What are the best practices for using portable generators at UK campsites?

11 June 2024

Camping trips can provide an excellent opportunity to unwind, soak in nature's beauty, and create lasting memories. However, while many camping enthusiasts are happy to leave the comforts of modern living behind, others might find it challenging to completely forego their electric-powered conveniences. Luckily, portable generators have bridged the gap, providing power to keep your devices, appliances, and lights working even in the great outdoors.

Portable generators come in a variety of sizes, power outputs, and fuel types. But how do you choose the right one? How do you operate it safely and efficiently to meet your camping needs? In this guide, we will cover the best practices for using portable generators at UK campsites, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared to make the most out of your camping adventure.

Choosing The Right Generator For Camping

Before you can start using a generator, you must first decide on the best type and size to suit your needs. There are several factors to consider including the type of fuel it uses, the amount of power it generates, and its noise level.

One popular choice among campers is the inverter generator. This type of generator is known for its quiet operation and high fuel efficiency. It also produces a stable flow of power, which makes it ideal for charging sensitive equipment like laptops and phones.

However, you should also consider the power output, measured in watts. Make sure to assess the total wattage of the appliances you plan to use. For instance, a small generator that produces around 1000 watts might be sufficient for charging small electronics, but if you want to power larger appliances like a refrigerator, you might need a generator that can produce 3000 watts or more.

Fuel Types And Efficiency

Generators are powered by a variety of fuel sources. The most common types are petrol, diesel, and solar. Your choice will impact the generator's efficiency, running time, and the cost to operate.

Petrol generators are commonly used due to their convenience and relatively low upfront cost. However, they tend to consume more fuel and are noisier than other types. Diesel generators, on the other hand, are fuel-efficient, but tend to be more expensive and heavier.

The most eco-friendly option is the solar generator, like the Jackery Solar Generator. These are perfect for sunny UK summer camping trips. They run silently and create zero emissions. However, their power output is heavily dependent on the weather, and they might not be the best option for powering large appliances.

Safe Operation Practices

When using a generator, safety should always be your number one priority. Always place the generator in a well-ventilated area, at least 20 feet away from your motorhome or tent to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

For fuel-powered generators, always have a fire extinguisher on hand and never refuel the generator while it is still hot. Also, make sure to store the fuel in a safe and secure place.

To keep the noise level down, choose a generator with a low decibel rating or consider using a generator noise cover. Remember, excessive generator noise can disrupt your fellow campers' peace and tranquillity.

Battery Runtime And Maintenance

It is crucial to understand how long your generator can run on a single fuel or battery charge. This runtime is usually given in hours and depends on the size of the generator and the load it is handling.

To extend the lifespan of your generator, regular maintenance is essential. This might include changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and checking the condition of the spark plugs. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and guidelines.

Respect Camping Rules And Regulations

Lastly, it is important to consider the rules and regulations regarding generator use at UK campsites. Some campsites may have restrictions on the hours of generator use, while others may prohibit them altogether. So, it's always a good idea to check with the campsite management ahead of time.

Remember, the goal of camping is to enjoy the great outdoors, and a generator should be used as a means to enhance, not hinder that experience. With the right generator and proper usage, you will be well-equipped to enjoy a comfortable and safe camping adventure.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Portable Generator

When considering purchasing a portable generator for camping, there are several factors to bear in mind. It's not as simple as just picking up the first model you come across. Doing a bit of research before you buy can make a big difference in your overall experience.

First, think about the size of the generator. This is not just about the physical size, although that is important if you have limited space in your motorhome or camping vehicle. It's also about the power output, measured in kVA. Generators with a higher kVA rating can power more devices simultaneously.

Next, consider the generator's runtime, which means how long it can provide power before needing a fuel refill or battery recharge. The longer the runtime, the less often you'll need to refuel or recharge. Keep in mind that high-power devices like heaters will drain the generator's fuel or battery faster than lower-power devices like lights.

Then there's the question of portability. If you're planning to take the generator on hiking trips, for example, you'll need something lightweight and easy to carry. Look for a generator with a built-in handle or wheels for easy transport.

The type of fuel the generator uses is another crucial factor. Solar generators are the most eco-friendly option, but they depend on the weather and may not be suitable for all camping situations. Petrol and diesel generators are more reliable but also noisier and less eco-friendly.

Lastly, consider the generator's noise level. To ensure that your generator doesn't disturb your peace or that of fellow campers, look for a model with a low noise level.


Camping trips are a great way to relax and enjoy nature, but they don't have to mean giving up all modern conveniences. Portable generators can provide the power you need to keep your devices and appliances running, but choosing the right one is crucial.

Consider factors such as size, power output, runtime, portability, fuel type, and noise level. Make sure to follow safe operation practices, maintain your generator properly, and respect the rules and regulations of the campsite.

With the right portable generator, you can enhance your camping experience without disturbing the natural environment or your fellow campers. Whether it's a solar generator harnessing the power of the sun, a quiet inverter generator, or a powerful diesel generator, the perfect power solution for your camping needs is out there.

Remember, your camping adventure should be about enjoying the great outdoors and creating lasting memories. A portable generator is simply a tool to help you accomplish that goal, providing the power you need when you need it. Choose wisely, operate safely, and happy camping!

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