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Old 11-11-2020, 07:52 AM   #1
PVR
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Portable Generator Use

My main concern is using a portable generator overnight to run the AC.

I want to do camping other then full hook camping. Most of the forums discuss gas vs propane, size of generators, dual singles vs larger single unit, types of load on the generator. Most of the forums discuss charging batteries. So I get all this.

The forums usually mention running the 15,000, 13,000 BTU AC and what model of generator they have.

Everything I've read says you either can't use a generator or usage is restricted. Can't use them at Harvest Host except to charge batteries and only between specific hours. I'd like to hear more about when and where people are suing them for AC.

If I can't run AC at night then dry camping ain't for me.
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:17 AM   #2
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Almost all public campgrounds prohibit generator use at night. That is done to preserve the tranquility of camping. I respect that and is the only way I would camp.

Probably the only places that you can go to dry camp and use your generator overnight are dispersed camping areas. These are found in USFS and BLM lands for the most part, usually out west.

Although most USFS and NP campgrounds do not have hookups, there are lots of state parks with power hookups. The various states do it differently, but I first find the state park using Allstays (iOS) or Parkadvisor (Android) and then click on the park's web site. Sometimes (Pennsylvania does this) you can see if they offer power hookups by going to the campground map where the electric sites are shown along with pet friendly sites.

If that doesn't work, click on Reservations which will most likely take you to the Reserveamerica booking site. Enter electric hookups desired and the dates you want to camp and see which sites offer power hookups.

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Old 11-11-2020, 08:30 AM   #3
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We generally head north during the hot months. Up in Idaho or the Dakotas the temps are usually pleasant enough that no a/c is required. Also a 2K generator will not start a 15K a/c altho there is a new widget on the market that reportedly will let you run one, the softstartRV.

You would have to camp well away, out of hearing range if you plan to follow this scheme. You will be very unpopular with other campers. And even in dispersed camping/boondocking you will often find yourself too close to other campers. You will also burn thru a lot of gas and have to carry a lot more than I would feel safe carrying.
I frankly question whether running the genset 24X7 could be called boondocking anyway.
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:41 AM   #4
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No, you will not be very popular if you run a generator all night. Not even past normally considered quiet hours. The drone of a genny carries a long long way.

Better to open windows at night, place fans to draw in cool night air & use overhead fans to draw warm air out.

Invest money into upgrading your battery bank & installing an inverter. Use the genny around meal times to recharge anything needing recharging & powering microwave, maybe even A/C for awhile, when everyone else within earshot is running theirs.
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Old 11-11-2020, 09:33 AM   #5
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When it is hot at night, we go to places that have electricity. We boondock in higher elevations during the summer and in the desert southwest during the winter. You just won’t find a place that will be happy with you running a generator overnight, and if you anyone within 200-300’ won’t be happy with you. Even with a quality, quiet generator they make a very annoying noise. I speak as someone who used a generator with my travel trailer numerous times, but it went off in the evening.
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Old 11-11-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
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We dry camo quite a bit. If it's so hot that air conditioning is needed all through the night, we look for a 50a FHU campground. We try to plan so as not to be in such temperature extremes.
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Old 11-11-2020, 11:16 AM   #7
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There are 12 volt swamp coolers.....
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Old 11-11-2020, 11:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVR View Post
My main concern is using a portable generator overnight to run the AC.

I want to do camping other then full hook camping. Most of the forums discuss gas vs propane, size of generators, dual singles vs larger single unit, types of load on the generator. Most of the forums discuss charging batteries. So I get all this.

The forums usually mention running the 15,000, 13,000 BTU AC and what model of generator they have.

Everything I've read says you either can't use a generator or usage is restricted. Can't use them at Harvest Host except to charge batteries and only between specific hours. I'd like to hear more about when and where people are suing them for AC.

If I can't run AC at night then dry camping ain't for me.
If you want to or have to run a portable generator during the night for A/C when drycamping then you're, A) probably camping in a high temperature and high humdity location and, B) probably camping in a situation where other campers close enough be bothered by a generator are having to run their generators, too.

We toured the Southern U.S. once in August and had to unexpectedly spend one night in a shopping center parking lot. The insane heat and humidity "required" that we run the built-in generator and rooftop A/C most of the night in order to sleep. The location's outside ambient noise level was such that our built-in generator's small amount of added ambient noise was a non-issue ... and in fact it's low level humming sound helped drown out the parking lot racket.

Considering what RVs cost nowadays and what folks expect their RVs to provide, not being able to fully utilize it's equipment due to other campers' dislikes ... means that you're camping in the wrong place or that the other campers are the wrong kind. To me, a generator is the Sound of Independence - especially when camping way out there on the far side of beyond.
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Old 11-11-2020, 05:59 PM   #9
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If you want to or have to run a portable generator during the night for A/C when drycamping then you're, A) probably camping in a high temperature and high humdity location and, B) probably camping in a situation where other campers close enough be bothered by a generator are having to run their generators, too.
We tent-camped for years. No AC in a tent, of course, and there's nothing more obnoxious than having someone's generator pounding away right outside your tent. Even the very quiet generators get really loud if you have to listen to them all night while trying to sleep in a tent.

We went from the tent to a hybrid trailer. Not much different in terms of generators as the beds are still effectively in tents. If you're staying somewhere that separates the tent-campers well away from the RV campers, then okay, but otherwise, please be considerate of those that can't shut out the sound by closing the door.
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Old 11-11-2020, 06:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVR View Post
My main concern is using a portable generator overnight to run the AC.

I want to do camping other then full hook camping.

If I can't run AC at night then dry camping ain't for me.
Sorry, it sounds like dry camping isn't for you.

We often dry camp in warm weather without the AC. I have a small fan that runs on 5 volts from a USB plug. that's fine, but also a bit noisy.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WM7TWTY...b-e8f7d8be6ce6

So now I have one that will hang from the ceiling, and is only 5 watts/12 volts. Much quieter, and moves way more air. 8 hours of use will only take around 4 amp/hours of power, easily topped up with the solar next day.

https://www.amazon.com/SENREAL-Porta...%2C228&sr=8-13

We leave the windows open for air movement also.
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Old 11-11-2020, 06:24 PM   #11
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Looks like you are heading the full hook up way..
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:57 AM   #12
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Not to worry I will never be "that guy". I always respect the privacy of others.

thanks for your feedback.

Happy Camping!
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:21 PM   #13
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You got lots of answers from how others do it.

You have to decide what works for you and your style. In the vast majority of the places we camp I can run the generator for as long or as little as I like. Our last outing I ran the generator it over night all 3 nights, but that was because of the cold weather and I was suppling power to another RV also.

Rarely have I spent time where I needed to run it all night for heat, but I could if I wanted to. In the areas we camp if you keep it cool in the day time, at night open windows and fans work. I know that is not the case in many places.

So you have a few choices:
Camp where you can run your generator whenever you want to
Camp where you have shoreline power
Camp where you do not need AC over night
Find alternate ways to stay cool at night

I prefer #1 because if am camped somewhere my generator would bother someone else, I am too close to other people.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:00 PM   #14
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"If I can't run AC at night then dry camping ain't for me."

I prefer to live where I do not need to have an air conditioner running at night (or even during the daytime) and so I live where I do. I would not dry camp in the lower deserts or places with high humidity and that is my choice. That is hardly a limitation if one thinks about all the places in North America that are not at 80+ degrees during the night.

I recommended a B&B to friends and they were upset afterwards that there was no room service and that they had to light the wood burning stove instead of turning a thermostat on the wall - to each his own. They missed the ambiance of the place as they were obsessed with creature comforts and minimizing any effort on their part. There are places for such people and they are known as hotels.
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