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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Generators For Camping Reviewed

Power all your electrical camping needs with these quiet, reliable portable models.

by JohnL

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Generators For Camping Reviewed

Power all your electrical camping needs with these quiet, reliable portable models.

by JohnL

by JohnL

When camping, access to electricity is scarce. However, bringing your own camping generator can give you access to electricity and create a better camping experience. Whether you want to make coffee in the morning, decorate your campsite with beautiful lights, run music speakers and televisions, or run a cooking appliance, a camping generator is perfect. These generators on our list were specifically made for camping trips and are fuel-efficient, compact, and highly portable.

Image

Product

Fuel Type:

Runtime:

Check Price

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...

Champion Power Equipment 100263

Gasoline

3.75 Hours @25% Load

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet...

Honda EU2200i

Gasoline

3.2 — 8.1 Hours depending on load

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Gasoline

Up to 13 Hours @25% Load

Pulsar PG2300iS Portable Gas-Powered Quiet...

Pulsar PG2300iS

Gasoline

8 Hours runtime

Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter...

Generac 7117 GP2200i

Gasoline

10.75 Hours @25% Load

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh...

Jackery Explorer 240

Solar

2-4 Hours @25% Load

DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered 4000 Watt Portable...

DuroStar DS4000S

89 DB

35Hz-20kHz

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series...

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Gasoline

10 Hours @25% Load

How Generators Work When Camping

Camping generators work by generating power that can then be used to run your electronic devices, lighting, speakers, televisions, and cooking appliances. The generator has a series of outlets that you can plug your devices into and then run them as you would at home.

Generators use a fuel source, often gas-powered, to create power for you to use while camping. To work your camping generator, simply add your fuel source, turn the machine on, and plug in your devices.


Advantages of Using Generators On a Campsite

The benefits of using a camping generator are numerous. While camping, you do not have access to basic modern comforts as you do at home. However, with a generator, you can have access to lights, electronic devices, cooking appliances, and media devices.

Some people enjoy camping without any creature comforts, but many appreciate being able to make a hot cup of chocolate by the campfire or coffee in the morning. Others want to be able to use a small portable refrigerator or watch TV at their campsite.

If you want the camping experience, but do not want to give up modern technology or modern appliances, then purchasing a camping generator is the perfect solution.


Buying a High-Quality Camping Generator

Generator Size vs. Camping Power Needs

What you choose will depend on what items you intend to power. If you require lights, heaters and other electrical equipment then its likely you will be opting for a bigger sized generator. You may also want to consider the dimensions of the generator. Some campers may prefer a smaller generator that is more portable vs. a larger generator that can power more appliances and devices.

Fuel Type

Camping generators use the same fuel types as whole house generators. You may want to look at campsites where you frequently camp and ask if they have any particular fuel rules when it comes to generators. The most common fuel types for camping generators are natural gas and liquid propane.

Max Power Output

The max power output varies by camping generator model and is an important metric. Choose a camping generator whose max power output matches your needs. You can use this video with Josh the RV Nerd to assess what your max power output is best for your generator.

Noise Level

The noise level on camping generators varies, but the lowest noise level is approximately 50dB, with the highest near 100dB. If noise is a concern, we recommend choosing a camping generator that is under 70dB.

Fuel Efficiency, Runtime & Running Cost

The overall fuel efficiency, runtime, and running cost will determine how much you spend on actually using your camping generator. If you want the most cost-efficient unit, it will cost you. However, choosing a smaller unit can be more cost-effective than selecting a powerful larger unit. Consider your running cost as well as your wattage needs. 

Reliability & Durability

The reliability and durability are primarily found in the building materials. Look for steel and aluminum components compared to hard composite pieces. The more you spend on your camping generator, the higher quality parts you will get.

Portability

Many camping generators are highly portable. Some options are around 100lbs, but you can find camping generators closer to 35-50lbs. We recommend something lighter if you plan to move the generator around your campsite frequently.

User-Friendly/Additional Features

There are several user-friendly features available on camping generators, but the most important is the automatic shutoff feature. The automatic shutoff feature shuts off your generator when your fuel levels are too low. Other additional features include the ability to connect to another power source with an inverter and a wireless remote.

Price & Warranty

Most warranties are approximately one to three years. Purchasing a more expensive camping generator typically means a greater warranty.


8 Best Generators for Camping Reviewed

1. Champion Power Equipment 100263

Our Top pick

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

18.3 x 22.4 x 22.4 Inches

Weight

78.7 Lbs.

Runtime

3.75 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

59 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3100 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, three-year limited warranty

The Champion Power Equipment 100263 is the best generator for camping on our list. It is our top pick because it comes with a strong 3100-watt engine and an extended three-year warranty. It also generates clean power at less than 3% THD so your electronic devices will be safe.

An automatic shutoff sensor for low oil is also included for your safety. This camping generator runs at 59 dB so you can enjoy your camping experience without excess noise. This generator can also be connected to a 2800-watt inverter if you want to increase the overall energy output.

This model does come with a three-year limited warranty. However, the runtime of this model is lower than other models at 3.75 hours. If you can easily refuel on your campsite then it may not be a problem, but for campers who prefer only to refuel once this may not be the best choice.

This model also requires frequent maintenance to stay in top shape; however, users report that the generator is durable and can last for over a decade.

Pros

  • 3100 watts engine
  • Clean Power less than 3% THD
  • Quiet at 59db

Cons

  • Only 3.75 hours runtime
  • Requires frequent maintenance

2. Honda EU2200i

Best Quiet Camping Generator

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

20 x 11.4 x 16.7 Inches

Weight

46.5 Lbs.

Runtime

3.2 — 8.1 Hours depending on load

Noise Level

57 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

2200 Starting, 1800 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, three-year limited warranty

The Honda EU2200i is the best quiet camping generator for camping we’ve found. We like the quiet operating engine. This model is rated at 57 dB when running normally. The engine is strong and powerful, with a 2200 starting wattage and 1800 continuous running wattage.

It is easy to use and has easy access controls on the side of the generator. This generator is also extremely lightweight at 46.5 lbs. You can easily carry this generator around the campsite and even bring it to neighboring campsites without a problem. It has an excellent three-year warranty and is built with high-quality, durable build materials. 

Our two potential problems with this generator are that the unit does not have a fuel gauge and also has a smaller gas tank. If you find checking the fuel level frustrating, then you will not like this model. If you want a larger gas tank, you may also want to splurge on a larger model. However, if you want a portable, quiet, and durable camping generator, then this model is an excellent choice for you. 

Pros

  • Quiet Operating Engine
  • Easy Access Controls
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Smaller Gas Tank
  • No Fuel Gauge

3. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

best portable generator for camping

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

20 x 12.5 x 18 Inches

Weight

43 Lbs.

Runtime

Up to 13 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

52 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

2200 Starting/ 1800 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, three-year warranty

The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT camping generator is the best portable generator for camping. Maintenance is easy for this model and requires users to refill the oil, change the spark plug and air filter on occasion, and drain the carburetor.

This camping generator is fuel-efficient and provides up to 13 hours of runtime. It comes with a power indicator light to alert users to the unit's inverter status and provides an eco mode to create an even quieter environment. A low oil auto-shutdown feature protects the engine.

This unit is also highly portable and weighs a mere 43lbs. The generator comes with the standard two 120V AC outlets for appliances. This camping generator is fuel-efficient, quiet, and easy to maintain.

Lee on Lowe’s wrote, “Bought this to take boondocking with my trailer. Setup and start up were easy. In quiet mode, it’s extremely quiet. Wife and I stood over the top of it and carried a normal conversation. I ran my battery converter, TV, Sound Bar, and 9200 btu AC simultaneously and no problem!”

This unit does, however, have a small fuel chamber and will need to be filled often. This is typical with small camping generators. This generator also requires frequent maintenance, but maintenance on this model is a simple process. This unit comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Quiet Engine
  • Up to 13hrs of runtime
  • Simple Maintenance

Cons

  • Requires frequent maintenance
  • Small fuel chamber

4. Pulsar PG2300iS

Value for the money

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

19.7 x 11.22 x 17.91 Inches

Weight

47 Lbs.

Runtime

8 Hours runtime

Noise Level

59 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

2300 Starting/ 1800 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, one-year limited warranty

The Pulsar PG2300is model is the best camping generator for the money. It is an affordable generator while still offering valuable features. It has a built-in inverter and muffler. It has overload protection and short circuit protection.

This generator also has a resettable circuit breaker and an easy recoil start. The engine is quiet at 59dB, and the unit only weighs 47lbs. A low oil shutdown feature protects the generator and stops it from running when the oil level is too low. A USB port allows users to directly plug-in USB devices. This generator also comes with engine lubricant, a spark plug wrench, and an oil funnel so you can perform your own maintenance.

This model is affordable and an excellent option for camping, but it does have less power and a lower overall runtime compared to other models. However, if you are primarily concerned with cost and want an affordable machine that does the job, then this generator is a fantastic option. This generator comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Affordable, Inexpensive
  • Built-in Inverter
  • Resettable circuit breaker

Cons

  • Lower power
  • Lower runtime

5. Generac 7117 GP2200i

best small generator for camping

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

19.7 x 11.4 x 17.9 Inches

Weight

46.6 Lbs.

Runtime

10.75 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

69 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

2200 Starting/1600 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, two-year limited warranty

The Generac 7117 GP2200i is the best small generator for camping. We like the fully enclosed design, which is compact and lightweight at 46.6 lbs. This generator has a run time of 10.75 hours at 25% and can easily power your appliances as well as electronics and other camping devices. It comes with USB ports to directly plug in your items.

The LED indicator lights let you know when oil is low, and an automatic shutoff feature ensures that the generator shuts off if the system overloads. This generator is quiet at 69dB, but not as quiet as several other models on this list. The economy mode is a useful function that helps the generator run at a quieter setting and reduces fuel consumption.

Users have reported that the two-year warranty is less robust compared to the three and five-year limited warranties on other camping generators. We also have had users report that the engine begins ratting early on and does not have the durability of other more expensive generators. This generator comes with parallel ready charging capabilities, and you can easily connect two inverter generators for maximum power.

Generac sells a parallel inverter kit specifically for this generator model. Using a specifically designed inverter kit can make it easy to connect without worry that any of the connections will be mismatched. If you want a compact, fully enclosed, and affordable generator with its own parallel inverter kit option, then this model is a great choice. 

Pros

  • Fully enclosed design
  • LED indicator lights
  • USB ports

Cons

  • Low warranty
  • Engine rattling early on

6. Jackery Explorer 240

best solar generator for camping

Fuel Type

Solar

Dimensions

9.05 x 5.24 x 7.87 Inches

Weight

6.6 Lbs.

Runtime

2-4 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

Not Listed

Wattage/Power Output

240 Starting/Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, two-year limited warranty

The Jackery Explorer 240 is the best solar generator for camping. This is also one of the most affordable camping generator options on our list. It has a compact design that is easy to carry around the campsite and only weighs 6.6 lbs. A built-in safety feature protects the generator from overcharging, over-voltage, and short circuits.

A simple LCD window shows the battery life percentage so that users will know how much longer the device will run. All ports are durable, and users can easily plug in their devices without converters. Port options include a 12v auto, one 110V AC, and two USB ports.

However, this generator model is not water-resistant. If you intend to use your generator near large bodies of water, then you may want to consider a water-resistant model. Solar energy is also not always a good option for campers. Make sure you review solar energy power ratings for your area. Some areas do not experience enough sun or daylight hours to power even a small generator properly.

Many users have reported that the Jackery Explorer 240 is also the perfect back-up generator for your vehicle. Since it is solar-powered, users can easily use the generator on long drives to and from the campsite. If you want a solar powered generator that is affordable and comes in a conveniently compact design, then this is a great option.

Pros

  • Solar generator
  • Highly affordable
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Not water resistant
  • Solar is not always a good option

7. DuroStar DS4000S

Popular Model

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

23 x 18 x 17.5 Inches

Weight

94 Lbs.

Runtime

12 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

69 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

4000 Starting/ 3300 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, one-year limited warranty

The DuroStart DS4000S is the best power generator for camping. This generator has a whopping 4000 starting power and 3300 continuous running power. When it comes to powering multiple high-power devices, this generator is the best. The easy-to-read fuel gauge helps users monitor the gas level at all times. The fuel tank capacity is listed at 3.96 gallons, which is considered a large capacity for a mid-range generator.

This generator is also built to last with a durable steel frame and four individual motor mounts to protect the engine from vibrations. A full power panel is included on this model and has a start switch, voltmeter, circuit breaker, and allows for detailed monitoring. There are three different power outlets on this model, including one 120V, two 120V 20 Amp outlets, one 30 Amp 3-prong outlet. This generator does not have USB ports included.

However, this generator is significantly heavier than other generators. At 94lbs., this generator is challenging to move around and may be hard for homeowners to carry. A wheel kit can be purchased to make the unit more portable.

Another potential concern is the noise of this machine. The machine offers more power than most generators, but this does come at the cost of a loud machine. At 69dB, this generator is much louder than other models on our list. This generator also has a short warranty with a one-year limited warranty available.

Pros

  • Pure Power: 4000 starting power, 3300 continuous running power
  • Easy-to-read Fuel Gauge
  • Steel frame
  • Full power panel

Cons

  • Short warranty, only one year
  • Heavy

8. Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

best inverter generator for camping

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Dimensions

23 x 18 x 17.5 Inches

Weight

90.4 Lbs.

Runtime

10 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

60db

Wattage/Power Output

3000 Starting/ 2600 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

Yes, two-year limited warranty

The Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 is the best inverter generator for camping. This generator has a quiet engine at 60dB and powerful performance with 3000 starting wattage and 2600 continuous wattage. While not enough to power an entire home, this generator can absolutely power an entire campsite. The Powersmart Mode adjusts to the generator's needs to keep power as efficient as possible.

This Powersmart Mode lets the generator adjust speed on its own. A recoil start cord is both helpful and convenient. The LCD screen gives users control over the generator load as well as provides maintenance warnings. A grounding terminal is also available with this unit and makes it possible to ground the generator on your campsite. A parallel connector port also makes it possible to connect two inverter generators together to add additional power when needed.

The H-handle allows for easy pick-up and movement around the campsite. However, this generator has a low fuel tank capacity and will need to be frequently refilled compared to competitor models.

This model has a 1.5-gallon fuel tank. This model is also expensive for mid-range generators and may not offer the features users want to make it worth the additional cost. If you want a generator with robust power, a quiet engine, and a helpful smart mode, then this generator could be a great fit.

Pros

  • Powersmart mode
  • Robust power
  • Quiet engine

Cons

  • Low fuel tank capacity
  • Expensive

Sizing Generators For Camping

It can be difficult to determine the perfect sized generator for camping, but we recommend choosing the size based on your power needs. You can view this video below to figure out the best size for you. Most portable generators should work for most campsites; however, if you plan to operate multiple appliances such as A/C units, refrigerators, or television sets, then we recommend choosing a more powerful model.


Setting Up Camping Generators

When you camp, you want to set up your generator in a secure location. The tent should be at least 18 feet away, but 25+ feet is recommended. You will also need to point the exhaust pipe away from your tent so that the carbon monoxide is sent away from the campsite. It is also essential to consider that generators are not designed to run continuously.

You should shut down your generator every eight to twenty-four hours. Your instruction manual for your particular generator will tell you what type of runtime is appropriate. Make sure that any cords plugged into your generator are not tangled and are well known so that you will not trip over them at night.


How to Run a Generator Safely

When camping, it is vital to take necessary safety precautions while running your generator. While camping generators are absolutely safe to run, there are essential safety precautions that must be taken in order to maintain safety.

To start, make sure that you operate your camping generator in an open outdoor space that has proper ventilation.

  • Do not place the generator directly next to your tent or camper. 
  • Do not plug appliances into your generator until it is on and running smoothly.
  • Then, once the generator has run for a few minutes, you can plug appliances in and turn them on individually. If you turn on all of your devices or appliances at once, you may burn out the generator by overloading it.
  • Finally, if you need to refuel, turn your generator off before you add additional fuel.

Generator Maintenance

Maintaining your camping generator will extend its life and help you get the most out of your purchase. To start, make sure that you change the oil on your generator every approximately 100 hours of use. However, if your generator is brand new, we recommend changing the oil at 25 hours. Then you can begin changing the oil every 100 hours.

We also recommend checking your filters every 150-250 hours of use. Your filters can easily get trapped with debris outdoors, and your machine won’t be able to function properly if the filters become clogged. When you store your portable generator, make sure that you first drain any remaining fuel from the tank. Do this with either a gas stabilizer or with a siphon. Then store the generator fuel-free.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to make a generator quiet for camping?
The best way to make a generator quiet for camping is to purchase a model that has a dB level below 65. This will give you the greatest chance of having a relatively quiet campsite. You can also purchase a portable generator silencer or portable generator muffler to limit the sound.
How do I ground a generator when camping?
To ground your generator while camping, make sure that you have a separately derived system. That is the type of generator that must be grounded. To ground the generator, install the copper ground rod by hammering it into the ground. Then, connect the copper wire to the copper rod. Next, connect the generator to the copper wire. This process will ground the generator.
How long do these generators last?
Most camping generators last approximately 10,000 to 25,000 hours of runtime. This means that your generator can last anywhere from five years to twenty years, depending on how often you run your machine. We recommend regular maintenance and cleaning to keep your generator in good shape.
Conventional vs. inverter generators – which is best for camping?
An inverter generator is quieter and lighter than a conventional generator. For camping, we typically recommend an inverter generator because they are also smaller and more environmentally friendly.
Where is the best place to buy camping generators?

The best place to buy camping generators is Amazon.com. Amazon has a variety of portable camping generator options to choose from and also offers additional accessories.


Conclusion

Generators are a great alternative power source for emergency situations and while camping where you do not have access to traditional power. Our top pick is the powerful Champion Power Equipment 100263. This generator is perfect for most campers with its quiet engine operation, powerful wattage to run numerous devices and electronics, and its rugged durability.

If you want to purchase a highly lightweight portable solar powered generator, then we recommend the Jackery Explorer 240. Purchasing a camping generator will give you access to the fuel you need to power your campsite.

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