Generators for Camping: What You Need to Know
Whether you are heading on a camping trip in your camper trailer or a family holiday in your caravan, chances are you’ll be relying on a battery system at some point to provide power for your appliances… your batteries will get charge when your vehicle is running, but your battery juice will get used up by your appliances if you stay in an un-powered spot for a little while. You will be needing a generators for camping.
One way to recharge your battery system via your battery charger is through a portable inverter generator. Often a generator is a good backup to your solar setup. It is also such a convenient source of power as you can run all your appliances directly from the generator, and comes in especially handy if you want to run items that typically draw a bit more power such as kettles, washing machines, air-conditioners, blow dryers, microwaves etc.
Here at My Generator we have the best range of camping generators and our team of generator experts help customers everyday all over the country chose the best small generator for their camping or caravan holiday. Here we summarize the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions to help you when choosing an inverter generator for your trip:
1. For recreational uses, is the Honda or Yamaha better?
We get asked this a lot! Both Honda and Yamaha produce 2000W inverter generators, which lead the market for generators for camping. Both are great products with all the features you could hope for in a camping generator, and both come with four-year warranties and national approved service networks.
When you compare the models side by side, Yamaha comes out on top as being lighter, quieter and more fuel-efficient. There’s not much in it, but if you really want the best generators for camping, the Yamaha 2000W just takes the prize. Lucky for you, we’ve already done an in-depth comparison in our article Yamaha vs Honda 2000W generator.
2. Will a 2000-watt inverter generator be enough to run my camping equipment? I have a fridge, lights, battery charger and other small appliances like phone and laptop.
Generally, a 2000-watt inverter generator is sufficient to power these common camping appliances. However, it pays to be certain, as all appliances are different. The best thing to do is determine the amount of power needed to not only run the appliances you wish to use, but also the power required to start them. For many appliances, the starting output requirement can be up to three times (or more) greater than the continuous running power. You can find the exact starting and running wattage for your appliances in the product manual or on the appliance data plate.
Check out our easy buyers’ guide which explains how to work out which generators for camping size you need. Overall, a 2000 watt generator is a very common and popular size for camping applications – when you start looking at running high wattage appliances like air-conditioners, microwaves etc., then you may need to consider a larger generator model such as the Yamaha EF2400iS or even the Briggs & Stratton P3400.
3. Can I charge my battery pack from the generator?
The short answer is yes. Inverter generators come with DC outlets (and some have 12V charging cables included). However, it is strongly recommended that you use a battery charger to charge your battery pack. The DC charge from the generator is not regulated, so it is much safer and effective to connect a battery charger to your generator, and then connect the charger to your battery pack.
Charging cables can be used directly to provide a small trickle of power for a short period of time – such as starting a car battery – but here again, the best option is to connect a suitable battery charger between the generator and your battery. Our most popular generators for camping models for charging batteries whilst camping are the Yamaha EF1000iS and the Yamaha EF2000iS, whilst Cromtech also produces inverter generators that are an option for infrequent recreational reserve power.
4. Should I opt for the cheap Chinese Generator or pay extra for the Premium Brand Generator?
Some of the latest Chinese manufactured generators, including brands such as Cromtech, can be a good budget option. Cutting to the chase, these generators for camping are mainly designed for infrequent use. If you need a generator ‘just in case’ for the occasional camping/caravan trip to top up your batteries if solar power is running low, then you can save yourself several hundred dollars and consider a budget generators for camping. These budget Chinese brands do not often come with the long warranties or national service network of the premium brands. However, Cromtech is the exception to the rule – it has a 1-year warranty but is backed by Australian manufacturers, Crommelins, so has the backing of an award-winning national service network. This makes all the difference.
However, if you intend to use your camping generator more frequently, then we suggest a premium brand such as Yamaha – they are built to handle more intensive use and you get a longer 4 year warranty, along with a national service network of over 200 accredited service agents around the country you would expect from a premium brand.
If you are looking for a model in between a premium and budget option, we highly recommend checking out the Briggs and Stratton inverter generator range. These generators come with a 3 year warranty, national service agent support and are the true middle ground between price, power and performance! They have three different generator capacities to suit a range of different applications:
Looking to power a few appliances while camping? Check out the Briggs & Stratton 2400W Inverter Generator.
Do you have a caravan and want to run larger appliances including an air conditioner? Check out the Briggs & Stratton 3400W Inverter Generator.
What about a generator to power a coffee cart or home backup? Check out the Briggs & Stratton 6500W Inverter Generator.
5. What type of oil do you recommend for my camping generator? Where can I get the oil?
The best oil for your camping generator is 10W-30 or 10W-40 as specified in the product manual. You can buy this at any service station in Australia.
6. Is it possible to connect two generators to increase the power capacity?
It depends on the generator model. For example, you can connect two Yamaha EF2000iS generators or two Yamaha EF24000iS generators using a Parallel Kit. This will almost double the power output! If parallel connectivity is an option, it will be listed under the generator’s features. The Parallel kit is an optional extra – look for details under the Accessories list on the Yamaha product pages.
DeWalt offer a cheaper alternative to the Yamaha, with a combined 3500 Watts. The kit includes 2x 2200W Inverter Generators, parallel kit and a security cable lock to keep your generators safe!
If it’s a bigger alternative you’re chasing then we highly recommend the 2 x Briggs & Stratton 3400w Inverter Generators with Parallel Kit (Combined 4800 Watts).
7. If I am using my generator for camping use (not commercial use), am I fully covered under the domestic warranty period?
Yes. The domestic warranty period varies depending on the manufacturer and for inverter generators at My Generator; they range from tone to four-year consumer warranties. This covers recreational and camping use. You’ll find full details of the warranty in the owner’s manual, which can be downloaded from the product page on our website.
8. How do I best maintain the performance of my Camping Generator?
Check out this video – Pat Callinan answers this question perfectly:
For more information on Generators for Camping, you can check out the full range available at My Generator, or read the following related articles which may also be of help:
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.