How to Choose a Generator for Camping

How to Choose a Generator for Camping

31st May 2024

The most important thing about camping is having all your essentials, this is the key to a safe and fun trip. Of course, this includes having a camping generator that can power up your caravan and other electrical equipment. If you’re thinking of buying a generator for your next trip, here’s a guide on how to choose a generator for camping:


1. Appliance and Tools

Before buying, consider what appliances and tools you’re going to power up using the generator first. Then, check the number of watts per item. If you think you’re going to power up more than one device simultaneously, then combine the wattage requirements to determine which generator is suitable for you.

Freezers and some power tools may require more wattage to startup so it’s best to use an inverter generator and not the standard one. For sensitive equipment that needs sine wave power like computers, phones, and GPS, you should also use an inverter generator, because the standard generators have an uneven power output that can damage your items. Lights and other power tools are less sensitive and can use the standard generator.

2. Caravan

A caravan may require a 15 amp connection. Most portable generators have a caravan-ready 15amp outlet so you can just plug it in while some still need an adaptor to connect. 

3. Portable vs. Onboard Generators For Camping

A generator should be easy to move around. Not only should it have wheels, a carry/tow handle and extension cord, it should also need to be silent and lightweight. A portable generator is more flexible, allowing you to have power anytime and anywhere.

If you have a motorised caravan and only plan to use the generator inside the van, then it’s best to have an onboard generator, especially if it’s generator-ready. 

Power output

To choose the right generator, calculate the wattage requirement of your caravan and each electrical equipment you need to use and look at the watt power output of your generator. If you plan to power multiple devices all at once, then add the total wattage amount by multiplying the amp and voltage of each device.

Pick a generator that has enough wattage to start your electrical equipment and caravan without experiencing power shutdowns. Also, look at the surge/peak power of the generator for powering more than one device at one time.

Weight and size

Both the weight and size of the fuel tank are related to the power output of a generator. Generators with 1-2kVA (1-2kW) can weigh 10-20kg on average with a fuel tank size of 3-4 litres. Those with 3-5kVA (2-4kW) weigh an average of 20-30kg with a fuel tank of 5-8litres.


A portable petrol generator runs on regular-grade fuel. With an extension cord, you can move it somewhere far from the campgrounds so you can minimise the exhaust fumes.

When supplying power to caravan or electrical devices, make sure it doesn’t get interrupted. Choose an "inverter generator" that has superior technology and durability.


"Inverter generators" can now run for 7-8 hours using just one tank of fuel. If you think you need a continuous power supply, have a look at the efficient rating of the generator you’ll choose or its run time and fuel tank size. The run time is measured at 50% load levels. If it has a long run time, then you can use it overnight or refuel often if that’s convenient for you. Remember, the more power the generator supplies, the lesser the run time it has.

Noise Level

When camping, it’s not allowed to have a noisy generator because it can annoy or disturb other people. So, choose a generator that is quiet and has a low decibel output. 50-70 decibels is the ideal noise level for a campsite.