Campsites aren’t equipped with a power supply. Inadequate lighting from a flashlight or forgetting to bring extra batteries shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your camp to the fullest. A solid generator will put an end to such issues.
I know you hardly see campers considering generators as a priority. It’s not surprising because there are several myths about generators that push you into choosing the wrong one or thinking it’s useless.
This article will debunk those myths shedding some light on the truth.
1. One Size Fits All
An average generator does not work for everything. This is why generators come in all forms and sizes.
Choosing the right size is a crucial step and it depends on the kind of equipment to be powered.
Along with the power required to run each appliance, you should consider the power required to start them. If you’re new to the world of electric appliances, it may surprise you to learn that some appliances consume more power when they start than when they run. Examples include coffee machines, compressors, and hair dryers.
Calculating the required generator size is simple.
- Make a list of all the appliances you’d be using.
- Note down their starting power and running power in Watts. The starting power is hardly mentioned in the specs. So, contact the manufacturer or use a wattage meter.
- Add all the starting powers. If an appliance doesn’t need starting power, consider its running power for the sum.
If you’re still confused, feel free to reach out to an electrician.
Generators intended for recreational purposes like camping use inverter technology and work well unless you’re intending to power your RV’s air conditioner with it. You can find the best inverter generators on this post.
2. Generators Are Freaking Expensive
I’m sure this is one of the main reasons you’ve probably never dared to buy a generator.
Sure, generators are pricey, but not to the point of burning a hole in our pockets. Like any other product, the cost of generators varies with the size and power.
Small generators fall in the price range of $600-$2000. It can go up to $100,000 for large industrial generators. For huge setups, several generators may be necessary.
When was the last time you didn’t need your phone for a whole day?
Or what if you have enough supplies in your fridge but the unexpected blackout turns things upside down?
We’re so accustomed to the comfort of electricity that it’s hard to imagine otherwise. So, weighing the pros and cons of generators, I don’t consider them a waste of money.
If you’re still intimidated about investing in a generator or don’t have the budget, you can always rent a solid one for one-time needs.
3. You Shouldn’t Run A Generator Overnight
How long a generator can be run depends on several factors.
Let’s talk about the myth first. Running a generator overnight will never land you in trouble. It depends on what ‘overnight’ means for you.
Typical generators can run for 8 to 10 hours once their tanks are full. Refilling a generator’s tank when it’s running is extremely dangerous. You should wait until the engine cools down before attempting to refuel it. This takes 15-20 minutes. So, hang on.
Experts suggest running a generator continuously for not more than two weeks (of course, there will be short gaps to refuel it).
When you’re intending to keep the generator running for the night, ensure it’s correctly placed. Some generators need to be grounded and you can check for it in the manual.
Never run portable generators in rain and snow or indoors. Place them on a dry surface and in an open shelter. Instead of installing it yourself, call a professional.
4. Fuel Type Doesn’t Matter
Generators fall into different categories based on the type of fuel used. But it’s often not given enough importance.
You should choose the most efficient fuel by keeping your budget in mind.
For homes, a natural gas generator can be comfortable because you don’t have to worry about refilling. But the condition of your gas pipes must be maintained well.
Diesel is another commonly used fuel for generators and automobiles. It costs less than other fuel types. To avoid breakdowns, a diesel-powered generator shouldn’t sit idle for too long. If noise isn’t an issue, go for it.
Gasoline is not a favorite due to its cost although it is easily available. You’ll have to be extra careful while refilling as the fuel is highly inflammable.
Propane is not inexpensive but is preferred for its long shelf life. This is beneficial to campers who are going on very long trips.
Despite being costly, solar-powered generators save fuel expenses. You can use them to power small appliances.
You can easily find portable generators that run on two or three types of fuels.
5. You Can Smell Carbon Monoxide
This is not directly related to generators but is one of the common dangers associated with their usage. Overlooking or misunderstanding can have fatal consequences.
Carbon Monoxide is a colourless and odorless gas. So, relying on your capability to ‘smell’ is a bad idea.
Every year, thousands of people lose their lives due to CO poisoning from running generators in enclosed structures. Not only generators, but all fuel-powered machines release this gas into the environment.
Your generator must have ample ventilation and as a safety measure, you should install a battery-powered CO alarm too. Direct the generator’s exhaust away from your residence.
It takes only minutes for CO levels to get deadly. So, if you feel dizzy or weak when the generator is running, seek medical help right away.
I hope you now have a clear picture of generators. If you find this helpful, share it with your friends too.
Res Marty is an ardent traveler who is passionate about hiking and camping. On his blog, he shares travel suggestions along with genuine hiking and camping equipment reviews, all taken from his experience. He often collaborates with other hikers and writers to ensure his readers are given the best information possible.