Monday, August 15, 2022


Nice neighbors but noisy generator – What to do?

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We were recently camping in Yellowstone in one of our favorite, usually quiet campgrounds. Unfortunately, we ended up next to a lovely couple with a very noisy generator. I don’t think it even had a muffler. During the summer season it is combat camping and moving was not an option. We were lucky to get the spot we had.

Our real dilemma was that we liked these people very much and could not bring ourselves to complain about the noise. They seemed to be having a problem keeping their batteries charged. My husband hinted around that we have solar panels but they seemed happy with the old generator in the back of their pickup. Should we have just come right out with our grievance or suffer in silence as we did? —Double Digit Decibel in Dubois

Dear Double Digit:
First, a few thoughts that might help you avoid the problem in the future. Most campgrounds do allow generators but some offer loops that are generator free. Also, generator users should be following the quiet hour rules. Many campgrounds now post hours that generators can be operated. If you have neighbors that are not following these guidelines you have every right to voice your protest to the individual or campground host.

When you end up stuck in a situation like you experienced in Yellowstone and you have nice neighbors that are following generator use rules, you might consider a hike or ranger program during the hours they are charging. When forming a relationship with noisy campground neighbors, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

This scenario is becoming less of an issue as the newest generation of generators are whisper quiet, solar panels continue to drop in price, and more RV manufacturers are beginning to offer panels on new model rigs. A noisy generator generally does not annoy many boomer campers. They lost their hearing years ago at Woodstock. “Wish you could have been there.” —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

While solar is a great replacement for generators, it’s a lot more expensive. If you want ENOUGH solar to always be usable it’s even MORE expensive. So a good quality generator is the next best thing. Believe it or not, Harbor Freight (GASP!) has just come out with a much higher quality, less expensive line of their Predator generators that rival Honda (the benchmark of generators, I know) for quietness and efficiency – and of course, for much less money. For the record, we have both, solar and a new, quiet generator.

Connie Madia
4 years ago

We are volunteer campground host in Yellowstone. I second the shrink’s advice to contact the host, especially if you aren’t comfortable telling the noisy but nice neighbor about their generator. Every campground which allows generators in YNP has defined hours. They are 8am to 8pm. At our campground we make rounds shortly after 8 to make sure generators are off (and food is stored properly, fires and dogs are attended). Taking care of our camper’s need is what we are (not) paid for!

Susan Callihan
4 years ago
Reply to  Connie Madia

Not to mention that the couple who wrote of the issue are not the only ones bothered by the generator. Everyone around the generator hears it, but most don’t say anything.

Greg Illes
4 years ago

I’ve refined my solar system to the point that I don’t even carry a generator any more. Matter of fact, I rarely plug in even when hookups are available. Sadly, my own independence seems to have made me even more sensitive to generator noise . Boondocking and USFS/BLM camps (where sites are far apart) has been the only answer for me.

chris p hemstead
4 years ago

They should. It’s part of being a good neighbor. It’s totally rude and irresponsible to bring a clatter-trap generator to a campground.

Lynn Hudgens
4 years ago

If you are in a campground and not boondocking, it is the campground managers/hosts to enforce rules and keep the peace. Ask them to handle it quietly and without identifying you as a complainer. It won’t be their first time to handle it.

Brian Holmes
4 years ago

It`s simple if your going to play you HAVE to pay. The quiet generators are expensive but a necessary expense if your going to be near other people. I know you find it scary but talk to your wife about it.

Mike & Louise Bacque
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian Holmes

Couldn’t say it better. Don’t understand why people believe construction generators are a good idea in a campground.

4 years ago

Too many people buy cheap contractor type generators at Home Depot or Lowes. They are very noisy in use.

frater secessus
4 years ago
Reply to  Darrel

Those wacky people. Why doesn’t everyone have enough money to spend 2x-3x the price to get a quieter generator? Sounds like poor planning to me.


Lee Ensminger
4 years ago

Frater, if you can’t afford one of these, and just bring your ratty contractor generator because you’re one of those people who don’t care about anyone but themselves, maybe the RV lifestyle isn’t for you. No sarcasm was employed in this statement.

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