Does camping mean spending the nights under a flashlight without any means to charge your gadgets? Not anymore!
8 Most Commonly Asked Questions When Choosing a Camping Generator
Generators intended for recreational purposes are gaining immense popularity these days and I recommend every camper to invest in one.
Here are some frequently asked questions about camping generators. Going through them can help you choose the best generator according to your needs.
1. What Size Would I Need?
For camping, a generator between 1500-2500 watts would work fine. Though you can go for bigger ones, you’d have to consider the weight too. Heavier the generator, the harder the transportation.
If you’re an RV camper looking to power your air conditioner along with other appliances, go for generators above 3000 watts.
Calculate the starting and running power requirements of all your appliances and choose accordingly. You can contact the manufacturer of an appliance to know its power requirement.
2. Are There Any Noiseless Options?
The answer could be yes or no depending on what you consider as ‘noiseless‘. No generator is 100% noiseless.
Small generators produce around 80 decibels and large generators can hit 100 decibels. Exposure to such loud sounds is bad for your health and your fellow campers may find it disturbing.
Ensure the generator’s noise level is compliant with the campsite’s regulations. You can check them out on the official website of any campsite.
Some latest models are equipped with noise-reduction technology. Though they’re not completely quiet, they do cut down the noise significantly. If you already own a regular generator, you can buy a sound-reducing enclosure for it.
3. What Are the Fuel Types?
Generators can be fueled by diesel, propane, and gasoline. You can buy a solar generator too, but they’re reliable only for small appliances.
Diesel-powered generators tend to be costlier than the other types, but considering their low maintenance costs, they’re worth the money. However, if not used frequently, they can break down soon.
Though propane isn’t as efficient as the other fuels, its long shelf life makes it a favorite among those who rarely use their generator.
Gasoline is expensive but easily available. Plus, the generators are relatively cheap.
Hybrid generators run on multiple fuels and the good news is some of them can work with both renewable and non-renewable fuels.
4. What Accessories Should I Buy?
The generator package comes with a few basic accessories. For the ultimate comfort, don’t shy away from investing in other useful accessories.
Since the weather at camping sites can be unpredictable, using heavy-duty extension cords would be a smart move. Make sure their amps match with those of the generator.
Put together a maintenance kit for your generator. This must include extra spark plugs, oil filters, air filters, and distilled water.
If your generator’s enclosure isn’t soundproof, consider getting a muffler to hush the machine.
Only large portable generators have a push start. You can add one to your small generator too, but keep in mind that it can get heavy.
5. Are There Eco-Friendly Options?
Most of the eco-friendly generators run on fuels that emit fewer carbon particles.
Solar-powered generators can be labeled eco-friendly too, except for the industrial waste released from their production.
Generators fueled by natural gas help keep the environment cleaner and safer for everyone. Natural gas is safer to move around and has no risks of spilling.
Inverter generators are energy efficient and thanks to their conversion ability, you’ll hardly face fluctuations in power. Check out Res Marty’s article on the best inverter generators to learn more.
6. Does a Generator Work in Rain?
True that electricity and water are antagonistic to each other, but by taking necessary precautions, you can run your generator in extreme conditions like rain and snow.
A rule of thumb states you should never let your generator get wet. As long as you stick to it, there’s no danger in running your generator when it’s raining.
Don’t run a generator indoors with the aim of protecting it from the rain. The carbon monoxide buildup could get fatal. Use a special weatherproof cover instead and run your generator outdoors.
Placing your generator in a steel enclosure or a pop-up canopy is an equally good alternative to using a weatherproof cover.
When checking for the specs of a generator, ensure its outlets are GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting). This feature enables the outlets to shut down if water seeps into them.
7. Should I Buy It Online or in the Store?
There’s no clear winner here. Each has its pros and cons.
Buying online means you get to check out various brands in the comfort of your home. Once you’ve placed an order, sit back until the generator is delivered to your doorstep. You won’t be under the influence of a salesperson and therefore, it is unlikely that you’d regret your purchase.
However, some specifications may be unclear in the product’s description and don’t forget the high delivery charges (’cause generators are super heavy).
By visiting a store, you can ask the seller to perform a test run on the machine. You can also communicate clearly about what features you’re looking for. You’d have to check with a couple of stores before finalizing and that takes time and energy.
8. How Long Does a Generator Last?
When maintained well, a portable generator can stand strong for 1500-2000 hours. This life span can drop if the generator is constantly bugged by pests, dirt, or moisture.
Try to exercise your generator weekly. Replace worn-out parts and get the generator serviced by a professional once or twice a year.
Look for a brand with a good reputation. Though generators from not-so-famous brands come at a cheap price, finding a service center can get difficult.
I hope you find this post helpful.
If you have more questions about camping generators, let me know in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Through his self-titled website, Res Mary shares his passion for hiking, camping, and outdoor sports. He considers himself lucky to have hiked across some of the best trails in the world. He often partners with other passionate hikers and content writers to provide the best content to his readers.
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