A Guide to Portable Generators
While the trend for solar powered camping sources is a fantastic idea, they’re not always effective as they rely on sunlight to recharge its batteries. When camping in remote locations, you must be sure that all your equipment is functional and working and this includes your power source. Thick clouds, leaf canopies, and other adverse weather conditions can make solar power sources unreliable so it’s vital that remote camping enthusiasts utilise a portable generator.
Bear in mind that some camping sites and National Parks ban the use of a portable generator, so it’s best to check with your campsite before you leave so you can be adequately prepared. A generator essentially acts as a back up power source which can be used on your 4WD’s starting battery, solar panel generator, portable fridge, and one or two 240V appliances like a smartphone charger, iPod, TV, or laptop.
Types of portable generators
Portable generators differ quite substantially and there are three factors you should consider before making any decisions. They are:
- Run time
Generally, the quietness and compactness of a generator are interrelated in the sense that smaller generators are also typically quieter. You don’t want to purchase a generator that is too loud because not only will it destroy the serenity for you, but for nearby campers likewise! For most, the peace and quiet that comes with camping is the most valuable experience, so you certainly don’t want to sacrifice this element.
Keep in mind that you can’t place your generator in your 4WD to reduce the amount of noise either; they must be positioned in close proximity to where they are needed. Consequently, compact generators are the best as they are quieter and some can even be used as a compact inverter. Lastly, the run time of a generator is extremely important simply because you don’t want to be making trips to the petrol station every couple of hours. You should consider purchasing a generator that has at least 8 hours run time so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and refuel in the morning.
While the above mentioned factors play an integral role in the satisfaction you’ll have with your generator, there are other points which must be taken into consideration to ensure you maximise your investment. For example, some people may go out and buy the cheapest one available and find that it breaks down after a couple of trips and doesn’t have a warranty.
Price is always a factor which people take into consideration when purchasing a product. There are plenty of mid-range generators which are both compact and durable, however it’s vital that you do your research regardless of the price and brand name. Higher end generators can be thousands of dollars so checking online reviews is vital to ensure it meets your demands.
The reliability of your generator is also critical considering that you don’t want your generator breaking down at the start of a week-long camping trip! Generally, cheaper generators are less reliable and durable, so if you don’t want to be making quick-fixes all the time, consider purchasing a mid-range generator with positive reviews.
A generator that comes with a warranty is an indication that the manufacturer has confidence in the quality of their product. Regardless of the price, you can be confident that purchasing a generator with a warranty will typically be a worthwhile investment. Warranties will obviously vary, but you’ll be happy knowing that you’re ‘getting what you paid for’.
Considering that a generator will last several years or more, it’s paramount that you do your research by checking online reviews and talking with experts about a particular product. Investing in a generator that is quiet, reliable, has a decent run time, and comes with a warranty is the criteria you should be aiming for, so don’t make any impulse decisions at a camping store on your way to your destination!
For more information on generators and other camping gear, get in touch with the specialists at TJM Dandenong by phoning 03 9792 1116.