Generator use. The Controversial Camping Conversation

I have been part of several heated debates surrounding generators. It is a hot topic among those who are well-seasoned campers.

In my opinion there are 2 types of Campers. There are “Back to Basics”  Campers and then there are  “Glampers”. – Glamper meaning “Glamorous Camper”. Sure there are campers that fall in between these categories and I am one of them. I started off as a Back to Basics camper – tenting, using the fire for warmth and to cook my food. My roasting stick was a carved switch off a tree.

There is nothing wrong with either type of camper or anything in between. The common denominator in both cases is spending time outdoors – some in the form of an RV park and some in the form of a beaten trail in the middle of nowhere.

I have done every type of camping in my 38 years.  I have camped in the back of a truck, tent, tent trailer, camper but I have now graduated to the luxury of a travel trailer. That is my choice and I believe I have earned it.  But that’s okay – call me a glamper. I have no problem with that. In fact, I love seeing what sort of fun luxuries people come up with while glamping.

We do a ton of shoulder camping. Meaning March-June and Sept-Oct. We enjoy backwoods camping and when we do, we take the generator. We do not have solar panels – although it’s on our wish list. So we turn the generator on to charge the batteries once a day. While charging the batteries we usually put on a pot of coffee (Yes, I own a percolator and use it) and charge our speakers up for music. Our kids are still outside exploring the backwoods, playing cards and remaining unplugged. Charged batteries allows our pump to work for our toilet so we aren’t leaving anything nasty  from squatting behind a tree.

We will never take our generator to a provincial park again. Wait… what I meant to say is that we will likely never frequent provincial parks again. There are various reasons for this – most being the high price with no hookups – hence why people take generators. I have never been to a provincial park when campers purposely ran their generator after the posted hours which are usually 9am-11am and 6pm-8pm. What I have seen is people without a generator complain about the generators running during the posted hours. They claim they don’t like the noise and the pollution and then they like to point a finger at the camper and say “That’s not camping” I am here to say – who gives you the right to judge?

We ended up in the middle of a heat wave of 40 degree weather in the Kootenays last June. It was not typical weather for that time of year. We were in a provincial campground for 11 days. We spent ALL of our time in the river to escape the heat but we turned our generator on for 2 hours one evening (during posted generator hours) to cool our trailer down enough for our kids to sleep. This was the first time we had ever turned our AC on as we don’t typically camp during summer. We were ridiculed. I was mortified. WE are helpful camping neighbors. We follow the “good neighbor rule” We leave our campsites cleaner than we arrived. We make sure noise level is always down including music. We are respectful. Here we were trying to co-habitat among other campers and we were being ridiculed all because of our generator. We weren’t the only ones. Many of others were yelled at and ridiculed for generators.

Solution? Easy. 2 options.
1) The bush – away from others. Where you can’t be accused of being a Glamper and you can’t be yelled at for charging your batteries or whatever other reason you may need a generator for.

2) Private campgrounds with hook ups. Plug in and still enjoy the Great Outdoors. No noise or pollution. Just the best of both worlds for those who require power and/or charging.

I could run circles around most people when it comes to camping. I could survive in the wilderness. I know what plants are poisonous. I know what I can eat to survive. I know tips and tricks for just about everything when it comes to bush camping. But I also know how to do a sani-dump, light a pilot light and trouble shoot an RV.

I CHOOSE the glamping life. I LOVE the glamping life. I like to get away from the same views at home and get out and spend time meeting new people, enjoying a campfire and time outdoors relaxing.

If a couple takes their kids camping, consider this a WIN. If the wife (or husband) needs to compromise with drip coffee, toast in the morning and requires power for that WHO CARES. It is not our place to judge. The important thing is that they are our spending quality time together as a family. Our job is not to judge them. Our job is to encourage them to continue to camp and make memories as a family.

Back to Basics Backwoods Camper VS Glamper. A generator does not determine which is which and it most definitely does not determine who is camping and who isn’t.

Follow the “Good Neighbor Rule” and get to know your camping neighbor. Chances are, generator or not – they are camping for the same reason you are.


One thought on “Generator use. The Controversial Camping Conversation

  1. We were discussing the same thing and decided to go with the ultra quite, though pricey, solar panels with invertors. The package is being shipped to us at the moment, so it should be an interesting installation!


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