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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > National Park Generator use & other ?'s

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Carol N


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Posted: 07/08/12 03:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are considering purchasing a generator for our 30 ft. 5th- wheel. Are there any restrictions for the use of a generator in National Parks or National Forests? Does anyone use their generator to run the air-condition? or just for TV, Microwave and small appliances. What is your option on gas or propane and size? thanks,


Wilmington, NC

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Posted: 07/08/12 03:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's best to contact the Ranger for the particular CG you want to visit. Some will have "Generator Times"...a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon. Some are less restrictive, some more.

With the wild fires out west, there may be additional restrictions[emoticon]

But, to answer your question...Yes, there may be restrictions....

You can usually watch TV and run some small appliances with the Inverter, if you've got decent batteries. And use the generator to charge them the following day, during "generator hours".

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Sammamish, WA

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Posted: 07/08/12 03:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes there are many types of restrictions on generator usage. You'll need to review the rules for each area and even a specific campground. For the most part cg's allow day time use only. There are very few that do not allow generators at all.

Yes I run my air con when needed.

Gas power

Honda and Yamaha make the best RV friendly generators on the market. They are SUPER quiet, reliable, and sip fuel. My Yamaha 2400 works perfect for my needs. You my want two 2000's that can be run in parallel when needed.

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Upland, CA USA

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Posted: 07/08/12 03:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All campgrounds have "quiet times" when no gennys are allowed, and these times vary. As to generators, the best advice is to by a quiet inverter type genny if you're buying a portable. If you're going with a built in unit, others can advise.

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Posted: 07/08/12 04:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Propane if built in - no hassle with xtra tank. One 30 lb propane tank will let you run 8-10 hours. Plenty for our use. If you boondock a lot, this may not be enough. Depends on how much you plan to use the Gen.

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Posted: 07/08/12 04:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've had both propane and gas generators in our RVs, propane in the diesel MHs and gas in the Born Free gasser. I think propane burns cleaner than gasoline. JMHO, of course, but I think there is evidence to support that.

Some national parks have 'no generator' zones but I think they all have some areas where running a generator is permitted within certain hours.

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Posted: 07/08/12 05:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

if your thinking hot weather and extensive A/c run time you want gasoline
its everywhere, its easily transported

campgrounds Have generator hours, you will not be allowed to run it at night to have A/C while sleeping

hours very , have seen just a few hrs a day to 15 hrs a day

stayed in a Nat Forest campground outside of grand canyon
generator hours were 6 am to 9 pm

stayed in a crowed cg inside Sequoia Nat Park 8am>10am then 5pm>8pm

stayed in few miles north in kings canyon hrs were 7am to 8pm

right now we are in a cg in an Indiana Forest area
no generators allowed, no problem every site has 30a electric

the few other campers here are mostly tt,s I think we are the biggest mh here and we are only 34ft

I saw a horse trailer bigger than us go by on its way to the horse camping area , and they have electric,

sorry off track, generator hrs vary everywhere

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Posted: 07/08/12 07:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you buy an "off brand" be sure the gen has a Forest Service approved spark arrester.

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Topeka or somewhere else

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Posted: 07/08/12 08:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would seriously doubt that there is ANY National Park that does not restrict generator use in ONE way or another. Each park sets it's own rules for generator use so you'd need to check with the administration for that particular park. Some have VERY restrictive hours (Glacier, St Mary Campground allows use 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and another period in the evening only). Others have quiet hours, usually between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM when generators may not be used at all. Some actually will put a meter on the sound and enforce the 72 DB limit on generator noise (but not many) and in SOME campgrounds generators will not be allowed at all.

I use my generator to charge my batteries only and run what I need to run off of the batteries during all other times.

Good luck / Skip

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King George, VA

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Posted: 07/09/12 03:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Camping off the power grid is a fun experience. It isnt as easy as one would expect. The trailers were designed with "dry camping" in mind but failed to supply the necessary converter/charger to be able to re-charge the battery in a short period of time.

The "norm" at most camp grounds for camping with generators have certain hours that you can run your generator which is usually 8AM to 10AM and then again from 4:30PM to 7:30PM. There are places where you can use your generator anytime you want but they are not the norm especially in the eastern part of the US. With this in mind alot of campers like to run off their batteries and be setup to re-charge their batteries the next day in the short amount of time allowed to run their generators.

If you are going to do alot of camping off the power grid you may need to beef up your battery system to at least two batteries (I run three batteries on my POPUP). You will also have to make sure your on-board Converter is the "smart Mode" charging type. Its A good idea to change out all your incandescent lights to LED lights (big power savings)... I also use a couple of the small 300W Pure Sine Wave inverters hard-wired in to give me 120VAC (operated from my batteries) for the HDTV, DVD, a couple of 120V window mood lamps, Cell phone chargers etc. Some people try to find all of the 12VDC operated items but I found it easier to just get a 300W inverter and use the 120VAC items as is. I also have a larger 1500W PSW inverter to use on extended stays when camping off the power grid. The idea is to get setup where you can run almost all of your items from the battery system and then re-charge the batteries the next day in as short of time as you can using a small 1KW or 2KW quiet mode generator (I use the EU2000i Honda 2KW Inverter type generator sitting near the tail gate section of my truck).

When camping off the power grid We use our HDTV system off the OTA Batwing Antenna (pickup 6-36 Digital Channels full blown wide screen high def TV using our 22-inch Vizio HDTV just about everywhere we go), I play with my Ham Radio stuff, Light up our corner of the camp ground with outside lights every night sitting around the patio and fire pit. Can run just about everything we do when camping at Electric Sites except no air conditioner or high power Microwave (I carry a small $35 walmart microwave just for camping in the woods...) Then the next morning I start re-charging my batteries by connecting the trailer shore power cable directly to my generator and can re-charge my three GP24 three batteries in the short generator run times most camp grounds allow the use of generators. usually takes 3-4 hours of generator run time to get me charged back up... Be glad to share with you what all I did with my POPUP for camping off the power grid - send email (See my profile)

My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - Words in CAPS does not mean I am shouting
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