There’s one word in this question that is the most important…and it’s the word, “need.” Do I need a generator for my travel trailer is much different than asking do I want a generator for my travel trailer. We’re here to answer the former and not the latter.

Now, when it comes to travel trailers, most people know what’s being talked about. They’re the most popular type of non-motorized RV, and they come in a wide range of styles and sizes. We’re sure most of you have seen them being hauled on highways across the world.

And even though they’re non-motorized, they offer a lot of electrical luxuries. Due to such, in order to use those electrical luxuries, you’ll need access to electricity. Gee, that’s not terribly obvious, right? Well, it just drives the point that unless you have access to electricity, you’ll need a generator (or a power bank but that’s really just a portable battery).

Oh, so that just answered the question, right? Perhaps, but this question needs to be analyzed much deeper.

What’s going to require a generator while camping?

The appliances that you enjoy in your travel trailer will require electricity to function. This can include a microwave oven, a fridge, an oven, a stove, and so on and so forth. Appliances such as slow cookers can even be used with a generator if you don’t have access to power.

Basically, if you have something that doesn’t have its own power source (such as a battery or gas) and requires electrical power to run, a generator will be very handy.

Reasons to have a generator for your travel trailer

Do I need a generator for my travel trailer? There are a few main reasons why it’d be beneficial to have a generator for your camper. Sure, you could probably think of a few additional reasons, but the following two are easily the most practical.

Emergency situations

You could say that the main reason to own a generator for any reason is due to planning for emergency situations. We’re not even talking about natural disasters here, either, as it can be just for unexpected power outages. Yes, keeping an eye on the weather can give you a decent idea of times when power outages may happen, but they can also happen out of nowhere. Regardless, having a generator on hand can make you prepared for when the power goes out (even when camping).

If you don't have access to power

Sometimes, the best camping happens in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t want to camp at a campsite where you’ll have access to electrical power, you may need a generator to run everything in your travel trailer. In fairness, if you enjoy backcountry camping then you’re probably not hooking up a camper to your truck or SUV. Still, for whatever reason you camp with your travel trailer in a more backcountry style, a generator can give you access to the internal appliances and such.

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If you’re wondering how long a generator can run on 5 gallons of gas, then here’s a very in-depth answer: How Long Will a Generator Run on 5 Gallons of Gas?

Are generators allowed in campgrounds?

This question kind of plays off of what was just discussed. With a travel trailer attached, it’s probably more likely that you’ll go camping in an actual campground. Okay, so if that’s what you’re going to do…do I need a generator for my travel trailer?

After all, camping at a campsite sort of cancels out the 2nd of the two benefits listed above as campgrounds will more than likely provide you with an external electrical source to plug your travel trailer into. With that said, campgrounds aren’t immune to power outages.

Well, then the question is are generators even allowed in campgrounds? Just as an example, let’s take a look at what is allowed for state parks in the state of Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for Michigan states that generators, radios, or other types of amplified devices can’t create excessive noise when camping at state parks.

Again, though, that’s just in the state of Michigan. It’s best to just check with the campground that you’re going to be staying at. Non-state parks may have fewer restrictions and may be a bit more lenient when it comes to generators, as well. It’s best to just double-check and go straight to the source.

What are the different generator types that you can go with?

Do I need a generator for my travel trailer? It’s a very good idea to do so, but now what? There are a few different generator types that you can go with, and also a plethora of options among each type. Truthfully, there are a multitude of buying considerations to make with a generator, but we just want to bring to your attention the different types of generators that are out there and whether or not they’d be ideal for a travel trailer.

Home standby generators

Also known as whole house generators, these are the bad boys that are going to power your home when power outages occur. Also, these are the bad boys that you want to leave at your house. For your travel trailer, these will just be way too cumbersome to transport and deal with. Plus, they’re just going to be overkill for most of your trailer needs.

Portable generator

Okay, so now we’re getting more into the area of generators that would work better for a travel trailer. Clearly, being dubbed portable generators, this style is made for consumers who need to use them on the road. Now, with that said, even though they’re portable, let’s not act as if you can fit them in your back pocket or anything like that. Portable generators will still be quite loud, but they won’t be nearly as cumbersome and large as home standby models.

Inverter generators

Ah, now this is the most ideal type of generator to use for recreational activities such as camping, boating, and even tailgating. Compared to the average generator, an inverter is going to operate much quieter and is also going to be much more compact and portable (in general). However, due to their more complex technology, inverters will also tend to be a bit more expensive. Still, if the answer to the question, “Do I need a generator for my travel trailer” is yes, then the style is probably best to be an inverter.

What about a 2000-watt inverter generator? Would that work for a travel trailer?

Okay, so we more or less established the fact that an inverter generator is probably going to be the best option for you and your travel trailer. Now, let’s take it a step further and look at 2000-watt inverter generators, as they’re quite popular.

Would one of those work well for camping? For the most part, yes, as a 2000-watt inverter will allow you to power many appliances and devices commonly used in a camper. It’s always best to make sure, however, so, figure out the wattage of the appliances you wish to run and start.

Keep in mind, also, how many appliances and devices you’ll need to run simultaneously. If a 2000-watt inverter will suffice for that, it’ll then be a great purchase. And the better news is we’ve actually already detailed what some of the best 2000-watt inverter generators are to buy on the market right now.

Final thoughts

It’s time to bring it back to the question that started all of this. Do I need a generator for my travel trailer? Again, it comes back to the word “need.” Technically speaking, you may never need a generator while you’re camping with your travel trailer.

However, you never know when an emergency can strike, and you also never know when you’ll want to go a little more rugged with your camping adventure but still want access to a few of your camper’s luxuries. So, to that, we’d answer the question by saying it’s certainly not a bad idea to buy a generator for your camper.

Wow, it just kind of feels as if we keep driving the nail further into the wood, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, nobody can force you to buy a generator but even if you don’t use it for camping, you can always use it for other reasons. It’s not as if a portable or inverter generator can’t be used to power a few things in your home when the power goes out. A generator can be a versatile piece of equipment!