The Best Camping Generators of 2021

Best Camping Generators
Image by Canva

Some people like to rough it when they’re camping. Others prefer to bring along the creature comforts of home. The best camping generators help you do both. Just because you bring a generator on your next camping trip doesn’t make your adventure any less legit. Nor does it mean you’re somehow glamping.

But camping generators do keep our devices charged up — for both safety and convenience. They’ll also power a small cook stove or run a space heater for when the weather turns cold — snow camping, anyone?

In this ranking, we’ll tell you the best camping generators in a variety of categories, including solar-powered generators and generators for campers, RVs, and trailers. Just keep reading to find the best camping generator for you.

Our Top Picks: Best Camping Generators

Power through this brief overview of what we liked about each generator in our ranking.

1. Honda EU3000iS 3000-Watt Portable Generator

The best generator for camping overall

Honda EU3000iS 3000-Watt Portable The best generator for camping overall

Manufacturer: Honda | Peak Watts: 3000 | Weight: 131 lbs | Capacity: 3.4 gallons | Run Time: 20 hours | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Leading off our ranking of the best generator for camping is the Honda EU3000iS. What put this generator in first place was its combination of power, efficiency, and a super long running time — up to 20 hours on less than 3.4 gallons of fuel!

Part of that fuel efficiency comes from inverter technology, eco-throttle, and automatic voltage regulation. The generator is also quiet, operating at less than 58 dB, commonly considered less than an average conversation. Perfect for a crowded campsite!

Ever worry about a dead car battery when you’re out in the middle of nowhere? The EU3000iS has you covered here, as well. That’s because the product comes with a DC outlet for charging 12-Volt automotive-type batteries — you’ll need the optional charging cord, however.

The generator is a tad heavy but is manageable for a strong-back or multiple people. Pick up a wheel kit for more effortless mobility. Those who’ve used it for camping call it the perfect camping accessory, quietly powering everything they need at the campsite with amazing run time.

  • Easily paralleled
  • Powered a 5th-wheel
  • Kept kids happy with video games on a camping trip

  • Pretty heavy
  • On the pricier side

2. Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-in-One Kit

The best eco-friendly camping generator

Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-in-One Kit The best eco-friendly camping generator

Manufacturer: Renology | Peak Watts: 1200 | Weight: 60 lbs | Capacity: Variable | Run Time: 1,075 watt-hours | Price: 💰💰💰💰

The green pick category is the best solar generator for camping, AKA the Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-in-One Kit. Weighing only 60 lbs, this unit offers up 1200 watts of power and about 1075 watt-hours of run time.

It comes with three 100W Renogy solar panel suitcases. It charges after a few short hours — from the panels, a wall socket, or even your car charging socket, your choice. No matter how you charge it, the generator provides enough juice to power most anything you might need around the campsite. But especially USB and AC appliances under 1200W.

Another reason to choose Renogy is its custom Lithium-Iron-phosphate battery, allowing up to 2000 cycles when fully charged. Portability is always a priority in a camping generator. Renogy also scores well in this regard, with a tough, durable handle and wheels.

Now let’s take a look at the generator alone; also sold separately, but why not pick up the panels while you’re at it. Happy campers love the pull-out handle and the ability to hook up extra lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries for added storage capacity.

Some even use it to power their CPAP machine while camping. There’s even a flood light built into the unit for when you’re out in the deep, dark woods.

  • Four AC outlets
  • Lithium Iron more stable w/ less power loss than Lithium-Ion
  • Light enough to pull a cooler in one hand, and the generator in the other

  • Loud internal fan
  • Display shows voltage and amps only, no output
  • Random shut-off issues, could be software related

3. Champion 3500 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Portable Generator

The best generator for camping trailers

Champion 3500 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Portable Generator

Manufacturer: Champion | Peak Watts: 3500 | Weight: 105 lbs | Capacity: 3.8 gallons | Run Time: 9-10.5 hours | Price: 💰💰

You’ll need a little more power if trailer or RV camping is more your style. With this in mind, our choice for the best generator for a camping trailer is the Champion 3500-watt portable generator. As well as offering up 3500 watts of power, the Champion is dual fuel. This means the generator takes both gas and propane, and runs better, longer, and more cheaply than its single fuel-source counterparts.

As if that weren’t enough, this Champion model is also an inverter, adding even more operational efficiency — throttling up power when you need it, but backing off when you don’t. Speaking of power, you can track voltage, hertz, and run-time hours using Intelligauge. The gauge also monitors your maintenance intervals.

Otherwise, the generator runs for nine hours on gas and 10.5 hours on propane. Change the fuel source safely and efficiently with Champion’s patented fuel selector switch. Although the generator isn’t light, that’s a bit less of a concern if you’re using it in a trailer or RV. Still, about 105 lbs isn’t bad, and there’s a wheel kit sold separately.

Those who’ve used it, in fact, call it perfect for a travel trailer, saying it’s powerful enough to run everything inside, including the AC. There’s also low fuel shut-off and cold start technology for those winter trips.

  • No “hardcore” configuration to switch fuels
  • Perfect fit for 30-foot travel trailer with 30-amp plug
  • Enough power for travel trailers that use 30A service

  • Too loud for some
  • Poor frame welds encountered
  • Requires a wheel kit to transport

4. Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator

The best inverter generator for camping

Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator

Manufacturer: Westinghouse | Peak Watts: 1200 | Weight: 33 lbs | Capacity: 0.8 gallons | Run Time: 9 hours | Price: 💰💰

We mentioned the benefits of an inverter generator a little earlier on, but to review: inverter generators throttle up power when you need, and save power when you don’t. Super efficient, just set it and forget it. Our choice for the best inverter generator is the Westinghouse iGen1200.

We chose the iGen because it’s very fuel-efficient and super quiet, with a variable speed engine running at only 52 dBA. Don’t miss the extra-insulated acoustic enclosure. There are also asymmetrical cooling fans and low tone mufflers.

It’s also light — only 33 lbs — which is always good in a camping generator, with a built-in carry handle for additional portability. On top of all that, the unit is EPA and CARB compliant, making it a good choice for the environment as well.

We were encouraged by reports that the generator is quiet and portable. Furthermore, there are accounts of the unit powering an RV and being powerful enough to keep devices charged on a camping trip. It’s also super affordable, and that’s never a bad thing.

  • Fits in the storage compartment of an RV
  • Parallels with other Westinghouse inverters
  • Good choice to charge batteries while camping

  • Not as quiet as some would like
  • Air cleaner cover difficult to remove
  • Oil capacity less than reported (tends to spill)

5. Sportsman 2200 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

The best small generator for camping

Sportsman 2200 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Manufacturer: Sportsman | Peak Watts: 2200 | Weight: 45 lbs | Capacity: 1 gallon | Run Time: 7 hours (at half load) | Price: 💰

Space is limited when you’re camping. Plus, you don’t want your generator to take up precious room for other equally important things — you know, like food. With this in mind, leading the field in the best small generators for camping is the 2200 Watt dual fuel inverter from Sportsman.

First off, just ’cause the generator is small doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. 2200 peak watts is a very respectable output for a unit weighing 45 lbs. At half load, the generator runs for seven hours. Do the math. That’s about 3.5 hours at full tilt. Not bad.

Also notable, it’s both dual fuel and inverter and runs at 53 dB with a carry handle. Happy campers use it to top off their RV power, calling it great for juicing up sensitive electronic devices when off-grid. We like the economy switch saving energy and fuel, as well as the low oil lights.

  • Easy to start and fill up
  • Sips fuel, starts on second or third pull
  • Weighs about as much as a case of beer

  • Some gas leak issues
  • Arc from DC adapter reported
  • Must remove four screws to change oil

6. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

The best quiet generator for camping

56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

Manufacturer: WEN | Peak Watts: 2000 | Weight: 50 lbs | Capacity: 1 gallon | Run Time: 9 hours (at quarter load) | Price: 💰💰

Nobody likes a serene campsite disrupted by a noisy generator. If running quiet is a priority for you, choose the WEN 56200i. This 2000 watt, 590 lb genny runs has a 1-gallon tank. WEN lists it at running on for nine hours at quarter load, or 3.6 hours on a 1600 watt load.

The generator is also EPA-III and CARB compliant, with an eco-mode that automatically adjusts fuel use. Always a plus if you’re as eco-minded as we are. It also easily parallels with another generator for when you need extra oomph, with easy-to-see oil, overload, and output lights. We like the three-in-one, off, on, and choke switch, in particular.

But you’re here because you want something quiet. So in that regard, the 56200i runs at 53 dB at quarter load. That’s estimated to be about the average volume of a conversation. The proof is in the pudding, though, so don’t just take our word for it.

Volume-minded campers who’ve used the WEN call it REALLY quiet, offering superb quality, with color options that simply look great in the outdoors. Others say it does everything it’s advertised to do.

  • Starting a non-issue
  • Unit equipped with a USDA-approved spark arrestor
  • Economy mode engage via rocker, allowing for adjustable fuel consumption

  • Some report a high pitch “tinny” sound
  • Must remove all sides and gas tank to clean the carburetor
  • Important to open the carburetor drain screw before long term storage

What to Look for in the Best Camping Generators

Best Camping Generator in Grass
Image by Aleksandr Potashev / Canva

Up next, we’ll tell you a bit more about what to look for in the best generators for camping.

1. Peak Watts

Choosing peak watts depends a lot on what you’ll use your generator for, of course. Still, most experts agree about 2000 watts is a reliable baseline for camping.

2. Weight

Camp generators need to be portable, and they shouldn’t take up too much space. So size and weight count for a lot. We chose the lightest generators possible for our list, but keep in mind — a full gas and oil tank can add about six lbs.

3. Fuel capacity & Run Time

These two go hand and hand. Everybody wants a generator that runs for a long time and doesn’t require a ton of gas and oil. In this regard, it’s important to look beyond the product description. Scope out the consumer reviews, and choose a model that’s consistently efficient.

4. Price

You probably don’t want to spend quite as much money on a camping generator as you might on a generator to run your home in an emergency. Nevertheless, generators appropriate for camping cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Consider how you like to camp and budget accordingly.

Our Process

For this guide on camping generators, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and fifty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each generator. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 camping generators on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

If you enjoyed this read, sign up for our newsletter below and get special online shopping deals delivered straight to your inbox.


Further Reading

The Best Portable Generators for Home
The 10 Best Portable Generators for Home Use
Best Camping Hatchet
The 7 Best Camping Hatchets
Best Flashlight for Camping
The 7 Best Flashlight for Camping
Best Rooftop Tents
The 5 Best Rooftop Tents
Best Camping Cookware
The 9 Best Camping Cookware Sets
Best Outdoor Solar Lights
The 10 Best Outdoor Solar Lights