5 Best Portable Generators for Camping – Power Your Devices Outdoors

While camping is a lot of fun, it is even better when you are able to keep your electronics and appliances functioning at the campsite. Everything needs charging, from smartphones and cameras to portable fridges and radios. A solar panel will only work at night, and you still need an inverter to charge a laptop.

A small battery station will only charge via solar power during the day, and larger generators need refueling, so neither are a convenient option for camping or backpacking. However, portable generators and charging stations offer some flexibility to those wishing to use AC power outdoors. Let’s take a look at the five best portable generators for camping.

 

5 Best Portable Generators for Camping

1. Wen 56200i Portable Generator

Wen 56200i Portable Generator for Camping

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Wen 56200i Portable Generator is a good-sized machine that will supply enough power to keep your appliances running in an RV or use it to charge up portable electronics. A 79.7cc overhead engine will make up to 2000 watts at peak surge, and 1600 watts under normal conditions. Being a 4-stroke, there is no messing about mixing the fuel and engine oil, as you would with a 2-stroke engine.

Everything you need from the unit is on the front panel. If the generator is going to power large units, like a fridge or a cooker, there is a grounding bolt on the front to make the appliance safer. There is a single 5-volt port if you want to charge a USB device. Also, there is one angled 2-pin 12-volt port for less demanding electronics.

In addition, there are two 120-volt mains 3-pin sockets, rated to 20 amps. All this power is passed through surge protection to protect your appliances. And WEN’s inverter to keep the distortion below 1.2%, making it safe for all portable electronics. This generator will also hook up to other Wen generators in parallel, to produce more amps.

At half-load, a gallon of fuel will last 6-hours, while making as little as 51 decibels. Durable and portable, at 48 pounds, the 56200i makes camping that much more enjoyable.

Highlights

  • Rating:
  • Power: Peak 2000W — Continuous 1600W
  • Engine: 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV
  • Capacity: 1-gallon (3.79 L)
  • Tank Run-Time: 6 hours. @ 50%
  • Noise Level — Normal Operation: 51 dB.
  • Sockets: 2 × 120V 20A three-pin, 5V USB, 12V DC 8.3A
  • Weight: 48 pounds (21.77 kg).
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Price: $430

Pros

  • A good choice of power sockets.
  • Easy recoil starting with a choke.
  • High power rating.
  • Solid carry handle.

Cons

  • To check the level, you need to remove the side panel to reach the engine oil cap.
  • It does not have a waterproof cover for the 120-volt socket.

 

2. Champion Portable Generator

Champion Portable Generator for Camping

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Champion Portable Generator for RV camping produces 3500 watts of power, which is a lot. In fact. 30 amps are enough to power for a normal-sized kitchen while running a full-sized electric cooking hob and oven. You can even use it to run a 15,000 BTU air-conditioning unit. Volt-Volt-Guard is a high-level of control, which Champion generators use for surge protection.

The 196cc 4-stroke will last up to 12 hours on the 4.7-gallon fuel tank that rests on top of the engine. All this power does come with a compromise of noise, and 68 decibels at 23 feet is too noisy for many. You would want to put this machine as far away from where you are sleeping as possible. And weighing 100 pounds (45.36 kg) makes moving it on your own a considerable challenge, though you can buy a separate wheel kit.

You can not wire this unit up to other generators in parallel, but with a peak power of 4000 watts, it is unlikely that you would need more. Designed to support an RV, there is a 120-volt socket for direct RV connection rated for 30 amps. As well as a lockable 30-amp 120-volt socket, and a regular 3-pin 20-amp 120-volt socket. All voltage production is displayed on a voltmeter next to the sockets.

Highlights

  • Rating:
  • Power: Peak 4000W — Continuous 3500W
  • Engine: 196cc 4-stroke OHV
  • Capacity: 4.7 gallons (17.79 L).
  • Tank Run-Time: 12 hours @ 50%
  • Noise Level — Normal Operation: 68 dB from 23 feet
  • Sockets: 120V 20A 3-prong receptacles, 5V USB port, 12V DC 8.3A
  • Weight: 102.1 pounds (46.31 Kg).
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $430

Pros

  • High power, enough to run a small home.
  • Cold start, to help get the engine running in the winter.
  • Strong steel frame construction.
  • Every part of the engine is easy to get to.

Cons

  • The noise level will not be possible to sleep next to.
  • Heavy, even with wheels this is a big load

 

3. Jackery Camping Generator

Jackery Camping Generator

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

If sleeping next to a roaring engine is beginning to sound less appealing, then there is a silent alternative to powering smaller devices. The Jackery Portable Generator is a power station that powers, which not only charges USB devices but also has a 120-volt appliance socket. You can not use it to power anything larger than a cool box, but it is portable, and only 6.6 pounds.

For charging your sensitive equipment, it does not get much better than using a power station. Voltage is converted directly from a consistent source, and there is little fluctuation. And because it is silent, you can plug a phone, laptop, or camera battery into it at night without disturbing your sleep.

The Jackery also has a 12-volt car-adapter socket, useful for running air-pumps. You can charge the battery with the AC charge supplied, or you can plug it into a solar panel (not supplied) and boost the power during the day. And you can see the battery level, the watt usage, and the watts charging the battery on an LCD display.

Highlights

  • Rating:
  • Power: Starting 400W – Continuous 200W
  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Capacity: 16.8-amp hours
  • Tank Run-Time: 2 hrs.@ 50%
  • Noise Level — Normal Operation: Silent. A small cooling fan activates when charging
  • Sockets: 120V 2A two-pin, 12V DC 8.3A, Two 5V USB-A.
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds (2.99 Kg)
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: $249

Pros

  • Lightweight enough that you could carry it into the wilderness.
  • Portable, with a wide handle and small enough to fit in a backpack.
  • Good choice of power sockets.
  • Excellent voltage smoothing.

Cons

  • 120-volt socket low power would only run a cool box.
  • Difficult to recharge at night when the battery dies at night unless you have a car nearby.

 

4. Paxcess Portable Camping Generator

Paxcess Portable Camping Generator

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Paxcess Portable Camping Generator is a power station aimed at those that can not live without a portable device. Paxcess has packed a huge 78-amp hour battery into this 7-pound generator for camping. There is a handle, which will fold down. It has a built-in light to read by. And there is a wireless charging plate on top of the station, compatible with Qi-enabled devices.

The station has a single 110-volt socket for 2-pin (and 3-pin) style plugs, rated for standard 330-watt appliances. And there are 700 watts of peak protection to cope with surges from small refrigeration pumps. This voltage is created with a pure sine wave converter that produces a smooth AC supply. There are three 3.0 USB sockets for fast charging smart devices and one USB-C for a compatible laptop so that you do not have to use an adapter.

In addition, the 12-volt socket comes with two 5-amp sockets and a single 10-amp car style socket. Charging can be done at 12 or 24 volts, depending on whether you use the supplied adapter or a solar panel. Information on charging, power usage, from the DC and AC power sockets, and battery status are visible on an LCD display.

Highlights

  • Rating:
  • Power: Starting 700W — Continuous 330W
  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Capacity: 78-amp hours
  • Run-Time: 2 hours at 140 watts
  • Noise Level — Normal Operation: Silent. A small cooling fan activates when charging
  • Sockets: 120V 6A three-pin, 12V DC 10A, 3 x 3.0 USB, 1 x 5V USB-C.
  • Weight: 7.1 pounds (3.22 Kg).
  • Warranty: 1.5 years
  • Price: $299

Pros

  • More power than you can use in a day on charging your smart devices.
  • A more charging sockets than you could need.
  • It is not lightweight, but it is manageable.
  • Smooth power supply.

Cons

  • It will take 5-6 hours to recharge on fast charge at 24 volts, 8 hours at 12 volts.
  • No powerful enough to run a small fridge, it will have enough power for some cool boxes.

 

5. Rockpals Portable Camping Generator

Rockpals Portable Camping Generator

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

When you look at the Rockpals Portable Camping Generator, the word “compact” comes to mind. The Rockpals does have a flexible handle, but it is also a good size to fit into the bottom of a backpack. There are two 110-volt AC sockets each is universal to accept plugs from different countries. And two 2.0 USB ports to charge smart devices without having to waste energy converting power to AC.

AC production through a Pure Sine Wave inverter ensures that the voltage is consistent and clean. And for charging, there are the options of the DC car adapter, an AC adapter, or you can plug an optional solar panel into the charger port. It will take around 8 hours to charge from flat on the AC charger.

If you need a 12-volt supply, there are four 5-amp sockets at the rear of the machine, with pin style sockets. You will have the chance of good sleep while charging your devices. The unit is near silent apart from a cooling fan, which will only activate in hot conditions or on fast charging. And on the side of the machine are a row of battery indicators displaying charge in increments of 20%.

Highlights

  • Rating:
  • Power: Surge 300W — Continuous 250W
  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Capacity: 64.8-amp hours
  • Run-Time: 2 hrs. @ 120 watts
  • Noise Level — Normal Operation: Silent, a small cooling fan activates when charging
  • Sockets: two 120V 3A (three-pin), four 12V DC 4A, Two 2.0 USB 3.1 amps.
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds (2.49 Kg).
  • Warranty: 1.5 years

Pros

  • Simple and anyone can figure out how to use it.
  • Lightweight enough to be carried a few miles.
  • Large battery.
  • Smooth power supply.

Cons

  • It does not have a flashlight.
  • The rocker-style power switch may accidentally turn on if carried in a bag.

 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Portable Generator for Camping

Outdoor Portable GeneratorWhen choosing a portable camping generator, there are a few different factors that you should consider. It is important to think about the amount of power needed, size, generator type, and noise levels.

Size and Power Requirements

The necessary size and power requirements come down to the type of camping you do. For an RV, you will want to have the biggest generator that you can afford to power all the appliances, such as fridges and televisions. They are going to be noisier, so you would want a long power cable to place it as far from you as possible.

Tent camping is a different beast, and a small power station that you can charge with solar is preferable. You can afford more space and weight if you will be sleeping near your vehicle. And get something that you are prepared for. If gasoline seems too much of a hassle, get a battery station.

Type of Generator

There are a few different types of portable generators. Some have batteries that must be recharged via an AC power source, while other generators charge via solar panels. And, of course, most larger generators require fuel.

If you only plan to charge small electronic devices and cell phones, then solar powered generators are a great option to consider. On the other hand, if you are powering appliances, you will definitely want to opt for a larger, fuel-powered generator. In that case, you will likely have to bring extra fuel with you.

Noise Level

Another important factor to consider is how noisy the generator is. If you are on a dedicated campsite with other campers nearby, it is a good idea to get a generator that is as quiet as possible. Generators that are powered by fuel or gasoline tend to be quite loud, while battery powered generators are essentially silent. 

Noise level is measured in “decibels”. For reference, an average vacuum cleaner operates at around 70 decibels, while a typical suburban street measures around 44 decibels. If you decide to choose a generator that runs on fuel, be sure to look at the decibel levels. If it is too loud, it can make sleeping difficult.

Additional Tips

Even with a dependable generator, it is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of an emergency. Anytime you travel or camp in a secluded area, we recommend bringing along a portable emergency weather radio, especially if you plan to be far from your vehicle.

 

 

Portable Camping Generator FAQs

What level of portable generator noise can I camp and sleep near?

A food blender will make around 88 decibels, a vacuum cleaner 70 decibels, your typical quiet suburb with tweeting birds 44 decibels. The chances are that in a large RV park, everyone will be running a generator of some kind, so why not join the party.

If you are selling in the RV with the air-conditioner running, a 70-decibel generator for camping is not going to be noticed. When sleeping in a tent, you want to have complete silence.

What is the safest type of camping generator for my electronics?

A battery-station will have the smoothest power generation and the most consistent amperage. Gas generators do have many redundancies to smooth out the voltage spikes, and if you have the fuel, they will keep running.

Are parallel connections safe with portable camping generators?

Not all generators will like it if you start wiring them together. You should only connect units that state that they are parallel capable. Units need to be the same brand, and manufacturers that do make parallel cable sets specific to the task.

 

 

Final Thoughts

A portable camping generator is a great investment. A generator can really bring the comforts of home to the campsite, allowing you to charge and use electronic devices and appliances. If you enjoy car camping, we definitely recommend considering a portable generator.  Overall, our top choice for the best portable camping generator is the Wen 56200i Generator. It is dependable, powerful, and extremely quiet; it is a perfect addition for your next family camping trip. 

 

Happy Camping!

Is there a different generator that you love to use on your camping trips? We’d love to try it out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here