(Featured image: one of our favorite models, the WEN 56203i generator via Amazon.com)
Back in the days, camping used to be a very fun but risky activity due to the lack of proper technology. Now that technology has drastically advanced to a whole new level, today we can camp outdoors without having to worry about the discomfort and dangers that naturally come with every trip to the unknown.
Fortunately, we are in an era in which we can bring almost all of the comforts of our homes to our camping sites. We can now take technical camping gear, appliances, gadgets, and other equipment with us to ensure a maximal degree of comfort and convenience on our camping trips. However, these come with a pre-requisite – a generator. Since generators power up almost everything we need for a hassle-free trip, it’s important to know how to pick the best one.
A Useful Generator Buying Guide for Camping
A generator is not just an appliance that you use to improve the aesthetics of your camping setup. It does a lot more than you may realize; hence, getting the right one for you is of the essence.
Determine What Needs to be Powered
It’s undeniable, everybody wants to give camping a go. The difference lies in the type of camping experience one wants to have.
The first question to ask yourself is, what items do you need to be powered? This is important in helping you determine which type of generator to get. For instance, some people are good with just a few lamps or other lighting sources, while some prefer to bring all their appliances with them.
Once you determine the things you want to bring with you on your next camping trip, it would be a good idea to check how much power each of them requires. Add them up and you will have an approximate idea of how much power you need from your generator.
- 10 Must Have Items for Your First Camping Trip
- Things to Take on a Camping Trip (Essentials Checklist)
Generator Voltage Output
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a generator for your camping trip is its power output. The companies that make generators usually rate the generator voltage output either in watts or kilowatts.
Therefore, with regards to the first point of consideration mentioned above, you have to know the power output of each appliance or fixture you are going to bring in these measurement units. As basic knowledge, you have to know that appliances that utilize or involve an electric motor to operate usually need three times the power to start. Usually, generators have a rated power output that falls within a 4.5 to 5 kV range, up to a maximum of 5.2 to 5.5 kV.
Knowing the wattage required to provide power for your caravan and appliances will help you determine the type of generator you should get. Keep in mind that you may even want to get one that offers extra allowance for possible additions to your desired appliances and fixtures.
Now that you have established what power output you need for your generator, it is time to decide what model you are going to get. A big consideration that you should take into account is the generator’s weight and size.
As a guide, generators weighing about 10 to 20 kg usually have a fuel capacity of 3 to 4 liters. Meanwhile, those that weigh about 20 to 30 kg usually have a fuel capacity of 5 to 8 liters.
The device’s size is also an important criterion, since you have to know the exact location where you are going to place it, and also think of the times when you will carry it to and from a certain location. Ask yourself if you will be able to carry it with ease or if you will need someone else to help you move it. And if you want one that can work in a limited space, it is recommended that you get a small generator.
Type of Fuel
Generators operate by running on solar power or by consuming fuel. A choice that you have to make is whether you want to go for a solar-powered or a fuel-powered generator.
If you want to go for one that is powered by propane or gas, you have to consider the cost of fuel and how much fuel your generator will likely eat to run all your fixtures and appliances for a day. Propane-powered generators are generally more costly than those that are gas-powered; however, solar-powered generators are the most economical, as they run on the energy that the solar panels get from the sun.
Solar generators are environmentally-friendly and easy to use. However, if you often camp or reside in a cloudy location, their capacity to charge and be dependable for a long time may be an issue. Before making a choice, don’t forget to check the generator’s efficiency considering the run time and number of appliances, devices, and fixtures to be powered.
Level of Noise
This matters because this can be a problem when you start camping with other people. If you are to camp in a place where there are no other campers, then any type of generator will do. However, if you are to camp in a National campsite, then a noisy generator is not a good choice for you.
It is important that you check on the decibel output of your generator before purchasing it. The ideal noise level of a generator falls within 50 to 80 decibels. Anything higher than that may generate a mildly disturbing to a very loud noise.
Storage and Features
Apart from the considerations mentioned above, you also have to check on the generator’s features. A good example would be to check if it is waterproof.
If you usually camp on days where it drizzles, snows, or rains, the chances of moisture getting in the outlets can pose a hazard to you and your group. The threats of electrocution and of malfunctioning of the generator are a big risk to take, so it would be best to check your setup, storage, and your generator’s features for security and safety.
Having everything you need on a trip or at a campsite makes for a more enjoyable, safer, and more relaxing experience. Hence, you will need a generator that is reliable, efficient, and dependable at all times. The considerations mentioned above will help you to find the best model for your needs, so make sure to refer to it when preparing to buy one.