Although camping in quiet solitude is a valuable asset to a busy, scheduled, and, frankly, noise-filled life, there are certain creature comforts that we can’t deny enjoying. Although to many, a portable camping generator is more associated with emergencies than a peaceful weekend in the woods.
For those who know though, camping generators are useful in a variety of outdoor situations, from powering all your outdoor lighting ideas to temperature cooling/heating systems in your tent or RV, to even creating the perfect soundtrack to your weekend in the countryside. And if you’re thinking of making the switch to living out of a home-on-wheels, well, camping generators will be your new best friend.
Regardless of how you want to use them, shopping for a camping generator can be intimidating. The voltages, the price points, the types of power they use—all of it can give even the most experienced outdoors technician a headache. We’ve gone through the process of narrowing down the best camping generator options available.
The 11 Best Portable Camping Generators, Reviewed
These camping generators run the gamut from most portable to the most environmentally-friendly, so there’s an option here that just might work for you and your outdoor, off-grid needs.
Prepare for your next adventure by downloading maps. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. “My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service”.
Quiet Camping Generator Options
Most campgrounds have noise limits, so finding a quiet camping generator is key if you plan on visiting a national or state park.
This 2200 watt, lightweight (just under 47 pounds) power source is an ideal camping generator—and it is fuel efficient, too, running up to 8 hours on less than a gallon of gasoline. This little inverter is one of the quietest on the markets, operating at 48 to 57 dBA, or about as loud as a background music or conversations. The Honda EU2200i is ideal for running necessary, everyday items such as a coffee maker, refrigeration system, or computer.
One reviewer agrees, writing “Great generator! Light enough to carry easily but powerful. Ran my microwave, AC, lights, and fridge in my travel trailer with no issues.”
[button style=’black’ url=’https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R1HK2RL/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thedyrt-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07R1HK2RL&linkId=4529685d04be0bd21af96106e9eddb57′ target=’_blank’]Buy Now: $1,009[/button]
With only 51.5 dBA at ¼ load, this Yamaha camping generator has a 2000 watt maximum AC output, 120V, and is less than 45 pounds. For a gas-operated camping generator, the noise level here is remarkably low—compared to a “conversation” level of noise.
One reviewer went with the Yamaha for the following reasons:
“The big contenders in this class are this unit and the Honda 2000 watt inverter generator. I selected the Yamaha after several features stood out:
1. Fuel shutoff allows the carb to be run dry, which helps prevent starting problems after extended storage.
2. Carb drain gets every drop of fuel out for even more extended storage. (such as over the winter.)
3. Gear driven valve train instead of belt driven.
4. Closable vent cap to prevent fuel spills and fuel level indicator in the cap.”
[button style=’black’ url=’https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RWK9N2/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thedyrt-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B002RWK9N2&linkId=4044f1d91873084c9b2ca3f3ab5241f5′ target=’_blank’]Buy Now: $840[/button]
On the lower end of the budget for a camping generator, but still top-rated for a few reasons, the WEN 56200i is one of the quietest camping generators on the market. Holding 2000 watts, weighing 48 pounds, and 51 dB at quarter load, this is a USA made product that is a perfect camping companion for your power needs.
One reviewer really liked the economy mode feature of this camping generator, writing “This setting gives you much longer run time with smaller loads and was sufficient – running one generator only – to keep the RV’s house battery topped off while the battery ran the RV’s blower motor. After a full night’s sleep, the 56200i’s fuel gauge hovered around the half-way mark.”
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Lightweight Camping Generator Options
Generators can be heavy and, although technically portable, not all that easy to cart around from home to campsite and back home again. These next three camping generators are a bit lighter than the typical generator, but still work just as hard.
Coming in at only 35 lbs, this is a powerhouse of a generator and it’s lightweight, making it an ideal camping generator. It’s also extremely quiet (52 dBA), and has an efficient mode that allows you to run .8 gallons of gas for 10 hours. It’s also a bit more affordable of an option amongst reliable camping generators.
One reviewer likened this generator to the usual go-tos, Honda or Yamaha, but at a fraction of the cost. writing, “With portable generators/inverters, the conventional wisdom seems to be that Honda and Yamaha are the gold standards. There likely is good reason for that perception, but that said, I did a lot of research before purchasing this unit, and came to the conclusion that there are other products out there that compare very favorably at a substantially lower cost.”
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This lightweight generator by Champion is both quiet (53 dBA) and convenient (9.5 hour run time). It has a 1 gallon fuel tank capacity with an economy mode, and it’s lightweight at under 50 pounds. It’s also stackable, making it a popular option for RVers in need of multiple generators with little space.
One reviewer highly recommends this item, after a power-outage that left him in need of running household equipment, writing “That night I ran 2 full size refrigerators, a deep freeze chest freezer, a lamp with a 14 watt CFL spiral bulb, phone charger and one of those square, window, box fans. This generator has 2 AC outlet plugs. I ran one fridge and the deep freezer off one outlet with a 15ft extension cord. I ran the other fridge, lamp, and fan off of the other outlet on a 50ft cord with a power strip at the end. On a full tank of gas with all appliances listed above plugged in and running I got 6 hours out of a full tank of gas.”
Safe to say that this little powerhouse will suffice for your typically basic camping needs.
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Weighing in at 55 pounds, this gas-powered, 120V/2200 watt Briggs and Stratton inverter generator is a popular option among camping generators. It’s also quiet, at 59 dBA operating volume.
Its price is about half that of the popular Honda generator, but just as reliable. One reviewer preferred this one, due to its handy size, writing “This one is actually slightly smaller and lighter (and you will love the built-in collapsible handle and solid wheels – costs extra on the Honda) but with a bigger fuel capacity and even though it’s rated at 58 db and the Honda at 56 db, this one was more quiet and couldn’t be heard at all from about 10 feet away.”
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High Powered Camping Generator Options
Higher powered camping generators are great for more full-time RVers. These are three top contenders.
This is a dual-fueled generator, running on gasoline or propane with a 3.4 gallon gasoline tank capacity, which translates to 9 hours of gasoline run time. Its noise level is obviously a bit higher than lower-powered camping generators, at 68 dBA from 23 feet, but it will power all your needs, from lights and refrigeration to charging your computer and smartphones/tablets.
If you’re wondering if this generator is up to the task, just ask this reviewer, who writes: “When the power went out. I connected 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers, a fan, 2 tvs & DVR, a heat lamp for 30 baby chicks, 2 indoor lamps, coffee maker and waffle iron..And I think it had power to spare… This generator never missed a beat and it ran constantly for 4 days until we regained power. It certainly made life easier.”
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This heavy-duty DuroMax generator is powerful, dependable, and EPA Approved for Safe Use in National Parks. It has an AC output of 3850 watts, and two 120v, 20 amp, 3 prong outlets for standard household plugs. It’s on par with high-powered generators at 69 dBA.
It’s a popular mid-range high-powered generator. One reviewer highly recommends it, writing “I specifically purchased this generator to run on propane, but having the gasoline backup is a nice option. I’m very happy with the generator quality and performance, and I fully recommend the purchase.”
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Yamaha makes a quality generator, and the price reflects that. Is it worth it? Reviewers say yes. “I’ve used this generator as an emergency backup for several years. It has performed flawlessly. Pros – I’ve been able to run two refrigerators, a portable AC unit, TV, two sump pumps, computer and miscellaneous sound and video items all at once. The energy efficiency of this unit cannot be understated. It uses about half as much gasoline as my last generator. Very quiet while running is a huge plus especially when running an AC overnight. Neighbors don’t mind at all. Battery start is nice. It’s also user friendly and has an easy to understand manual.”
It is a heavier, gasoline-powered generator, but it will power everything you need with 6300 watt maximum AC output. It has a convenient wireless remote control that works up to 66 feet away, and its user friendly, with a power meter that shows exactly how much power is being used, and how much is left.
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Solar Powered Camping Generator Options
Solar generators are excellent for fully off-grid living, and for green, renewable-energy RVing, for those that care a bit more about the environment when it comes to modern day conveniences. They’re also quiet, so that’s an added bonus. Additionally, their price point is pretty mid-range, so without the additional cost of fuel, these end up being an affordable option in the long run.
Looking a bit like a briefcase and weighing little more than one (12.8 lbs), the Renogy Phoenix solar generator kit has a generator and solar panels all-in-one. It’s the ideal portable, solar generator for van life, and it’s relatively affordable to boot. It’s excellent for off-grid, boondocking locations in small camping rigs. It can be charged by car battery or AC power in addition to solar.
From one happy owner: “Bottom Line: This thing is amazing; Renogy delivered. It just works. The build quality is high, and it includes a number of adapters/cables to facilitate both the charging and consumption. Pro Tip: Get a 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel as well.”
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This Yeti solar generator power station kit comes with a wall plug, and a Boulder 50 Solar Panel with 8mm cord and a kickstand for optimum placement for solar charging. The lead acid battery is 396Wh and can power 7 devices at once. The Boulder 50 Solar Panel is a 50-watt panel. This is an excellent option among camping generators, with the ability to charge phones, tablets, and other small devices, as well as laptops and small appliances.
Reviews on Goal Zero are mixed. It’s a handy device, but the solar panel consistently has complaints for not charging efficiently. From one reviewer, “Expensive for what you get. I love the battery, but even with two of the folding panels, they would not charge the unit with full unobstructed sun for 6 hours. The panels would go no higher than 24 watts and added no power to the battery even after several tries. Plugging the unit into the wall, however, resulted in a full charge in a matter of hours. If you are dependent on the smaller panels, I would think twice if you need immediate power source. The battery itself, when charged, is great and I love the features.”
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