Traveling is a craze for a lot of people I included. Camping at a campsite? With an enchanting view of the sunrise? With a mug of hot chocolate coffee? And a couple of toasts?
Yeah, a travel trailer is almost required. And a whole bunch of power. Very likely through the roof of the power most campsites provide. Having a personal generator is cool. But how do you use a generator with a travel trailer?
The scenario I mentioned is the thing for me. But the problem I faced the most is the power shortage. Oftentimes, the power provided is inconsistent. Sometimes the amount is simply too low for my dream vacation if there is any provided.
Having a generator is more than helpful in almost any situation. But there are a few things to consider before committing to a specific one. In short, here’s what to consider.
Table Of Content
Types Of Generators
There are a few types of generators available in the market. Based on the fuel source used, there are three main categories.
- Propane Generator
As the name implies, this type of generator burns a specific type of fuel that is propane. Propane generators are relatively on the cheaper end of the spectrum. So is the fuel, propane, itself making the setup pretty easy to fit in almost any budget situation.
Propane is not the most available fuel source, though. However, it is more efficient and lightweight than many other options. Although a propane generator is relatively easy to use and maintain, do keep in mind that you may hit the power throughput pretty easily.
You may also burn through a whole container faster than other fuel types. And the fact that it is not widely available everywhere could prove to be an issue. Propane is a neat fuel to burn. It does not produce nasty stinks or smokes. It is also relatively silent. You may keep one running nearby and still enjoy the view.
- Gasoline Generators
A gasoline generator runs on most types of gasoline that are available at standard filling stations. Thus, you will never have to worry if the fuel will be available on the spot or not. This type of generator is also relatively cheap. The power output limit is higher than a propane generator from the same volume of fuel.
However, gasoline is a nasty fuel source, especially for generators. They do produce an irritating smell and almost bullying amount of noise. Thus, you will need to be wary of keeping it some distance away from you as well as other campers.
If you think you can manage the nasty sides, a gasoline generator will provide you with a considerably higher power throughput allowing you to run a couple of more appliances without having to raise the budget.
- Diesel Generator
A diesel generator is a big fish in the pond. If you want to have a lot of power, you might want to consider getting yourself a diesel generator. It is the beast that can support almost any power load you can through. A diesel generator is costlier than the other two, but you get what you pay for.
A diesel generator does not produce as much bad smoke as a gasoline generator does, but it is not as friendly as a propane generator either. The fuel is more available than propane, but you should still plan ahead. Carrying a diesel generator is not suitable for frequent long-distance travel, especially if you have to carry the fuel as well.
How To Use A Generator With A Travel Trailer?
The part “using the generator” is the simplest thing. All you have to do is-
- Place the generator at a suitable spot.
- Connect the fuel source or the fuel pump.
- Plugging in the power cords.
- Start the generator.
But it does not end here. It is simple as that in the books. In a real situation, there’s a lot you need to consider. Things like –
Things To Consider
Before you commit to buying a generator, here are a few things you should consider. To begin with –
- Power Demand
The first thing you should consider is the power demand. If your RV setup does not have many custom installed appliances, if any, then you can get the power demand as well as the “surge” demand from your user’s manual.
Or you can simply add the numbers yourself. Buy a generator with at least 20% more throughput than your surge demand. The “surge” voltage is the extra amount of voltage an electronic device requires when it is powering on.
Almost all the machines have a surge voltage. If your generator is unable to provide that, it may not be able to turn on a lot of the things, if not ruin them completely.
- Carrying Capacity
Consider the power of your travel trailer and the amount of weight you are already carrying besides the generator setup. If you do not have much room, you should always go for the lighter generator and fuel, such as propane generators or gas generators.
A gas generator can provide a decent amount of power while also being lightweight. However, if you have the flexibility, go for a heavy diesel generator. You will never have to worry about power shortage, or the power provided from the campsite anymore as long as you have the fuel.
- Plan Your Trips
You should plan your trips. Like, whether you are a beach guy, or a nature guy, or a generalist. You are likely to travel to sites on the related topic. This way, you can estimate the frequency and a rough idea of your travel zone.
It will give you an idea of the fuel sources you will have access to, the distance you will travel, and a bunch more. How will it help? Let’s say you are a nature guy. Then you are likely to go away from the city a lot. In that case, you might not always have an easy to access filling station.
Thus, carrying the fuel with you is a good thing to do. Also, you are likely to travel long distances. Therefore, a diesel generator is almost out of the question for you. Unless you have a beastly trailer, in that case, I only have one thing to say, “I envy you!”
As I mentioned above, using a generator with an RV is not a must most of the time, but surely is a convenience all the time. Now, some RVs are made generator ready. You can always check the user’s manual to see. If your car is, then life will be a lot easier for you.
But if it is not, it is not a problem either. Simply refer to the manual of the generator. With an extra fuel source and a couple of inlets, you will be golden as long as you have the right generator.
Speaking of fuel source, you should still keep some reserve even if your RV is generator ready. Because since you will be sharing the same tank, you might run dry unknowingly. But if you do, it’s on you. Other than that, setting up and using a generator should be simple and easy.