How to make a generator quiet for camping

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how to make a generator quiet for camping

A generator at your campsite can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is that it provides power for your lighting, refrigeration to keep your camp food cold, and electric devices such as camping fans and microwave. The curse is when it’s chugging away so loudly that you can’t hear yourself think. In some location such as National Parks, there may also be restrictions on noise levels, so having a quiet generator is a good idea. Many times we have camped at places like Inskip Point and the sound of a noisy generator is not much fun.

In this post, we’re going to look into how to quiet a generator. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Location, Location, Location

Where you put the generator is going to have a significant impact on how annoying it is. Look for a piece of flat ground to place it on, and make sure that the area is clear; you don’t want the body to vibrate against anything. It’s a good idea to keep it around twenty feet from your site; that should be enough distance to ease the worst of the noise.


Don’t Face the Exhaust Pipe Toward Camp

Direct the sound from the camp by pointing the pipe away. You’ll probably still catch some noise, but it will be dulled. It’s like the difference between having a speaker directed at you or away from you; the sound is always louder when it’s pointing at you.


Place a Rubber Mat Underneath

When we go camping, we take our trusty old yoga mat with us, fold it in half, and put it under the generator. Anti-vibration mats meant for a washing machine are also a good option because the rubber helps to absorb some of the vibrations and dull the noise.


Block the Sound with a Barrier

This method can be done using a sound-deflector or sound-proof barrier. A sound deflector is a device specially shaped to redirect sound. Alternatively, surround the generator with soundproof partitions. These will absorb the sound and are highly effective. The downside is that both solutions take up valuable space in the car.

You could also use a thick blanket or even drapes if you’re careful. The generator needs sufficient ventilation, so you’ll need a frame to hold the fabric away from it.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, look into getting or building a baffle box. This contraption helps to dull the sound and still allows the generator to breathe. You can make this out of a variety of materials – even fireproof insulation. These structures aren’t very portable, however.


Use a Water Bucket

This technique works best with a generator that doesn’t vibrate a lot. Attach a length of hose to the end of the exhaust pipe; it will need to be wide enough to encase the exhaust pipe completely. You’ll then need to seal the gap between the two. Once that is done, lead the hose in a bucketful of water, clipping the hose down so that it doesn’t whip out of the bucket later. If the water covers the end of the hose completely, the sound should be dulled.  Make sure that the generator is higher than the bucket; if you don’t, the water could travel back into the generator and damage it.


Get a New Muffler

Just like with a car, the muffler on your exhaust pipe is going to wear out eventually. If your relatively quiet model starts to make a lot of noise, this could be the issue. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find the right repair part. If you can’t, speak to a maintenance specialist—they might be able to make a custom muffler for you.


Final Notes

If you find that even with these ideas, the noise levels are too high, it’s time to consider a new model. Do check reviews carefully, and if possible, test the new model to find out how quiet it is.

Andy Sullivan

Andy Sullivan

A lover of all things outdoors, Andy is an experience camper having traveled the east cost of Australia multiple times and countless trips throughout New Zealand.

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