5 Best Portable Generators for Van Life In 2024

In the wilderness with a campervan, the landscape is serene, but a generator becomes an essential ally. Whether in a forest or by a shoreline, it ensures coffee brews and devices charge. For the van lifer, it’s the bridge between nature and comfort. In this article, we reviewed five of the best campervan portable generators for van life with campervan, RV or motorhomes for your energy packed outdoor off-grid adventures.

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Our Top Picks For The 5 Best Portable Generators for Van Life With Campervan and RV

  1. Best Budget Friendly: WEN 56235i Super Quiet
  2. Best Overall: Honda EU2200iTAN
  3. Best Dual Fuel Option: Champion Power Equipment 200988
  4. Best Solar Option: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
  5. Best for Quiet Operation: YAMAHA EF2200iS Inverter Generator 

Picking the right generator is a bit like finding the perfect travel buddy. You want reliability, compatibility, and no unnecessary drama. With our top picks, we’re making sure your campervan adventures have all the right vibes and none of the power hiccups. So, let’s get into the important stuff and find that perfect power companion for your van life journey with campervans, RVs, motorhomes, or outdoor off-grid living.

What Is the Best Portable Generator for Van Life With Campervan and RV in 2024?

When it comes to van life, the ideal generator is all about striking the right balance. It should offer enough power for your essentials, be compact enough for easy storage, and reliable enough so you’re not left in the lurch. To put in simple words, it should be the one that fits seamlessly into your on-the-road lifestyle. Here are the top 5 portable generators for van life with campervan, RV or motorhomes, each excelling in its own category.

1. Best Budget Friendly: WEN 56235i Super Quiet

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: WEN
  • Wattage: 2350 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Power Source: Gas Powered
  • Weight: 39 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Dimensions: 17.3″L x 11.5″W x 17.5″H

In our opinion this is the top budget friendly option on our list. Van life is all about freedom, adventure, and, let’s be honest, a bit of comfort. And when it comes to powering those comforts, the WEN 56235i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator has quickly become our go-to. Weighing in at just 39 pounds, it’s a breeze to transport and store. But don’t let its lightweight frame fool you. This little powerhouse can churn out a solid 2350 watts, ensuring our devices stay charged and our camp stays lit.

What really caught our attention, though, was its whisper-quiet operation. We’ve been around generators that sound like they’re hosting a rock concert. Not this one. The WEN 56235i hums along, no louder than a casual chat, making it a perfect companion for those serene nights under the stars. And for the tech-savvy among us, the clean power output ensures our gadgets charge safely. Plus, the fuel shutoff feature is a neat touch, maximizing the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel before shutting down.


  1. Lightweight design makes it easy to transport and store.
  2. Quiet operation, no louder than a regular conversation.
  3. Clean power output, ensuring safe charging for sensitive electronics.
  4. Fuel shutoff feature to enhance the generator’s lifespan.


  1. Limited to gasoline, offering no alternative fuel options.
  2. Lacks advanced features like remote start or app integration found in some modern generators.

For us, the WEN 56235i stands out not just for its specs but for its thoughtful design. It’s a generator that understands the essence of van life – freedom, adventure, and a touch of home. Whether you’re parked by a serene lake or deep in the woods, with the WEN 56235i, you’re always powered up and ready for the next adventure.

2. Best Overall: Honda EU2200iTAN

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Honda
  • Wattage: 2200 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Weight: 46.5 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Dimensions: 20″L x 11.4″W x 16.7″H
  • Tank Volume: 0.95 Gallons

Ever been deep in the woods, craving a hot cup of coffee, and thought, “I wish I had a reliable generator right now”? Enter the Honda EU2200iTAN Inverter Generator. This isn’t just another generator; it’s like that trusty friend who always has a solution up their sleeve. With a beefy 2200 watts, it’s got more than enough oomph to power up your campsite. And, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a generator that thinks about your safety? The CO-MINDER system is like a guardian angel, always on the lookout for sneaky carbon monoxide levels.

But wait, there’s more. If you’re the kind who likes to keep tabs on things from your cozy hammock, the Honda My Generator App is your new good friend. With a tap or two on your phone, you’re in control, thanks to its Bluetooth capability. And for those who dread the thought of lugging around a hefty generator, this one’s a featherweight at just over 47 pounds. Plus, with the heart of a Honda GXR120 engine beating inside, you know it’s built to


  1. Powerful 2200-watt output with a Honda GXR120 engine.
  2. Safety-first with the CO-MINDER system monitoring carbon monoxide levels.
  3. Remote operation and monitoring with the Honda My Generator App.
  4. Compact, lightweight design for easy portability.


  1. Exclusively uses gasoline, limiting fuel flexibility.
  2. Premium features might come with a premium price tag for some.

The Honda EU2200iTAN Inverter Generator combines performance, innovation, and safety to provide more than just power. It is designed with the modern traveler in mind, so you may appreciate the unadulterated beauty of nature without giving up the conveniences and security of contemporary living.

3. Best Dual Fuel Option: Champion Power Equipment 200988

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Champion Power Equipment
  • Wattage: 4500 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline, Propane (LPG)
  • Power Source: Fuel Powered
  • Weight: 97 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts (AC)
  • Dimensions: 23.2″L x 17.7″W x 20.1″H
  • Tank Volume: 0.6 Quarts

Embarking on a van life adventure means preparing for the unexpected, and that’s where the Champion Power Equipment 200988 4500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator comes into play. This isn’t just a generator; it’s a lifeline when you’re miles away from civilization. With the flexibility to run on both gasoline and propane, it’s like having a Swiss army knife of power sources. And let’s not forget the electric start feature – a true blessing on those chilly mornings when manual starts feel like a workout.

But what truly sets this generator apart is its commitment to quiet operation. At 61 dBA, it’s no louder than a typical conversation, ensuring your serene surroundings remain undisturbed. Furthermore, with features like the Quick Touch Panel, accessing controls becomes a breeze. And for those who value clean power, especially when charging sensitive devices, this generator delivers less than 3% THD. It’s clear that Champion has thought of everything, making our adventures smoother and more enjoyable.


  1. Dual fuel capability offers flexibility in fuel choice.
  2. Electric start with battery included ensures hassle-free operation.
  3. Quiet operation, maintaining the peace of your surroundings.
  4. Clean power output, perfect for charging sensitive electronics.


  1. Weighing 97 pounds, it might be a bit hefty for solo travelers.
  2. The runtime of 14 hours, while decent, may require frequent refueling during extended use or multi-day adventures.

Designed with the modern traveler in mind, Champion Power Equipment 200988 Generator ensures uninterrupted power, flexibility, and peace of mind. With its blend of power, flexibility, and user-centric features, it’s clear this generator is a cut above in its class. Whether you’re deep in the wilderness or parked by a serene lake, with the Champion 200988, you’re always powered up.

4. Best Solar Option: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Jackery
  • Wattage: 500 watts
  • Fuel Type: Non-gasoline (Solar Powered)
  • Weight: 13.3 Pounds
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Dimensions: 11.8″L x 7.6″W x 9.2″H

The open road, the starry nights, the thrill of waking up in a new location every morning. That’s van life for you. But even the most adventurous among us can’t deny the need for a bit of modern convenience. That’s where the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 steps in. This isn’t just another gadget; it’s our trusty sidekick on those long road trips. With its robust lithium-ion battery, it ensures our devices never run out of juice, even when we’re miles away from the nearest power source.

The Explorer 500 might pack a punch, but it’s as portable as they come. Imagine something no bigger than a basketball, yet powerful enough to keep our mini cooler humming and our phones charged. And the cherry on top? The pass-through charging. We can’t count the times we’ve been grateful for this feature, allowing us to charge the station while it powers our essentials. Jackery, you’ve truly outdone yourself with this one.


  1. Packs a long-lasting punch with its lithium-ion battery.
  2. Just the right size to power our adventures without weighing us down.
  3. Designed for the road with its compact and portable frame.
  4. The genius of pass-through charging – a lifesaver on those long trips.


  1. Relies on solar, so here’s hoping for sunny days.
  2. While it’s mighty, it might struggle with those power-hungry appliances.

The Jackery Explorer 500 isn’t just a power station; it’s our road trip buddy. It’s that reliable friend who’s always got our back, ensuring we’re powered up and ready for whatever the journey throws our way. Jackery’s Explorer 500 is the unsung hero of our van life adventures. It’s a combination of both power and portability, designed with the heart and soul of a traveler. Whether we’re capturing those breathtaking sunsets or just chilling with some tunes, with the Explorer 500, the adventure never stops.

5. Best for Quiet Operation: YAMAHA EF2200iS Inverter Generator 

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: YAMAHA
  • Wattage: 2200 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Weight: 55.2 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Dimensions: 21.9″L x 11.8″W x 18.5″H

There’s a certain aesthetic about the open road, the freedom of van life, and the allure of the great outdoors. But let’s be real, even the most rugged adventurers among us appreciate a touch of modern convenience. Enter the YAMAHA EF2200iS Inverter Generator. This isn’t just another piece of equipment; it’s the silent powerhouse that ensures our nights under the stars are as comfortable as they are memorable.

The heart of this generator is its robust Yamaha 79cc engine, delivering a high power output that’s both clean and reliable. And when it comes to noise? Yamaha’s got that covered. Thanks to their advanced muffler technology, this generator purrs so quietly, you might forget it’s even there. It has a user-friendly design. From the illuminated multi-function LED display to the smart dial knob, every feature is crafted to make our lives simpler. And for those of us with RVs, the standard RV outlet is a godsend, eliminating the hassle of hunting for adapters.


  1. Powerful and reliable Yamaha 79cc engine.
  2. Ultra-quiet operation, thanks to Yamaha’s sophisticated muffler technology.
  3. User-friendly features like the illuminated LED display and smart dial knob.
  4. Designed with RV campers in mind, featuring a standard RV outlet.


  1. At 55.2 pounds, it’s not the lightest option available, which might be a concern for those prioritizing portability.
  2. The 10-hour runtime is based on ¼ rated load, so heavy usage might drain it faster than expected.

Yamaha’s EF2200iS is the embodiment of power and convenience in one sleek package. From its robust engine to its whisper-quiet operation and user-centric design, it’s clear that this generator was crafted with the modern traveler in mind. It’s not just a generator; it’s our reliable companion on every adventure.. Whether you’re deep in the woods or parked by a serene lake, this generator ensures you’re never too far from home comforts.

Do I Need a Generator for Van Life with Campervan or RV?

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of setting off on a van life adventure, with the horizon stretching out before you. But amidst the excitement, there’s that nagging question: “Do I need a generator for this journey?”

Well, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. A lot depends on how you’ve set up your cozy van home. If you’ve decked it out with modern comforts like a mini-fridge, a coffee machine, or even a heater for those chilly nights, then you’re going to need some serious power. Sure, solar panels are great, but what about those days when the sun decides to play hide and seek? That’s when a generator might just become your best friend.

Now, let’s talk about gadgets. Are you the minimalist type, happy with just a charged phone and a reading light? Or do you have a lineup of devices that would make a tech store jealous? The more gizmos you’ve got, especially the power-hungry ones, the more you’ll be leaning towards team generators.

But here’s the real game-changer: your travel style. If you’re all about that luxury life, parking up at plush campgrounds with all the amenities, then you might not need a generator. Many of these spots offer electrical hookups, so you’re golden. But if you’re the wild-hearted kind, always chasing that off-the-beaten-path spot (boondocking, anyone?), then a generator isn’t just handy; it’s essential. Imagine being nestled deep in the woods or perched on a secluded beachfront, with your generator humming softly in the background, ensuring you’ve got all the power you need.

So, to generator or not to generator? It’s a personal call. But remember, van life is all about freedom and spontaneity. And having a reliable power source? Well, that just means more freedom to roam wherever your heart desires, without missing out on any of the comforts of home.

Different Types of Generators for Van Life with Campervan or RV

Embracing the van life means gearing up for adventures, but it also means preparing for the practicalities. One of the essential tools for a smooth outdoor off-grid journey is a reliable power source to power up that van life. With various generators available in the market, it can be a tad overwhelming to pick the right one. Let’s dive into the different types of generators for van life to help you make an informed decision.

Diesel Generators

These powerhouses are known for their efficiency and longevity. Diesel fuel is non-flammable, making it a safer option in certain conditions. However, the trade-off is that they tend to be noisier and heavier. If you’re looking for a portable model, you might have to search a bit harder, as they’re not as common.

Propane Generators

For the eco-conscious traveler, propane generators are a top pick. They’re environmentally friendly and have a reputation for quieter operation. They also tend to last longer, but they’re not as efficient as their gasoline counterparts. Another hiccup? Refilling can sometimes be a challenge, especially in remote areas.

Solar Generators

The future is here, and it’s powered by the sun! Solar generators are silent operators, needing no fuel and emitting zero pollutants. They’re perfect for those sunny days, but their main drawback is their dependence on good weather. On cloudy days, they might not generate as much power as you’d like.

Gasoline Generators

The old reliable. Gasoline generators are often the go-to for many because of their power and the easy availability of fuel. They’re generally more affordable too. However, they’re not the greenest option out there, producing carbon monoxide and being less environmentally friendly.

Choosing the right generator for van life boils down to your personal needs and values. Whether it’s the efficiency of diesel, the eco-friendliness of propane, the innovative approach of solar, or the reliability of gasoline, there’s a generator out there tailored for every kind of traveler.

Portable vs. Built-In Generators for Van Life

Embarking on the van life journey brings with it a myriad of choices, and when it comes to power, the debate between portable and built-in generators is a lively one. Let’s chat about the trusty portable generators first. Picture this: you’re parked by a serene lake, and you decide to have a picnic a little distance away. With a portable generator, you can easily carry your power source with you. It’s like having a traveling companion that’s always up for an adventure. But, like all companions, they do need their own space in the van, and if not tucked away safely, might catch the wandering eye of a passerby.

Now, imagine the built-in generators as the heart of your van’s power system. They’re always there, humming away quietly, powering your life on wheels. There’s no lugging around; it’s a set-it-and-forget-it deal. But, just like any heart, it needs regular check-ups, and sometimes, reaching it for a quick fix can be a tad bit tricky.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it’s like choosing between a backpack and a suitcase. Both have their moments and shine in different scenarios. It’s all about what feels right for your journey and how you envision your days on the road.

Standard vs. Inverter Generators for Van Life

The age-old debate in the van life community: standard or inverter generators? Let’s dive deep and unravel this mystery. At first glance, standard generators might seem like the old-school, reliable buddy you’ve always known. They’re straightforward, producing AC power directly from the fuel source. But here’s the catch: they can be a tad noisy. Imagine trying to enjoy a serene sunset, only to have the constant hum of your generator in the background. Moreover, they tend to run at a constant speed, regardless of the load, which might not be the most efficient way to use fuel.

Enter the inverter generators, the modern, sophisticated cousin. These beauties first produce AC power, which is then converted to DC and then inverted back to clean AC power. Sounds like a roundabout way? Perhaps, but this process ensures a consistent power curve, which is fantastic news for your sensitive electronics. Ever feared charging your laptop or smartphone directly from a generator? With inverter generators, that worry becomes a thing of the past. They adjust their speed based on the load, making them more fuel-efficient. And as a cherry on top, they’re generally quieter, allowing you to enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings.

In the grand tapestry of van life, both have their place. But if you’re leaning towards a quieter, more efficient option that’s kind to your gadgets, the inverter generator might just be your new best friend on the road.

Things To Look for When Buying a Generator for Van Life with Campervan or RV

Embarking on the van life journey is exhilarating, but ensuring you have the right power source? That’s crucial. When it comes to generators, size does matter, but not in the way you might think. It’s not about the physical dimensions, but the power output. Let’s break it down.

Firstly, there’s the concept of starting (or surge or peak) watts. This is the initial burst of energy that some appliances, like refrigerators or air conditioners, need when they start up. It’s higher than the amount they require to keep running. On the other hand, running (or continuous or rated) watts is the consistent power an appliance needs after that initial start-up. It’s essential to understand both these numbers because your generator needs to handle the highest combined surge watts of the appliances you might start simultaneously and the total running watts of everything you’ll run concurrently.

So, how do you figure out what size generator you need? Start by listing all the appliances and gadgets you’ll use in your van. Jot down both their starting and running watts (usually found in the manual or on the appliance). Ensure your generator can handle the combined starting watts of the most power-hungry devices you might turn on at the same time. Then, check that the total running watts of all devices you’ll use simultaneously doesn’t exceed the generator’s capacity.

In essence, it’s a balancing act. But with a bit of planning and some simple math, you’ll find the perfect generator to light up your van life adventures.

Solar Solutions for Van Life

Imagine waking up to the gentle hum of nature, the chirping of birds, and the rustling of leaves, with the sun casting its first golden rays on your van. Now, what if that same sun could power up your entire day? That’s the magic of solar solutions for van life.

Solar generators are more than just a power source; they’re a lifestyle choice. For those of us who’ve embraced the van life, it’s not just about the journey but also about respecting the environment we’re exploring. And what better way to do that than by harnessing the sun’s clean, green energy?

The beauty of solar generators lies in their simplicity. No more hunting for fuel stations or dealing with the noise and fumes of traditional generators. Instead, you get a silent companion that works tirelessly as you enjoy your adventures. And let’s not forget the savings! After the initial setup, the sun doesn’t send you a bill.

But it’s not just about being eco-friendly. For those who rely on gadgets, be it for work or entertainment, solar generators offer a steady power source that’s gentle on sensitive electronics. No more unexpected shutdowns or power surges.

And for those moments when you find that perfect secluded spot, away from the hustle and bustle, you won’t be truly isolated. Your solar panels will be quietly soaking up the sun, ensuring you have all the comforts of home right there in the heart of nature.

In a nutshell, going solar is like having a silent, dependable travel buddy. It’s the bridge between enjoying raw nature and still having those little luxuries that make van life so special.

Final Words!

Embracing the van life is like diving into a novel filled with unpredictable adventures. Whether you’re in a cozy campervan, a spacious RV, or a vintage caravan, the story’s essence remains the same: freedom, exploration, and a touch of home wherever you park. But let’s be real; as romantic as the idea of living off-grid sounds, we all crave a bit of modern comfort amidst the wilderness. That’s where our trusty generators come into play.

Imagine this: You’ve found the perfect spot by a serene lake. The stars are your only light, and the gentle hum of nature is your soundtrack. But inside your van? It’s movie night, thanks to the generator humming away discreetly in the background. Or perhaps you’re high up in the mountains, where the air is crisp, and the silence is golden. Yet, your morning routine remains unchanged, brewing coffee and checking emails, all because of that little power-packed machine.

And it’s not just about convenience. With the rise of solar solutions, we’re also treading lightly on the earth, harnessing the sun’s power to fuel our journeys. It’s a beautiful dance of giving and taking, where we experience nature’s wonders without leaving a heavy footprint.

So, as we wind down this journey discussing generators, let’s remember they’re more than just machines. They’re the silent companions that light up our van life tales, ensuring every chapter is as enchanting as the last.

Realted FAQs

What is the right type of generator for van life?

The right type depends on individual needs, but inverter generators are popular due to their efficiency and quiet operation.

How do I determine the right size generator for my van?

Calculate your power needs based on the appliances you’ll use, considering both starting/surge watts and running/continuous watts.

Are solar generators suitable for van life?

Yes, solar generators are eco-friendly and perfect for sunny locations but depend on weather conditions for efficiency.

How often should I maintain my generator?

Regular maintenance, such as checking oil and cleaning, is recommended every few months or as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Can I run my generator while driving?

A: While some van lifers do, it’s essential to ensure it’s securely mounted and well-ventilated.

Is it safe to use a generator inside my van?

No, generators should be placed outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and ensure proper ventilation.

How long can a generator run continuously?

It varies by model, but most can run for several hours. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What’s the difference between standard and inverter generators?

Inverter generators are generally quieter, more efficient, and better for sensitive electronics compared to standard generators.

Can I use a generator in rainy or wet conditions?

It’s risky. Water can damage the generator or cause electrocution. Always use in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Why is my generator so noisy, and can I make it quieter?

Noise levels vary by model. Using a generator enclosure or positioning it on a soft surface can reduce noise.

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