What Size Portable Generator Do I Need for Camping?

What Size Portable Generator Do I Need for Camping?

Camping is one of the most adventurous activities with friends and families. You can soak in the scenic beauty and breathe in some fresh air. However, some things can be better enjoyed with the right equipment or appliances. Hence, you may need electricity to power an electric stove, charge your smartphones, or make a cup of coffee with the coffeemaker.

Therefore, consider bringing a portable generator for camping to enrich your outdoor experiences. They are the answer to all your electricity needs and make camping a little more cozier. There are various types of portable generators with different capacities and sizes.

Moreover, different generators are capable of powering various devices. Hence, you need to understand power requirements, the type of generators, and how to size them to your needs. It will help you make informed decisions about choosing the right portable generator for camping purposes.

Understanding Your Power Requirements

Your power requirements will depend on the range of electrical devices you need to operate during camping. It can include necessities like lights or stoves to power-intensive appliances such as mini-fridges and electrical gadgets.

The best way is to compile a list of your devices and check their amps (A) and watts (W) requirements. Remember to check if these devices have a surge power rating for startup. Some appliances require a high initial power during startup before operating in a lower wattage.

The next crucial step is calculating the total wattage of the devices you plan to use simultaneously. It will help you to understand and decide the generator size for your camping needs. You can make do with smaller capacity generators for smartphones and lights, while you may need higher capacity for operating microwaves or refrigerators.

Additionally, your power requirements may vary according to your style of camping. For example, camping in tents requires less power than camping in an RV.

How to Calculate Power Requirement?

You can easily calculate your power requirement from the list you compiled earlier with some easy math. All devices have certain amps and volts mentioned on them. Hence, you can find out the wattage requirement with the following formula -  

Amps (A) x Volts (V) = Watts (W)

After that, you must determine the total required wattage and running wattage. You can understand it with the following:

Total running wattage = Sum of wattages of all necessary devices

Total required wattage = Total running wattage + highest surge wattage

The total required wattage is the maximum you need to run your appliances smoothly. Moreover, you should account for power spikes or additional devices while choosing a portable generator for camping. It will ensure the generator meets the basic requirements and handles other unforeseen devices.

Subsequently, you must consider your RV amp rating if you’re camping with an RV. The rating states the maximum electrical load it can handle. Therefore, choosing the right generator will ensure a seamless integration with the RV’s electrical system.

Generally, a 30-amp RV requires a generator of at least 3600 watts. However, the size dramatically differs when it comes to a 50-amp RV. They have a four-prong design consisting of two-volt wires to produce more electricity.

Hence, you may need a generator with at least 12,000 watts. However, the average RV-users can sufficiently power their devices with a generator between 6,000 and 8,000 watts.

Here’s a helpful chart with the wattage requirements of standard devices. Kindly note that the actual wattage may vary; you should calculate them accordingly.


Watts (W)

Coffee Maker

600 to 1800


1000 to 1500


900 to 2500

Camper TV

150 to 400

Hair Dryer

1200 to 1900

Cooling Fan


String LED Lights


Phone Charger

10 to 65

Air Mattress Pump


Space Heater


Laptop Charger

40 to 150

Types of Portable Generators

There are mainly two types of portable generators for camping when it comes to fuel types. Most of them share the same capacity range but vary in operation and performance. They include the following:

Gas and Diesel Generators

Gas and diesel generators are easy to use and are relatively affordable. They run on gas or diesel to produce continuous electricity. Additionally, they are mostly known for their durability, fuel efficiency, and performance. 

However, they are dirty, noisy, and produce toxic fumes. They also contribute to your carbon footprint due to their greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, you can suffer from long-term fuel and maintenance costs.

Solar-Powered Generators

bluetti eb3a

A little on the expensive side, solar-powered generators convert sunlight to generate electricity via solar panels. It consists of various components but offers an eco-friendly, sustainable solution. They produce no greenhouse gas emissions and provide an efficient and sustainable energy source.

They are becoming increasingly popular as they help reduce your dependence on fossil fuels. Moreover, they have meager maintenance costs and can last for years. You can also find various generators with different capacities and sizes.

Which Size Is Best for Your Camping Needs?

Another way to choose the right portable generator for camping is by determining the type of camping and the number of appliances. Identifying your camping goals helps narrow your search regarding portability and size. Hence, you can follow the tips below:

Light Camping with Basic Devices

The power requirements generally range from low to medium in a minimalistic camping scenario. You need enough capacity to power devices like phone chargers, portable speakers, LED lights, and essential kitchen appliances.

Therefore, you can choose a portable generator for camping in the range of 1000 – 2000W. The BLUETTI AC70 Portable Power Station is an attractive option with a rated power of 1000W but can handle up to 2000W. Hence, you can power energy-intensive devices like electric blankets, kettles, and hairdryers.

Moreover, it has a great battery life with 3000+ charge cycles and turbocharging. You can charge it up to 80% in 45 minutes. It can be charged in multiple ways and has various outlets to power multiple devices.

Additionally, you can fully charge it in 2 hours via 500W of solar energy input. The AC70 is a smart device you can control and monitor with a smartphone application. It has intelligent features to stop charging to prevent overcharging automatically. Hence, it is a compact and portable power solution for those on the go.

Hiking or Backpacking

Generally, you do not need a high-capacity generator for casual hiking or backpacking until you expect essential calls. You can also consider it if you spend half a day indulging in outdoor activity.

Hence, you should consider compact, lightweight generators with a low energy output of less than 1000W. It will come in handy to power only essential devices during your resting period. Accordingly, you can consider the BLUETTI EB3A Portable Power Station with a power rating of 600W.


It is a pure sine wave inverter that can handle power surges up to 1200W. The EB3A is an excellent choice for those looking for a compact power solution. It has nine outlets for running multiple appliances and is rechargeable in six ways, including solar energy.

Combine it with portable solar panels, and you can take it with you for camping outdoors for days at a stretch. The EB3A has a good shelf life of 2500+ cycles and an impressive 268Wh capacity.

Outdoor Events

You don’t always need a portable generator for camping. You can also use it to power short outdoor events such as birthday parties and social gatherings. Such events require multiple devices, from lights and sound systems to small appliances.

Therefore, you need a moderate to heavy capacity generator above 1000W. Hence, you can consider the BLUETTI AC180 Solar Portable Power Station. It can handle up to 2700W, which makes it a versatile option for various settings.

The AC180 has nine outlets to run multiple devices and is rechargeable in four ways, including solar energy and car batteries. You can control and monitor it with a smartphone application, which is adequately designed for indoor and outdoor scenarios.

Moreover, it is a clean and quiet alternative to traditional noisy generators that don’t drown out the fun of outdoor events. Furthermore, you can pair it with additional batteries to increase its capacity and fully charge it with a max 500W solar energy input.

RV Camping with Essential Appliances

RV adds an extra dimension to power requirements for various appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and microwaves. Therefore, you need a portable generator with a high capacity of 3000W or above.

You must identify the necessary power requirement for your camping and choose the generator. These generators must accommodate the startup surge requirements and provide a consistent power supply for extended periods.

Related articles: How to Power Your Camping Trip with Portable Solar Panels

What Size Power Station Do I Need for Camping?

Winter RV Camping: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you must consider various factors to choose the right portable generator for camping. You have to identify your power requirement, number of essential devices, and type of camping. Moreover, you also have to consider the capacity and fuel type to make the appropriate choice. Accordingly, you can choose from various BLUETTI portable power options, such as the AC70, EB3A, and AC180. They can cater to minimal to heavy usage and are perfectly designed for your requirements.

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