How to Use a Generator with a Travel Trailer

Taking a trip in a travel trailer is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You get to enjoy the open road while enjoying resting at home. A travel trailer must have access to electricity to enjoy the most convenient cooking, entertainment, and temperature control. Let us look at how to use a generator with a travel trailer.

Choosing a Generator for Your Travel Trailer

Many travel trailers have built-in generators, making it much easier to use them. Here are a few things to consider while shopping for a generator for your travel trailer.

Is your travel trailer “generator ready”? 

Many travel trailers come with a generator transfer switch, an electrical harness, and propane hoses or fuel lines already attached. Check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure because otherwise, you’ll have to buy and install these parts yourself.

Determine how Large your generator needs to be

Examine the wattage requirements for all of your trailer’s equipment, including heating and cooling, hot water, kitchen appliances, electronics, and entertainment. Take note of the devices’ startup/surge requirements and select a generator with a little more power than you’ll need.

Look for RV-specific appliances and fittings with low startup wattage requirements; air conditioners, heaters, and kitchen appliances are intended exclusively for travel trailers.

Choose your Fuel Source

The majority of generators run on either gasoline or propane, which have their own set of benefits. To feed gasoline to your generator, you may need to install hoses or pumps.

A large fuel tank provides you more time and freedom to go, but it can take up a lot of room in a compact trailer.

Pay Attention to Weight

Depending on the size of your travel trailer, adding a generator and fuel tanks to your vehicle may cause it to exceed the weight restriction on some routes and bridges.

Consider the Noise Level

Generators are loud, and depending on their location, they can disturb your tranquil nights in the woods. Pick a quieter generator or insulate the storage room with sound-absorbing insulation.

Consider how you want to start your generator

Many generator-ready travel trailers are already wired for remote start generators that start at the push of a button.

It’s crucial to remember that frequently utilizing your RV batteries to start a generator can harm your vehicle’s battery.

How to use a generator with a travel trailer

Once you’ve made your decision, here’s how to use your generator in your travel trailer:

Figure out what kind of socket or power cord your trailer has. Most travel trailers have an exterior power outlet if a generator is required. These plugs are usually (30 amps), although not always. Look up the amps in your owner’s manual or on the plug or breaker panel.

1. Purchase a plug for your trailer and generator

You may require more than one plug or adaptor because most campsites have 30 amp outlets. Choose high-quality weatherproof male/female plugs with the amps you need. Ensure your plugs and adapters are rated for the total watts your travel trailer is expected to utilize.

The lowest amperage of your plugs and connectors, in reality, limits your wattage (for example, if you use a 15a to 30a connector, you only have 15 amps to work with). Here are some things to keep an eye out for:

  • Outlets rated at 125 volts and 15 amps can handle 1,875 watts.
  • A 30 amp or 120-volt connection can handle 3,600 watts of power.
  • A connection of 50 amps or 120 volts can transport up to 12,000 watts.

2. Locate the generator in a well-ventilated area

The most crucial part of generator safety is ventilation, so make sure you’re operating it in an area with plenty of air movement and that the exhaust is directed away from your (and other people’s) campsite.

3. Make sure the generator is grounded

A grounding rod and copper wire are included with most generators to make them safer to use. Turn on your electric equipment one by one after plugging in the generator.

Bottom Line

The best method to use a generator with an RV is to choose a generator-ready travel trailer. In this manner, after connecting your generator, you may safely plug and play your appliances without acquiring any aftermarket improvements.

It will help you enjoy your camping vacations and life on the road if you make sure you have the correct size generator for all of your temporary needs. The connection is straightforward after that.

Faqs About How To Use a Generator With a Travel Trailer

Can you run a travel trailer on a generator?

Yes, a 1000 watt generator is adequate for a tiny RV or if you do not require extensive equipment such as air conditioning. The next step is usually a 3500-watt generator, which can power most RV systems. Overdriving a generator is less dangerous than using too much power from the grid.

How do you hook a generator to a trailer?

How to Use a Generator with a Travel TrailerAs you would at home, connect your 120V shore outlet to your generator. When you need it, turn on the generator and let your RV’s built-in converter handle the battery charging. If your generator doesn’t have a 30A RV socket, you’ll need an adapter to convert your 30A service plug to a regular plug.

Will a generator charge my RV battery?

Yes, because your RV’s generator and shore power both charge your batteries. While your RV’s generator is running, the converter or inverter will use the control to recharge your house batteries.

Do I need a generator for my travel trailer?

Yes, you’ll need it whether you’re driving a large Class A motorhome, a mid-sized Class C, or towing a travel trailer behind you. You’re simply camping in a van without a generator. You have a nice hotel on wheels with a sound generator.

How far should a generator be from my camper?

How to Use a Generator with a Travel TrailerYou can carry the generator on top of the camping trailer at the summit if it’s a long journey to the campsite. Place the generator on the trailer’s roof and cover it to keep it safe from the elements while driving. Attach the trailer to the bungee cords or tie-down straps.

What kind of generator do I need for a travel trailer?

A portable generator should be placed at least 10 feet away from any house or RV windows. Never put it UNDER your RV to keep it safe from thieves and the elements.

What kind of generator do I need for my RV?

2000 to the 3000-watt generator should be sufficient to power a few essential RV appliances and personal electronics. Before purchasing, though, make a fast tally of the objects you’ll be plugging in and their power consumption.

What makes a generator RV ready?

 So, what qualifies a generator to be used in an RV? They’ve added a TT-30 RV outlet, similar to what you’d see on a campsite pedestal, to which your 30-amp shore power cord set will plug straight in, in addition to the twist-lock outlet on the generator.

Some RV Ready generators will also have built-in surge protection, but this isn’t necessary when you’re running off of a generator because you’re not connected to the electrical grid.

What do you use a generator for in an RV?

An RV generator powers various equipment and appliances in your RV. It provides power to multiple machines and devices through the circuit breaker panel.

It also powers your converter/charger, which recharges the batteries in your RV.

Do I need an inverter generator for my RV?

Yes, because portable inverter generators have become a must-have for many RV and camper owners. They let you keep your lights on at night, charge your house batteries, and power your RV refrigerator.

The RV lifestyle is all about being self-sufficient and efficient, and an inverter generator is essential for achieving that goal.

How do you reinforce a travel trailer?

Bolting vs. Welding has been a debate going on for quite some time. Although it may seem obvious, Welding rather than bolting has the most stiffening effect for a trailer frame, especially when reinforced with a few gussets.

Bolting makes things easier to disassemble and put back together. Bolting is frequently used solely for shipping purposes before assembly. Weld it if the bolts are simply there to bring it to you.

Can you sleep in an RV while the generator is running?

How to Use a Generator with a Travel TrailerIt is possible to run a generator while sleeping. But there are a few things to think about first. To begin, double-check that your campsite isn’t located in a region with quiet hours, which often occur between twilight and dawn. Second, your RV’s windows should be closed to prevent exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle.

Finally, if your location is close to other RVers, respect their need for quiet hours. While attempting to sleep, no one wants to hear a loud motor.

Can a portable generator power a travel trailer?

Yes, in the sense that Portable generators are lightweight and easy to transport. This allows them to generate a lot of electricity, which is why they’re so popular with RVers. As long as you keep fuel in the generator’s tank, you’ll have power.

Can you run an RV generator while asleep?

It is feasible to run a generator while sleeping. However, there are a few things to consider before. To begin, double-check that your campsite isn’t located in a region with quiet hours, which generally occur between twilight and dawn. Second, close your RV’s windows to avoid exposure to exhaust fumes.

Finally, if your location is close to other RVers, respect their wish for peaceful hours. No one wants to sleep while listening to a noisy motor.

Should you turn off your generator at night?

How to Use a Generator with a Travel TrailerIt’ll be able to run all night if necessary. It is entirely safe to sleep in an RV with all windows and doors closed while a generator outside the RV provides power.

On 1-2 gallons of gasoline, a generator can typically run for 8-10 hours. This will keep you warm and toasty throughout the night.

How long does a generator last in an RV?

Most portable generators last 10,000 to 25,000 hours, while built-in generators last 15,000 to 20,000 hours, depending on how they’ve been kept and how often they are used.

How long can you run the RV generator?

It is safe to run both built-in and portable RV generators for their expected run time of 8 to 24 hours as long as they are properly vented, have adequate fuel (and are not “running on fumes”), and are appropriately equipped for use in adverse weather.

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About Steve Stuart

Steve Stuart is an electrical engineer who developed interest on generators during his school years. After school, he became a generator enthusiast. This is after encountering power supply problems at the area of residence where he lived. Power would be on and off and so food would go bad and the room heater would go off especially during winter. After trying the different generator brands for several years, Steve now provides information on the available brands and products in the market today. Based on his experience, he gives the do’s and the don’ts when it comes to generator use.

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