The Pros and Cons of Small Portable Generators for Camping

Traditionally portable generators are known for emergencies rather than a peaceful camping trip in the woods. But small portable generators are a great item to include on your camping checklist.

There are certain creature comforts we can’t deny. For those who know, small portable camping generators are valuable in a number of outdoor situations. From powering outdoor lighting, and heating systems to facilitating the perfect playlist for your weekend outdoors, camping generators can be your new best pal.

Portable generators for camping can come in all different shapes and sizes and it can be a minefield out there. So we’ll walk you through the pros and cons before you take the plunge.

Small portable generators for camping.

What Is a Small Portable Generator for Camping?

As the name suggests, a small portable generator is a power supply that can be picked up and taken with you. Typically, small portable generators range from 288-3600Wh and are a great way to have ready-to-use electricity while camping.

Why Do You Need a Small Portable Generator for Camping?

You’re probably questioning why you’d need such a thing when camping is time for solitude and relaxation. However, having a reliable source of power for lights, cooking stoves, and yes, even your phone, could make all the difference when you’re out in the wild.


  • They can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation.
  • Freedom to camp wherever you want.
  • They are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.
  • They can be used to power small appliances and electronic devices.


  • Some small portable generators can have clunky mechanical parts and can be quite loud.
  • Some require fuel, so you’ll need to keep extra gas on hand or know where you can fill up while on your trip.
  • Some campsites do not allow the use of portable generators due to how much noise they make.

The Pros of a Small Portable Generator for Camping

Need to power your next outdoor camping trip? The EcoFlow River series are the portable partner you can't be without.

Your Emergency Option

When you’re out wild camping, hiking from place to place you could be miles from your nearest power outlet. Here’s where a small portable generator could make all the difference.

For instance, the US National Park Service reported that the most common injury is a sprained ankle or broken bone when out in the wild. In this scenario, a small portable generator comes up trumps. In this scenario, it could be hours until you’re found. A small generator can keep your phone charged or a GPS tracker online so help can find you.

For less than $300 dollars, this is what EcoFlow RIVER 2 was built for. Hold it in your hand or throw it in a large backpack, at 7.7lbs it’s super lightweight. For its pint-sized stature, it packs a punch. It has a 300W output meaning it can power phones, laptops, GPS trackers, and small heating systems for hours on end and even power bigger appliances like .

Camping on Your Agenda

One of the main benefits of a small portable generator is the freedom it gives you. Camp anywhere you want without worrying about finding an electrical hookup.

If you’re looking to set up a base off the beaten track, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is ideal. Thanks to its 680W output and 768Wh capacity, you’ll be able to power the essentials for hours. For instance, it can power a 40W camping light for 15 hours. More than enough juice for a weekend away. 

While most campsites have a power hub you can tap into, it keeps you tied base. With a small portable generator, you can avoid the hustle and bustle of a campsite and explore unchartered territory.

Easy to Use

Another benefit of small portable generators is that they’re relatively easy to use. With most small generators you just have to add fuel and pull to start. But thanks to technological evolution, portable battery-powered generators are now here to stay. Simply click the electric start and you’re up and running.

What’s great about EcoFlow portable generators is they all click to start. Gone are the days of the pull start and clunky mechanical parts. What’s more, small portable generators like EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max, are built with a modular design. This gives you the freedom to adjust power and portability.

Power Multiple Appliances & Devices

Small portable generators have improved leaps and bounds in recent years. You can pick up a small generator with a plethora of ports and outlets so you can charge and power all of your most important devices all at once.

The Cons of Small Portable Generator for Camping

While there are cons to taking portable generators camping. It's nothing an EcoFlow River series generator can't solve.

However, there are some drawbacks to using a portable generator while camping. One is that non-battery options are noisy, so a portable gas generator might not be the best option if you’re looking for a peaceful camping experience.

Additionally, portable generators that run on fossil fuels produce harmful emissions, so it’s important to use them in well-ventilated areas. This isn’t the case for EcoFlow’s portable power station range.

Finally, non-battery portable generators require regular maintenance, such as changing the oil and air filter. But there are green alternatives redefining the portable generator landscape.


One of the most spoken-about cons of small portable generators is how much noise they make. A traditional fuel-powered generator produces anywhere between 50-60 decibels. This equates to the sound of a normal conversation. But this is not ideal if you run your generator for long periods.

All small portable generators make a sound to a degree. However, battery-powered generators like EcoFlow RIVER 2, operate at up to 62 decibels. This is no louder than the sound of a normal conversation. Not a bad trade-off for off-the-grid independence, right?

Fuel Supply

Although portable generators are a great source of electricity, they still need juice to run. Most traditional portable generators run on gas. Carrying around a spare tank of fuel on your camping trips is far from ideal. Plus, these types of generators produce toxic emissions, so you need to be careful where you use them.

But this is where small battery-powered generators are changing the game. All EcoFlow RIVER 2 series portable generators can be recharged while you’re in the wild. 

Solar panels are great. They give you unlimited access to power as long as you’ve got sun and they pay for themselves over time. A common misconception is that solar panels take days to create energy and have to be fixed in place. But EcoFlow’s suite of portable solar panels is breaking that mold.

Take EcoFlow RIVER 2 with one 110W Portable Solar Panel for example. It’s lightweight and can be easily folded and taken with you wherever you go. But what’s really impressive is that one 110W solar panel can charge River in just 3 hours. Ideal for camping.


Another concern is weight. On average, small portable generators for camping can weigh anywhere between 100-150lbs. Granted they are usually on wheels, but it can be the equivalent of carrying a baby hippo with you!

But all EcoFlow RIVER 2 series generators are lightweight enough to carry in your hand. The biggest, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro, only weighs 17.2lbs. While the smallest, EcoFlow RIVER 2, is a mere 7.7 lbs. We’ll let you make your mind up. But when it comes to weight, you can’t get many small portable generators more perfect for camping.

Final Thoughts?

Looking for a portable power supply for your next camping trip? Browse the EcoFlow River Series and find the perfect portable generator for campsite power.

To round up, there are a lot of portable generators you could take camping on the market. Most small portable generators have their cons, notably noise, weight, and fuel supply. But the pros of an emergency power supply and camping on your own agenda, overwhelming outweigh them. Plus, the small portable generators that the EcoFlow RIVER 2 series has on offer, are making the cons a non-issue. Ultimately, the best portable generator will depend on your specific needs.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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