Dry Camping with a Generator

Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by vader33, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. vader33

    vader33 Member

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    Hey folks, I'd like your input on this...maybe help me from being a jerk on my first outing this weekend. My wife and I are taking our pup out on our first trip this weekend to a park with no hookups. I'm bringing my generator along, but it's not a super-quiet inverter/generator. I got this behemoth for free as I don't have $800-$1000 to spend on the quiet ones. We don't plan on running it much, but daytime highs are expected to be 100+, so maybe just a few hours during the day so I can run the AC when the kid is napping. Under load it pulls about 70dB and I plan on keeping it about 50-100 feet away as it'll be locked to the hitch on the Explorer.

    I know the campground will be busy and I really don't want to be "that guy." Would you agree that running during the day is best? I have an inverter so I can run a couple fans at night, where the temps are going to be in the 70s. Help a noob out! Thanks!
     
  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you run a noisy generator for a few hours any time in a crowded campground, you'll be "that guy."
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Well at 70dB you sure are not going to be winning any best camper rewards. I picture people cheering the second you turn it off. With that said I would first check the Campground rules regarding generator use. Some places only allow to turn it on for an hour maybe two to charge batteries between certain times. Some campgrounds have a special section they would put you in. They may even have rules about how many dBs it is. Although that one I haven't seen much where I camp.
     
  4. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Look at the Harbor Freight inverter generators. They are considered very good and among the cheapest you can buy for the technology.

    Please don't bring an open-frame generator to a campground.
     
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  5. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    You should try to make some kind of dog house to quiet it down.
     
  6. vader33

    vader33 Member

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    I'm looking at getting the Predator 3500 inverter/generator. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice right now. I have to be able to keep the camper cool and this is all I've got.
     
  7. vader33

    vader33 Member

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    I actually have plans I drew up to build one. But working 10-12 hour days the last 2 weeks plus prepping the camper has kept me from building it. I plan on keeping the generator parked next to my vehicle on the road side of the camp. Hopefully that and the distance from camp will keep the noise down enough.
     
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, those generators are loud. It will not help much. If at all. Use the money for the quiet house and put it towards a inverter generator. And , as said , you will be that guy. Your kido will probably not sleep with the noise anyway. ( its not a nice white noise) and it will change on the draw. Maybe a better idea to take a ride somewhere and check out the scenery for nap time.
     
  9. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you that hearing a generator that loud is hideous. I was camped once when someone across the camp road fired theirs up, and it was registering something like 68 decibels at the screen window of my trailer. That is just being plain obnoxious, the only good thing was they only did it for 10 minutes or so. Hours of running such a thing?? Not good. Yes, the rest of the folks are hot too, for those with health issues, most try to find power, I would think.
    In some places, there are limits on the decibels permitted, but I seldom see that listed. Most campgrounds do have limited generator hours, though some are basically all day.
    The last couple times we were at one of our favorite remote Colorado campground, we were treated to not-so-nice generators. In one case, it was the campsite around the bend, where they put it at the full length of the power cord, so it was pointed at our site. Same thing in another site. Good news is the first one left the next day, and "only"ran it an hour or so. For the other, we left the next day anyway.
    I would be so upset at having my vacation ruined that way.
     
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  10. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    The dB level at the listener will drop by 6 dB with doubling of distance.
    Here is a relative comparison: https://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/Training/PPETrain/dblevels.htm
     
  11. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    you may not be the only that guy esp with 100F temps and where generators are allowed.
     
  12. vader33

    vader33 Member

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    So based on this table, if I put the generator as far away as possible, it might be ok? My initial plan was to set it up between my vehicle and the road, but looking at the map of the campground, there is a ton of open space behind the campsite that may be more suitable. I just don't want it walking off in the middle of the night...
     
  13. vader33

    vader33 Member

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    I'm fairly sure I won't be either. This is a state park in the middle of BFE Colorado. There's a reason the campsite was $40 for the weekend...
     
  14. Overland

    Overland Well-Known Member

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    Colorado?... go find a dispersed site and have no neighbors.. crank the music up so you dont hear the genny.
     
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  15. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    The campground may not want a combustion engine running in the woods.
     
  16. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    Well, here I go again, being contrary. If the rules allow generator run, and your generator complies with the rules, and you do your best to position it to be as considerate as possible, you're compliant.

    I'm an engine guy. I have antique gas engines I've restored, made small engine brakes for them, etc. The sound of a nice gas engine purring along is music to my personal ears. But... make sure the darn governor works! I remember one extended run genny in a CG that just could not hold a speed under any circumstance, surge, die, surge, sweet spot, surge, almost die... for hours on end! All during allowed run times, but that uneven run (these surges are like 2-3 seconds apart, not load related). THAT got to me. But, to his credit, at exactly one minute before generator hours, he shut it down. So, compliant, but annoying.

    So, if you have trouble with dirty looks, or folks being annoyed at you... don't run it ever under any circumstance, because there will always be someone who is offended by any sound created by any human activity. If you're simply worried about compliance with the posted rules... that's simple.

    You're going to have to find your genny run mantra. At least start with compliant, and then your sensitivity to others will guide you the rest of the way.
     
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  17. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Check the campground rules. Some have limits on when and where. If you are planning on running the A/C in the afternoon for a nap that pup will get hot. I have camped in 100+ temps, the interior will get pretty warm and once you button it up and fire up the A/C the interior temps will climb quicker than it can cool down - it will take a good hour or so to start making headway, especially if you are not in the shade. As others have said, it will be loud. You mentioned running fans off an inverter at night - have you tested to see how long your battery will hold up? You might find it running out of juice by 3 in the morning or something.

    You said this is your first outing? Have you used the pup before? Driveway camped? As someone who lives in TX and deals with 100+ degree days for weeks and months at a time in the summer, I don't think I would make my first outing in that kind of temp with no hookups, nor would I bring a loud generator. I generally don't see gennys at dry sites at state parks either, at least around here. Granted, I don't have a genny so I haven't looked at the rules.
     
  18. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    I’m not a fan of when people come in to ask a question and when virtually everyone says what they didn’t want to hear, they justify it and say they are going to do it anyway.
     
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  19. Bradley E Dixon

    Bradley E Dixon Member

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    I bought the PREDATOR 3500 from Harbor Freight last summer. 58db at 25ft at idle in ECO mode.

    It's super quiet and hasn't skipped a beat in almost 160hrs.

    Keep tabs and follow the break-in procedure(s) for oil changes and you'll be fine. (use high-zinc oil for these little chinese engines)

    We run ours all day for A/C and at night (c-pap machines) with no complaints from other campers. I've even had a few stop by and ask just what I was running......BECAUSE it was so quiet.

    I got it for $699 out the door w/coupon

    Good luck!
    MY2cents...
     

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  20. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    How difficult is it to move around? I have heard the 3500 is quite a bit lighter than Honda, and I have been pretty impressed with it. On my wish list - always wanted a quiet generator "just in case" and it would do double duty to power fridges, lights and fans in the house if needed.
     
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