When it comes to shopping for a generator for your camping and overlanding needs, there are loads of options.
You can get propane generators, gas or diesel generators, and even inverter generators. You can buy a small generator that puts out 800 watts, a larger one with 1,500 watts, or a huge one that gives you 3,000 watts or more of power. Of course, there are generators from a wealth of different companies, too.
I’ve tested quite a few generators over the years from different manufacturers that offer different levels of power output and use a variety of fuels.
Last year, I got an ALP 1000-watt propane generator and it has been my go-to generator ever since. It has proven to be a perfect fit for my particular needs for the types of power requirements I have for my camping and overlanding trips.
I’ve already done a complete review of this generator, so in today’s article, I want to focus on three specific things you should know about propane generators.
Propane Generators Burn Cleanly
I’ve done my fair share of camping in the past with a gas-powered generator, and there’s no way that you can argue that those things burn cleanly.
Now, I’m not saying that gas generators are bad, I’m simply saying that propane generators burn much more cleanly.
For starters, burning propane produces less pollution than gas (or diesel, for that matter). Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also better for your lungs!
Another component of this is that there is less carbon monoxide produced by a propane generator than a comparable gas or diesel model. This doesn’t mean that CO still isn’t a concern – you absolutely shouldn’t run a propane generator indoors – but there is at least a lot less CO produced.
Propane generators often get better fuel economy than gas or diesel generators as well. This means that you might get longer performance out of the same amount of fuel when you’re burning propane. And since propane doesn’t degrade like gas or diesel, you can stock up on fuel and let it sit until you’re ready to use it.
You might wonder how long will a generator run on propane? Well, my ALP propane generator can run for about three hours on a one-pound tank or 60 hours on a 20-pound tank. I do quite a bit of camping and overlanding, but that kind of operating time covers me for multiple weekend trips. You can’t do that with gas or diesel unless you take a lot of fuel.
You’ll Appreciate the Quiet
In my experience, my propane generator runs quieter than any of the gas-powered generators I’ve had over the years.
And from conversations with some RV friends, propane tends to be quieter than diesel-powered generators as well.
Now, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in using my ALP propane generator, I can tell you for sure that you can stand next to it as it’s running and still be able to carry on a conversation without yelling. Is it completely quiet? No. But it isn’t so loud that you worry about damaging your ears or disturbing other campers!
This generator runs at less than 52 dBA, which makes it a perfect option for camping and overlanding.
Propane Generators Offer Easy Power
Another aspect of propane generators that I’ve learned over the last year of having one in my overlanding setup is that they offer easy power.
By this, I mean that I don’t have to worry about fuel storage. I don’t have to worry about fuel spillage, either – there’s no refilling gas tanks, getting gas on your hands, or smelling up camp or your trailer’s underbelly storage with gas fumes.
There’s no concern that the gas can tips over and leaks everywhere. I don’t have to worry about water in the fuel or using the fuel up before winter hits.
Instead, I can take my propane canisters to the hardware store in the spring, get them all filled up, and store them out of the way in my shop until I need them. It’s just an easier and cleaner process.
Now, I understand that propane generators aren’t for everyone. My little ALP propane generator isn’t going to power the A/C unit in my parent’s RV. But, for my setup with a Turtleback Expedition Series Trailer and a Torro Offroad Rooftop Tent, 1000 watts of power is plenty of juice for my needs. And if the power ever goes out at home, I’ve got a good option for charging devices, powering my laptop, running shop lights, or even running the refrigerator for a few hours.
So, if you’re in the market for a new generator, consider these benefits as reasons to put a propane generator on your short-list of possibilities.