By Dave Helgeson
Carrying a generator with a travel trailer can be problematic. Many end up placing the generator in the bed of their pickup truck. But some pickup owners don’t want to give up their bed space, and those towing with an SUV are unable to carry a generator safely in their vehicle due to gasoline fumes entering the passenger compartment. Unless you convert one of your exterior storage compartments into a generator compartment, like those on a fifth wheel or motorhome, you’re left with two choices: The bumper or the trailer tongue.
Mounting on the bumper is a poor choice as it leaves your generator subject to rear-end collision damage from other drivers, or you backing your trailer into something. In addition, the weight of a generator bouncing up and down on the back of the trailer can cause frame separation from the chassis.
That leaves the trailer tongue as the only logical choice. Some companies are offering an unsightly rack that will carry a generator atop your LP tanks, but there is a better way. Mount it above your battery boxes behind your LP tanks like I did using the following method:
1) Build a small “table” out of rebar and small angle steel which spans the battery boxes. (Photo above right) The feet of the table rest on the angle steel of the battery tray. I topped it with some plywood with a cutout inset to keep the generator from sliding. (Photo left) Conversely, you could use bolt heads as cogs in the hollow generator feet to keep it from sliding.
2) Place the “table” over the battery boxes.
3) Place the generator on the table.
4) Route a ratcheting tie-down strap over the top of the generator and under the battery rack. Ratchet tight to anchor the table and generator to the trailer tongue. Run a locking cable through the generator handle and through the trailer frame to prevent theft.
5) Top off the whole works with an inverted Rubbermaid or similar container secured with bungees to keep rain and dust away. (Photo right)
The space available behind the LP tanks will vary between manufacturers and models, possibly limiting the size of generator you can carry.