Friday, January 28, 2022


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 this year.

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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2 months ago

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

Jonathan Schloo
5 months 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!

BILLY Bob Thronton
5 months ago

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

5 months 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
5 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Survival of the fittest, eh!

Syndee montgomery
5 months ago

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

Darryl Harlin
5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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” 🙂

5 months 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
5 months ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

Just curious, were they senior citizens?

Dennis G.
5 months 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.

5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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.

Carson Axtell
5 months 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…

5 months 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 5 months ago by chris
5 months ago

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

Mary Martin
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken

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

Michael Galvin
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken

Try Melitta. Uses the propane stove. Great coffee.

Scott R. Ellis
5 months 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.

5 months ago

If the campground posts that generators are allowed during certain hours and not during others, I would find it difficult to complain about the choices others make as long as they’re not violating the rules.

Rey L.
5 months ago
Reply to  John


Donald N Wright
5 months ago

The folks at RVtravel admire the “cargenerator”, it looks like a great unit for limited use. However, there is still engine noise and the wonderful carbon monoxide drifting through the campground. How about a campground rule stating, “If generator is running, all the RV windows must be open”. Let them enjoy the smoke, stink and noise too.