This week TCM reader, Chan Crangle, asked, “Where does everyone keep their portable generators?”
Having also considered this question, we added another, “Have you used your portable generator as much as you thought you would when you bought it?”
As you’re about to see, these two questions received an impressive quantity of responses. It seems the need and use of portable generators and the storage of portable generators are hotter subjects than we had realized.
Reading through the responses revealed practices that touch on safety measures that every RV owner should know and practice. It’s no secret that TCM puts safety first, so we have assembled an overview of the most important safety tips regarding CO detectors and the filling and transportation of gasoline cans.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
When using a built-in or portable generator, or even camping in close proximity to someone who is using a generator, it’s critical that your propane (LP), carbon monoxide (CO), and smoke detectors are up to date and working. Carbon monoxide from generators kills far too many RVers every year. For detailed information on this important topic, please read, “Replacing RV LP, CO, and Smoke Detectors”.
Safe Gas Can Filling and Transportation
Another important consideration with portable generators is the safe transportation of gasoline. The first rule is to turn off your vehicle and not smoke near the gas pump or gas can when filling.
Only containers specifically designed to hold gasoline should be used. All approved gas cans are red and indicate in writing that they are designed for gasoline. When filling a gas can, you need to first discharge static electricity. This can be quickly done by touching an exterior metal panel of your truck prior to handling the gas pump or can. Your truck hood or door is likely a good example.
Always fill a gas can on the ground, never when it’s in a vehicle or RV. By placing the gas can on the ground, the gas can should be grounded from electrical charge. The gas can should also be placed a safe distance away from parked and moving vehicles when filled.
Immediately prior to filling the can, touch the gas pump nozzle to the side of the can in case of an electrical spark. Then fill the gas can slowly to avoid splashing and overflow. Never use the lock latch on the gas pump. Leave a couple inches of space at the top of the gas can to prevent spills and overflow, and to allow for fume expansion. Then secure the gas can cap tightly and wipe off any gasoline that may be on the exterior of the gas can.
Store the gas can upright and secure the gas can so it does not move when driving. The selected storage area should be well ventilated. For example, have the windows open. Never leave gas cans in an enclosed car trunk or the passenger compartment of a vehicle.
Finally, keep gas cans away from all sources of heat, including the sun. Gasoline fumes are harmful and should not be placed in close proximity to children, adults, or pets. Never leave a child or pet in an enclosed vehicle with a gas can.
For more information about the safe transportation of gasoline, read, “How to Safely Fill and Transport Gasoline Using a Gas Can”.
Here are the responses to the Question of the Week:
“We use a Yamaha 2,000-watt portable generator. I have the Torklift Lock and Load set-up mounted to the back of my flatbed. It works perfectly with no issues at all. The best part is that I don’t need to unlock the generator to use it. I simply lift the generator cover up and plug the camper cord into it while it’s locked into place.
I use my generator about as much as expected. We are about fifty-fifty on power and no power camping trips.” – Rich Bain, 1999 Chevy 1 ton, 12-foot flatbed, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
“Our portable generator has never been used. It came with the camper, but we have never used it while camping. I fire it up one time a year make sure all is well, and then put it away till next year. The camper has its own spot for it, so I never worry about it. Now, if we were to buy a new camper, I would not buy a generator with the camper. We just don’t use it enough.” – Scott Vallie, 2008 Dodge 2500, 2005 Sunlite
“I have a Honda EU2000i. I store it on my front rack for longer trips, or in the generator compartment for short trips.
Truth be told, I’ve never used the Honda out camping, but did use it twice at home during winter storms in the past two years. I probably used the two previous generators more for storms also, than camping. Overall I’d rather have it and not need it, than vice-versa, just like four-wheel drive.” – Kevin McCarron, 2013 Ford F-350, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE
“I have a Honda EU2000i. At first I tried to use the empty generator compartment. But the height of the compartment was not enough. I ended up scratching up my Honda and it was such a pain removing it.
I finally just placed it on my utility trailer where I tow my RZR. Then I went solar with two 100 watt panels and two Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries. If I didn’t have the trailer, I’d either modify the compartment or modify the Honda and permanently mount it inside that empty generator compartment.
I have a large tow chain that I run around my front axle and through the Honda so that it doesn’t walk away. I’m sure that if someone was really determined, they’d get it regardless of the chain.
I’ve carried the generator but have not turned it on since I went solar. I’ve even thought about selling it, but then I think I might as well just hang onto it just in case.” – David Bowen, 2005 Dodge Ram 2500, 2005 Arctic Fox 860
“I have a small two-cycle Chinese made generator. It’s a small generator and we put it in a plastic storage container in the camper. It was in the way all the time and smelled.
I don’t use it at all. I am solar panel fan now. We had a microwave in the camper that we didn’t use, so we removed it for extra storage.” – David Miller, 2010 Ford F150, 2010 Adventurer 80GS
“I have a Honda EU1000i and it travels in the camper while driving, and then goes inside the cab while camping.
It’s rarely used. Most of my friends have large fifth wheels, or motorhomes, and run their generators constantly to charge their batteries. Meanwhile, I go one week or more with just one battery, no solar, and take a shower every night. Honestly, I just don’t get it.” – Mr. Firefighter, 1991 Ford F-250, 1988 Six Pac 8-foot
“I bought a used Honda EU2000i generator from a friend several years ago thinking I would need it with my truck camper. Like you, I don’t know where I would put it and haven’t used it since I bought it.” – Robert Hubbs, 2002 Dodge 2500, 2010 Palomino Maverick M8801
“I had a Honda EU2000i with my first camper and I kept it on the roof. I used it every time we went out. I have one battery, incandescent lighting, and no solar.” – Pete Haidinyak, 2016 Ram 5500
“I have a Honda EU2000i. I do not like storing the generator inside the camper. I store it there while traveling, right by the camper’s door. I keep the gas cap tight and in a position where it will not tip over. As soon as I arrive at our next stop, I remove it and chain it to a table, tree, or the frame of our camper – whatever works.
It’s a hassle as we very seldom use it. If I absolutely knew we did not need it for a warm weather weekend jaunt, I would leave it home. It depends on where you intend to camp, for how long, and in what weather conditions.
When we camp in fall or spring in cool weather, in more isolated places, the generator is an absolutely necessity as the furnace sucks the juice out of the Optima batteries in no time. I have one Optima group 31 in the truck camper and two group 31 in our 30-foot fifth wheel. Otherwise, we hardly use it.
We have a friend who bought a cheaper two-cycle generator and regretted it because it was too noisy and hard to start after a year. I’m glad I have the Honda and happy that I seldom have to use it in warm weather. It gets down to your style of camping.” – Tom Bender, 2011 Ford F250, 2009 Sun Valley Apache Chief 8.65 WS
“I have a Honda EU2000i. We had Eagle Cap custom build a driver’s side rear compartment which is the perfect size for the Honda. We did not want to use the stock generator compartment for the Honda as it would have to be tipped and tilted to fit inside. We use that compartment for tools, battery cables, leveling blocks, and pet items.
We use the generator anytime we need the air conditioner as it runs the Coleman Mach 9000 BTU air conditioner just great.
My wife likes to use it when she uses her sewing machine and, if it’s been cloudy or rainy, we use it once in awhile for the microwave oven if the solar panels have not had enough sun to have the batteries topped off. If the batteries are topped off, we use the 2000-watt Xantrex sine wave inverter for the sewing machine and the microwave.
Having 285 watts of solar and two large AGM Batteries really reduces the need for the generator. We try to boondock or dry camp most of the time. We love truck camping.” – Gary Gadwa, 2012 Ford F350, 2011 Eagle Cap 950
“We have a Honda EU2000i. Our step system incorporates a cargo tray mounted in the rear receiver hitch and has room for the generator mounted on a Lockdown Pro plate. This also carries extra gas and water.
We have no solar, only one battery, an unused microwave, and a 9200 BTU air conditioner. We bought them to use, regularly. Since we often go off the beaten track, the generator is a must.” – Cheryl Nelson, 2004 Chevy 3500, 1989/90 Shadow Cruiser 9.5
“I have both a Honda EU3000i and a EU2000i. The EU3000i was from the days of having a travel trailer with plenty of room to haul it. In those days of using the EU3000i, I was much younger and I had my son around to help move it.
As the family grew smaller so did the camping rig. My wife and I downsized to a truck camper. Now the bed is in full use, there is no space for the EU3000i, and I can’t I move it by myself. So we purchased a EU2000i. I build a porch off the truck.
It’s been to the east coast and back a couple of times.
Now here is the real question, have we used it? Not as much as we did with the travel trailer and EU3000i. I think this has to do more with the places we go and the time of year. We typically don’t travel during prime time – Memorial day through Labor day – so it’s cooler. The primary use of the generator with the truck camper is for cooling on hot nights. However, we have been at Eagle Lake in September and needed it to cool the rig off at night when we didn’t have electric.
For us, generators are not just used for camping, but also as backup for power outages in the winter and occasional welding around the ranch.” – Loren Jones, 2013 Ram 3500, 2013 Lance 850
“I have a Honda EU1000i that is stored in the back seat. It is sealed in a garbage bag which helps to prevent fumes.
When I need to charge batteries (cameras, video, etc.), the generator is awesome. We have also used it to run a small electric heater (500 watt) to heat the camper on cold mornings. It’s great!” – Steve Pelton, 2007 Dodge 3500, 2007 Northern Lite 8-11
“I have a Yamaha 600 and a Champion 4000 watt that we don’t use. If there is a need for a generator, we tow a cargo trailer behind. This works out well for us. Now the generator only collects dust.” – Larry Hoare, 1996 Dodge 2500, 1991 Jayco 950
“We have a Yamaha 2000-watt portable generator. We carry the generator on a semi-custom front hitch carrier which allows it to be used while still mounted and locked to the truck.
We have not used it much at all. In the one and a half years we have had our setup, we have only used the generator once. It has been used for remote work projects apart from the camper several times. We are glad we have it, but we rarely take it with us.” – Greg Chambers, 2015 GMC Sierra 3500, 2015 Lance 855S
“I have a Yamaha EU2000i and I store it inside the camper when traveling. Having Max Air covers on the roof vents and a Fantastic Fan, I have not noticed any gasoline odors or smells inside. When I arrive at my destination, I move it outside and lock it to the camper to prevent theft.
Honestly, I haven’t used it much, but I haven’t been able to get out as much as I would like. When I have used it, I was glad I had it. It makes me more able to boondock where ever I please.” – William Steger, 2005 GMC 2500HD, 1995 Kodiak SC83
“We have a Honda EU2000i. The camper is new to us, but we will probably store it as we did in our old camper. Neither one has a generator compartment, so we’ll store it inside the camper. For the new camper, we’ll store it under the dinette, though we may not always take it with us. It will depend on where we’re going and whether we ultimately decide to install solar.
We haven’t used the generator as much as we expected. We stay at campgrounds and relatives most often and just plug-in. We only use it when we’re off-grid, which isn’t that often.” – John Yanowicz, 2015 Ford F-350, 2015 Arctic Fox 865
“When we travel we have a Honda EU2000i, which we store in a waterproof bag on the front hitch cargo carrier. We also have a Champion 3500/4000 that we carry during the NFL season for tailgating. The Champion is carried on the front hitch using a Torklift Lock and Load.
We have used the Honda EU2000i very little on the road. It’s more of a back up for a power outage at a campground. We run the Champion for four hours every Patriot’s home game to keep the television and microwave going.” – Keith Lincoln, 2012 GMC 3500, 2014 Host Mammoth
“The Honda EU2000i is stored inside the camper on the floor in a nook created by the wet bath bump out. I have also carried it in the cab on the folded down back seat. The Honda has a sealing gas cap so no vapors/odors are released when sealed.
It doesn’t really want to run the microwave or the air conditioner, particularly at altitude. Since I don’t have solar, I sometimes use it to keep the single battery topped up.” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920
“We have two IU 2000 generators that sit in front on a rack. We do not nearly use them as much as we had hoped.” – Allan Hann, 2007 Chevy, 2008 Lance 861
“I have a Honda EU2000i portable generator that I would love to carry in the built-in generator space on my camper. My Bigfoot came with an Onan propane built-in generator that we have used very little. The problem with the generator space is that it is too low for the Honda if I took the built-in one out.
A tank of propane does not last very long with a generator running on it. Gasoline is much easier to find and keep tanks filled. I usually carry the Honda on a hitch rack under the aft end of the camper or in the boat.
Manufacturers need to look at the specifications and make compartments sized to fit the portable units. We only carry the Honda if we know we will need the air conditioning. The Honda is so much quieter than the Onan. We do use it for many other applications other than the camper.” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E
“We had a Honda 2000-watt generator, and it was stored on the rear custom built platform that my husband built. The generator was locked down.
Yes, that generator got a fair amount of use over the years. We did a lot of four to five day trail riding trips with our own horses, or borrowed horses from friends, which meant we did a lot of boondocking. We had solar panels as well later on. That rig is now gone, and so are the horses.” – Maaja Sutak, 2000 Chevy 3500, 1998 Bigfoot 10.6, 2500 series
“I own a Honda EU2000i. The unit is stored inside a cargo bay on the rear of the camper along with an extended run fuel tank.
I use it all the time while boondocking. The camper is a project in progress. Currently I have no battery bank or solar. While running, it tends to want to grind itself into the ground, so I would recommend placing it on something like a door mat.” – Daryl Hawkins, 2015 Mitsubishi FG, 2015 Morgan Cargo
“I have a Honda EU3000is that’s 3,000 Watts. I store it in our dual axle 10-foot by 5-foot covered PJ dump trailer, or on our rear tilting carrier inserted into our Torklift Super Magnum receiver hitch with 48-inch Super Truss.
It was bought to use at our home during electrical outages. With our Lance not having a generator, we knew the Honda EU3000is would become its companion. We just came back from seven days of boondocking at the Florida Flywheelers Antique Tractor and Steam Engine Rally in Fort Meade, Florida and our EU3000is ran and served us perfectly.
We took four to five gallon jugs of gas and only used three jugs. We ran the generator in our covered dump trailer and always got compliments about how quiet it runs. A Wonderlodge owner was walking past and he asked if our Honda was running. He was four feet away. Yes it was, and I told him to come closer. He was astonished saying, “I wished my Wonderlodge generator ran this quiet”.
We love our Honda EU3000is. Its only drawback is its weight of 130 pounds but I built a four wheel platform dolly for it to sit on so that I can easily move it around.” – Jack and Lynne Sheesley, 2008 Ram 3500, 1993 Lance LC980 11′ 3″
“I have a Honda 2000-watt generator and store in the back of truck with a full tank of fuel. The Honda has a special gas cap that does not let gas vapor exit. I do not use it often. I like to have it around just in case.” – Ben Boulet, 2006 Ram 2500 HD, 2012 Lance 855S
“Currently we have a 2000-watt Yamaha. The first thing I do when acquiring a new truck is tear the back seat out and make organized storage in that space. We carry our generator seat belted into that space. We also carry a Zamp portable solar panel and our own set of drawers for extra clothing items.
Julianne Crane, my sweetheart, still writes for various online and print publications and requires enough power to stay connected. When boondocking, she gets her generator time to reach out to the web.” – Jimmy Smith, 2002 Ford F350, 2003 Northern Lite 10-2
“I have a Honda EU2000i that I converted to propane and store anywhere because it doesn’t stink any more. Usually I store it in a hush box that I built right behind the rear bumper, under the camper.
Yes, I use it because I installed an Easy Start by Micro Air and it runs my air conditioner all day long without any problems.” – Robert Garbe, 2007 Chevy 2500HD, 2005 Bigfoot 1500C8.2
“We have two Honda 2000-watt generators available for use. They happen to be our emergency power source for the numerous power outages we seem to have where we live. Plus we have an onboard Onan in our truck camper that we rarely use due to noise.
When we do go dry camping, we take one of the generators in our Lock and Load from Torklift. The fuel can fits in there as well. We can carry it in our front or rear hitch locations depending on the situation. If we use it on the front mount, we have a reflective snow stake/marker to help us remember that the basket is there, otherwise we can’t see it from the cab of the truck. The Lock and Load is the way to go for us!
We use it more than we thought, but mostly at home though because of power outages.” – Sally Stomberg, 2006 Ford F-550, 2006 Lance 1191, 2008 Surveyor 260BH 5’er
“I use a Honda EU2000i. It has been on loan to me for a couple years now. It’s great. The noise level is very low. I keep it in the camper while on the road. I lock it to my rear wheel when in a campsite.
I was woken up at 12:30am by the local sheriff in Ventura, California at the Rincon Parkway, stating that, even though it was locked up to my truck, it would probably get stolen by morning.
It’s not too heavy to move around. The beauty of a portable, is that you can take it anywhere, whether you have your camper or not. I have taken it in my boat, for tent camping on the other side of the lake, and I use it around the house (construction projects) etc.
I only wish it had enough power to run my air conditioner. I would have to get second one and run them together, but that requires that one of them be the special unit, and that one costs more. I wish the built-ins could be as quiet. If I had the choice when I bought my camper, I would have opted for one with a generator built-in. I would probably lug the portable one around, too.
Yes, I use my portable generator every trip. My kids like to watch movies or other DVDs while we are on the road. It makes for a fun activity in inclement weather. We use it every morning to run our residential sized coffee maker, and to re-charge cell phones.” – Robert Williams, 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 HD, 1994 Fleetwood Caribou
“I have a Honda EU2000i. I put it on the back seat floor on the driver’s side. You can easily slide it out, use it, and slide it back in the back seat floor, and lock the truck doors. I have never noticed a fuel smell with it in the cab. These Hondas are very well engineered.
I use it almost every night when dry docked. I enjoy being able to have several lights on, use the microwave, and run an electric heater (if needed). This way the batteries are fully charged up for night time reading and morning rituals.” – Donald Leddy, 2002 Chevy Silverado, 2002 Fleetwood Angler
“I have a Gobi 2000 generator. When traveling I store it inside the camper. It’s light weight, easy to move and take out. I use it daily to recharge the batteries.” – Alan Spires, 2005 Ford F250, 2008 Lance 825
“I have a Yamaha 2400 that I converted to propane with a conversion kit from US carburetor. I store it when traveling inside the camper. Since I use propane exclusively, there are no problems with gasoline storage, smell, or danger with inside storage. Yes, I use it because most of our camping is boondocking.” – Mike Dahlager, 2001 Ram 2500, Okanagan 96DB
“I have a Champion Power Equipment 73540i 2000-watt portable inverter generator mounted to a Torklift Lock and Load maximum security cargo tray that is inserted into the Curt front mount hitch receiver on the truck.
I use my portable generator a lot while camping at some of the many county lakes in the area where I live. There are no hookups at these lakes. With the portable generator securely mounted on the Torklift Lock and Load, I never have to worry about theft while I’m away from the camper to go fishing, hiking, or kayaking.
With the cargo tray inserted into the Curt front mount hitch receiver, I don’t smell the fumes and hardly hear the portable generator running when I’m at the back end of the camper. It is really nice to be able to use the generator this way instead of having to remove it from the cargo tray all the time.
I also use the portable generator a lot when I’m on the road traveling. Sometimes we’ll pull off the road and spend the night at a Cracker Barrel or Walmart and we’ll use it to power up the microwave and watch TV. Other times we’ll get off the beaten path and boondock on BLM land for a day or two and the generator comes in handy. We normally do this during spring or fall when the temperature isn’t quite as warm.
During the summer we usually have to stay in campgrounds with hookups so we can turn on the air conditioner to keep our little Shih Tzu from overheating. The generator I have doesn’t have the power to run our air conditioner. I’m not complaining about that at all and would buy another one to supplement and parallel the one that I have now in order to run the air conditioner if I really needed it, but I don’t.” – John Patterson, 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 2012 Travel Lite 960RX
“I have a Honda EU2000i stored in the right rear generator compartment. I have not used it yet! I had hookups at the KOA Hatteras last weekend.” – George Schultheis, 2015 Ford F350SD, 2016 Northern Lite 10-2EX CDSE
“I have a Harbor Freight 2500/2200-watt inverter generator. I got it for $399 on sale on leap year day. We bought it for running the air conditioner that’s 11,500 BTUs while we’re boondocking this summer. We’re in central Texas. We keep it on a rack coming off the rear trailer hitch. If I’m towing my car hauler, it goes on the trailer.
We’ve taken the generator camping twice this spring, but the weather was cool so we didn’t need it each time. I upgraded to two Optima batteries, a 250-watt solar panel, and a 500 watt converter. We can run everything off batteries except for the microwave and air conditioner. We will definitely need air conditioning this summer as it’s plenty hot here in Texas.” – Matt Engel, 2007.5 Dodge 3500, 2010 Capri Retreat
“I used to have an Arctic Fox 990 with a built-in Onan generator, which is a 3000-watt propane unit. It worked well, but was so noisy inside the camper with it running. It got on my nerves very quickly and I never used it.
I sold the Arctic Fox because the weight of the thing was putting my truck over the GVWR rating and bought a Bigfoot 9.6 LB. It has no generator or slide-out, but does have a 160-watt solar panel and two 6-volt batteries. It has been working well. Eliminating the slide and generator gets rid of weight, maintenance, potential trouble spots.
If I develop a want for a generator, I would look at getting the Honda EU2000i and mount it in a box on one end of the truck. That would isolate a lot of the noise from the camper.” – John Hallett, 2011 Dodge 3500, 2014 Bigfoot 9.6LB
“I have a Honda EU2000i. We store it on a cargo carrier mounted on the front of the truck along with a 6-gallon extended run tank.
I can’t even imagine how many hours it has on it. Camping out on Portsmouth Island on the OBX, it’s a requirement. Our original truck camper had a built in Onan Microlight. Our prior Lance had an Onan Camppower but, by that time, we had our Honda. I think the Onan had maybe 25 hours on it by the time we sold it a couple years ago. We simply never used it.
When we bought our Lance 1121, the previous owner had taken the Onan out of it to have it fixed. I told him not to bother to put it back in. Instead he gave us a second Group 29 battery.
Being able to pull into any place, shut the truck down and, with a pull or two, have power to run everything on our rig is great!” – Nik Rende, 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 2001 Lance 1121
“I have an Onan 2500 propane powered built-in generator. It’s in the rear compartment and came with the camper. I don’t use it much, but it always starts. I think I will change the oil.” – Bill Foley, 2008 Ford 350, 2007 Arctic Fox
“I have a Honda EU2000i. We store the generator in the generator compartment in the Northstar. Along with the generator, we store a thin gasoline can (Rotopak is the brand , I believe) and an extra quart of motor oil for the generator. The compartment on the Northstar was specifically designed, as I understand it, to accommodate a Honda 2000, or similar, generator.
Some years ago we went on a caravan down the Mexico Baja peninsula which involved a bit of dry camping. We thought we would be able to charge our two RV batteries from the truck. It did not work so well and we ended up with helpful fellow campers lending us the use of their portable generators. Upon return, we bought a Honda EU2000i.
We use it even more than we thought. We do not have a solar collector. We do a lot of dry camping. If we are not hooked to shore power, we typically run the generator each night to charge the two truck camper batteries. In the morning, out comes the generator to run the hair dryer. The air conditioner on the Northstar is sized so the Honda EU2000i can power it. So if it’s really hot, and we are dry camping, the portable generator keeps us cool.
Furthermore, the generator has been a life saver by getting our truck started on a few cold mornings. Some years ago we were having problems starting our truck in cold weather. It turned out to be a problem with the FICM; fuel injection control module. So we hooked up the Honda EU2000i to the truck block heater for five minutes and voila, we got the truck started.
Also, we use the Honda EU2000i to charge boat batteries when we are fishing and there is no shore power available. If we have a power outage at our house, our plan is to use the Honda EU2000i to run our refrigerator, freezer, and power our controls and furnace fan on our natural gas furnace. Be advised that it probably takes some wiring and control mods to enable one to connect directly to the furnace controls and air distribution fan.
If you buy a truck camper to go wherever you want, and camp where ever you want, other than cost, why wouldn’t you have a portable generator that helps make you self sufficient? We do not have a solar collector, and maybe a solar collector will provide the same independence. But I don’t know if a solar collector will live through a hail storm with marble size hail. A portable generator will.” – Firman Schiebout, 2004 Ford F-350, 2012 Northstar 9.5 Igloo U
“I have a Honda 2000 companion. I didn’t want the 12-volt output. I keep it behind the front seat of the crew cab GMC dually. I haven’t had any problems with gas smell or leaking oil or gas. It’s a Honda after all.
I haven’t used the generator nearly as much as we first thought we would. We have 150-watts of solar power and an 800-watt inverter which will switch itself off when unused for an extended time, so no there’s parasitic load. I don’t have an electric toaster and don’t use the microwave unless plugged into shore power.” – Jim and Anne Beach, 2009 GMC 3500HD, 2012 Arctic Fox 865
“We prefer the off-the-grid boondocking experience, especially in the small out of the way campsites on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or in the BLM deserts of the southwest, but we also enjoy the comforts of home. So traveling with a generator has provided the best of both worlds and made our road trips a very pleasurable experience.
Two years after purchasing our new Arctic Fox 1150, the Onan 2500 generator died and was going to cost $1,200 to repair. We never liked how noisy it was and were always embarrassed to use it, particularly when camping at primitive camp sites. I got rid of the Onan, installed a floor in the generator cavity, and purchased a Honda EU2000i. But where do I put it?
I tried storing the Honda in the old generator cavity, but removing it each time we wanted to use it was a difficult chore. I instead found an application online where I could securely anchor it to the rear bumper of the camper and then use the generator cavity for storage. I then hard wired a power cord to the old generators junction box for a simple connection to the camper. When the camper is off the truck, I remove the generator and put it in the garage.
Now, whether we are at a truck stop for the night, a tiny secluded campsite on Lake Superior, or camped out in the BLM lands of the wide open desert, we can enjoy morning coffee, blend our smoothies, and my wife can still blow dry her hair. Everyone is happy!
We just returned from a month long, 5,700 mile road trip in the southwest, and only two nights with shore power, while visiting friends at the Sky Valley Resort in Palm Springs, California. In total, we’ve traveled about 15,000 miles with our current setup and have had absolutely no issues.” – Ken Pastorius, 2016 GMC 3500, Arctic Fox 1150
“I have a Honda EU2000i that’s stored in my generator compartment. I need to use it at 4:00am on cold nights when my batteries need help powering personal equipment. I have a 160 watt solar panel and two AGM batteries. I use it more than I originally thought. I hope to use it less as summer approaches.” – Tony Coyne, 2015 Silverado 3500, 2016 Arctic Fox 1140 dry bath
“I have a Honda EU2000i normally stowed on a trailer that we pull or a hitch haul. We have a built-in generator in our Arctic Fox, but it is too noisy and shakes the camper too much to be able to watch television or sleep with it running. The Honda will run the air conditioner, but it is working hard in order to do that.
We have had this Honda for over fourteen years and use it on every extended trip we take. For weekends or overnight, we use the built-in generator.” – Alan Flury, 2011 Dodge 3500, 2013 Arctic Fox 990
“The folks who bought my camper owned a Honda EU2000i generator. There is an outside compartment on these Lance Campers that will hold and lock the generator out of sight. It fits perfectly!” – Robert Morrissey, 2011 Ford F350, 2012 Lance 850
“I have a Honda EU2000i stored in the generator compartment. I don’t use it, but I like the fact that I can boondock anywhere if I have to.” – George Visconti, 2015 GMC 3500HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“I have a Honda EU2000i. When traveling, I make sure it’s cooled down, close the cap vent, and store it behind the passenger’s seat in the cab. I’ve made many trips this way and never had any gasoline odor in the cab. Fuel is stored in a RotoPax fuel container in one of the outside storage cabs in the camper. The RotoPax does not leak or off-gas, and is about the sturdiest fuel container made.
Having said that, since we got a camper with an on-board generator, we really haven’t traveled with the Honda. We primarily use the generator to run the microwave for cooking and Marylou’s hair appliances. The generator only runs for a few minutes at a time usually, and the convenience overrides the noise aggravation for us. It’s really handy to heat up some leftovers for lunch during a roadside stop!
I used it more before we changed to a camper with 150 watts solar, three Group 31 AGM batteries, and an on-board generator. Now, I use it at home occasionally when I need power tools somewhere remote from the nearest building. And I could take it along if I envisioned needing air conditioner power for hours on end instead of just for ten to thirty minutes at a time.” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“We have a Honda EU2000i. I have built a rack that goes into the receiver hitch, either on the front or back. I have made a protective covering for it, so the weather does not get to it while traveling. I designed it so that I can open the generator up for exhaust and fueling while it’s on truck, yet it’s still protected from weather when it’s running. It’s out of sight when traveling.
I have not used it that much. I did not like getting out of bed early to refuel it in the summer time. I have bought an extended run tank and use it more when boondocking, especially in warmer weather when the air conditioner is needed.” – Michael Suan, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, 2010 Lance 830
“I have a Powerhouse 3100 that’s about 80 pounds. We need it in Canada for recharging boat batteries and the air conditioner. We store it in a front mounted rack on my truck.” – Steve Lawrenz, 2014 Ram 3500, 2014 Arctic Fox 996
“I have a Honeywell 2000i. We use it every year at Lake George when dry camping. Since we tow our boat there, we store it onboard. We also use it to recharge the boat electric trolling motor. We also use it when we dry camp at Swartswood Lake in New Jersey. For the most part, yes, we use it. We don’t have solar for our camper. We are contemplating upgrading the camper and truck, but really don’t want to part with either!” – Tom Slack, 2011 Ford F350, 2008 Okanagan 85SL
“I have a Honda EU2000i in the generator compartment at the left rear of the camper. I use it mostly due to the microwave. If the generator were to die, I’d add more solar and more batteries but, for now, the generator does the job. I currently have 95 watts of solar and two 6-volt batteries.” – Kevin Presson, 1997 Dodge Ram 2500, Outfitter Apex 9.5
“We have both a Honda EU2000i and a Yamaha 2000. We generally use the Honda with the camper as it stores easier in the camper’s generator compartment. The Yamaha is slightly taller and takes more effort to get in and out of the compartment.
We use a generator on a regular basis and would not be without it. The primary use is during the colder winter months when camping and snowmobiling are combined weekend pastimes. However, the ability to charge batteries, operate small electric heaters, and run the microwave are nice.” – Sean Lynn, 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 2014 Lance 950S
“I don’t have a generator yet. If I plan any hot weather camping I will get either a Honda or Yamaha 2000. It looks like it would fit nicely in the rear right outside storage compartment of the 865, a big selling point to me over the 825 or 650 Lances.
I’m sure I would use a generator in hot weather. I would love to run the air conditioner but, as a general rule, my blood pressure spikes at the sound of a generator running.
Most of my camping with a pickup camper is in cool weather. In summer I spend my spare time at a camper trailer that I have on a permanent site on Lake Michigan. That has hookups, so I don’t need a generator there either.” – Tery Gfeller, 2011 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Lance 865
“I have a Craftsman 5000 stored in the back of my truck. I hauled it 15,000 miles last summer on extended, fifteen week trip to Alaska. I never started it. I will likely take it again this fall to the southwest desert area just in case we need it for air conditioning.” – Robin Connell, 2012 Dodge Ram 2500, 2009 Jayco TT 23FB
“We have a Honda EU2000i and store it in numerous places based on the camping trip we are taking. If we are doing a week or shorter (three or four day weekend), we usually store it in the generator compartment of the truck camper since we don’t need to take along as much stuff for a short trip.
Sometimes we’ll put it behind the passenger’s seat in the cab of the truck. If we are going for a longer time period and we are taking our little 5×8 enclosed trailer, it is in there.
Usage has been slightly less than we thought although I will not leave home without it! The numerous uses that are applicable to it go beyond your truck camper needs. It can be used for outdoor power for tools, gadgets, television, electric cookers, etc. It is also part of the safety team – what if you need to charge your vehicle’s or tow vehicle’s battery?
We have the adapters for most everything that we may need to use. Mostly we use it to run the small appliances like a coffee maker as needed and keep the batteries fully charged when necessary.” – Joe MacDonald, 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“I have a Honda EU2000i that I store in the outside rear corner compartment, which is just big enough for a generator. I use it on occasion, but not as much as I thought. It’s good to know that I have it when needed. I use a self siphoning hose for gas from my truck so there is no need to carry gas cans.” – Edward Everitt, 2003 Chevy 2500 HD, 2016 Lance 850
“I have a Yamaha 2000 in the generator compartment. I use it, but not much at all. I have used it two times in three years. As we strongly suspected, we wouldn’t need it except for an emergency like inadvertently running the batteries down, or not having enough battery to power the single slide-in at the end of a long stay, or charging batteries during a long stay (we don’t have solar).
I add Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer to the gas so that it doesn’t go sour on us, and two times a year I pull it out and fire it up to be sure it’s ready to go.” – Bruce Allison, 2000 Ford F350, 2012 Adventurer 910FBS
“I have a Honda EU2000i that I store in the back seat of the truck in a plastic tub. There is no problem with smell. I am careful when refueling so that I do not to overfill and I make sure to keep the lid on tight.
When I purchased the generator, I could see using it quite a bit. As time has passed, I don’t use it that much. When it has come in handy is when camping in the cold with the furnace running. It has kept us from running the batteries down. I carry it more for emergency use than daily use.” – Ronnie Willford, 1997 Ford F-350, 2010 Travel Lite 960 RX Ultra
“We used to have a Honda EU2000i when we had our pop-up tow-behind camper and our Palomino 1200 truck camper. We carried it on a rack placed in a hitch on the front of our truck. The generator could then be off-loaded or not, and the noise when it ran was somewhat blocked by the truck.
We used our portable generator all the time. We like our creature comforts like the microwave, K-cup coffee maker, and air conditioning, so this unit worked well for us.
Now, with our 2012 Lance 992, we have a built-in generator and also use it all the time. We have installed a 2500-watt inverter as well. It is nice to make a cup of coffee or microwave bacon for breakfast without having to bother anyone with noise. Our 130-watt solar panel generally keeps the two AGM batteries topped off, but we have found that with the inverter (even when it is not running) we use a bit more power than without it.
I can’t imagine not having access to all of the power I want when I want it. What power snobs we are! We moved to a truck camper from tent camping. Even in a tent we used an airbed and had an inverter and a gel battery to make hot water and/or run an electric blanket. Guess we’re just not too good at roughing it.” – Tracy and Steve Schuster, 2015 GMC 3500, 2012 Lance 992
“I have a Predator that’s 900 watts and it sits in the generator compartment. I use it every morning to make coffee. I just plug the coffee pot directly into it on the picnic table at the site.” – Mark Urscheler, 2008 Silverado 3500, 2003 Lance 1121
“I have a Kipor 2000-watt that stays in the garage. I went cross country once with it and never put gas in it. I have two 6-volt golf cart batteries with a fast charger that charges while on the road. The batteries are eight-plus years old. I might change them this year.
I don’t generally bring the generator. I bought it when I had a fifth wheel.” – David Carvalho, 2006 Dodge Ram, 2013 Alaskan
“I have a Yamaha 1000is inverter series. I store it inside the camper. It’s very light and portable. I carry gasoline outside on a rack hooked onto the rear trailer hitch which also serves as a landing to get into and out of the camper. Yes, I use it often as it is very quiet.” – Jim Carpenter, 2009 Ford F150, 2005 Starcraft Pine Mountain pop-up
“We carry a Honda EU2000i with us. The Lance has a perfect fit outside storage compartment – like it was made for it. We chain the Honda to the truck’s wheel during the overnight. The Honda is perfect as it will run from bedtime to morning on the one gallon tank.
We have used it as much, maybe more than we thought. We have solar as well. Since we camp all year, during winter and summer, there are some days we need to plug in to keep up. We prefer dry camping.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 1999 Lance 835 Lite
“I have a Honda EU2000i. I keep it in the backseat floor most of the time. I have carried it in the camper, but I was always having to move it a lot. I have not had any trouble with fumes and it only weighs 47 pounds.
I haven’t used it as much as I thought I would, but I have used it some and, as a bonus, it has come in handy around the farm.” – Joe Hutchins, 2011 Toyota Tundra, CampLite 8.5
“To be clear, our Arctic Fox is our second truck camper and it has a built-in generator. We did, however, have a Northern Lite 8-11 Queen Classic Special Edition for six years.
In the Northern Lite we had a generator compartment. We occasionally brought our Honda EU2000i when we knew or thought we would be more than 48 hours without electricity. The Honda would run our 9200 BTU air conditioner as long as we remembered not to run the microwave at the same time.
I found the real problem was where to put that extra fuel can. Our solution for that was to mount a cargo rack either in the front receiver or more usually the rear receiver, because the bikes were upfront. On most trips the generator compartment was used for storing other items and the generator stayed home.
The most we used the Honda on the Northern Lite was a nephew’s wedding on a farm in upstate New York. In the sixth season, we ran it no more than eight days.
Our new camper has a 100-watt solar panel. We have run the built-in 2.5 generator no more than four hours during a five day dry camping stint in Denali National Park. Frankly, we might have gotten away with running it less. The built-in generator is propane fired, and really draws down the propane tanks.
All told, both generators have way more time being periodically exercised than they do actually keeping the batteries charged up or the air conditioner running.” – James Kaley, 2015 GMC Sierra 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 992
“We have a Honda EU2000i left over from our trailer days, so we bought the Lance without the built-in Onan. We just use the compartment that was designed for the Onan.
That said, we have only used the generator one or two times in the 18 months that we’ve had the Lance, which came equipped with all LED lights and a 95 watt solar panel. Additionally, we use some battery powered lanterns for indoor lighting. We have the factory installed camper batteries and the truck for some additional power needs.
We do camp off-the-grid quite a bit, but also will use private RV parks when we need to dump, recharge, and do laundry. We are thinking lately that we could do without the generator, but there were those two times when it did come in very handy, so we still carry it. I usually make sure the generator is gassed up because we do not carry extra in a gas can. We used it more often when we had our trailer.” – John Tully, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 855s
“When I use it with the pickup camper, I store the Honda EU2000i on the tailgate’s right side. I have an 8-foot camper, so I have the tailgate to use as a porch.
I have used it with the pickup during a week long NASCAR event to run the small room air conditioner. That helped us get a good night’s sleep. We also start it up if we have a need to run a small microwave. I also use it when I need to repair a deer hunting stand, to run the drill or the saw. I have also used it at the cabin when we have lost power for three to seven days at a time.
So yes, I use it a lot, but no I thought that I would use it more with the pickup camper. But, it is not really needed, even with seven days in the BLM areas in Arizona.
I got the Honda EU2000i because my son-in-law uses it with his Honda EU2000i when remodeling a cabin out in the open areas.” – Rag Rag, 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, 1980 Sportsman 8FSD
“I have a Yamaha 2000 which is very similar in size and weight to Honda EU2000i. When I’m on the road I put it in the cab. After I bought my camper I realized that I needed space to put stuff and the bed was taken over by the camper. So I pulled out the back seat of the truck and built a shelf that can hold a remarkable amount of stuff.
Admittedly, the truck cab isn’t the best place for the generator, especially in warm weather. The fuel expands and gasses escape out of the filler cap. Fortunately, I don’t smoke so I’m not too worried about blowing myself up, but still the fumes can get pretty intense at times. I do keep the extra gas can strapped to the rear bumper of my truck though.
The place where I store my boat and camper has no electricity. When I want to do work on either, I use the generator for powering tools. When I was at Overland Expo 2014, I used it a couple of times because I just wasn’t sure how long my AGMs in the camper would last even though I have the 85 watt solar option. It turns out, I needn’t need to worry as the batteries stayed fully charged the whole time. The 7,000+ foot altitude and the intense Arizona sun helped as well. I live in the rainy Northwest so, on other camping trips, I like to have a backup just in case.
Before I go to Overland Expo this year I want to install an inverter and buy an auxiliary portable solar panel of about 200 watts that should give me even more peace of mind. I eventually want to wean myself off the generator to free up the space and weight.” – Steve Timmings, 2003 Ford F350, 2013 FWC Hawk SC
“I carry a Honda EU2000i generator in my utility trailer which I occasionally tow with added supplies. I did carry the generator once inside the camper, but didn’t feel comfortable about it being there considering the amount of jostling around it could get.
I haven’t used it as much as I thought I might, but I have enjoyed its use when needed. I often camp in the trees, at high elevations, during all four seasons. I have 100-watts of solar on the roof but, with extended camping, I’ve often run low on power with the single battery that this camper has.
I do one or two late fall hunting camps and have been happy to share power with others as needed. My wife and I are about to sell this camper and purchase a 2016 model. We are going to get the same model from Northern Lite complete with solar, two 6-volt batteries, and an Onan generator. Yes, I know that this will be a little overkill and true luxury.
With my wife’s coming retirement, and our increasing four season camping, we’re going to spoil ourselves. It will probably our last camper. Incidentally, we have an Arctic Fox trailer with much more interior room for bad weather days and easier access camping. The Honda generator helps with that, also. We’ve had RVs now for twenty-five years.” – Harvey Keene, 2002 Ford F350, 2002 Northern Lite Ten 2000
“We have a Honda EU2000i. At the present time it is either in the camper or sometimes in the generator compartment. Just like you, Gordon, we are not to keen on keeping it inside. Most evenings we will put it outside and lock it to the truck or camper. I do like the fact that it has a cap on the fuel that can be closed to keep the fumes contained.
Due to the weight and storage, we did not take it south with us. We went to Florida and then to the Smokey Mountains. We were doing just fine until an early fall snow storm came in. There we were with no hookups and no generator. The temperature was in the 30s Fahrenheit. Thankfully, the camper next door had a generator and enough extension cords to allow us to hook in. Camper folks are the best. This allowed us to run the heater at 50 degrees during the night to stay comfortable.
This year we are upgrading to duel AGM batteries before our trip to Alaska. We are still on the fence about taking the generator or installing 200 watts of solar.” – Keith and Nancy Rivers, 2004 Ford F-250, 2012 Northern Lite 9-6 QSE
“I have a Honda 2000-watt generator in the luggage carrier under the camper that plugs into the trailer hitch. Yes, I use it every time I use the camper to keep the batteries charged for the coffee maker, television, etc.” – Frank Joly, 2008 Ford F250, 1995 Bigfoot 9500
“I have a Smarter Tools 2000-watt inverter with a Yamaha MZ80 engine from Costco. I store my generator in the factory generator compartment on the rear of my camper.
All of my camping is off-the-grid, so yes I use my generator to recharge my batteries if I’m using my furnace a lot. I’ve also used it when using an electric coffee pot or the microwave which I’ve removed after realizing I don’t need it.
If I had a 200-watt solar system, I could probably get away with not using a generator at all, but I just can’t bring myself to make more holes in a perfectly good roof. Maybe some day.” – Allen Jedlicki, 2012 GMC 2500HD, 2014 Wolf Creek 850SB
“I have a Honda EU2000i that is stored in the generator compartment. I take the generator with me when dry camping for more than three days. Mostly I use it to run small appliances when cooking meals. I have LED lighting and a solar panel which is enough, but our small appliances require AC.” – Tyrone Taketa, 2014 Lance 855
“I have a Honda EU2000i. My Northern Lite has a vented compartment at the passenger’s side rear that a small suitcase style generator will fit in. It was on my list of pros versus cons when it came to Northern Lite versus the Bigfoot model I was looking at several years ago.
I use my Honda generator almost every trip. I do a couple of greater Death Valley runs per year for a week at a time and the generator gets used daily.” – Drew DeBois, 2004 Dodge Ram Cummins, 2011 Northern Lite 8-11Q
“I have a Honda EU2000i. If we take it along, which is very rarely, it rides in generator compartment. We have used it more at home due to power outages during storms than we have camping!” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“My Honda EU2000i sits on the rear left hand side of the camper bumper strapped down with a ratchet strap and locked. The camper plug is always plugged in, so I just pull and start.
I have always used a generator and a lot of my cooking is microwave heating pre-made food from home to avoid cooking while camping. I use the air conditioner, a hair dryer, run the heating system when cold, charge the batteries, and run my air compressor to refill my tires at the beach.
I can’t be without a generator. I don’t understand how some say they never have the need for one. Boring people without a generator!” – Frank Paglianite, 2013 Ford F350, 2012 Lance 992
Editor’s Note: I beg your pardon! We don’t travel a generator. Are we boring? That’s it, I’m doubling Frank’s free subscription cost. Try me again and you’ll be paying three-times bupkis.
“We have a Yamaha 2000 that we store in our cargo trailer along with all the other toys. We got it as a backup for when we travel in extreme cold weather so we can plug our diesel truck in. It’s also there should our solar panel not charge enough due to lack of sunlight.
We also use it to run our air compressor to blow the dirt off ourselves after a dusty day quad riding. Occasionally we will use it to run our waffle maker when we have a hankering for waffles with fresh strawberries and whip cream. We have also rescued more than one fellow camper whose batteries have given out while boondocking.” – Ken and Jenn Burton, 2012 GMC Sierra 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 992
“The Honda EU2000i is stored in a strong box attached to tow hitch. It powers a 40-watt air conditioner. I only use it during the summer months in Texas. It cools the camper down in four minutes.” – Mike King, 2008 FWC Grandby Shell with ATC interior
“I have a EU3000 on a receiver mount that’s custom built on the front of the truck. Yes, I live in Texas and I only use it during the summer months.” – Tim Ray-Tahtinen, 2007 Chevy 2500HD, 2003 Northstar TC650
“I have a 1979 Kohler 2250-watt gasoline generator. It is stored at home! I have never brought it along. But I am glad we have it. If we were to need it, I would store the generator in the extended cab, in a plastic bag, sans gas, in the truck with an auxiliary plastic approved one and a half gallon gas can on the rear of the camper, near the egress step.
We have 340 watts of solar on the roof with 150 amp hours of AGM batteries and a 300-watt inverter. This is not the best match, but it works for us. We do not mind winter camping and the batteries are adequate. We have never completely drained them. They were sized to be a direct replacement for the truck, just in case.
The additional two 300-watt solar panels were chosen to be added to the 40-watt panel that was supplied with the camper. I believe a single 150-watt panel could probably do the job, but I am not complaining, as the extra capacity gives us more power in low light.
Driving the truck with the 120-amp alternator that came with the truck probably does most of the charging. We have taken the camper off the truck at a site over an extended period, but had 115 power available to power lights, refrigerator, hot water heater, air conditioner, and microwave.
My wife, Ellen, loves to cook, but hardly uses the microwave. We did run the air conditioner at one location. I had the generator before we had the camper. Best regards to Harley!” – Ed Graf, 2006 Dodge Ram D2500, 2014 Arctic Fox 865
“When I am not driving I have a Honda EU2000i behind the back seat. While I am driving it’s in the back in the Alaskan with no pilot lights on.
We had a solar panel on the Alaskan. We would use the generator to make popcorn at baseball tournaments or to warm food up. To answer your question, we do not really use it, but it’s nice to be prepared.” – Eric Williams, 2016 Ford F350, another Alaskan coming soon
“I have a Honda EU1000 that’s in the generator compartment. In our case there’s plenty of room. I also carry an extra gallon of gas as well as six small propane cylinders and blocks for the jacks.
It is almost never used, but it’s nice to have as insurance. We have two batteries and all LED lights, but no solar as of yet. It is next on our list.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC K3500, 1987 Lance LC900
“I have a gas/propane Duro-Max 4850. It weighs 125 pounds. I’m putting it on the front where my plow hook-up is located. It is very quiet at 56db. I would like to know the pros and cons of placing it on the front.” – Wilbert Hinkle, 2001 Dodge 3500, 2016 Palomino SS-1500
“I have a Honda EU2000i that I store on the front of my 2008 Dodge. I put a front receiver on the truck and designed a rack to specifically hold the Honda up and close in towards the front of the truck. The legs of the generator fit in little cups with some rubber anti-vibration pads in them. The generator is somewhat protected by pipes bent over the top. I can run the generator in place or easily lift it out and set it away from the camper.
Having the rack raised up a bit eliminates the worry of scraping in dips or on curbs. Putting the extra weight in the front helped as well. I can also carry it with me on the back of of my bigger truck and camper. I really don’t like running the Onan in the Lance 995 because of the noise that might bother others nearby, and propane consumption.
I really like the Honda and use it for running the microwave and toaster every day I’m on the road. Sometimes I use it to top off the batteries if the solar panels have not done the job. Yes, I use the generator often, but only for a few minutes at a time. I never use the roof air conditioner.” – Steve Muscatell, 2008 Ram 1500, 2015 Ram 3500, 2010 Lance 825, 2015 Lance 995
“I use my camper for work and personal uses. During business, I fly unmanned aerial systems and need lots of power to charge batteries and operate all the support equipment. It gets very hot here in Texas, so running the air conditioner is a must to aid the flight team in recovery.
I started with two Yamaha 2000 generators linked and they worked very well. I was getting about 6.5-hours of run time with the Yamaha 2000 which works great for quick and fast set-ups, but was a pain for overnight or longer missions.
Both Yamaha 2000s are stored inside the camper where my table would go, only sticking out a few inches. I upgraded to a Cabelas 4750 with remote start. This generator was much larger weighing in at about 100-pounds. I added a front hitch and cargo basket just for the generator. This basket gave me more space to add two five gallon fuel cans and works much better then I expected.
Now I can remote start the generator from inside the camper and leave the 30-amp shore line plugged in. This generator has a delay before applying load to the camper when the remote starter is used. I now get about 9 to 11 hours of run time from this generator allowing a full night’s sleep remotely in the hottest of Texas nights.
I actually use the generator much more then I expected and would for sure always have one with me in every camper I own.” – John Buell, 2012 Ford F-150, Palomino SS550 Back Pack
“We keep our Honda EU2000i in the backseat of our truck. If you close the valve on the gas tank and put it in a cover you shouldn’t get a gas smell. We do this and also put it in a plastic garbage bag and keep the generator clean. While this isn’t ideal, it seems to work.
We rarely use it and when we do it is usually just to charge the batteries. The few times you need it, you are glad you have it.” – David Jewell, 2008 Dodge 2500, 2005 Alpenlite
“I have two Honda EU2000i generators with an adapter kit. They are stored on a metal bumper rack or in the tack compartment of the horse trailer. We always use them. The cowboy world rarely has access to land power.” – Dewayne Brown, 2014 Dodge Ram 3500, 2007 Capri Rodeo Delux
“I have a Honda EU2000i on a homemade rack on the back door with a canvas cover when traveling. Yes, I know I’m probably the only person without a camper, and using my van instead, but I have been a subscriber from the very beginning in 2007, and I open every one of the emails. I used to own a Lance.
Anyway, regarding generators, they are an incredible investment. I’m amazed how much I use it even for non-camping duty. I do have a 500-watt window air conditioner in the rear window, same as the air conditioner that is optional in the Four Wheel Campers. Admittedly, it won’t run one of the larger rooftop air conditioners. I have two Trojan 6-volt batteries with a charger, and no solar – yet. I personally would never buy a truck camper, or any camper, with an installed air conditioner.
Yes, there is the convenience of being able to start a built-in generator it while inside the camper, but the cost and complexity of servicing and fixing it, from experience, is nothing I want to tackle again. Not everyone will have a convenient spot to store, carry, transport a portable generator and I can understand that, but, I for one am very pleased that I can.
I have reasonable welding skills and my vehicle is not new, so I don’t mind modifying. On the other hand, should an individual have a newer truck and no welding skills, and no interest in modifying the rear bumper to carry a generator off to one side, it could cost a fortune to have a custom bumper/rack built. The key, in my opinion, is to keep it simple.
In the end, I think it comes down to a few things such as how much of a tinkerer the individual may be. I bet many people carrying generators have done their own modifications to make it work. Others are satisfied with the factory set up and feel no need to change. I could go without mine, but I prefer to have it with me.
For security, I have a cover and use a cable lock. Beyond that I’m just not going to sweat it. It would really suck for it to be stolen, but I’m not going to spend a moment actually worrying about it.” – Matthew Hoopes, 2003 Ford E350 converted van
“I have a Yamaha EF3000 that I carry on a trailer hitch mounted cargo rack. For shorter trips, I carry a cheap eBay-bought Chinese 2700 generator that doesn’t even have a name. I just put it in the camper if I’m not going far.” – Ron Williams, 1997 Ford F250, 2003 Lance 1010
“We have a Honda EU2000i and it is stored in the cab of the truck behind the seat in our super cab. We have a built-in 2500 generator which we use for the microwave when we are only going to use it for a short time and do not want to mess with the Honda.
We have had truck campers with and without generators. With the advent of multiple AGM batteries, generator use is not as necessary. We use the Honda with the roof air and charge the house batteries, mostly in areas when the quietness of the unit is appreciated and gas is cheaper than propane. Security is a concern, so I made a security chain that goes around the unit and not just through the handle. Handles can be easily cut to liberate the unit from the camper.
When we need power for unforeseen circumstances, we have the generator. Our travels are so unscripted, so we do not know where we will be stopping for the night and that may or may not require power.” – Gary Gade, 2011 Ford 350 dually, 2014 Lance 1181
“We custom ordered our Arctic Fox. We purposely left the built-in generator out to use that room for storage. Our Honda EU2000i fits easily into the generator compartment and we still have room for other items. Yes, we use it whenever we dry camp. I love having it always there and ready to go.” – Steve Bakos, 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500, 2015 Arctic Fox 811
“We have a Honda EU2000i generator. When we ordered our Hallmark from the awesome Ward family, we had two outside storage compartments installed. One holds the generator, power cord, and a couple of adapters with room to spare. When we use it, we pull it out, and set it on the ground.
We do not use our generator as much as we thought but, when we need it, it’s awesome. We live and camp in the southeast and the summers are very hot and humid. We use our generator and air conditioner during the heat of the day. We also use our generator when my wife bakes in our convection oven.” – Rick Guffey, 2012 Ram 2500, 2013 Hallmark Everest
“We have a Yamaha 2000i. I built a box to put it in that also seconds as a raised platform for the extended run fuel tank. In the bathroom, I built a flip-down shelf that rests on the toilet lid when down. The generator in the box sits on this shelf along with other items when on the road.
After and before each use, I shut off the fuel and run the fuel out of the carb, close the gas cap vent, put on the cover, and put it in the box on the shelf. I also built a tapered front box that is on the roof to hold the extended run fuel tank, extra oil, and rope to raise it up or lower it down (no smell of gas and out of reach of gas thieves).
We don’t use it as much as we expected, but it sure is nice when you do need it. If we know that we will have hookups, we leave it at home. On long trips we bring it with us because we don’t know if we will have hookups.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 1999 Ford F150, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 hard side
“We have a Powerhouse 30-amp remote electric start generator. It is housed in a front end carrier that connects to a front end hitch. We use it mostly where we can’t plug in to run a refrigerator and ice maker for tailgating.” – Daryl Sample, 2003 Ford F250, 1994 Lance
“We have a Champion 3100 that we transport on the front hitch. We only use it one or two times per year.” – Chris Adams, 2012 CampLite 8.5
“I have a Champion 75531i that’s 3100-watts. It won’t fit in the generator compartment without taking off the handles. So it rides in the camper and weighs 80 pounds. I use it a lot in the summer since I live in Arizona.” – George Merrill, 2006 Chevy 2500, 2000 Lance 820
“I have an onboard 2500 propane Onan that is used during our truck camper outings and have a 3500 gas-fired Homlite that was used with our fifth wheel when traveling to NASCAR events. It was stored in the truck bed with its exhaust extensions when traveling and used.
We have used our portable generator more during weather problems than during our travels. It has been used more by our sons than us. I will probably get rid of it this year due to lack of use.” – Eric Devolin, 2007 GMC 3500, 2006 Adventurer 106DBS
“At Costco, I purchased a Champion 3100 inverter generator. I purchased two Pack-N-Rack hitch mounted cargo carriers. They are great people to work with. I used two hitches mounted directly to my camper’s rear step bumper. The bumper had to be braced because it originally buckled under the weight. So, I got braces going from the truck receiver hitch that’s welded directly under the two mounted receiver hitches.
I converted one of the cargo containers (driver’s side) to a generator box. I looked into buying a generator box, but they were more expensive than the generator. I cut holes for venting, for access to the controls, and extending the tailpipe. Inside the box, I mounted a 12-volt fan drawing in outside air. Also, there is a generator blower, which is pointing to another vent on the other side of the box. I have had the generator running in over 90 Fahrenheit degrees with no issues.
All hitch attachments are locked, and the cargo carriers are lockable. So, in one cargo carrier, I store the generator. In the other I store the gas and other odds and ends. The jerry can has a fueling handle, so I can use gravity fill the generator. I don’t spill any gas this way. Once I put the generator in the cargo carrier it stays there all spring, summer, and fall.
Yes, actually I use it more than I thought I would. I purchased it when I was prescribed a CPAP machine. I can run the CPAP for one night only with both camper batteries at full. If they are not full, I will have to run the generator.” – Bruce Neumann, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Okanagan 96DB
“I have a Honda EU2000i generator. I usually have a trailer or boat being towed behind, and the generator goes in it. There is plenty of ventilation in there.
I end up using it every time I dry camp while hunting. I have a 145-watt solar panel, but when it is overcast or rainy, the solar does not have enough sunshine to keep up with electrical draw, plus it lets me use my microwave.” – Monte Dahlman, 2006 Dodge Ram 2500HD, 1995 Skyline Weekender 10′
“Our Northern Lite has a compartment on the outside right rear corner that’s pre-wired for a generator or has enough room for two Honda 2000. One Honda is plenty for us. I did install a more secure lock on this compartment.” – Charlie and Linda Wade, Ohio
“I have a Honda 2000W that I store on a hitch haul. I bought it for a trip to Alaska. I didn’t use it as much as I thought, however, it was comforting that I had it if needed. Now I use it on overnight/weekend trips to the race tracks.” – Alan Parkinson, 2003 Ford F-250, 2007 Lance 815
“We have a built-in generator in our current camper and a Honda EU2000i portable that we had for our previous Lance 1030 truck camper.
We would not have ordered a built-in generator if we had of ordered the unit from the factory, but couldn’t pass up the camper that came loaded, including solar and two AGM batteries.
We could add to your “Eiffel Tower of turnbuckles” because we also don’t like the noise of the built-in generator or its use of propane while boondocking. Therefore, we prefer the quieter Honda portable that runs on gasoline, and can be located away from the camper while running.
We have also been faced with the problem, as the Question of the Week asks “where do we store our Honda 2000?”.
We also have considered, and are still considering taking out the built-in generator and storing the Honda there.
In the few times we have taken it along, we drained the gas, tightened the gas cap and put it in the truck with no problem.
We used the Honda portable with the Lance 2000 a lot while boondocking, but not so much with the Okanagan with the built-in generator. That could change if we take out the noisy built-in generator and store the Honda there.” – Carl Goode, 2016 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Okanagan 117 DBL
“I have a Honda EU2000i. I used to store it in the generator compartment in my previous camper.
Yes, I used it a lot in the previous two campers. The new camper has LED lights and a solar panel, so there is no longer a need for a generator.” – Jock Weir, 2008 Ford F350, 2014 Northern Lite
“We have an older Honda EU2000 portable generator that we carry with us when camping, although we use it around the farm more frequently. The Honda does not fit in the generator compartment of our camper, but fortunately there is another outside storage compartment that fits the generator and a small container of fuel. The generator compartment holds tackle boxes, camp stove, and spare propane.
Although we usually camp without services, we rarely use the generator while camping. We prefer to keep it with us in case of emergencies. We really appreciated it when the kids left the door of the truck open all night and we had dead batteries (try starting a diesel then). We do tend to use it in the shoulder season camping as our furnace fan will nearly do in the camper batteries in one night. Our ownership of the generator predates the camper and was bought for power outages as we live rural and no power means no water, so we use it about as much as expected.” – Tricia Mason, 2009 Ford F350, 2008 Montana Ponderosa
“Our Yamaha EF2000iS has both manual fuel shut-off and fuel cap vent valves. With them turned-off, even my young daughter with the nose of a bloodhound can’t smell any fumes from it. So why not keep it in the camper when on the road and it’s not being used? Nothing would leak out, even if the generator were to fall on its side, which has never happened. There’s a propane tank only a paper thin plastic panel away anyway and propane lines, valves, etc. all over the place too. I’m not too worried about the generator in the camper.
We keep it under the extra fold up seat forward of the dinette. Then the generator sits right up near the cab window and against the fresh water tank bulkhead below that window (the step to the cabover bed). This places the extra weight well forward and leaves the generator nowhere to slide, if hard breaking or a quick stop is ever required. The generator’s rubber feet are very resistant to sliding on the vinyl flooring anyway.
I use it even more than I originally thought! When winter camping temperatures fall below 0F, it’s nice to be able to run an electric heater to supplement the propane furnace. Also, it will run our 1500W cooking power microwave on all but the highest power settings.” – Calin Brabandt, 2004 Dodge Ram, Pastime 840LT
“Well this time around, we kept looking for a camper with the optional ONAN microlite 2.5 propane powered generator. This works fantastic. We also went from a Honda eu2000. With this we have no gas cans or smell. For us it was worth moving the tool box to the void space under the dining room table for transport.” – Glenn Johannessen, 1979 Ford F250, 1993 Lance 880
“I store a Honda 2000 EUI on the floor of the truck behind the passenger’s seat. I am not excited about having it in the cab, but the tank seals very well and it is well protected.
I bought it when we had lots of room in our fifth wheel. I have had the camper almost two years. We have a 100 watt solar panel, all LED lighting, no air conditioner, and no microwave. We have seldom used the generator. But it is a good security blanket for boondocking especially in cold weather.” – Ken Werner, 2003 Dodge 3500, 2015 Wolf Creek 840
No Generator Responses
“I do not have a generator because the noise is obnoxious and disturbs everyone within 200 yards and completely destroys the serenity of nature. I have a 4×4 truck and camper so I can get away from people who use generators. Generators should be against the law.
I refuse to use generators. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to go out and enjoy nature due to the fact so many people now take generators out in to nature and these people seem to be oblivious to the obnoxious disturbing of the peace they are engaging in. I go into nature to enjoy peace and quiet, not to hear someone running a generator. I believe using a generator is very disrespectful to nature and those trying to enjoy it. Just my humble opinion. Just the mention of generators and those that use them make my blood pressure spike.” – Fred Lewis, 2013 Silverado 1500, 2014 Custom
“In 38 years of camping, we have never had a generator and don’t see a need for one. We are currently shopping for a new rig and that is not on the must-have list, although a solar panel might be a nice upgrade.” – Linda Haley, 2007 Dodge 3500, 1978 Vanguard 11.5-foot
“A Honda, and I store it at the store where I never bought it. That’s why I installed a solar panel instead.
I just couldn’t be a hypocrite. How could I buy a generator after all the times I was pissed off by our camping neighbors that were running them all day long? They are not only noisy, but smelly too. Also, a 100-watt solar panel with controller was only $160 on Amazon versus over $1,000 for a generator.” – Bob Meigs, 2011 Ram 1500, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Raven model
Built-In Generator Responses
“I have a built-in 2500 Onan generator. If it was not built-in, I would not use it nearly as much because I would have to get it out and hook it up. However, I have over 200 hours on this generator. I would not live without it.” – James Amos, 2001 Chevy 2500HD, 2007 Snowriver RK10
“I have an Onan built-in generator that I use.” – Robert Hicks, 2011 Chevy 2500HD, 2011 Lance 992
“I have a built-in Onan 2500-watt generator. The Arctic Fox has an designated place for the generator on my model.
We don’t really use it, but we rarely boondock. When we do, it’s overnight while traveling. Our dual Odyssey Group 31 batteries provide lighting, heat, and minor electrical support. The generator provides air conditioning support if needed.
The batteries will not provide air conditioning for an extended time. We have a solar panel as a supplemental charger for when we are not on shore power. The generator is your fall back position for long stays and/or weather extremes such as across the southwest in the summer months where temperatures beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit are the norm.” – Don Pryor, 2015 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150
“We have a built-in propane Cummins Onan 2500, which works great! It is built into a compartment in the back of our Chalet truck camper.
We rarely use our generator, but needed it once when we boondocked for six straight days (half of these days were rain days without much sun). Despite having solar panels and multiple batteries, we slowly drained our batteries such that we thought it was a good idea to start the generator and charge everything up.
However, little did we know, our batteries were drained so far down that there wasn’t enough power to start the generator. So, we waited for the sun to shine for a few hours to start solar charging our batteries a little, and then the generator started and we got everything fully charged. My fear was not having enough power to bring my slides in.” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“Our generator is built-in, and we love it. With a solar panel, it’s rarely used but, when you want to bake a potato or thaw out something in the microwave, it’s at your fingertips. Last year being on road 80 nights straight we only put on 3.7 hours on it.” – Frank Niehus, 2007 Arctic Fox 1150
“I know that this is not an answer to your question, however everyone does not dislike built-in generators. We have owned a total of six truck campers, and the Lance is the first one we bought with a built in generator. I have used portables, mostly Honda’s on previous units. On our previous unit we powered the truck camper from a 6500 watt permanently mounted Onan propane generator located in our enclosed race car trailer. When we tow our boat we did not have the generator. One required option on the Lance was a built-in generator. I wanted to be able to have a generator without hauling gasoline to power it. The camper already has propane and the truck has diesel. Gasoline means a third fuel and possible additional danger in the event of an accident.
Unlike most truck camper users we do use our built-in generator a lot. We attend several classic car shows in the summer in the hot south where it is often 100-105F on the blacktop parking lot of the host hotel with no electricity available. I will often start the unit when we stop at the hotel, and let it run while we are registering and setting up. By the time we get the car and equipment unloaded, the camper is very comfortable. Since my wife is in poor health, and can’t tolerate extreme heat for any length of time, the generator is a must have for us. We use the generator to power sound systems and such at events, so needless to say our built-in unit earns its keep. For camping, we don’t use the generator much, as we travel with the propane tanks turned off and stay at campsites with full hookups.
If I ever purchase a portable generator it will also be propane powered. Propane is a fuel that is easy to store, has a shelf life that is far superior to gasoline, and one never has to worry about a gummed up carburetor. Of course it will be too large to haul inside of any compartments onboard the camper.” – Charles Spray, 2002 F-350, 2001 Lance 1010