Do You Need a Generator When Hiring a Motorhome?

Who needs a generator?

The best way to answer this question is to consider what you’re looking to take with you and use on your motorhome holiday. We’re going to get a little technical here, but don’t worry – power requirements for devices are often found online, or on the device itself.

You can only power 230 Volt (V) devices on a mains hookup, or wild camping when plugged into a generator. Take note, any device which consumes more than 900 Watts (W) of power will overload the generator. In practice, this means you’ll be able to power laptops, games consoles, chargers for cameras, and even low powered hair straighteners or hair dryers (as long as they’re rated 900W or lower, or can be run on a lower setting which is 900W or less).

Do you need a generator when wild camping? Not necessarily. The 12V leisure battery and 12V engine battery are both charged from the engine whilst driving, so as long as you’re driving at least every other day, this will keep the leisure battery topped up. When you’re wild camping without a generator, you can still plug phones into the 2 USB ports or the 12V ‘cigarette lighter’ port in the cab when driving to keep them charged. But if you’re going to be static in a fixed location for more than two nights, without driving, then the leisure battery will drain, so you should think about a generator. If you’re wild camping without a generator you won’t be able to power your devices – something to consider if you’re planning on exploring Scotland’s beautiful remote landscapes while still having access to your laptop.

The fridge that comes with your motorhome hire is a ‘3-way’ fridge. This means that when driving, it’s powered from the engine battery. When you stop, it is instead powered from the gas bottles – unless you’re plugged into a mains hookup, in which case it’s powered from the 230V mains electrical supply.

Camping in style with a modern generator

So hiring a generator to top up the leisure battery makes sense. It means you can stay in a beautiful wild-camping spot as long as you like without having to worry about running out of power.

Older generators are noisy, smelly, high-vibration monsters that you wouldn’t wish on your dearest enemy. Modern ones are small, neat and un-smelly. They’re the size of a suitcase and fit under the bed when not needed, and they won’t scare off all the wildlife for miles around when you start them up. In fact, at around 54-59 decibels, the equivalent of a fridge running or light traffic, you can talk over them without raising your voice.

The generators are very simple to operate and we give full instructions on how to use them. They use unleaded petrol, which you can buy at any filling station if you need extra – though a full fuel tank will last for three hours, which is enough for several days for most families. The motor is very efficient, so they are environmentally friendly, too, with low emissions.

Low-noise and extremely portable.

We supply pure sine-wave generators, which means they are safe for even the most delicate electronic devices. Some generators suffer from power surges, but pure sine-wave generators don’t have that problem: if the supply or demand is too high, they simply cut out. You’ll have to restart the generator if that happens, but at least you know your precious electronics are safe.

Our generators supply 1000 watts, so you can use them for devices rated up to 900W. That’s enough for a travel hairdryer, or for a larger one on the “low” setting. High-powered appliances like toasters and microwaves are best kept for when you have an electric hook-up – they’re too power-hungry for generators.

It’s worth noting that some campsites restrict the amount of power they supply to electric hook-ups, so having a generator with you can make a big difference in what appliances you can use. It’s worth asking when you book whether they allow generators to be used on-site, though – you may be restricted in the times or pitches you can use one at.

Generators make life easier when you’re camping. You can tuck them out of sight when you don’t need them. And you can stay wherever you like for as long as you like, safe in the knowledge that your food will stay fresh, the beer and wine will be properly chilled, your laptop won’t die when you most need it, and you needn’t have a bad hair day every time you go swimming.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. In fact, why wouldn’t you hire one?