay close attention to the size and weight of a generator before purchasing it. A bulky generator will take up more space when packing for the outdoors. This can even make you neglect other important camping essentials due to lack of space. Also, the larger generators are quite difficult to operate making them unsuitable for outdoor use. Just look for a generator that offers a considerable amount of packing space for your outdoor trips.

    Another thing that may affect the mobility of a generator is the weight. Heavy generators are best used in the indoors because they don’t require much movement like the ones for the outdoors. A lightweight generator is easy to carry from place to place without causing fatigue to the shoulders. Heavyweights, on the other hand, become challenging to move especially when you are camping in hilly and remote areas. They will slow down your movement because of the large weight.

    Also, look for ergonomic aspects like handles, wheels, etc. Some camping generators feature recessed or raised handles and others have telescoping handles. Handles make it easy to carry your generators. Those with wheels ensure effortless manoeuvrability on different terrain. Here, the weight of a generator doesn’t matter because you will probably wheel it to different places.

  6. Tank size

    The size of the fuel tank determines consumption. The larger the tank, the longer it will last on a single refuelling. Oftentimes, you will find camping generators with a fuel tank that delivers 7-9 hours runtime at half load. That means, if you reduce the percentage of power availability, the generator will have a longer run time. It is worth noting that generators with larger fuel tanks are heavier.Types of camping generators with their advantages and disadvantages.

Types of Camping Generators

There are plenty of generators on the market today that feature different styles. That is why finding the right type of camping generator can be a daunting task. For this reason, we are discussing the common types of generators that you can choose for camping and RV.

portable generator for rv camping

  • Inverter Generators

    An inverter generator is a modern type that produces AC power. This is because it uses the engine that is connected to the alternator and also uses a rectifier to convert AC to DC power. It uses a distinct microprocessor to limit multiple step process.

    It features a compact and lightweight design that makes it suitable for all your outdoor adventures. You can easily include it in your packing and also carry it from one place to another especially when camping in the mountains. This type of generators has wheels and handles to increase the chances of carrying. It is also equipped with a small tank that adds to the compact design.

    It has an excellent fuel efficiency since it automatically adjusts the engine speed to only produce the power you need for your electronic devices. This means that an inverter generator can run at lower speeds and in turn saves energy as it requires less fuel to reduce Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).

    It operates silently since the engine doesn’t continuously run at full speed. Also, since the engine runs slower, it is difficult for it to produce noise. Averagely, the generators produce sound at less than 60 decibels to prevent noise disturbances. Another noise-reducing factor is in the design. Most of these generators feature an enclosed exterior or use mufflers to reduce sound production.
    Allows parallel capability with a similar unit to expand the power capacity. This makes it possible to use the two generators to power appliances with greater power output.

    Inverter generators are popular for the production of clean electricity because their frequency is stable with less harmonic distortion or THD. This clean electricity safely powers the sensitive electronic devices such as laptops, CPAP machines, phones and more.

  • Portable Generators

    As mentioned earlier, portable generators present an ergonomic design that enhances mobility. This type normally includes either wheels or handles in its construction to enable easy movement. Also, it features a lightweight design that ensures easy transportation whether by car or hand. These generators are most versatile and they are always available whenever there is a power outage or when you are in the wilds. Also, this type is not permanently installed since you have to keep moving it from place to place.

    A portable camping generator includes an internal ignition engine, starter, alternator, fuel tank, and outlets. All these features are enclosed in a compact design that enables you to carry and store it freely when packing for the outdoors.
    They are powered by mostly, gasoline which is readily available at the gas station. This means that they can power all your essential camping appliances. You should keep it in a well-ventilated area when in the outdoors to prevent poisoning the surrounding with carbon monoxide.

    If you are juggling between budgets, then a portable generator is the best choice for RV and camping. This is mainly because it uses readily available gasoline.

    A portable generator features intuitive features that ensure ease of use. What’s more, it doesn’t require complicated installation to have it up and running.

  • Solar Generators

    This type of generator features a rechargeable battery that can acquire more power from a solar panel. It runs differently from the conventional generators because it includes an inverter, a battery, solar charger, and panels. The solar panels draw energy from the sun and it passes through the charger straight to the battery and to the inverter. This then translates DC electricity into AC electricity.

    Battery operated generators are simple to use as they come with portable power stations. This means you can remotely control the functions to deliver excellent results.

    Since solar generators lack engines which are the largest source of noise, they operate super quietly. What’s more, the interior parts of the solar generators don’t move which eliminates vibration that may result in noise pollution. However, the inverter might make a buzzing sound that is completely negligible. For a peaceful experience in the camping, solar generators are best choice.

    The solar generators use free and unlimited energy from the sun making them cheap to run. Solar energy is also readily available even in the most remote areas meaning, it never runs out. These generators are not affected by the volatile price fluctuations like their counterparts as the ‘fuel costs’ remain stable throughout.

    You can recharge the generators using other methods other than solar power. They charge through a regular AC energy from a wall outlet or a CIG port in a car.

    Solar power generators don’t produce dangerous fumes to the environment. This makes them safe to use indoors and outdoors for all the sensitive electronics.

    The parts that make a generator heavy include an engine, fuel tank as well as a battery. Since a solar generator features a power station that carries the battery, the unit is extremely lightweight. You will find most weighing less than 25 pounds and feature an ergonomic design to enhance portability.

See also: 6 Reasons Why You Should Get a Camping Generator

6 Steps to Make a Generator More Quiet for Camping

Since time immemorial, generators have had a loud reputation. Since you are using the generators for the outdoors, silence is important for peace of mind. Below are some of the tactics to apply if you have a loud generator for camping and RV.

quiet generators for camping

  1. Adjust the Exhaust Pipes and Mufflers

    You can start by adjusting the position of the exhaust pipes to a more vertical position since sound waves head towards an object. Once the waves detect nothing on the way, the noise reduces.
    Add mufflers to the already existing ones on the generator. These aid in minimizing the noise produced.

  2. Use of Water

    Fill a bucket with water and connect a hose to the exhaust pipe then drop the end in the water. Make a small hole at the top of the bucket to ensure no water enters the pipes. This will minimize the noise level because water acts as a good sound insulator.
    Most generators have a complex interior that when you change by yourself, you risk possible damage. If the noise is too much, you can simply place it away from your surroundings. Just ensure you have long hoses to make this possible.

  3. Soundproof Box and Deflectors

    You can make a soundproof box that will limit how far the sound travels. You can do this with safe materials that contain sound and can handle extreme conditions. A soundproof box can also be useful for storing the equipment in the outdoors.
    Sound deflectors are materials featuring a robust design that scatter sound waves. You can either install the sound deflectors towards the direction you will be so for efficient results.

  4. Use Rubber

    You can reduce the noise caused by vibration by simply placing the generator on a rubber fabric. This causes the machine to shake less and minimize the decibels. For more effective results, you can wrap a retardant rubber fabric around the bottom frame.
    If these methods don’t provide suitable results, you can try applying multiple tactics concurrently.

best portable generator for camping

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Best Camping Generator Comparison Chart

ProductPriceTypeNoise Level (dBa)WeightPower
Champion Dual Fuel Inverter Generator for RV Camping$$$$Fuel Inverter5995.7 lb.3400 W
Westinghouse iGen 2200 Watt Quiet Inverter Generator$$$$Fuel Inverter5246 lb.1000 W
Jackery Compact Battery Generator for Camping$$Battery Powern/a6.6 lb.100 W
PAXCESS Portable Power Generator for RV or Camping$$$Battery Powern/a5.9 lb.110 W
Renogy Phoenix Solar Generator for Camping$$$Solar Powern/a42 lb.150 W
Atima Quiet Portable Gas Power Camping Generator$$$$Fuel Inverter5450.7 lb.2000 W
ROCKPALS Battery Power Small Generator for Camping$$$Battery Powern/a7.3 lb.300 W
WEN Super Quiet Portable Generator for RV Camping$$$$$Fuel Inverter5782 lb.3100 W
Briggs & Stratton 3000 Watt Inverter Generator$$$$$Fuel Inverter5885 lb.3000 W

Wrap up

Camping generators are beneficial in areas where you are unsure of electricity or remote locations. That is why you shouldn’t neglect one before going on a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure. With a generator at hand, you can easily power up all your devices and stay connected to the rest of the world. You can find the best generator for camping once you read and understand its features and characteristics. Also, if you keep in mind all the things you have read in this article, you can get a good deal. The camping generator reviews on this article help to shed light on the options available to make an easy buying decision. Since you now know the different types of camping generators and how they function, it also becomes easy to maintain one. Proper maintenance of a generator extends the unit’s durability and in turn, saves you the cost of getting a new one.

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