Last Updated on February 1, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine
When you’re ready to relax, you don’t want to be without power in your RV, so finding the best generator for camping is a must. I know how frustrating it can be to try to figure out these issues on your own, but I’m going to use the information I’ve learned to help you figure out which generator you need to buy for camping.
Before we get into more information on the best generator for camping, I’m going to put more info about the top generator for campers I recommend, and then I’ll get into the rest of them after some important information in case one of them works better for you than the one that I bought for camping.
My Top Pick for Best Generator for Camping
This generator saved us from burning due to lack of air conditioning or not being able to cook quite a few times. Works great.
- Nice run time
- Great brand name
- Lightweight enough for the watts
- Parallel capable
- Not totally budget-friendly
This Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start is the best generator for camping I’ve been able to find. My hubs and I did a lot of research before buying because we didn’t want to lug around a generator that doesn’t work well or something that is super loud.
Another thing we didn’t want to deal with was having to mess with the fuel repeatedly. That is one of the reasons we chose to go with a dual fuel generator instead of just a generator that uses gas.
Running this generator on propane is the most cost-effective way to do so, and it also allows you to have the longest time between refueling. You get about 14.5 hours with the generator on propane and about 7.5 hours on gas. If you run out of one, you can easily switch to the other.
What to Look for in the Best Generator for Camping
When you’re ready to camp, not all generators are created equal. You need to find the generator that works best for your camping needs. If you boondock a lot and have a large rig, you might need a more powerful generator than someone who is living the van life.
Here are some of the things you should consider when buying an RV generator for camping.
Type of Fuel
The type of fuel you use makes a big difference once you have your generator and have found the best generator for camping. One of the biggest examples is that if you use a generator that uses propane, it’s easier to get fuel for it at the campground than if you use a generator fueled by gas.
Another thing to keep in mind is that propane has a long shelf life, and that makes it easy for you to stock up for your camping trip.
Propane-fueled generators often make less noise than their gas counterparts. However, it is easier to get gas outside of a campground, so it’s even better to have a dual fuel generator.
Conventional Generator vs Inverter Generator
Conventional generators have worked well for years, but more and more people are falling in love with inverter generators. Inverter generators produce safer and cleaner power voltage that matches the electricity needed from whatever you plug in.
If you want to protect your expensive electronics like your iPhone or computer, then you should go for an inverter generator.
One of the biggest things you need to know is how much power your generator provides. Knowing how much power a generator provides will let you figure out if it gives you enough bang for your buck.
For instance, if you want to run a television and a refrigerator on your generator, you need to figure out how much each of these things needs to run and add them together. As long as your generator’s running watts are higher than that total, then you’re using a good generator for your needs.
Use this calculator to find out what you need.
When you’re camping, you don’t want to throw your back out with a too-heavy generator. It can be hard to find a generator that is powerful and light enough, but they’re out there.
Mobility isn’t just about how heavy the generator is, though. You should also look and see if it has a wheel kit or if it already comes with wheels on it. Oftentimes that can be enough to help even if you do need a lot of wattage and need to tote along a bigger generator.
Prices for generators are all over the board. If you don’t need a lot of power, you might be able to find a quality product for a few hundred bucks. On the other hand, if you really need a lot of juice, you could drop thousands of dollars on a high-quality generator.
Some people know the wattage they want and will pay the price, and others have a budget and see how much bang they can get for their buck.
Other Great Options for Camping Generators
This little Honda does a good job when you don’t need a lot of wattage to get through your camping trip. It isn’t dual fuel like my number one pick up if you put it on its eco setting, you can get around 9 or 10 hours out of it. That’s not too bad when you consider that it has a small gas tank.
Keep in mind that this generator is parallel capable, so if you do need more power, you can get another one and put them together for more juice and enjoy the best generator for camping.
If you want a really light generator, this is the perfect one for you. It’s around 40 pounds, so it’s like picking up a small child, and it squirms less than a 2-year-old. It’s also very quiet, which is unlike a small child.
Honda is a reliable brand that people trust. There is another similar model that you might have seen, and this is an upgrade from that model. If you want a really small but still dependable generator, then this could be the best thing for you.
- Fuel efficiency with eco setting
- Good running time
- Parallel capability
- Difficult to see in the fuel tank to check fuel level
The WEN generator has an open frame that might lead to more noise, but you get plenty of power. Since it is an inverter generator, it is still quieter than many of the generators you might be used to hearing.
If you want to run a generator for a long time, you might not like that it only runs around 7 hours due to its smaller gas tank. You can use the eco-mode if you do want to save fuel. You could also use its parallel capabilities to give yourself some more time.
One cool thing you will notice about this generator is that it has overload protection. This means your generator and whatever you plug in to your generator will be safe. The generator comes with USB ports that make it easy for you to plug your phone in and get the charge you need.
Campers that want to stay within their budgets should pay close attention to this generator.
- High power
- Parallel capability
- Overload protection
- Small tank for fuel
This generator is a real hoss and gives plenty of power, and lasts a long time. This generator is gas only and has an eco-mode that allows it to run up to 17 hours. That’s a crazy long run time, but some people would love to have that ability.
With this generator, you could run all of your appliances at the same time but don’t try to push it by using everything in your RV at once. Why would you need to vacuum and dry your hair at the same time?
Another cool thing people love about this generator is the remote start. You can skip the manual pull start—and even the push-button start—to go right for the remote start. No more running out in the rain or snow to get your power going.
This Champion generator is close to 100 pounds, so that does mean you’ll be very grateful for the wheel kit that helps with transportation. You should also keep in mind that it is parallel capable in case you need even more power.
You are going to get more noise with this generator because of the open frame, but it’s not that bad. The extra power and the features you get are a good trade-off for the extra sound.
- Remote start
- Plenty of power
- Runs for 17 hours
- Parallel capable
- A little on the louder side of things
This Generac generator is a great choice for a portable generator. It’s a gas generator with an eco setting so that it will give you around 10 hours of run time.
You do have to use the pull start on this point, but it’s not too hard to do. Most people that use it say that 1 or 2 tries get you going. You can easily haul it around because of its small size and lightweight.
One of the things people like most about this Generac is its PowerRush technology. You can get 50% more starting capacity, and that means you get double the startup power. Once you’re started up, the eco mode starts—if it’s on—and you can enjoy more power using less energy.
Keep in mind when you’re looking for the best generator for camping that this generator doesn’t have an amp adapter to connect to your RV, so you’ll have to buy one. They aren’t that expensive, and they’re pretty easy to find, so it’s not anything to worry about.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- PowerRush technology
- Easy to use
- Parallel capable
- No RV adapter
The Bottom Line – Best Generator for Camping
After going through all of these, our top pick is still the Champion dual-fuel generator. It’s a great generator and can keep your campsite running without a hitch.
Having the option to use either gas or propane is one of the things that makes this the best generator for camping, and what people love about it and you might find it comes in really handy. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how awesome it is until you use it.
Champion has great customer support as well, so that gives you peace of mind even after you buy.
If you want to only look at dual-fuel generators, you can also check out our post about dual fuel generators here.