You can find many campers use a generator when they go camping. Although big and bulky, they can make life easier when you are away for extended periods.
The problem is the noise level and how loud generator noises are for you and other campers.
In our guide, you can learn the best ways how to quiet a generator for camping by some ingenious methods. You can also see how adding a muffler from a vehicle can reduce the noise from a noisy generator to something more bearable.
What Is Considered Quiet for a Generator?
Noise from the generator will vary depending on the make, model, type and size you use when camping. You will see the abbreviation dBA to measure the noise level of your generator.
dBA stands for decibels, and to put it into perspective, breathing has a decibel level of around 10, which you can hardly hear. (Learn how use a camping can opener)
A generator rated at 50 to 60 dBA is fairly quiet, yet any amount of noise above this can be annoying, to any person in the vicinity. When you’re camping, it can sound much worse as there are no noises to help drown out the noise.
You can find some state parks banning generators or they impose upper decibel limits.
An inverter generator can come in a few decibels quieter than a conventional one, yet there can still be a need to make your generator quieter regardless of the type.
Can You Put a Muffler on a Generator?
You will find two types of generators around; these are inverter generators and portable generators.
Portable generators present a noise level of 70-100 decibels at 23 feet away, which you find is the industry-standard measuring distance. When camping, you can find tents inside this distance, and it is understandable why there could be complaints.
Inverter generators are 10 to 30 dB quieter than a conventional portable generator. However, they tend to be more expensive.
On either type, it is possible to use an automotive muffler to muffle the sound of your portable generator. You can find one that sits on your generator’s muffler and then helps it to make less noise.
While there are other methods, if you can do this without using clamps and bolts and can weld, you can find you have a 10-15 decibel reduction. (Read our Beginners Guide to Camping)
How Do You Make a Silencer for a Generator?
Here you can learn the best ways to quiet a generator for camping. You can use a combination of the muffler and the following to obtain a significant generator noise reduction to use it anywhere without causing a disturbance.
1. Purchase the Right Generator
Before you purchase a generator, know what your power needs will be. Once you understand this, you can miss the noisy generator syndrome.
The more power a generator produces, the more noise it will make.
Some people only need the power to charge phones, tablets, and essentials. Generators creating a few hundred watts can handle small tasks.
If you need to power large appliances such as a camping refrigerator, microwave, or A/C unit, you’ll need a generator with a higher wattage output.
Generators to deal with these have an output of 2,000 – 5,000 watts. However, you may only require a less powerful generator that you need to learn how to quiet a generator for camping.
2. Face Exhaust Pipes Upward or Away
Much of this depends if you have campers net to you. The generator positioning has an impact, as does the direction of the exhaust. Any exhaust pipes on the generator should be facing far away from the campsite.
If you have models where you can direct the exhaust pipe, or you fabricate yourself. Point the generators exhaust pipe in a vertical position toward the sky. Either position helps direct noise away from you to quiet generator.
3. Move the Generator
Distance from the campsite will be one of the most significant ways to make the generator sound quieter.
The distance does depend on a few factors. Are you on a campsite or open land while boondocking?
Neighbors aside, you will be limited by extension cords. More than 20 feet away, and you will notice a significant difference. However, you need to think about accessing your generator if it runs out of gas and raining.
4. Use a Soft Surface
A generator makes more noise on hard surfaces. Place the generator on soft earth or grass, both of these absorb and dampen sound. You can also use anti-vibration mats to do the same.
5. Deflect Sound to Quiet Your Generator
One of the easiest things to do is use sound deflectors. It sounds challenging, yet it is very straightforward. Take four sheets of plywood and some non-flammable material such as drywall. Cut each piece around 4 ft wide and 3 ft tall.
To use these, prop one of the pieces against your generator at various angles. Make sure you face the drywall inward by the exhaust, so it deflects any heat.
Doing so deflects sound downward without making your generator get hotter by being in a confined space.
6. Acoustic Enclosures or Baffle Boxes
A generator box or as they are better known a baffle box is an acoustic enclosure. The reason a baffle box works is pretty similar to the way deflectors work. The enclosure contains sound waves to drastically lower noise levels coming from the generator.
It is also easier to place your generator in one of these baffle boxes rather than carrying larger wood sheets, and it can help keep your generator dry in case of rain.
7. Use Water to Quiet Generator
One trick used on many a camping trip is to use water. Take a 5-gallon water bucket of water and fasten a hose to the exhaust and stick the end inside the bucket of water.
Keep in mind you need the generator higher than the water as you don’t want water flowing in the generators exhaust pipe. The water will muffle the noise it makes.
When you go through the above, some of the options for how to quiet a radiator can be awkward depending on how you go camping. (Find the Best Camping Backpack)
However, if you initially get the quietest generator, you could find facing away with the generator’s exhaust is nearly enough to drown out the noise. Either, way it can be easier than you think to quiet generators for camping.