Matt Johnson

How Big of a Generator Do I Need for Camping?

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jan 11, 2022Updated: Dec 13, 2023

If you want to go camping, you need a generator. Around here we like to glamp in style, so a generator is definitely must-have camping gear.

It may not seem like it at first, but there are plenty of things that require power when you’re out in the woods or deep in the wilderness, from your phone charger and coffee pot to your space heater and air mattress pump.

You might be tempted to forego a generator altogether or maybe even buy a small, lightweight generator for your next RV camping trip so you can take less with you on the road. But before we get into the details about which size of generator is best suited for each type of camper (deep-woods or glamper), let’s take a look at how many watts you need.

Take a generator. You’ll thank us.

You probably think about unplugging and leaving anything with electrons behind when you think of camping. In some cases, that’s a great choice. However, there are some creature comforts you might miss, so you might want to think again.

Whether you’re in the comforts of your home or deep in the woods, you probably want that cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, you might want to listen to your favorite playlist while playing frisbee with your friends. And at night, it gets dark out there. You might want some lighting to see where you’re going.

All of this requires power. Sure, a battery pack will help with some things, but not everything. You’re going to want something to power all of that.

You use more power than you think.

So, how big of a generator do you need on your next camping trip? That all depends on how much power you consume.

Generators produce electricity measured in watts. A 2,000-watt generator can make that many watts while surging, but continuous power is usually around 1,600 watts. So if you add up everything you plan on providing power to at the same time, it would need to be less than 1,600 watts. Keep in mind, when you first power up a device, it requires a surge in power, but that’s okay. After all, the generator (in this example) is 2,000 watts.

Couple Watching Videos While Camping in Tent

For most, camping doesn’t require much power, but it might be a bit more for others. We’ll have a solid recommendation for you, but here’s a general power breakdown of power consumption for now.

  • Coffee pot: 1000W
  • Phone charger: 10W
  • String LED lights: 5W
  • Speaker charger: 10W
  • Cooling fan: 50W
  • Space heater: 1500W
  • Air mattress pump: 50W

These are all general wattage for various items, but they should give you an idea of how much power you need. You will use some of these items simultaneously and others individually. So keep that in mind when you’re coming up with your power consumption check.

Now that you have an idea of how many watts you’ll need, how big of a generator do you need for camping?

Size of the generator matters.

For most camping trips, a 2,000-watt generator is more than enough. It can provide ample power to your coffee maker in the morning and your space heater at night. You probably won’t use both of those simultaneously, and with a 2,000-watt generator, you won’t be able to anyways.

Yamaha Generator is Great for Camping
Photo courtesy of Amazon

There are plenty of 2,000-watt generators on the market as that’s a typical size. We prefer the Yamaha EF2200iS as it’s compact, quiet, and provides reliable power with a peak of 2,200 watts.

The Yamaha is perfect for camping. When you’re searching for a generator, you want something small enough to be portable and easy to move but also provides sufficient wattage for everything you’ll need during your trip. Best of all, this is one of the quietest generators you can find. Others, such as the Wen 56203i are great choices as well, but you get unchallenged reliability with the Yamaha EF2200iS.

Have adequate power on your next camping trip.

Whether you’re a camper that is looking to head out deep into the woods, or you’re a glamper that enjoys modern comforts while spending time outdoors, chances are you need a generator.

Remember, you don’t want something too big and cumbersome, but it also has to provide enough juice for everything you have. So take a look at everything you have that needs power, and that will give you an idea of how big of a generator you need for your next camping trip.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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