Do I Need a Generator for Camping?

I remember when I was a child my family and I would go camping nearly every weekend during the summer. We lived about an hour outside of Flint, Michigan and each Friday we would pack up the car and start driving. Most of the time we ended up crossing the border into Canada, finding a good beach, and setup camp. Fires would be made. Hot dogs cooked. Even cherry pie made using those cast iron pie makers. It was an overall a good time and memories that will stay with me.

I haven’t gone camping in quite a while and when we were doing our Canadian camping trips cell phones, internet, or any of that was not around. There wasn’t much need for electricity out in the wilderness. In today’s world though things have changed. Nearly all of us have smart phones. Heck my ninety year old grandfather is on his iPhone all day long. Along with phones many of us have laptops we haul around with us for work. These require power.

Even though the point of camping is to get away from it all many folks find that difficult. Many of us still want to be connected while we are enjoying nature. Depending on how long you are camping these electronic devices we bring with us will eventually need to be charged. Now there are a couple ways to do this. In many cases your car’s battery can charge your smart phone. You just have to be careful not to drain your battery. If you end up having multiple phones to charge, or a computer, or other devices or appliances that need power then your car’s battery is not going to cut it. You do not want to risk it either with your car’s battery as having a dead battery in the wilderness will not be a good time.

You need a portable generator. Generators do just what the name suggests, they generate power. They can provide you with the needed power to power your phone, your computer, maybe even your hair dryer or coffee maker. Generators come in all different sizes ranging from a thousand watts all the way up to twelve-thousand watts or higher. If your camping trip consists of a tent, sleeping bags, your phone, and a laptop then a small generator will cover you. But, if you are taking a camper with you that has an air conditioner, microwave, coffee maker, and everything else then a generator will still get the job done for you. You will just need a larger model.

It is all a matter of wattage. I won’t get into sizing your generator in this article, but just yesterday I wrote a fairly in-depth article about selecting the right size of generator for your camping trips. It goes into finding the various wattage requirements and also a look at different considerations that should be made such as weight, noise, price, and fuel types. I highly suggest reading it to learn more about the topic.


So folks to wrap this article up the answer is that it really depends on you and what you want out of your camping trip. If you wish to disconnect yourself entirely and only bring the bare essentials with you then a generator is most likely not even needed. Leave your phone in the car and charge when you drive home. Enjoy nature and enjoy the isolation. However, if that is not what you are looking for and you still want to catch up on emails/news and have a warm cup of coffee in the morning then you will need a generator.

If you do decide that you need a generator then we recommend taking a hard look at this two-thousand watt model from WEN. It is an inverter generator which means that it runs very quiet and can last for around ten hours on a quarter load. So, if you wish to charge that phone, computer, and make some coffee in the morning this would be your generator. If you are wishing to run a camper though with air conditioning or other appliances you will need a larger wattage generator such as this thirty-five hundred watt model from Generac. Both of these generators are great options but to get a more personalized approach I suggest reading our article we referenced above. This article will break things down further and allow you to pick just the right generator for your needs.

I hope this article was helpful and able to answer any questions that you had. Lastly, please note that this article is intended to give advice and informational value only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any damage when it comes to using generators rather it be personal, injury, or property.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson


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