Where do you start when choosing the best small generator for camping? This guide will show you the way. We list gas and solar powered generators, as well as the best dual fuel portable generator products.
Before listing our portable generator reviews, we run through some frequently asked questions regarding how to find the quietest generator for camping, why size and weight matter, and what sort of power output you should be looking for.
Read to find the best portable inverter generator for all your camping needs with FAQs, camping generator reviews and recommendations.
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See the Best Power Generator for Camping here
After testing and reviewing all the best generators for tent camping, our number one pick among the best rated portable generators is the Yamaha EF1000iS.
It’s tricky to pick just one overall as everyone has different needs, but this top brand generator wins as it offers 1,000 watts of power in a quiet, compact and portable package.
Why is the Yamaha EF1000iS the best generator for tent camping?
To buy a Yamaha generator means investing in the best. This top rated model has a muffler to reduce noise, and was the winner as quietest generator we tried. It has a comfortable carry handle and a sleek, compact design. It also proved to have good fuel efficiency, as it adjusts the engine speed according to demand.
Our top pick for best camping generator inverter also comes in a 2,000-watt model.
Best Camping Generators Comparison Guide
In a hurry to go camping with a generator? Skip the detailed camping generators review descriptions and compare all small portable generators for camping options with this quick reference table.
We’ve listed them in order of output, from the least power to the most. Solar generators can be found at the top – simply because they tend to offer less power than the average gasoline model.
If you are reading this on a mobile device, you might need to swipe to scroll across.
|Our Rating (/10)
|Bluetti Solar Power Station
|Rockpals Portable Power Station
|Solar or Lithium
|WattFun Portable Generator
|Solar or Lithium
|Jackery Explorer 500
|Solar or Lithium
|PowerSmart Quiet Power Generator
|Champion 2500 Dual Fuel
|Propane or Gasoline
|Togopower portable generator
Best Power Inverter for Camping Categories
Our top picks include 4 solar generators and 8 gas powered ones, as follows.
Solar powered portable power generators
A solar powered generator gives you free fuel, once it’s set up with compatible solar panels. They tend to offer lower outputs than gas generators, however.
Top portable generators than run on gas
The majority of generators are fueled by gas. Among the eight picks in this category, one dual fuel option can also run on propane.
Finding the Best Camping Power Generator – Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use a generator for?
A generator can be used to power any device that uses electricity. This can be as small as recharging your cell phone, or as large as a camping fridge, heater, fan, portable air conditioner, or even a portable pellet grill. What you charge will influence how large a generator you need (see below).
How does generator sizing work?
As a very rough guide, a generator’s power will be reflected in its size. In reality this means a bigger generator will usually be bulkier and heavier than a less powerful one. Some premium brands do manage to pack more power into smaller machines.
How do I supply power to a generator that’s portable?
The generators listed in this guide run on either solar power or gasoline. Some solar models also have a lithium battery that can be charged via the mains or a car socket. One gas generator listed can run on propane if required instead.
How do I find the best quiet portable generator for camping?
If you want small, quiet generators, then do think hard about how much power you really need. Using more appliances will require a more heavy duty generator – and this will usually be noisier. While there’s no such thing as a completely silent portable generator, the quietest generators around make great low noise generators for camping.
How much power do I need?
A small generator will do – as long as you don’t want to use high drain appliances. A small model can normally power a smartphone and larger devices with ease, but may struggle with kettles, fridges or heaters, for example. If you do have a lot of appliances, such as when camping as a family or group, then you’ll need a generator with a larger output.
What if I need more power in future?
A number of the generators listed here can be paired with another one of the same make and model. This gives you some from of future-proofing, as you can buy another if your power needs increase rather than starting all over again.
What’s “clean energy”?
Inverters typically create what is sometimes called “clean energy”. The inverter does this by creating AC energy, converting this to DC energy, then inverting that back to AC power that maintains a single phase, pure sine wave. This is MUCH better for sensitive electrical equipment.
The Best Inverter Generator for Camping Recommendations
Solar Generators for Camping
Bluetti portable solar generator for camping
This 2,000 watt model is the best solar powered generator for you if you’re looking for more power.
Wireless charging is enabled, so it’s ideal for smartphones, but it is also capable of powering larger items like a TV or car fridge.
It has a built in inverter to change DC to 120volt AC power. Unlike many cheaper models, it comes with the solar panels included.
WHO FOR? This is the best small portable generator with a solar panel if you need more power.
- Solar panels are included
- Fairly quick recharge
- The inverter (DC >> 120V AC) uses power, so best to turn it off when not in use.
Rockpals portable power station
This Rockpals 300 watt product offers another option for those looking for the best portable generator for camping that is solar powered. This one also has lithium battery back-up.
It produces 110V output. Using pure sine wave technology to protect sensitive equipment, it’s ideal for charging portable devices – including a laptop. There are lots of features to keep users safe, including excess heat, current, load and shortage protection. The sine wave technology also helps to reduce noise.
WHO FOR? This ideal for those looking to charge small devices such as cell phones and laptops, but is not suitable for powering large devices like large camping fridges for long periods of time.
- Good power capacity for its size and price
- Can power AC (USB) and DC at the same time
- Lightweight and quiet
- Cigarette socket cable included
- Does not come with the solar panel. You can buy a solar panel here.
- AC output doesn’t work while it is charging
WattFun portable power station
Like the previous product, the WattFun solar generator also has lithium back up. This 500 Wh (300 watt) small power generator resembles a compact, portable music center, and is designed for ease of use.
More than 10 outlet ports mean it’s compatible with a range of appliances, and it can also be used with most solar panels.
Whether you want to charge a car fridge, laptop, TV or smartphone, this little portable generator camping power station can cope. It also offers pure sine wave technology and wireless charging.
WHO FOR? This generator is great for this running devices under 300 Watts of power.
- Comes with a built in lamp
- Good value for money
- Has wireless charging for phones
- Solar panels are not included. You can buy a solar panel here.
- 300W output is not enough for large devices
JackeryExplorer 500 portable quiet generator
Originating from California, Jackery produce clean, green, convenient and quiet generators for outdoor types. The Explorer 500 offers off-grid power via a lithium battery pack or an optional solar panel. A smooth, solid handle makes it easy to transport and it has pure sine wave outlets.
This portable small generator for camping can be used with a solar panel, but it is also a camping electric generator if you plug it into a mains or car socket.
Capable of powering a car fridge, TV and portable devices, it’s powerful enough for those who want to enjoy some creature comforts when camping.
WHO FOR? Anyone needing no more than 500W of output looking for an easy-to-use, reliable product.
- Durable shell
- Stays charged for a long time when not in use
- Has a regulated 12v DC output
- Good value for money
- Easy to use
- You need you buy the solar panels separately. Get the compatible solar panels here.
- Draws more power for AC than DC
Gasoline Generators for Camping
A gas powered generator for camping will generally give you more power than a solar option.
Honda Inverter Generator EU1000i
Looking for a 1,000 watt generator? Our listings begin with this Honda. A quiet generator, it has a volume less than a normal conversation. It’s ideal for powering small appliances such as lights, a coffee maker or camping fridge.
Like other Honda portable generators, we recommend this one for its compact size and reliability. It has a carry handle, and weighs under 29 pounds, so is very portable.
Should you need more power in the future, this one can be paired with another of the same model to produce 2,000 watts.
WHO FOR? This is the best gas generator for camping if you’re willing to spend a little more for good quality.
- Super quiet
- Good quality – durable and reliable
- Easy to start
- Doesn’t have a separate fuel cutoff
Yahama Inverter Generator EF1000iS
Purchase a Yamaha generator and again you’re buying onto top brand experience, reputation and reliability. Among Yamaha portable generators the EF1000iS is highly rated and has an ultra quiet muffler to reduce noise.
The engine speed on this 1,000 watt output model automatically adjusts to improve fuel efficiency. There’s a handle for carrying and the design is compact and sleek.
Our top pick for the best generator inverter for camping, this is the best 1,000 watt generator we’ve found.
It also comes in a 2,000 watt model if you need more power, so you can just buy a larger model rather than buying 2 smaller generators.
WHO FOR? Anyone who needs an average amount of power and wants the best on the market.
- Starts easily
- Has a separate fuel cutoff, so you can turn off the fuel supply without turning off the generator
- Good fuel consumption
- If you’re camping over 4,000 feet, may need an additional starter kit
WEN 56203iquiet gas generator
This WEN product is another of the best quiet generator for camping options. Tt produces up to 2,000 watts of clean power, so it’s a good quality cheap generator for camping with a good output.
At 39 pounds, it’s also one of the top rated portable generators on the market. Plus, it’s not much louder than a regular conversation.
A 2-year warranty comes with this one for added back-up, and a fuel shut-off has been incorporated into the design to prolong its life. If you’re looking for the best 2,000 watt inverter generator in the budget range, this one is a good bet.
WHO FOR? People looking for a reliable, quiet generator that doesn’t cost too much
- Good fuel consumption
- Doesn’t weigh much, so it’s easy to carry
- You need to get an altitude kit if you run it over 2,000 feet
PowerSmart ultra quiet generator
Another top pick among portable generators for camping, this PowerSmart model is a highly regarded, gas powered product. Like some others listed, it can also supply extra electricity when paired with another of the same model.
It has a comfort carry handle for easy transportation and provides clean power while operating at a low volume. We love the portability, reliability and reduced noise level, and it comes with a two-year warranty.
WHO FOR? Anyone looking for a good budget option
- Cheap price for the power output
- Very little vibration
- Only runs about 5-6 hours on some devices
Champion portable power generator for camping
Seeking a propane powered generator? This Champion model is one of the best propane generator portable products. A top pick for best dual fuel generator, it can also be used as a gas powered generator.
With a 2,000 watt output, it packs a lot of power into a 39 pound package – although this varies slightly according to the fuel used. When used as small propane generators for camping, these can run for up to 34 hours.
If you wish, another Champion generator can be added via the optional parallel kit to double the output.
WHO FOR? Those looking for a good value dual fuel generator.
- Dual fuel (gas and propane)
- Good value for money
- Easy to start
- Very quiet
- To run it on propane, you need to set the dial-in between choke and run (which is not obvious)
Generac portable generator GP2500i
A very popular product, this Generac model is also parallel ready – meaning you can pair it with another the same to double the output.
Like some of the other small generators for camping we list, this looks like a large fuel can complete with carry handle. Handy features include a USB port and LED indicators for overload, low oil or ready. It also has a simple start-up, economy mode and covered power outlets.
If you’re looking for more output power, they also have 3,000, 3,300 and 3,500W models.
WHO FOR? Someone looking for a solid mid-range option.
- Automatic shutdown when oil levels are too low
- Easy to start
- Best used with non-ethanol gas!
- Generac customer service is not the best
Westinghouse camping inverter generator
While it’s neither the most lightweight portable generator for camping – nor is it a super quiet generator – this Westinghouse product packs a serious punch.
It offers real value for money and a high level of power output. It can also run for over 13 hours on a full fuel tank. Safety features include a low oil shut-off and rubber covers for all power outlets.
WHO FOR? Someone who needs more power. If you’re taking the family and the car, this is a great budget option – the best 4,000 watt generator offering a little extra power.
- Easy to start
- Quiet for its size
Togopower generator with electric start-up
If you want a heavy duty power generator when camping, take a look at this Togo power generator review.
The 8,000 watt machine works as a 6,500 watt generator when operating, providing power for all kinds of electrical appliances. If you want the smallest or quietest camping generator it might not be for you, but it is a power house for those want an electric start machine.
At half load, it can run for over 8 hours on a full tank.
WHO FOR? If you have a large camp set up with lots of electrical equipment and need a lot of power. If you need to power camping fridges and freezers, a tent heater or an air conditioner, this would be the product for you.
- Cheap for its size
- Easy to start and use
- Easy to maneuver on its wheels
- Good fuel efficiency for its size
- Loud (as large generators typically are)
Which is the Best Generator Inverter for You?
Whether your priority is finding the quietest generators for camping, the best dual fuel inverter generator, or you know you want an affordable, reliable 6,000 watt generator, we hope we’ve helped you find the best generator for your camping trips.
Do you have another pick for the best camping generator? I’d love to know what it is. Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.
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James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.
He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and all of the main national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks.
Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.
As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.
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