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The 10 Best Camping and RV Generators [2024]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

788 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3211 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Even when venturing into nature for some rest and relaxation, most people want at least minimal access to the amenities of modern life. If you find yourself in need of home appliances in your RV or simply want to charge your phone while camping, you need a quality camping generator.

They come in various forms, and it’s important to pay attention to features that determine their usability. For instance, some generators are sufficient to power a microwave or a minifridge in your RV, while others produce just enough power for charging your phone.

Things To Consider When Buying a Camping or RV Generator

Camping generator
Camping or RV generators comes in various forms. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Before you set out to buy the right generator for your next camping trip, you will want to look into what makes a good one. First off, it’s important to have a compact and lightweight generator that’s easy to store while traveling.

Also, it can be beneficial to have a low decibel output combined with a moderate power output to improve efficiency with reduced noise. There are many other factors to consider, such as the number of outlets, so let’s take a look at the most important ones.

Compact Size

For a great camping solution, you can find compact-size generators ranging from 10 to 15 inches. Of course, options vary, and there are many larger generators to choose from as well. However, having a compact one is better for camping since you’ll have a lot of other gear.

Weight

Camping Generator Weight
Having a lightweight camping generator is a must. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Having a lightweight camping generator is a must. Not only does it enable easier carrying by hand, but it also takes up less space. You can find camping generators that weigh just under 25 pounds, and a few weigh significantly less.

Bottom Line: If you are thinking about an RV generator, it will likely be heavier than a camping one, but a lightweight option will still serve you well in most situations.

Running Time

Look for a generator that runs for 7 or 8 hours at least, as it should provide all the power you need while camping. Also, think about the fuel type and how often you have to refill the tank. Overall, camping generators tend to run anywhere from 5 hours and up.

Power

Camping Generator Power
Having a high power output is one of the primary things that make a camping generator valuable. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Having a high power output is one of the primary things that make a camping generator valuable. Rated power output from 1kVA to 3kVA makes a generator suitable for RV usage, while campsite generators generally only need enough power to charge a phone or power a speaker.

Depending on your RV power outlets and the number of devices you wish to run with your generator, its output can be even higher.

The 5 Best Camping Generators

For a camping generator, you simply need a lightweight, compact package that has sufficient power and outlets for your electrical devices.

This includes outlets for phones and speakers as well as standard USB outlets and jacks. With that in mind, let’s dive into the best options.

1. Compact Solar Generator for Camping

FLASHFISH 200W Portable Power Station

If you are looking for a camping generator capable of powering phones and small cooling devices, this power station is a good choice. It’s quite simple to use, with a large power button and a display that indicates the battery level.

With a built-in handle, you can carry it along to your campsite and use it to power small devices on-site. As for outlets, it has standard DC, AC, and USB ports, as well as 2 QC3.0 quick-charge USB ports.

It’s as compact as camping generators get, weighing in at just 4 pounds and delivering 200 watts of output wattage. In addition, the small screen indicates not only the battery level but also the output statuses.

What We Like

  • Compact and lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • The solar panel is sold separately

2. Completely Portable and Long-lasting

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

An outstanding small power station for camping use is Jackery’s portable Explorer 500. It’s more than capable of powering small devices like phones, laptops, speakers, and fans.

With 500 watts of power output and a lithium battery that can be recharged through a USB port, it makes a great camping option. It can even be paired with a solar panel for additional charging while camping, making it more of a survival generator.

It has an AC outlet, USB ports, DC ports, and a carport. It serves as a great option to power your drone or camera so you can record some epic footage of your adventure.

What We Like

  • Lasts up to 30 hours

What We Don’t Like

  • Has only 1 input socket

3. Large-scale Portable Power Station

WEN 56203i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

This generator might seem oversized, but it’s convenient for camping in more ways than one. With an impressive output of 2,000 watts and just 50 decibels of noise, it will provide quiet yet powerful electrical support.

The simple design and integrated handle make it great for camping, and it’s more lightweight than you’d expect, given its power. At just 39 pounds, it’s a moderately heavy generator that provides enough power output for a mini-cooler, fans, phones, and other small devices. It even includes an eco-mode switch to automatically adjust the fuel output and extend the run time.

It comes with numerous outlets, including 2 120V receptacles, a DC outlet, and 2 5V USB ports. You also can’t go wrong with a 2-year warranty.

What We Like

  • High power output

What We Don’t Like

  • Too bulky to fit into a camping backpack

4. Emergency Survival Power Generator

BALDR Portable Power Station Solar Generator

One of the most lightweight generators available is this emergency generator, which weighs just 9 pounds. With 330 watts of power output, this compact solution is very portable, and it can last for quite a while, thanks to the lithium battery.

It comes with a built-in flashlight and 9 power outputs. These include an AC output, wireless charging outlet, 3 USB ports, and a 12V DC port. It even has a USB-C port for charging phones and tablets.

The analog screen indicates the battery life, remaining charging time, and output power, and provides a low-voltage warning.

What We Like

  • Includes a built-in flashlight

What We Don’t Like

  • Lower battery life than its competitors

5. Quiet Gas-powered Generator for Camping

PowerSmart Portable Generator 2200 Watts Inverter

If you’re looking for a powerful camping generator, look no further than the PowerSmart portable power station. It weighs 42 pounds and offers a superb power supply of 2,200 watts, providing a solution for campers that need something more than just a power source for phone charging.

It works with a single-cylinder engine and uses an air-cooling system, so it produces less noise while operating. A gallon of oil allows it to run for hours, providing power for the entire day.

It’s a bit larger than most compact generators with 20 x 13-inch dimensions. However, it includes a vast choice of power outputs, including a parallel connection and standard AC, DC, and USB ports.

What We Like

  • Superb power supply for camping

What We Don’t Like

  • Quite a bit larger than other camping generators

Hot Tip: Check out our guide to the 25 best camping essentials to bring on your next trip.

The 5 Best RV Generators

Now that we’ve looked at some of the best camping generators, it’s time to focus on the best RV generators with higher power output. These generators will likely provide more than enough wattage to power RV fridges and other appliances to recreate your home comforts.

1. RV-ready 4200-Watt Power Station

Champion Power Equipment 200954 4250 Watt

If you’re not looking for as much wattage as the previous generator provides, this Champion generator is a good option. It provides 4,200 watts, making it a great choice for both camping and RV power.

Of course, it’s much better for RV use, especially if you’re only looking to power your phone and other small devices. The control panel includes a gauge that monitors voltage and frequency, while economy mode monitors power consumption for longer battery life.

It has an AC overload reset, choke button, parallel ports, and circuit breakers. Standard AC and ground terminals make this option perfect for a wide variety of uses.

What We Like

  • The quiet technology

What We Don’t Like

  • It might be a bit heavy

2. Dual-fuel Wheeled RV Generator

DuroMax XP120000EH Generator

This DuroMax gas- or propane-fueled generator produces an immense power output of 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts. It generates enough power to duplicate all the convenience of home appliances.

It works with 100% copper windings and has a sturdy metal construction with wheels for easier movement. It can even be used as a backup generator for home use. Besides having all the power outputs you could need, it also has useful features like a key start, low oil alert, idle control, circuit breaker, and voltmeter.

What We Like

  • Dual-fuel metal generator

What We Don’t Like

  • It might be too heavy and powerful for some

3. Wireless Remote-start RV Generator

Check on Walmart

Champion Power Equipment 4500-Watt RV Ready Generator

This compact RV generator isn’t the most lightweight option at 95 pounds, but it comes with wheels and a fold-down handle for easier transport. When it comes to power output, it produces 4,500 watts and has a remote wireless start option, allowing you to start and stop its function from up to 80 feet away using a key fob.

It can run for 14 consecutive hours with 2 gallons of gasoline and is compatible with a parallel kit that enables a connection with another Champion generator.

With quiet technology and all the power outputs needed for RV appliances, this generator is the perfect blend of quality and user convenience.

What We Like

  • Wireless remote start

What We Don’t Like

  • Optional parallel kit needs to be purchased separately

4. Gas-powered CARB-compliant RV Generator

Westinghouse WGen 3600v Portable Generator 3600 Rated Peak

This gas-powered generator provides up to 4,650 peak watts in a relatively compact package. It runs up to 14 hours on a 4-gallon gasoline tank. It has all the necessary outputs, including 120V AC outlets and circuit breakers.

The durable 4-stroke engine runs quietly and features an automatic low-oil shutdown function. All Westinghouse generators are pre-tested, so you don’t have to worry about potential malfunctions.

What We Like

  • 4,600 peak watts in a pre-tested generator

What We Don’t Like

  • Could have a few more output types

5. Complete Power Station for RV Trips

WEN GN4500-Watt 212cc Transfer Switch and RV Ready Generator

If you want a diverse choice of power outputs for all the devices and electrical appliances in your RV, put this generator on your shortlist. It provides up to 4,500 watts of power and can run for up to 13 hours on a single tank.

This gasoline-based generator works with a 212cc motor with low noise output. It weighs 107 pounds and has a large control panel with AC output, data meter, AC breakers, main breaker, grounding nut, and other outputs.

What We Like

  • Quiet for a generator of this size

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have wheels included

Hot Tip: Check out our guide to the 20 best RV accessories and essentials for your next camping adventure.

Final Thoughts

This comparison guide can help you find the right generator for your needs. Whether you need a small and compact camping power station or a large-scale, high-wattage RV generator, you can find a variety of options on this list.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your desired power output and the types of electrical devices you wish to run while camping or RVing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size generator do I need for camping?

It all depends on your power needs, but standard camping generators typically measure 15 x 10 inches. RVs require larger full-scale generators.

What power output is sufficient for camping?

Usually, you won’t need more than 2,000 watts while camping, and you can even get away with a lower-powered generator for phones and smaller electrical devices. For this purpose, even 500 watts would suffice.

Can I run a generator in a camping tent?

There are many compact-size generators on our list that you can use for charging phones and running fans in a tent.

If your camping generator runs on fuel, it can emit carbon monoxide that may be hazardous to your health if used in a poorly ventilated area. These should ideally be used at least 20 feet away from your tent.

Can I run a generator while it’s raining?

Avoid running a camping generator outside when it’s raining to prevent electrocution. A camping generator must be properly grounded, so use it in a well-ventilated RV or tent while it’s raining.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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