5 Reasons Why You Need To Use Generator Cover For Camping

If you’ve invested in a quality generator, don’t risk damaging it by not giving the protection required. A generator cover is an essential addition if you ever take your generator on the road with you. Campers who don’t use them risk a shorter lifespan for the product, but there are also safety risks.

A generator can protect your investment, but it also gives you more safety as a user. You should always ensure family, friends, and belongings are safe when you go on a camping trip. Read our guide to using a cover and keeping the health risks to a minimum. 

1. Protection from Rain and Electrocution Risk

Rain and snow are some of the worst risks for your generator. Moisture and electricity do not mix.

Your generator makes electricity using a fuel source, and the output is a power outlet like that in your home. If it gets wet, it can spark, cause fires, or even electrocution. You shouldn’t take any risks at all. It’s possible to get seriously injured in this scenario. Just because you are often using the product outdoors, doesn’t mean that it can cope with all-weather types.

If you can wait until there is no moisture around. Clear conditions are much safer. If you need to run a generator in the rain then you do have options, including a shelter. More on this later.

For storage, protecting it from moisture is much easier with a cover. Wet conditions can damage the components, or stay in the mechanism long after the rain has passed. Any exposure to significant moisture means that it is more dangerous to use your generator.

2. Protection from Pests

When you go camping, your generator might be stowed away in an area where pests can get to it. Even if you don’t see any creatures during the day, at night there might be all sorts of critters that see your generator as something new to explore. They might even try to eat some of the parts.

A durable cover made of a heavy-duty material like vinyl will keep a lot of pests out. Rats and mice won’t be as curious, and even if they are, they probably won’t try to chew through the vinyl

Pests that chew are a huge risk. They can chew through components or wiring within your generator. This means an added risk of electrocution. Even if your safety isn’t at risk, a cable that has been chewed straight through isn’t going to work anymore. This means that the product might not be able to produce power anymore when you turn it on. Pest damage is common on camping trips.

A cover can also prevent small pests from getting into the mechanism, or larger pests from getting curious and attacking the controls or parts of your generator. It isn’t uncommon for a mouse or rat to get stuck inside. This will cause breakage, and also cause an unpleasant smell and difficult cleanup.

3. Helping Your Generator to Avoid Rust and Internal Damage

Oxygen and moisture cause rust. Long-term, if you store a generator without a cover you are exposing it to more oxygen and moisture. This makes internal damage more likely. There’s not much that is more frustrating than getting your equipment out before a camping trip and discovering it has broken in storage.

A cover stops some of the moisture and oxygen surrounding the parts. Wiring or other components can rust, corrode, and break. Even if you store the product somewhere that is generally dry, there will likely be oxygen and moisture in the air. 

4. Protection from Dust For Long-Term Storage

Dust is an almost invisible enemy. Assuming you regularly vacuum, you might not notice just how much circulates in your home. For electronic items, dust can pose a big risk.

Dust gets in all the tiny components of a generator or any other item that is in storage. Have you ever put an appliance into storage while it was working fine, and then taken it out and it has stopped functioning? This is likely the result of dust.

You can sometimes bring a dusty appliance back from the brink with cleaning. To do this, you will probably have to take it apart and do a deep clean. If you aren’t confident with mechanics, this is not recommended. You may have to take your generator to a repair shop all because of some measly dust.

As well as clogging up bigger components, tiny bits of grit and dust can fall and get into the smallest connections and wiring. This is frustrating and can cause breakages that are hard to identify.

This is a vital consideration for campers. Some people use generators regularly. For example, someone might use a generator monthly to power garden appliances. This is less of a long-term storage risk. Campers may only get their equipment out once a year. This means that you need a foolproof system for storing, such as a cover for the generator.

5. Reducing the Risks of Theft

The equipment that you take camping is probably not as secure as it would be in your house. If somebody sees a generator in a car or stowed away in a tent or RV, they might see it as easy pickings. You should be vigilant to make sure that you don’t leave any belongings on display.

While you go on a hike or take a trip away from your campsite, you can’t take all of your belongings with you. Covering them up is one of the easiest deterrents.

Of course, a vinyl cover doesn’t make your generator invisible. So, you should also put it in a safe and secure spot where it can’t be seen through any windows. The trunk of your car might be a good option, where you can lock it away.

Some covers can also be padlocked in place. It’s not exactly as secure as a bank vault, but it is an extra level of cover to put thieves off. 

Can I Cover the Generator While it is Running?

In the majority of cases, you shouldn’t cover the generator while it is running. Most covers protect generators in storage, but not in use.

This is because they need ventilation. Whatever type you have, and whatever fuel it uses, it can give off harmful gases. Carbon Monoxide is one of the substances that generators produce. This can cause serious harm, and a build-up in one area is not advised. Keep your generator ventilated at all times.

The generator will also eventually stop working if you run it with a standard cover on. It won’t get enough oxygen and there will be clogs in the motor. Eventually, you’ll stop the generator from being able to function as the combustion won’t be possible. This means more pollution and inefficient operation of the generator. Eventually, it will get hot and even present a fire hazard.

A well-ventilated space is essential. A few covers or “tents” are sold to protect the product and give you the cover you need and keep the air flowing. 

Once you take the cover off, you can still use it outside, but only if you give some other level of protection.

Differences Between a Generator Covers, Tents, and Shelters

If you want to use your generator outside, without worrying about rainfall, a shelter is more appropriate than a cover.

Shelters deflect the rain or snow away, providing a waterproof cover at the top of your generator. Shelters are often sloped so that excess water trickles away. 

They’re also usually permanent structures. You can get pop-up tents that have open sides, and this means that the generator is protected from rain but still ventilates the air properly.

In short, a cover:

  • Is suitable for long-term storage. 
  • Covers the top and the sides of the generator. 
  • Usually wraps around tightly.
  • Made of strong materials like vinyl.

A shelter:

  • Is a more permanent structure.
  • May be made of wood or plastic.
  • Has a roof to protect the top of the generator from snowfall.

A tent:

  • Is like a cover, but is vented or open at the sides to allow gases to escape.
  • Have popup designs and pegs to keep them in place.

All three can be good options depending on your own camping needs.

A tent is not to be confused with a standard camping tent. You certainly don’t want to put the generator in a tent with people. This can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Choosing the Right Generator Cover for Camping

Choosing the right cover for camping is about getting a product that is reliable and fits your generator.

Considerations include:

  • Size. Make sure your cover fits. Both small and large generator covers are easy to find, but you want a secure fit. If you buy from a specific brand, they may manufacture their own covers. This is a good way to ensure they fit.
  • Materials. A strong material such as vinyl is resistant to scratching and tearing. Flimsy materials will easily rip. You want a product that is built to last.
  • Does it have a handle cover? This is a way to move your generator around without having to take the cover off. This is perfect for camping trips where you might have to move your equipment around a lot.
  • Insulation. It’s best to keep the temperature controlled. You don’t want the generator getting too cold or too hot. Overheating can pose a fire risk.
  • Warranty. A good manufacturer will usually be very happy to give the security of a warranty. It’s an indication that the cover is well-made, and it gives you protection as a buyer.

Can I Use a Tarp to Cover My Generator?

When you want to protect something from snow or rain, a tarpaulin is usually a reliable solution. Does this work for covering your generator? 

It is definitely not a long-term solution. A tarpaulin won’t sit securely around a generator, and there is a chance it will collect rainwater and then come loose, splashing the product you are trying to protect.

In an emergency, if you don’t have any other option, you can set up a tarp to give some short-term cover. Make a makeshift cover using PVC pipe or a sturdy tree, where you can drape a piece of tarpaulin.

Make sure that:

  • The vents aren’t being blocked. This can damage your generator.
  • Rainwater is not collecting in a puddle on top of the tarp.
  • Your makeshift structure is strong and sturdy.
  • The tarpaulin doesn’t have rips or tears in it already.

It is far from ideal to use a tarpaulin to cover your generator, but when you are camping you might end up in a tricky situation. It is better than letting the water get through, but nowhere near as good as using specific generator covers for outside use.

Tips for Safely Storing Your Generator

Between camping trips, there are a few tips to follow to ensure that your generator is safe, and doesn’t present a fire or safety hazard.

  1. Store without fuel. Fuel quality can degrade over time. What’s more, you don’t want to store flammable fuel in your home in case there is a fire.
  2. Wipe it down and clean off dirt before you store it. Dirt can get into the components of the product and cause them to degrade during storage.
  3. Perform a visual inspection. If you can see any broken components or frayed wires, get them fixed. Storing with a broken component can make it much worse. Check the fuel tank, hoses, and wires.
  4. Every year, replace both the spark plug and the air filters. Even if your generator is going back into storage, it’s best to keep it in the best working condition and then if you need to use it, it is ready to go.
  5. Store in a cool, dry place. An overheating or wet generator is a fire hazard.

Conclusion

Not using a cover is like buying an expensive guitar and not keeping it in a protective case. In fact, it’s even worse, as you are likely to need a generator in an emergency. Ensure that you choose a generator cover that fits your model. Brand-specific covers are a good way to make sure it fits. The FIRMAN Small Size Inverter Portable Generator Cover is an example of a specific model for a 1500-2700 Watt Generator or up to 18.9” X 11.8” X 15.4”.

Grab a hard-wearing and protective cover and make sure your generator is ready for use when you most need it.