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Sunday, May 19, 2024

How to Know If You Need a Camping Generator

Photo by sshepard via iStock

In the old days, campers didn’t really need electricity. They had no electrical devices to charge, and all the heating and cooking were done using gas.

However, things have changed. We now need electricity to keep most of our devices going and, in many cases, to stay warm or even cook.

Due to the increased demand, devices such as camping generators have become smaller and much more efficient. However, how do you know it’s time to get one for your camping setup?

Table of Contents 

A Camping Generator is Great for Long Trips

woman filling a gas can

Photo by adamkaz via iStock

The first sign that you need a camping generator is that you head on multi-day trips. 

For trips longer than a couple of nights in areas with no access to electricity, power banks, and other portable power stations will start to run out of juice – especially if you have a larger family with a lot of power needs. 

Granted, you can use a solar camping generator, but in areas with no sun, it can get difficult to recharge it without starting up your vehicle.

A normal camping generator will keep going as long as you can fill it up with fuel. Therefore, enabling you to use all your accessories for as long as you want.

A Camping Generator Can Keep You Warm or Entertained

Portable generator with rv trailer

Photo by sshepard via iStock

Another factor determining whether you need a camping generator is the number of accessories you use.  

For example, if you run an electric blanket or electric heater during winter, you need more power.

Items that produce heat are some of the most inefficient products one can use at camp. Therefore, they drain batteries quickly.

It also depends on how often you charge up phones and how many of them you have. 

A large solar generator will be enough for a single person who only charges a phone once a day and may use a heated blanket at night. 

However, when supporting a family, it will drain quickly. Therefore, a normal gas or propane-powered camping generator may be best.  

A Camping Generator Can Prolong Your Stay at Camp

Portable electric generator on the green grass outdoors

Photo by Dzurag via iStock

Sometimes we just find that epic camp spot and do not want to leave. Or, even if the camp spot isn’t perfect, you may be the type of person who just loves to spend time at a single spot rather than move about each day. 

In such instances, a solar camping generator may not last long enough, as staying at the same spot means you can’t charge via your vehicle when driving.

A propane camping generator will not have such an issue. You can stay at that camp spot for as long as you want without having to worry about electricity. If you have fuel, you will have power. 

Our Camping Generator of Choice


Image Credit: ALPGenerators

If you’ve decided it’s time to buy a camping generator, you’ll need to pick a good unit. The last thing you want is a noisy or unreliable generator.

In addition to reliability and quiet operation, you need something portable enough to be used for overlanding. All the gear we carry takes up space so the smaller the camping generator the better.

Based on the above criteria, our pick is the ALP 1000-Watt propane unit.

alp propane generator

Image Credit: ALPGenerators

The team’s personal experience with this model has been positive with great reliability, quiet operation, and portable packaging. 

We believe that propane as a fuel source is a big positive as there is no need to carry nasty gasoline in your truck. You just load the generator and a few canisters, depending on the time you will spend out, and off you go. 

The ALP-1000 is EPA & CARB approved, only weighs 30lb, can produce double the power through parallel ports, features pure sine-wave technology, and offers a 1-year limited warranty. 


Image Credit: ALPGenerators

Also, compared to other camping generators, it’s relatively quiet and very easy to start up. Keep in mind that if you do buy it, you’ll have to fill it up with oil as they ship them empty. The first oil change should be after 10 hours (break-in period) and then every 100 hours.

When it comes to ports, you get 2 USB-C and a couple of 120v sockets for larger items.

You get incredible run-time, too. With a 20lb tank, you can expect around 45hrs-50hrs, or more.


Image Credit: ALPGenerators

The fuel consumption can vary depending on the amount of load you put on the generator, the elevation you happen to be at, and the fact that the 20lb tanks are sometimes not filled all the way up.

For $529, you get a great package that will cover your needs to power your camp.

Camping Generator Final Thoughts 

Green ALP Generator

In some instances, a propane camping generator is the perfect solution. 

For large families with a variety of electrical products to run or for campers who love to stay at a single spot for multiple days, the propane generator will have you covered.

Granted, even quiet ones such as the ALP-1000 make some noise when running; however, it shouldn’t be much of an issue if you keep it far away.

If you have any further questions regarding the purchase of a camping generator or for any other off-road or overland-related topics, visit the forum section of the site!

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