Reliable power is critical for summer camps to run lighting, fans, kitchen appliances, PA systems, and other electrical equipment that make the camp experience safe and enjoyable for campers. Having backup power ensures camps can continue normal operations during utility power outages and provides electricity for outdoor activities away from buildings. This guide covers key considerations for properly sizing and selecting the best portable generator to meet the unique power needs of camps.

Summer Camp Generator Guide Ensure You Have the Right Power Solution

Key Factors for Selecting Camp Generators

Generator Power Needs for Summer Camps

A typical summer camp can use thousands of watts of power per day on:

To determine the total generator size needed for daily camp usage, tally the critical systems across these areas. Also, factor in any special events like movie nights that may overlap kitchen/cabin usage. An oversized generator ensures all systems can run simultaneously during peak demand.

For short-term event power needs, you may only need a smaller generator run for a defined window, combined with conservation of nonessential usage to stay within the generator’s wattage limits. Load balancing across multiple smaller generators is another option.

Portable Generator Types

Two main portable generator technologies to choose from, each with pros and cons:

Conventional Generators

Inverter Generators

Within these categories you’ll also find options like:

By balancing factors like sound, emissions, and fuel usage against upfront costs, an inverter model is generally the best fit for camp usage.

Important Generator Features for Camps

Quiet Operation

A generator’s noise rating, measured in decibels (dBA), directly impacts where and how it can be used at your camp. The sound output should factor highly in your selection.

Per OSHA noise guidelines, under 70 dBA is considered safe for lengthy exposure without hearing protection. Every +3 dB doubles the noise intensity, so a 4000W conventional generator at 72 dBA makes over twice the noise of a 48 dBA-rated 2200W inverter unit.

For camp sleeping quarters, the sub-60 dBA levels of an inverter model are critical if the generator will see overnight use.

Soundproofing options like generator enclosures can lower noise an additional 10-25 dB. factor them into your budget if your selected generator has borderline noise levels.

Runtime per Tank of Fuel

Understanding a generator’s fuel efficiency helps estimate operating durations and how much gasoline you’ll go through in a season.

An entry-level conventional generator will run 3-6 hours on a tank – sufficient for shorter disruptions but limiting for extended outages.

Advanced inverter generators can extend up to 8-12 hours per tank. When paired with automatic start/stop features to conserve fuel during non-peak demand, they offer flexibility for long events without constantly refueling.

When sizing fuel needs, assume 30% lower efficiency under real-world conditions than marketing claims. Stock double the volume of gasoline you’d expect to use to account for greater than-expected runtimes and avoid depletion during critical usage periods. Rotate stock monthly to keep fuel fresh.

Safety Features

Reputable generator brands build their models to meet key safety certifications that minimize risk:

Investing a bit more in certified models brings peace of mind your camp’s generator is designed and tested for safe operation.

Powering Camp Sleeping Quarters

Small portable generators can power a single cabin’s basic electricity needs, including lighting, fans, and device charging. For expanded capacity across a multi-cabin sleeping area:

Proper cord management is crucial for safety and functionality:

By planning the layout ahead of time and utilizing heavy-duty components, a portable generator can effectively deliver power across a campground without issues. Taking basic precautions for cord safety also ensures the system poses minimal risks to campers.

Servicing and Maintaining Camp Generators

Routinely inspecting, cleaning, and servicing your camp generator is crucial to keep it operating optimally for powering your off-grid adventures. Follow these generator care tips:



Exterior Care

Air Filter

Oil Changes

Fuel System

Electrical Safety

Battery and Tune-ups

Following basic generator maintenance and care, guidelines keep your equipment running smoothly, prevents many issues, and ensure reliable power for off-grid living and adventures. Consider keeping a generator service log to track runtime hours and maintenance tasks.


Invest in Quality and Reliability

For a camp setting with high electrical demand and limited grid power as a backup option, investing in a robust, reputable generator brings significant peace of mind. Carefully weighing factors like sound levels, safety certifications, and reliable power output ensures your camp activities won’t miss a beat when you lose utility electricity.

If you need assistance selecting and installing the properly sized generator for your camp, Contact us at JC Davis Power about lighting tower and generator rentals tailored specifically to your camp’s needs. Our team brings decades of experience matching portable power equipment to unique usage applications – we can help ensure you choose the perfect generator to keep your summer camp running this season.