Can you run a caravan off a generator? Road-tripping in a caravan means travelling in style. It is a mini-home where you can enjoy all the basic facilities and comfort a house offers. Some caravans also come with separate rooms, spacious bathrooms, refrigerators, and air-conditioning. You can cook, relax, watch TV on the go and explore new places.
However, if you want to enjoy all these facilities, it is a great idea to equip your caravan with a generator, so you have power even when you are not parked at a powered campsite. While running your caravan off a generator is easy, you need to know which generator to get for your caravan. If you are a newbie, the terminologies like amps, watts, and volts may leave you more confused than ever. But do not despair, as we are here to help and guide you about buying the right generator for your caravan.
Can you run a caravan off a generator? What do I need to consider before buying a generator for my caravan?
Before you buy a caravan generator, there are a few things you need to consider so you can make the right choice.
For instance, you first need to determine how much power a certain generator will produce. Compile a list of all the items or appliances you will need to use during your trip to assess how much power you will need so all the essential appliances can run smoothly.
You may not need much if you only use small appliances like your toaster or coffee maker. However, if you think you also need air-conditioning, your power requirement will go really high. You can refer to the AC’s manual to check its power requirement and determine which generator would be suitable.
In most cases, to run an AC unit along with other appliances, you will need a 3000W generator. You can work with a 1200W generator if you only need to run small appliances. Similarly, if you need to run medium-power appliances like a TV or kitchen blender, a 2000W generator should suffice.
The next aspect is which type of power generator to buy. It is recommended to get an inverter generator for your camping trip. These inverter generators are compact, economical, and quiet and generate clean energy suitable for running sensitive electronics.
All these features make inverter generators perfect for caravanning. Most inverter generators are driven by four-stroke motors with regular unleaded fuel.
Many campers avoid using generators because of all the noise that they make. If you are in a remote location and looking for some quiet time, a noisy generator is not exactly what you may have in mind. Similarly, your noisy generator may also disturb others if you are in a crowded place. However, an inverter generator is much quieter in comparison and can hence resolve the noise issue.
It is recommended not to rely on the manufacturer’s words, as the noise they mention is only a result of the generator tested on partial load. If noise is a huge concern for you, you can also opt for one of those portable silent generators that run on rechargeable lithium batteries. These come in multiple wattage variations, including 3000W (or 3KW), 2000W, and 700W. However, they have a higher price compared to regular generators.
The next consideration is the fuel type. Ideally, you would want your caravan generator to have the same fuel type as your vehicle, so refuelling is not a hassle. It depends on the fuel engine type of the generator, which is of three types, diesel, 2-stroke, and 4-stroke. We recommend getting a 4-stroke fuel engine as the 2-stroke is cheaper but unreliable and may cause you to refuel more frequently. A diesel engine is the most fuel-efficient, but its price is steeper. A 4-stroke offers a nice mix of fuel efficiency and price economy.
Some Care Tips for a Caravan Generator
Besides selecting the right generator for your caravan, you must also adopt some necessary measures to ensure the generator continues to function normally for a long time. Here are a few recommendations.
- Keep your generator in a proper place where it stays dry. Do not bring it out in the open if it rains or snows. Moreover, if your hands are wet, you must not touch the generator before drying your hands, or you may get electrocuted.
- Do not keep the caravan in an enclosed space. It increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Avoid plugging many appliances into the generator, which may cause an overload and lead to the generator overheating or even burning.
- If you want to refuel the generator, remember to cool it down first. It also makes good economic sense to turn the generator once in a while. Many people only turn on the generator when it is necessary, for instance, turning on the AC when it is really hot outside.
- If you are not using the caravan for some time, take out your generator at least once a month and let it run for some time. This way, you will be well aware of its condition when you are ready to hit the road again, and there will be no last-minute surprises.
How big a generator do I need for my caravan?
The size or power of the generator depends on the kind of appliances you need to run on it. For smaller kitchen appliances like a toaster or coffee maker, a 1200W generator is fine. For medium power appliances like TV or kitchen blenders, a 2000W generator should be sufficient, while for heavy appliances like an AC, you will need a bigger generator like 3000W.
Can I run an AC on a generator in my caravan?
Yes, you can use your generator to run the AC in your caravan. You will need to ensure that the generator has enough wattage to support the power draw of the AC. You may need a generator of anywhere between 2400W to 3000W if you need to use it for running the air-conditioning. In some cases, a small portable AC unit can also run on a 2000W generator.