We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Portable generators are a great way to turn a primitive campsite into a luxury stay in the woods. They can power electric grills, mobile devices, and even entire RVs. For extended stays off the grid, they make your camp feel a little more like home. Today’s generators have come a long way from the bulky and loud models of the past. These new units are powerful, portable, quiet, and fuel-efficient. A good generator unlocks access to basic electricity in areas far from civilization. We tested various sizes and outputs for just about any camping need. Here are our picks for the best portable generators for camping.

How We Picked the Best Portable Generators for Camping

As a fisheries biologist, I used portable generators to power electroshocking equipment and other power tools on our boats. A reliable generator was crucial to the success of our studies. I learned what features were important, like decibel rating and output power. These experiences also helped me learn what to look for in portable generators for camping. Here are a few of the questions I ask myself before buying a unit to take with me on a trip.  

  • Weight: How heavy is the generator, and can it be easily moved?
  • Output: What output is it rated for?
  • Size: How much space does the generator take up?
  • Decibel Rating: How loud is it?
  • Generator Type: Is it an inverter, electric, or standard generator?
  • Power Receptacles: What type of plugs can the generator take?

Best Portable Generators for Camping: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Honda EU3000i


  • Weight: 145 pounds
  • Output: 3000 watts
  • Generator Type: Inverter


  • Good size-to-output ratio
  • Quiet
  • Fuel efficient


  • It is big for minimalist camping
  • Heavy to move around without wheels

Honda has built a name for itself as a reliable and quiet generator manufacturer. The EU3000i falls in the middle of its fabled inverter lineup. This series is known for its fuel-efficient performance, and the EU3000i lives up to that. The 3.4-gallon gas tank allows this generator to run between 6.9 and 19.6 hours, depending on the load. It comes ready with various receptacles and has enough power to run heavy-duty appliances.

For campers looking for a unit to do it all, the 3000 size can tackle most tasks. As far as generators go, Honda inverters are whisper-quiet. The noise output piques at 57 decibels, similar to the level of a normal conversation. While the initial investment is certainly high, the reliability of a Honda is unmatched. Rest assured, it will start up whenever and wherever you need it.

Best Budget: Craftsman 2500i Inverter Key Features


  • Weight: 55 pounds
  • Output: 2500 Watts
  • Generator Type: Inverter 


  • Affordable
  • Can be run in parallel with another generator
  • Comes with USB ports


  • Tricky to fill with oil
  • Heavy for a small generator

Craftsman’s inverter generator offers the same benefits as other inverters at a fraction of the cost. These generators have grown in popularity as quiet and reliable units for everyday use. The Craftsman 2500i lives up to this and excels in the woods. The 2500-watt output is more than enough to power small devices around camp. Accessories like USB ports make it easy to charge mobile devices.

The generator runs off of a four-stroke engine, making almost no noise. While it is heavier than other inverters in its class, the price point more than makes up for it. Best of all, an aftermarket cable allows two of them to run in series. This doubles the power output and allows the user to run much larger appliances and equipment. From a camping standpoint, this reliable and easy-to-use inverter is an affordable way to bring electricity off the grid.

Most Quiet: Honda EU2200i


  • Weight: 46.5 pounds
  • Output: 2200 watts
  • Generator Type: Inverter


  • Known for its reliability
  • Easy to start and fuel-efficient 
  • Exceptionally quiet


  • Expensive 
  • Limited type of plugs

This inverter is as reliable as they come and surprisingly quiet. At full load, the decibel rating is 57, and at a quarter load, it’s a mere 48 decibels. I’ve run this generator for long periods with only a slight hum indicating the generator is on. While expensive, the features more than make for the price tag. The carbon monoxide sensor will automatically shut off the generator keeping you safe in case of a leak. In addition, an Eco throttle maximizes fuel efficiency, and a fuel shutoff valve keeps unwanted gasoline from sitting in the fuel lines.

Best for RV: Champion Power Equipment 4500


  • Weight: 97 pounds
  • Output: 4500 watts
  • Generator Type: Inverter


  • Easy electric start
  • Variety of hookups, including one RV 120V plug
  • Dual fuel capable


  • The neutral wires need to be converted into a floating neutral for RVs
  • Customer service can be challenging to deal with

RVs are great for bringing modern amenities on a camping trip. However, if there are no RV hookups where you stay, you might as well be primitive camping. A portable generator, like the Champion Power Equipment 4500, can replace the need for a dedicated hookup. The 4500-watt output is up to most tasks, whether powering an AC unit or RV appliances. In addition, two of these generators can be run in series for higher output needs. Unlike most generators, the Champion can run on gas or propane. Having the ability to switch between the two is crucial in remote locations. Propane is also a cleaner burning fuel. If the generator sits for long periods, running it on propane assures the fuel lines will function properly. While heavier than other generators, it comes with wheels and a handle to comfortably move it around.

Best Green/Most Sustainable: Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station


  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Output: 1000 watts
  • Generator Type: Electric 


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can charge on solar 
  • Plenty of power for small devices and appliances 


  • Not suitable for running large equipment

While gas-powered generators are great for long trips, electric power banks excel on shorter trips with less gear. Jackery’s Explorer 1000 is a power bank built for off-grid camping. It features eight outlets, including three AC outlets, USB-A, USB-C, and a car outlet. Despite being fully electric, it has impressive battery life. Items like a TV can run for 9 hours or a mini cooler for 13 hours. For longer camping trips, a solar add-on is available. The portable solar panel gives the bank a constant trickle of power to keep it charged. A simple AC plug recharges the power bank  in 5.5 hours when you’re not using the solar panel. The unit weighs 22 pounds and is small enough for most trips.

Best Small: Yamaha EF2200iS inverter


  • Weight: 55 pounds
  • Output: 2200 watts
  • Generator Type: Inverter


  • Very reliable
  • Comes with an RV plug
  • Built-in carburetor drain 


  • May struggle with heavy loads
  • Pricey for its size

Yamaha’s EF2200iS is a small inverter generator with high power output. It even comes ready with an RV plug. So rather than using an adapter, you can power smaller appliances in your RV with a direct hookup. Like other inverter generators, this one has a reliable four-stroke motor. Combined with the quiet muffler, it produces some of the lowest decibels we tested. In addition, the EF2200iS uses a smart throttle to maximize power outputs and fuel efficiency.

Best Solar: Westinghouse iGen160s with Solar Panel


  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Output: 155 watts
  • Generator Type: Solar generator


  • Easy to use 
  • Comes with a solar panel
  • Can charge up to nine devices at once


  • Not enough power for large appliances

Solar generators are growing in popularity for their clean power output in remote locations. However, the issue with most solar units is getting the actual solar panel. This bundle comes ready with everything you need to go off the grid at a fraction of the cost. This unit can deliver long-lasting power for smaller devices like phones, tablets, and speakers. It can also double as a flashlight with its built-in light. At four pounds, it is lighter than most battery packs and easy to bring camping. If I know I need extra power in a convenient package; the Westinghouse is my go-to. It always stays in my truck in case of an emergency.

What to Consider When Choosing a Portable Generator for Camping

Portable generators for camping are worthy investments for those who want access to modern amenities in the woods. That said, they are also an expensive investment. To get the most out of your purchase, consider your current needs and future plans. Not all generators do the same job, so making sure the one you choose is up to the task is essential. Consider the following:


First and foremost, a generator must have the correct output to power your belongings. The determining factor for generator output is what type of camping you do. Electric power banks or small inverter generators have plenty of power for shorter trips with minimal gear. However, if you plan on powering appliances or an RV, you need a generator capable of handling heavier loads with the proper hookups. A good compromise between the two is a generator with a 3000-to-4000-Watt output. These generators can handle various loads without taking up too much space.


Generators come in a wide range of sizes. Typically, the larger the generator, the more power it outputs. That may not always be the case, especially when shopping for a small generator. The first step is finding the correct output. Once you know how much power is needed, shop for a generator that fits the best with your camping setup. Finding the smallest generator for truck or van camping allows you to bring extra gear. 


If you find yourself hitting the woods to escape the noise associated with everyday life, a generator might cost you your sanity. That said, there are plenty of surprisingly quiet options. Sound is measured in decibels. To find the quietest options, look for the lowest decibel ratings. Electric and solar generators make no noise. For more power, inverter generators offer the best compromise between sound and power output. Even the largest models put out a minimal number of decibels. Some generators even have an eco-mode which improves fuel efficiency and reduces noise.


Q: What is the most reliable portable generator?

A reliable generator is one that starts every time. Yamaha and Honda make some of the best and most reliable generators. The motors are bulletproof, and they feature innovative ways of clearing the fuel lines for long-term storage. Propane generators are also reliable and these units will consistently start and run without harmful ethanol in the fuel.

Q: What size generator do I need for camping?

Consider what appliances you plan to power. From there, you can narrow down generators with acceptable power ratings. For most users, a 2000- to 2500-watt generator will do the job. If you need more power for an RV, look for bigger generators in the 4000- to 5000-watt range.

Q: What is the quietest generator for campers?

Solar-powered battery packs make no noise. The only downside is they cannot power equipment that draws heavy loads. Honda or Yamaha generators are the next best thing if you need more power. Both feature proprietary mufflers that keep sound down. In my experience, the Honda EU2200i is slightly quieter than the Yamaha.

Final Thoughts on the Best Portable Generators for Camping

There are plenty of portable generators for camping available for a variety of budgets and circumstances. Make sure the unit fits your needs to get the best performance out of your purchase. This includes power output, size, and sound. Once you identify your needs, you can start shopping. Look for generators in your budget range and from reliable brands.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.