How Big Of A Generator Do I Need For Camping?

When you are out camping, particularly if you are camping with your family or a group of friends, the concept of roughing it goes by the wayside and it is time to glamp. Break out the string light, fire up the projector for watching a movie, and the blender to make some drinks. Of course, all of these need power, which is where a generator comes in handy. But how big of a generator do you need for camping?

For a typical weekend camping adventure with family and friends, a 2000w gasoline-powered generator with an AC inverter built-in is more than sufficient to run any appliances that you might want to take camping. Keeping that in mind, here are some things to consider.

Peak Power Vs Running Power

When any electrical device starts up, for a brief time it uses extra power, just to get going, this is called peak power, or sometimes is referred to as surge power, and is the maximum power an appliance can draw when it starts up. The running power is draw that the equipment has under normal use.

For example, a refrigerator may have a peak power of 700 watts when it starts up, but it requires only 100 watts to keep running.

When you are choosing a generator, you want to have one that can handle not just the running loads but the peak power loads.

Calculating How Big Of A Generator You Need

Figuring out how big of a generator you need is quite simple. Just add up the power usage of the appliances you think you will have running. Here are some common items you might take camping for reference.

  • Portable RV Refridgerator Cooler: ~45 watts
  • Space Heater: 1500 watts
  • Blender: between 500 and 750 watts
  • Microwave oven: between 500 and 1000 watts
  • Coffee maker: between 900 and 1500 watts
  • Toaster: between 800 and 1400 watts
  • Hair dryer: between 1000 and 1800 watts
  • Television: between 50 and 400 watts
  • Laptop computer: between 20 and 80 watts
  • Cell phone charger: 5 watts

Total up all you are running, being sure to leave room for peak power and that is how big of a generator you will need.

Small Generators For Camping

Here is a list of the small generators in the 2000 watt range that we would suggest for taking the family and friends glamping. 

Honda generator for camping

The Honda EU2200i is a portable inverter generator that is designed for a variety of uses, including camping, tailgating, and backup power for your home. It is equipped with a powerful and reliable 121cc Honda GXR120 engine that produces 2200 watts of peak power and 1800 watts of running power. The EU2200i is also equipped with Honda’s exclusive Eco-Throttle System, which adjusts engine speed to match the load, maximizing fuel efficiency and run time.

One of the standout features of the EU2200i is its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to carry and transport. Despite its small size, the generator is capable of powering most small appliances, as well as some larger appliances such as a refrigerator or air conditioner. It is also equipped with a number of convenient features, including an easy-to-read fuel gauge, and a circuit breaker that protects against overloading.

The Honda EU2200i also comes with a Bluetooth connection, allowing you to monitor your generator’s performance and status using the Honda Companion app on your smartphone. The app provides real-time information about fuel level, runtime, and maintenance reminders, giving you peace of mind and helping you get the most out of your generator. You can also use the app to start and stop the generator remotely, making it even more convenient to use.

Overall, the Honda EU2200i is a versatile, high-performance generator that is packed with features to make your outdoor adventures and power outages more convenient and comfortable. With its powerful engine, long run time, and Bluetooth connectivity, this generator is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a reliable source of power on the go.

YAMAHA EF2200iS generator for camping

The Yamaha EF2200iS is a portable inverter generator that offers powerful and reliable performance in a compact and lightweight design. With a maximum output of 2200 watts and 1600 watts of rated output, the EF2200iS is capable of powering a range of small to medium-sized appliances, including refrigerators, lights, televisions, and more. The generator is powered by a 79cc OHV engine and features Yamaha’s exclusive Inverter System that provides clean, stable power for sensitive electronics.

One of the key features of the EF2200iS is its low noise level, which makes it ideal for use in quiet areas and during nighttime operations. The generator is equipped with Yamaha’s smart throttle system, which adjusts engine speed to match the load, providing maximum fuel efficiency and reducing noise. The generator is also equipped with a fuel gauge, low oil warning system, and an easy-to-use control panel.

In addition, the EF2200iS is designed for ease of use and portability, with a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to transport. It is equipped with a large fuel tank that provides up to 10.5 hours of continuous operation at 25% load, giving you plenty of time to power your appliances and electronics. The generator also features an ergonomic handle and wheel kit for easy maneuverability, making it a great choice for outdoor adventures and tailgating.

Overall, the Yamaha EF2200iS is a reliable and versatile portable generator that offers powerful performance and convenient features. With its clean and stable power, low noise level, and user-friendly design, this generator is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a dependable source of power on the go.

CRAFTSMAN C0010250 generator for camping

For outdoor enthusiasts and those in need of backup power, the CRAFTSMAN C0010250 portable inverter generator is a top-notch choice. Boasting a maximum output of 2500 watts and a rated output of 2000 watts, this compact generator can power a variety of appliances, from refrigerators to televisions, with ease. The 4-stroke engine delivers quiet and efficient operation, making it ideal for camping trips, tailgating, and more.

One of the C0010250’s best features is its portability – its compact design and lightweight construction make it easy to transport and maneuver. The generator is also user-friendly, with a fuel gauge, low oil warning system, and control panel that’s a breeze to use. The eco-mode adjusts engine speed to match the load, reducing fuel consumption and noise, while the ergonomic handle and wheel kit make maneuvering a cinch.

Not only is the C0010250 easy to use, but it’s also designed for convenience. With a large fuel tank that provides up to 8 hours of continuous operation at 25% load, you’ll have plenty of time to power all your appliances. Additionally, the generator’s smart throttle system adjusts engine speed to match the load, providing maximum fuel efficiency and reducing noise.

In conclusion, the CRAFTSMAN C0010250 is a top-performing portable generator that packs a punch with its powerful performance and convenient features. Whether you’re camping, tailgating, or just looking for backup power, this generator is a reliable and versatile choice that won’t disappoint.

Other Considerations When Choosing A Generator For Camping

Beyond just the size of generator, here are some other things to keep in mind when choosing a generator for camping. Some of these include how noisy is your generator, do you need to ground your generator, do you need to buy a name-brand unit, and do you even really need a generator at all?

How Noisy Is Your Generator?

One major issue with generators is that they are noisy. If you are in a campground, a noisy generator will make you an enemy of everyone around you if you run it at the wrong time of day. 

 Not only does a loud generator disrupt the tranquility of the great outdoors, but it can also cause a disturbance to wildlife and other campers. This is why having a quiet generator is crucial when it comes to camping.

But what makes a generator “quiet”? It all comes down to the decibel (dB) rating. The lower the dB rating, the quieter the generator. When shopping for a generator, look for one with a dB rating of 50 or lower. This will ensure that it won’t be too loud or disruptive when in use.

Another factor to consider is the type of generator you choose. Inverter generators are typically quieter than traditional portable generators because they use a different type of engine and technology. They also have a more compact design and are lighter in weight, making them easier to transport and maneuver.

Having a quiet generator is especially important when camping in designated wilderness areas or national parks, where noise levels are strictly regulated. In these areas, you’ll need to be mindful of the decibel levels of your generator, as well as other camping gear, such as music players and radios.

In conclusion, having a quiet generator is key to enjoying a peaceful camping trip. When shopping for a generator, look for one with a low dB rating, such as 50 or lower, and consider an inverter generator for even quieter operation. With a quiet generator, you can enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors without the disruption of a loud generator.

Should I Buy A Name Brand Or Generic Generator?

In this post I have focused on brand name generators for camping. If however, you are on a budget, or are planning on only needing to use a generator infrequently, you might want to consider some off-brand generators. 

These generators will save you some serious money on the front end. Just be aware that the tradeoff is quality, durability, and ease of repair. It is quite likely with some of these, if they need a whole new part, you may have difficulty finding them. 

That being said, if you don’t need name brand quality and service, these are some good options for a camping generator.  

Do I Need To Ground My Generator?

Grounding your generator is an important safety consideration when camping. Grounding refers to connecting the generator frame to a metal rod that is driven into the ground. This helps to ensure that any electrical current from the generator is safely dissipated into the earth if there is a fault in the electrical system.

There are several reasons why you should ground your generator when camping. Firstly, it helps to prevent electrical shock. If a person touches an ungrounded generator and an electrical fault occurs, they can receive a potentially fatal electrical shock. Grounding the generator helps to ensure that the electrical current is safely dissipated into the ground instead of flowing through the person.

Secondly, grounding helps to prevent damage to your generator and other electrical equipment. If there is an electrical fault in the generator, the electrical current can potentially cause damage to the generator and any other electrical equipment that is connected to it. Grounding the generator helps to prevent this damage by safely dissipating the electrical current into the ground.

It’s important to note that not all generators come with a built-in grounding system. If your generator doesn’t have one, you can purchase a grounding kit that is designed specifically for your generator model. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when installing the grounding kit, as improper grounding can actually increase the risk of electrical shock.

In conclusion, grounding your generator is an important safety consideration when camping. It helps to prevent electrical shock, damage to your generator and other electrical equipment, and ensures that any electrical current is safely dissipated into the ground. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when installing a grounding kit if your generator doesn’t have one built-in.

Extention Cords For Your Generator

Considering that you will want to position your generator as far away as possible from your camp site to reduce noise, you will need a good extension cord to make using appliances or charging phones convenient.

I suggest pairing your generator with a long extension cord with reel and plugs built in. These offer you ease of portability and use. Here are a few we suggest. 

Do You Even Really Need A Generator?

When you are considering a power source for your family’s camping adventures, you may find that you don’t need a full-on generator to power your appliances. 

If you are just charging phones, portable speakers, TV projectors and the like, you may be better served by a power bank instead. 

These are effectively big batteries that you can use to charge all your devices, and that have AC inverters so you can even run things like a drink mixer!

The big advantages with a power bank is that there is no gasoline to deal with, and they are completely silent. This is a big plus if you are in a crowded campground, or not wanting to mess up the sounds of nature, deep in the woods. 

You can charge these off solar panels, house AC power, or even while you are driving between camp spots. Power banks are a very viable option to a generator for camping trips with the family!

Final Thoughts On Camping Generators

Any time you are car camping or glamping with family and friends, you are going to need power. Whether you get that by running a generator or by using a power bank, bringing along a few of our modern, electrical conveniences, can make a camping trip just that much more fun and enjoyable. 


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