Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Do you have a generator with you on your RV trips?

Do you bring along a generator on your RV trips? Maybe it’s built right in like in many (if not most) motorhomes.

But most towable RVs do not have a generator built in so a portable generator is often in order.

What about you? It may take a few seconds for the poll to load, so stand by.




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2 years ago

Everyone should have some sort of backup resource. A generator is a good choice. Obviously, so is solar when weather conditions are right. Wind turbines are so unpredictable due to changing wind conditions.

On-Board Generators:

We have a 6500W on-board generator (and 1300W of solar and 400A of lithium batteries). Generators require maintenance in order to keep them in running condition. Batteries need recharging. Most manufacturers have some kind of minimum such as running a generator monthly for a couple of hours. That keeps the parts lubricated and some carburetors from gumming up. It also helps to use up older fuel and refill with fresh fuel. Considering running the generator while you’re driving to your next destination. Load it up by running the A/C, water heater, and refrigerator. Generators need a heavy load to burn off carbon build up and for charging batteries. Be sure to turn it off if you stop for fuel (before pulling up to the pumps).

And don’t forget de-rating factors for elevation and temperature. Usually 1% for every 10 degrees above 77. Usually 3.5% for each 1000′ above 500′. That 6500W (50 Amp) generator of ours can quickly end up at 4800W’s (40 Amps) or less.

Portable Generators:

If you have a portable unit, pick a time in the middle of the day if you’re not using it for extended periods after everyone is up and running thru the park. You’re likely to be less offensive. When you use it, be kind! If your portable, consider shielding around the generator to reduce noise. Give the unit plenty of space to emit heat though. Consider running it while in storage or at home for maintenance purposes.

Bob Amoroso
2 years ago

I too carry a Honda portable 2000 watt Generator as a back up. I also use it as I do not need a full 4000 watts unless I need to run the AC or other power hungry device. I use my 2000 watt with the ECO boost so it only puts out what I need and saves fuel. Not to mention it’s even quieter then the onboard (the onboard is quiet to a point).

3 years ago

Yes we have a built in generator however we put more hours on it during a three day power outage at home than in seven years of use in the motor home. Have a bit of solar and LED lighting and you are good for many days.
One of our pet peeves is a camper that parks next to us and starts their genny less than 10 minutes after arrival and just lets it run like they cannot exist without it, seems like they fear they can’t breathe. This is camping and that is why we carry batteries, enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors and leave the smelly noisy generator stowed until you really need it.

Greg Dalton
3 years ago

I have a 34′ motorhome which has an on-board generator. When there is no electricity available, I will use my 2000 watt portable generator and place it away from neighbors as much possible. I have made a 3 -sided cardboard shield covered with aluminum foil so rain doesn’t melt it, and when placed around the generator it reduces the sound further. I use it for keeping the ceiling fans going in the summer months, running my refrigerator to conserve propane, as well as for watching TV. Also, I use it to pump up my tires using my 12v air pump.

3 years ago

I don’t really feel that we need a generator. The battery will keep the fridge going overnight. We can use heated water, take a shower, cook, and we have some lighting. The battery charges the next day while we drive. If we’re staying for more than one night, I set up the solar panel (105W) that will replace what we used overnight. As long as we’re not in a total wash-out the solar works well. We always say, without hookups, the travel trailer is still better than a tent. At least we’re high and dry.

3 years ago

I always have a generator with. I have a 1000 watt honda that I carry as the “just in case” unit. It will run the RV with the exception of the AC and I will always have a way to run my air compressor if needed. I also have a 3500 watt HF Predator that we use if we are off grid.

I think the idea of the small geni along just in case is a cheap save. You can get a 700-1000 watt unit for a couple hundred if you go with the off brands and they all work in an emergency.

ReneeG from Idaho
3 years ago

Portable for us even though we could have installed a built in, in the front bay of our FW. Since we have a good solar system, the portable is all we needed for occasional use versus the weight and reduction in CCC a built in would’ve caused.

Ronald Pottol
3 years ago

I have an RV, previous owner took out the generator, but I’m planning on large solar, and I have a 100Ah 12v lithium battery already, for my minimal needs, engine charging and a tiny panel has been fine.

3 years ago

Not enough choices, my answer is yes to both. We have a built in generator and a smaller energy efficient portable for use if only charging batteries.

3 years ago

Although we have a built in generator in our class A, we’ve stopped using it in favor of a solar changed lithium ion power pack. With five 100 watt panels to the house batteries and the LI power pack, they provide enough power for everything we need without using our generator. Next up is a 400 or 500 watt wind turbine for days with there’s more wind than sun.

Prospector 1950
3 years ago

At the high prices they charge for generators – the answer is – “NO” – Not upon my small fixed monthly retirement income of less than a 1,000.00 per month, so I can’t afford one.

3 years ago

Perhaps you should rephrase the question to be more specific in the type of RV. As you said, most motorhomes have built in gensets but few if any tow rigs have them built in. This would make the poll more relevant.

I answered NO because I tow an RV without a unit built in. If I drove a motorhome it isn’t likely I would remove the genset prior to traveling, therefor I would have answer YES.

I think you were looking for how many people who do not have a generator built into their rigs transport a generator with them. Maybe I’m wrong., but that’s how I learn.

Rory Roberts
3 years ago

I answered yes to the gen question but I have added 4 200 watt solar panels to my rig to cut down my gen use

john arata
3 years ago

I carry both so when we are boondocking dont use so much gas with the on board generator

Bruce McDonald
3 years ago

I checked no, but that is because I don’t need to carry the sun with me. I am sure that we will eventually run into a time when it is not adequate, but our solar panels have filled the bill so far. It helps that most of our boon docking / dry camping is in the South and Southwest.

3 years ago

My husband just bought one this spring after 12 years of RVing…have not used it yet and just got home from 4 nights of boondocking but I think in the Fall when we dry camp but have to run heater it will come in handy.

3 years ago
Reply to  Debbie

We also have solar which we use

tom, KA4CSG
3 years ago

I have both a built-in and a portable genset. Being a licensed amateur radio operator, living in the Deep South with the threat of hurricanes 6 months of the year, you must be ready. As a member of Amateur Radio Emergency Service, I support our County and State Emergency Operations Centers. So far, I have deployed to 12 major hurricanes, the last one was Michael.
If you are not ready, get ready. For at least three days during and after a hurricane, you are responsible for yourself and your family. No one is coming for you.
P.S. Cell Phones are not the answer.
Mother Nature does not kid around.

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  tom, KA4CSG

Great advice, Tom. I can remember my grandfather’s (he was WWI era) call letters: K7SD. I used to love to watch him 60+ years ago in his little “man cave” in the basement rapidly carrying on Morse Code conversations on his ham radio with folks all over the world. Fascinating! 😀 —Diane at

3 years ago

99.9% of the time my solar system provides all the power I need but those weeks when stormy cloudy weather rolls in I use it to recharge my battery bank.

Danny Wells
3 years ago

I checked ” Yes a portable” but in reality I don’t carry them an every trip only when I know we will not have hookups. Last year we spent 8 months in our Travel Trailer about half with hookups.

Steve - Alaska
3 years ago

Living and camping in Alaska, a generator is almost a necessity, as we boondock ALOT! We have gone through the iteration from tents to truck slide in campers to Class C to 5th wheelers and now a Class A Coach. Each of the RVs have had a built in genny, but I also usually carry my trusty 2K Honda, “just in case!” And we have used it many times due to those issues which invariably pop. The majority of the group we camp with also have gennys and we hear all of them fire up in the mornings. All of them are pretty quiet and no one gets upset when we hear them fire up, just a fact of life. And they do make the camping experience a little better, sometimes!!

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