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Holidaying with portable generators and real dangers Involved

Updated on March 23, 2012

Deaths from using Portable Generators

Generators come in handy as a temporary source of power, camping in the bush or in case of power failures. Did you know that people die every year from CO poisoning, when using a portable generator in or around enclosed spaces. Always use out in the open and right away from your van or tent windows or vents.

Generator exhaust can kill you within minutes if used indoors. You cannot see or smell the poisonous carbon Monoxide. Never use a generator inside a garage or home, not even near open doors and windows. If you feel dizzy, quickly get right out into the fresh air away from the generator.

Electrical and Fire Hazards

Never use a generator in wet conditions, because you could suffer shock or electrocution. If you have to use it keep it covered outside, never use it indoors or in a shed.

Points to remember:

  • Make sure all leads are in good condition, with no cuts or breaks.
  • Never use a power lead coiled up. Always lay lead out loose.
  • Do not plug lead from generator into home outlets
  • Never use wet hands when starting a generator
  • Turn generator off and cool before refueling, or it could ignite a fire.

Stay safe by following all of the above, when using any generators.

Using a generator while on holidays

If you talk to any holidaymakers, they can all tell you stories of their experiences with people using generators. The worst thing about traveling in the bush is the inconsiderate way in which people use them.

We understand that they are an important part of obtaining extra power to run the microwave and lighting. It adds to their comfort when camping in the bush in free campsites by the river or similar for instance. We do not understand why people use them for hours on end.

There is nothing worse than listening to that continual whining noise late at night. Most people, after traveling for several hours want to relax in quiet and peaceful surroundings. Not listen to that annoying vibration during the night. It is especially worse when a light sleeper has a rotten headache. It makes the temperature rise in anyone’s body.

In our personal experience, we cannot understand why people have to park their van right next to our caravan. If in a big area, we park right away from everyone else. Yet by the time we sit down and relax with a coffee, we cannot believe it when a couple park right next to us. Then to add further insult, they drag out their generator and start it up. Do they feel unsure, or scared to park on their own? Is that why they do it?

One night people in a tent left their one going until midnight. Evidently, it didn’t worry them as they slept through it and were up early the next morning. Half their luck.

When camping, please be considerate to other campers. To prevent this problem, buy an extra battery. Charge your batteries up early in the afternoon, then turn off the generator and enjoy a happy hour with your neighbors without any unpleasantness.

Solar Panels

This is the way to go. No polution, no smell, no carrying extra fuel. It's so much easier. We have one on our vehicle, which runs freezer. The batteries charge up from the motor and solar while traveling, when we stop it continues charging from the solar. (Remember to disconnect the trailer plug when you stop the motor). We also have a solar panel on the caravan, which charges the battery in the van. Next trip we will have an extra battery to give us more power.

With this setup, we have camped out in free bays for twenty days, without any power or generators at all. In thirteen months on the road, we used our generator twice. Both times were to solder something. I have to admit; we did a lot of camp oven cooking and used our gas for showers etc.

We found the need for extra water was more of a problem than worrying about electricity.

Tips for the new and experienced travelers

Just a few things we learned on our trip:

  • Car freezer-place a damp towel inside. It keeps it frozen, then place cans on top for a real coldy.
  • For extra light- take a few solar lights you can use these inside and out. Safer than candles
  • Hitching up caravan - Put small mark on the lower rear car window. Line this up with two small dots on front of caravan. Now reverse, lining up the marks, this saves couples blaming each other on which way to reverse onto the van.
  • Vicks Vapor rub is great as insect repellent.

If you have any great ideas to help travelers- please add them in your comments.  Thanks


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    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      The old firm, No I only just learned that one a few weeks ago myself.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Thanks for the article Eileen, good sensible advice.I like your tips at the bottom too. -Didn't know about the Vick's.


    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Georgina, Yes they are bad news just like the exhaust on cars. Some people use them next to their caravans and have their windows open. We probably all guilty of doing silly things at times I suppose. thanks for stopping by

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina_writes 8 years ago from Dartmoor

      Good Hub- gennys are not just a probelm when camping - locally a guy in one of the stores here used a portable generater because his power went down - sure enough a customer discovered him about to keel over into the deep fat fryer! He didn't even think about the exhaust fumes!