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Hi folks, Hoping to stay at some national parks this summer and Walmarts on occassion. Any advice you can share about generators? Is it worth the investment? We'll be on the road for seven weeks going from eastern NY to Yellowstone Nat'l Park and around the 4 corners there and back. I'd appreciate any recommendations on a quiet generator that we can purchase and also advice on how to fuel it, run it, etc. etc. Complete newbie with this area and appreciate your experiences and good thinking.
dog bone
I bought a Gentron about 5 yr's ago online for about $500. I haven't had a problem with it. It has a 30 amp rv plug, electric start and is fairly quiet. 68 decibels at 20 ft. It runs about 10 hours on a tank of gas, 5 gallons. If you run a bunch of stuff that will cut down on the run time.
I don't need or use it that often, so I didn't want to pay a lot for a generator. Nascar and traveling, stuff like that.
Honda and Yamaha make good generators. They both have a very good track record. All differant wattage's. The more stuff you turn on the more wattage you will need.
Pick out one that suits you needs.
Good luck on your trip and enjoy. Bob
Hi there,

Thanks for the reply. Now, another question: I've been looking for a quiet, small generator, and it looks like it may cost up to $1,000! Wow! I didn't anticipate that. Is it really worth it? We'll be on the road for just seven weeks this summer...going cross-country from NY to Yellowstone. I'd like to stay at nat'l and state parks when possible, and keep campground fees down. But, it would take me about thirty days of saving $30/night in order to get to a break even point with investment of the generator. I suppose the real savings would come in future summers, but after spending $270 tonight on a portable dump tank, I am having sticker shock about the generator. So, is it worth the investment? Please help.

Four about the same money ($1000.00) a fairly decent solar charging system can be installed.

If you are in a self propelled RV an inverter can be used to provide for all 120 volt AC needs while you trundle down the road.

What sort of RV are you in?
I think you are going to need to really assess where you are going to use a generator and what you hope to power with it. You can go to a NASCAR race use a hardware store generator.

If you hope to power a TV or microwave or a/c and hope to use it in a nationalpark or even at a Walmart you will need to prepare to spend a lot more than $1000.

Florida Native
We boondock a lot and AC and battery charging are our main needs for the generator. We have an on board 5500 watt generator and 50 amp service. We can go about 6 days on our grey tank with careful usage and our batteries (formerly gel, now AGM) can do that with a little charging now and then. In hot climates we turn on the generator and AC in the evening and the first one to get up to go to the bathroom turns it off. We have little stick up LED lights and two exhaust fans and know how to use them. It is amazing how little electricity you can do without without affecting your lifestyle drastically.
When we traveled in a fifth wheel we had a Honda eu2000i. It is a very quiet generator and quite economical to run. Yes, it costs around $1,000, but your neighbors won't be angry when you run it.

You didn't say what you want to run with a generator, and that is extremely important. For example, it you want to run an air conditioner, the Honda eu2000i is unlikely to meet your needs. If you just want to charge your batteries, run lights, and watch TV, then a less expensive (and lighter) Honda eu1000i will do it.

We used the eu2000i for running the microwave as well as all the lower demand appliances. We only sold it because we switched from a fifth wheel to a motor home which has its own diesel generator.

There are now competitors for the Honda--Yamaha, among others. There are even Chinese models that sell for a fraction of the price, but you get less than or equal to what you pay for.

You might want to post your question in the Beginning RVing forum on Then explore the other forums there.

Have a great time traveling!
Hi, thanks for the information.

We are in a 35' TT, a Jayco Eagle with two slides, and 2 little girls. I was hoping to be able to stay in National Parks and do a bit of boondocking, but not sure now. I'd guess that I'd like to run microwave and basic lights, and of course the most essential: the coffee pot. However, it's fifty degrees here and rainy, so it's easy to think I wouldn't need the AC. those with more experience out West: will I need the AC in Yellowstone in the last week of August? Or in Utah and Colorado? I know it can get cool during the night, but can it get hot and humid as well? If so, we'd need to have the fan and AC going.

In looking at a few generators locally, they also seem really heavy. I guess I am just wondering if a generator is a cost savings? Will I save enough money at national parks and boondocking to make up for the extra gas to lug this heavy thing cross country, as well as the $1,000 investment?

p.s.---I did read up a bit in forums before posting before posting here (but do thank you for offering another source) and learned a bit, but not as much as I'd anticipated.

Thanks for any further advice. I still need it.
Florida Native
You will learn to conserve electricity. Like your coffee pot. You can make very good coffee on the stove top with a stove top percolator or what we do with a Melitta coffee maker you can buy at many grocery stories. It is a V cone shaped plastic with a filter. You heat water on the propane stove and pour thru the coffee filter into the cup. I think the coffee is better than a Mister Coffee and it is very easy. It also makes no noise and you can wake your wife up with a steaming cup of coffee rather than the sound of the Mister Coffee. Gets the day off to a great start. You can conserve electricity in many different ways. Make a game out if it.
If your decision to boondock rests on having a generator, then yes, you will save money by having one. A campground or RV park will cost you at least $20-30 per night, or $400-700 per month if you get a monthly space. If having a generator allows you to avoid those costs, then it's a savings.

Have you thought about what you will do for water, garbage disposal, and sewage disposal while boondocking? Three or four people, especially with kids, can easily go through 30-50 gallons of water per day if they live like they do in a house. Even with extreme conservation measures, you still need to dump and fill regularly.

Don't overlook fuel costs for the generator. When we boondock we run the generator around four hours a day. With our particular unit, that's about 1.3 gallons of diesel. If we needed to run air conditioning in the day, we would need to run is a lot more, obviously. We also need to change the oil and filter every 150 hours and perform other maintenance every 500 hours.

Also consider propane costs. When boondocking, your refrigerator, as well as your stove, oven, and furnace, consume propane. When at an RV park or a campground with electricity, the fridge runs on electricity and you might be able to use electric space heaters for heat.
Hi everyone,

Well, I think I'm in better shape with trip planning. I think that by staying at Passport American campgrounds for our one and two-night stops, we will be able to have cheap rates and not need a generator. Looks like we'll be dry-camping in Yellowstone and will use the facilities there. Our portable dump tank will get us through, I hope! So, we are going to skip the generator for this summer, the added weight, and hassle that goes along with it. Thanks for everyone's input! The coffee maker is a super idea...I have a french press that should do very nicely.
dog bone This is the website I bought my generator from. The rv one went up in price to $500 and change. The same gen without the rv 30 amp plug is $449.
3500 watts will run your air. You might have to wait on your hair dryer and coffee pot.
I just got back home and noticed the new posts. Again I hope I was able to help you out and have a great time on your trip.
The quietest generator I have heard is a Honda. My father bought 1 and paid about$1500 for it. It will power his entire 5th wheel with ease. He turned on the AC and the generator did not idle up at all.
When it comes to generators,U get what U pay for. The fastest way to get kicked out of a camp ground is a noisy generator.

Alberta Bound
Although this thread is a little older, I thought I would update some of the special considerations 2013 has for quiet generators. I'm the editor of Volt Magazine, which focuses on generators and power requirements.

The biggest change since when this thread was created is the growth in invertor generators which are much quieter than standard gas plants. Invertor generators work by creating DC power and then storing it for use as AC power when required. This provides much cleaner electricity and is ideal for sensitive electronics like televisions or computers.

The reason these are quieter is because the engine doesn't have to work as hard. Every traditional gas generator has to run at 3600 rpm to produce electricity where a inverter generator runs only when needed and can run at a lot lower rpm rate.

Another important consideration is the new environmental concerns in California regarding generators which are often called CARB which stands for California Air Resources Board - but many states are also adopting similar rules for proper emissions standards. The goverment website it

One last thing - generators are rated on the A sound scale - and you will see on most models a rating in DBA which is the sound decibels the generator runs at. A human conversation takes place at between 60 and 65 dba - a quality quiet generator runs below 58 dba. The best generators such as from Honda run in the low 50's.

You can read a lot more on which models run quiet etc and what to look for on our website at
QUOTE(Alberta Bound @ Aug 15 2013, 01:34 PM) *

The biggest change since when this thread was created is the growth in invertor generators which are much quieter than standard gas plants. Invertor generators work by creating DC power and then storing it for use as AC power when required. This provides much cleaner electricity and is ideal for sensitive electronics like televisions or computers.

The reason these are quieter is because the engine doesn't have to work as hard. Every traditional gas generator has to run at 3600 rpm to produce electricity where a inverter generator runs only when needed and can run at a lot lower rpm rate.

With all due respect, an inverter generator doesn't "store" electricity. You are confusing a true inverter, which takes DC current from a battery and converts it to AC, with an inverter generator which generates AC current (often 3-phase) which is then rectified into DC and then inverted into clean 60 Hz AC. There is no "storage" of energy in an inverter generator; the energy produced is used.

Inverter generators can be quieter than traditional ones that run at a constant 3,600 rpm because the inverter generator can slow down when its load is reduced. My motorhome has an Onan 7.5 kW diesel inverter generator and its pitch changes markedly as large loads such as air conditioners switch on and off. An inverter generator doesn't "run only when needed", but it does speed up when needed to handle the load.
I would recommend using a inverter generator because they are lighter in weight, use less fuel, and are much quieter than standard generators. Here is a site that mentions some good inverter generators and other reason that they are better than conventional or standard generators. biggrin.gif
You are responding to a thread that is over a year old; I doubt any of the original participants are watching it too carefully.
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