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.