Monday, January 30, 2023


Campground etiquette: PLEASE turn off that noisy generator!

As a campground host, after having camped next to three different campers this week who left their noisy generators running ALL day long and had to be told to turn them off at the quiet, no generator hours, I am hoping that these folks are all newbies and just don’t understand the etiquette of keeping the noise and the gas fumes to a minimum. As more and more people are camping and electric sites are harder to get, I have noticed a significant uptick in generator use.

Last night, I needed to tell a camper in a pop-up that had their generator running all day long that it was lights out at ten. I had already had a complaint about the noise and fumes but couldn’t do anything about it until quiet hours. As I approached the camper I realized that the generator was on so their child could continue to watch cartoons and may have been why the generator ran all day. Seemed like a bit of a waste of the great outdoor camping experience, but I can’t be too judgmental as we do watch the news every evening… but without our generator running.

In an ideal world, the generator is just used to charge up batteries for a short time or allow a high-voltage appliance to run for a short time.

(Noisy) generator etiquette

  • Use the generator for the minimum amount of time needed.
  • Turn refrigerator to propane, if so equipped.
  • Learn to read your charging panel. The house batteries do not need to be maintained at full charge.
  • If charging house batteries, bring them up to a rate that will last through night. Start the generator early enough in the evening to not disturb others.
  • If there are no house batteries to charge and you’re not using the AC or other major appliances, turn the generator off, particularly when leaving the RV for an extended time.
  • Invest in a quiet generator – many are available on the market. They usually use “quiet” in the name. However, “quiet” on one may be a lot louder than “quiet” on another. Honda, Wen, Champion and Westinghouse are all popular generators. This is a good one. Cheaper is not better when purchasing a generator. An open frame contractor generator is too loud! Do your research and purchase the quietest one with the lowest decibels you can afford. You will be happier in the long run and so will the campers around you.
  • There are a multitude of portable solar charging products that can provide power to charge phones, tablets, etc. There are also a number of solar lights available. When we are boondocking, the first thing I do is set out the solar charger and solar-powered lights to soak up the free and quiet sun rays.
  • CPAP machine essential? There are rechargeable batteries available to run it through the night without using a generator or depleting the house batteries.
  • Observe generator quiet hours.
  • Respect the “no generators allowed” camping areas.
  • Safety first! Make sure the generator exhaust is pointed away from your RV and away from other campers’ tents and RVs.


RVelectricity: Please don’t bring a noisy generator to the quiet outdoors

RVelectricity – Generator Noise Pollution – Part 1

RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Is there a cheap and quiet generator?



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Deborah Mason
1 month ago

We dry camp several times a year in close quarters when we take our dogs to Agility trials. We got a Genturi setup so we don’t worry about the exhaust getting into our rig or a neighbor’s. It redirects the exhaust above roof level of our class A. Doesn’t help with the noise, but we’re all there for the same thing & all do what we can to keep the dogs safe & comfortable.

Joseph Phebus
1 month ago

Campgrounds need to implement strict rules banning open “contractors” generators. These generators belong on construction sites, not in campgrounds and spaces that are shared with others.

We’ve invested in adequate solar and batteries that we rarely run our onboard generator and only for a couple hours at most if absolutely necessary. I understand this is a luxury for some folks and we are fortunate. But, if you can’t afford solar, you at least need to be conscious and considerate of neighbors and use an appropriate generator with minimal noise. If you can afford to buy an RV, you should at least be able to spend the few extra bucks for a low decible generator.

1 month ago

I appreciate it when a campground has specified, limited generator hours, such as 9-11 am and 6-8 pm rather than anytime outside quiet hours.
I had a stay ruined last year because the campers on either side of me (together, running matched sets of generators & trailers), ran their generators pretty much all day, including when they weren’t there. I couldn’t enjoy sitting in camp, can only hike or explore for so long, and couldn’t leave, since my husband was off backpacking.
Camp host commented on it, but didn’t realize there were campgrounds that limited generators to more specific hours.

7 months ago

It really doesn’t matter how quiet or eco-friendly your generator is. If you (or your neighbors) are there for the whisper of the pines and the smell of clean fresh air, that generator will obliterate both!

Bill Braniff
7 months ago

I can understand peoples frustrations with a generator running all night. I don’t like it either, but I have to use a c pap and an oxygenator at night time, or I may not wake up? Am I supposed to give up camping because there are a few persons who would be disturbed by my generator? hmmmm? As a side note I am a 100 % disabled combat Vietnam Veteran.
I am really curious for remake on this. To be honest, I do have my own land on the mighty Penobscot River in Maine, so I don’t go to campgrounds because of the no generator rules.

Bill Braniff

1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Braniff

If you didn’t have your own land, I would say that because of the medical need for power, you should be camping either in a campground with power or boondocking with no one around you. If you’re at a place without electric and other campers, they have paid to be there too and deserve quiet time. Beautiful area your land is!

Rolling Coal
7 months ago

I guess we’ve been lucky and not experienced too many generators running all day and night, but when we have, most folks have been reasonable. Our biggest peeve is those who insist upon lighting up their campsite as if it’s the home field for a Dodgers night game! Please people, turn those lights off at a reasonable hour. If you’re that paranoid about being in a dark campsite, perhaps this is not the past-time for you.

9 months ago

My generator runs at 58 db, which is the same level as our rooftop AC. It is quieter then people drinking and/or enjoying themselves around a campfire and much quieter then a crying baby, barking dog, idling truck, children playing or the many other things that take place in a campground and that should be expected. We have been full time RVers for 4 years and I for one am getting tired of people telling what camping etiquette is because their way and opinion is all superior and knowledgeable. If the campground rules are being followed and quiet times are being respected then, “Let It Go!” Worry about yourself, camp your way and please let others camp the way that brings them happiness and joy. If this is too much, then your RV is on wheels, just move on down the road.

K Kelley
7 months ago
Reply to  TreysUniverse

I’m going to disagree with you on a few points. I would like to keep this as a discussion and not an argument, as allot of people these days want to turn a counter view point into a fight. If the park rules state that there are certain hours in which generators are to be operated, than that seems pretty straight forward to me. If we start making exceptions for low noise levels (dB) than there will be arguments in respect to what constitutes low noise levels. No generators after X-hour means No generators. Beside depending on the wind direction, the fumes are still going to have to drift somewhere, which is normally in my direction (go figure)
In respect to “Just move on down the road” I normally have to register for a site months in advance. Chances of finding a site down the road are pretty slim. Besides if I’m following the rules than I shouldn’t have to move, the rule breakers should have to move.
Last point. The campers who break the rules are only half the problem. The other half being the employees who won’t enforce the rules. Someone running their generator all night irritates me, but not nearly to the extent as to those employees (not all of them) who continue to drive by the offenders and refuse to do anything about it.

Enjoy yourselves out there.

7 months ago
Reply to  K Kelley

I agree with you. When you start making exceptions, other campers’ experiences are ruined. When the campground owners allow late night arrivals, partying during quiet hours, allowing kids to run all over the campground unsupervised, etc. it becomes intolerable. Last weekend we had a kid about 8 years old racing his bike around the campground after 9 p.m. He was unsupervised. I was walking my dog and he wiped out as he rounded a curve. He had a nice road rash and was now screaming at the top of his lungs. It took us 20 minutes to find out where his site was. His parents had already gone to bed and said, “He was just riding his bike. What harm could he do?” Really? Common courtesy and individual responsibility has completely left the country.

Roger V
1 month ago
Reply to  K Kelley

The OP said very clearly “If the campground rules are being followed and quiet times are being respected then, “Let It Go!””. He’s not talking about breaking any rules at all. He’s just saying if everyone is following the rules, mind your own business.

1 year ago

Would love to hear what everyone has to say about using a generator to stay warm during freezing temps.

Jonathan Schloo
1 year ago

All excellent reasons why is a cleaner quieter easier solution. And when you leave for the day of course you take your generator with you!

1 month ago

OK, you’re forgetting one very important thing! You have to run your vehicle at idle for this car generator to work! What comes out of your car exhaust pipe? Carbon Monoxide. Not a cleaner method than a generator, and by some standards, not any quieter. Just Saying!….

Warren G
1 month ago
Reply to  Ran

A vehicle exhaust is much cleaner than that of a generator.

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 year ago

You havnt seen anything yet. The mallenials are one selfish bush, so get ready for some good ole fashioned donnybrooks.

1 month ago

I’m a boomer and I see a LOT of other boomers that need a few lessons in etiquette both in and outside of the campground. It’s not as generational as all us boomers make it out to be.

1 year ago

Many older campgrounds have less than adequate electric capacity
We ve had repeat issues w the power tripping out on several different trips
Blazing hot weather and all the food etc
Self preservation… quiet inverter generator solves a bad situation for the weekend
Our last outing the power was tripping out and 6 sites would lose power
We re buying the the champion inverter generator
Its our money and weekend to enjoy

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl

Survival of the fittest, eh!

Syndee montgomery
1 year ago

Yes..after hours if its not used for a illness emergency its off..after hours. Rude

Darryl Harlin
1 year ago

This makes me want to upgrade to a V8 powered generator with open headers so when I am allowed to run it by the overlords, I get my full enjoyment out of it.

Wanda Henning
1 year ago

I have been to some federal campgrounds and they have strict generator hours. For example, Zion National Park’s South Campground has generator hours from 8 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 8 pm. I’ve been to others that have the same. Your campground may want to institute such a rule instead of only during quiet hours.

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 year ago
Reply to  Wanda Henning

Here’s the difference. Federal campgrounds have uniformed police, and you are on Federal Land. Try and “reason with them” 🙂

1 year ago

I was on a FB group for a while where there were those who believed if they were boondocking or in a campground with no hookups they were free to run their generators day and night if they wanted. If their fumes were going into someone else’s rig that was their problem if they were there first. I left the group – could not stand how rude and inconsiderate so many were.

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 year ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

Just curious, were they senior citizens?

Dennis G.
1 year ago

We run our generator occasionally, when camping. Normally not over 2 hours a day, even during the winter dry-camping to replenish the batteries from the furnace overnight. Our generator is very quiet, and is well below the 60 decibels at 50 feet.

We also respect generator hours, and expect the same from others during quiet hours.

With that said, the war over generators is getting like talking politics. No one is listening to the other, and assuming everyone is selfish.

Sorry, we don’t have an inverter, solar, or lithium batteries,….yet. We are saving up to make the plunge. Have estimated our cost to be around $5-6 thousand for the 400 watts solar, 2000 watt inverter, wiring, labor, and 300Ah of Lithium batteries.

So please, be nice.

1 year ago
Reply to  Dennis G.

You’re not the target of the complaints. 2 hours to keep your charge is just peachy fine. Nanci is talking about people running their units day and night, hours on end, often just to run televisions.

Mary Martin
1 year ago

We dry camp , have solar and CPAP machines. We carry a generator for emergency’s and have never had to use it. Our trailer has over 40,000 miles on it in 6 years.

We find that people are so used to luxuries they just can’t do without. Television, Keurig machines, Mr Coffee , and instapots to name a few. What has happened to getting away from it all?

People are selfish today and think of their needs and wants more then their neighbors, do not value rules “I do what I want” attitudes. It is forcing many people to just not want to camp anymore. It is very rude as well.

Diane Mc
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Martin

We are getting away from it all. All the requirements of our S&Bs. Plus we get to see this beautiful country. Maybe not the same way you do, which is ok. Personally, even though our generator is quiet, we prefer to only use it when we have to. We dry camp when we go to the races, at Daytona for 10 days. Observe the posted hours for generator use. But, yes, we like our coffee from our Keurig first thing in the morning. Just like at home. Once we are done we turn off generator and only run it if we need the microwave or to charge up batteries for over night. We never thought we were camping. We are traveling the country in our mobile home.

John S
1 month ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

There are non-electric versions of a Keurig coffee maker which operate similar to a French press – only requires hot water and some muscles. Along the same line, there are heaters which do not need electricity (Mr. Heater, Olympian Wave). Just be sure to use safely. Not sure about Cpap machines or oxygenators(?), but for many “necessary” electricity using appliances, there are options available.

Carson Axtell
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Martin

Today, too many folks seem to equate “wants” with “rights” and resent anyone suggesting that they curtail any of either. A “house divided” by too many selfish, individualistic members cannot stand much longer…

1 month ago
Reply to  Carson Axtell

United we stand, divided we fall is still applicable.

1 year ago

Running a generator to watch TV is like killing flies with a bazooka. I wish more campers knew what an inverter is.

Last edited 1 year ago by chris
1 year ago

Just shut off my generator. That first cup of coffee is a must.

Mary Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken

Try a percolator. 😊 Better coffee for sure and blissful quiet for you
And your neighbors.

Michael Galvin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken

Try Melitta. Uses the propane stove. Great coffee.

John S
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

There are non-electric versions of a Keurig coffee maker which operate similar to a French press – only requires hot water and some muscles. Along the same line, there are heaters which do not need electricity (Mr. Heater, Olympian Wave). Just be sure to use safely. Not sure about Cpap machines or oxygenators(?), but for many “necessary” electricity using appliances, there are options available.

Scott R. Ellis
1 year ago

There is nothing special about those “special CPAP batteries” except the price. Use the house batteries or a dedicated 12v deep cycle battery and the cord available from your CPAP machine supplier. If you can go without the heat/humidity, you can go several nights on one modest battery. CPAPs are NO excuse for obnoxious generator behavior.

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