A generator is an excellent companion if you are going camping. It lets you enjoy convenient home appliances when you are out in nature. Nevertheless, these machines are hardly silent. Loud generators attract unwanted attention and generally take away the feeling of outdoor living. That is why you need to know how to make a generator quiet for camping.
Having a generator beside your campsite is immeasurably convenient. The appliance can convert gasoline and solar power into usable energy. You can then use the electricity to charge your phone or laptop and always stay in the loop.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of camping generators on the market. Manufacturers have gone to great lengths to fine-tune operations but haven’t completely eradicated the noise.
A Lightweight Engine Makes a Lot of Noise
Most generators are air-cooled. This means that they have many fins along the engine bay to increase the surface contact with air. Also, they tend to be made from a lighter material that vibrates a lot more than sturdier ones.
Many big generators are also made from equally sizeable moving components. Once it’s powered, some of these components will bang against each other, but their densities dampen the noise.
A generator with a reciprocating engine is louder than solar-powered types. This is because electricity is produced as it burns fuel in a piston engine. The pistons move up and down repeatedly, causing a ton of vibrations, and you’ll never hear the end of this obnoxious sound.
Old Versus New Generators
Modern machines are covered in soundproofing material. Nowadays, many people are conscious of the environment. Even electric cars are being produced at an increasing rate.
Generator makers also include rubber in their engine designs. You’ll find a layer of the material surrounding the engine bay to dampen vibrations. This reduces the repeated whirring once the gen is powered.
Older generators routinely feature a barebones design. The vibrations will quickly send you to the moon and back. And if it’s a large machine, you won’t hear the end of your camping mates’ complaints.
Energy Generating Mechanism
Most diesel-powered generators are large and quite loud. These machines can be unbearable if you leave them running all night long.
On the other hand, gas-driven generators are generally quieter. Solar-powered options produce absolutely no noise. But you’ll have to pay a hefty price for that sweet silence.
10 Tips to Quieten Your Camping Generator
Generators are versatile machines that can be used at home and even on a camping trip. If you want to get the whole outdoor experience in the wild while still enjoying the convenience of electricity, take your gen with you.
Usually, you cannot repair a flawed generator design. If it is a noisy machine, you can either bear the racket or take some steps to kill the noise.
Here are ten foolproof ways you can tone down your noisy camping generator.
1. A Generator Soundproof Box
The easiest solution on how to make a generator quiet for camping is a soundproof generator box. These are versatile equipment that brings some peace to your campsite. As a bonus, some boxes feature creative covers that also protect your generator from the rain and snow.
How Can You Make a Generator Quiet for Camping With a Soundproof Box?
A soundproof generator box is an enclosure where you place your noisy generator. It is built with soundproofing material to suppress most of your generator’s noise.
One special soundproof box is the Zombie Box. It is an enclosure that is specifically built to tone down the noise coming from your generator. It can also be used with other noisy machines like vacuums and pumps.
The box has plenty of ventilation slits to prevent your gen from overheating. Also, the material is quite sturdy and can even outlast your backup generator.
Some boxes are made from metal, while others from wood. You can also find thick canvas enclosures. The price of the box depends on the material. The heavier metallic Zombie Box costs a lot more, especially if you’re looking for a mega-sized box.
When shopping for a soundproof box, always consider the ventilation. Generators running on fuel need to burn gasoline with oxygen from the air. So, starving the machine of air will compromise its power delivery.
2. DIY Generator Soundproof Box
The best soundproof boxes for your generator are pretty expensive and with good reason. Nevertheless, if you want to know how to make a generator quiet for your camping trip, you need a hands-on approach. Building your soundproof box from scratch is fulfilling, and you can customize it as you wish.
How Do You Make a Quality Wooden Soundproof Enclosure?
The general idea is to make a soundproof enclosure that is similar to commercial ones. Only this time, you will replace most of the expensive material with wood. Along with the wood, you can include multiple layers of soundproofing material like plastic to dampen the noise.
First, take all the measurements of your generator. While you shouldn’t aim for a snug fit, a roomy interior will only amplify the noise. Leave plenty of space for ventilation ducts. Most importantly, the vents shouldn’t be too large to let in rainwater.
Afterward, create the enclosure. Wood is a popular soundproofing material. It is also cheaply available and easy to work with. You can get all the power tools you need for drilling and hammering at your nearest Home Depot.
You can use a camping tarp or rain cover over the DIY generator box to shield it from the elements.
3. Generator Positioning
Sometimes, the most accessible solutions to our problems are right in front of you. When you wonder how to make a generator quiet for camping, first consider its position relative to your campsite. If you place the machine right next to your tent, the noise is going to be insufferable.
What Is the Best Position to Place Your Camping Generator?
Generators are noisy machines. If you’ve got a diesel-powered gen, you must know how to make a generator quiet for camping night. Fortunately, you can easily change the position of your generator to reduce the noise it produces.
Usually, you can place the generator as far from your campsite as realistically possible. However, make sure that you can access the power cables for your appliances. Also, use a tarp or even your backpack’s rain cover to keep it dry and safe from the elements.
Another neat trick to silence a noisy machine is to use rubber bases. Vibration from the generator’s working engine contributes to all the noise it produces. Rubber feet can absorb most of the shudders.
Also, you can find a nice patch of meadow or sand that can act as a platform for your generator. Besides keeping your gen stable, the soft ground absorbs vibrations from the generator, keeping the noise down.
4. Use Plywood Boards as an Acoustic Barrier
Plywood is an excellent soundproofing material. It is soft and capable of soaking up most of the noise from your generator. Also, it is a crucial ingredient if you want to know how to make a generator quiet for camping.
This DIY project comes in handy if you don’t want to buy any fancy soundproofing. The acoustic barrier will easily repel most of the sound from a generator.
Creating such a barrier is quite simple. Quickly prop your deflecting material and hold it steady as it makes a sort of wall between you and the generator. Sound from the generator is produced in waves.
The waves will hit the barrier, and most of it will fail to penetrate, bouncing backs towards the machine. While it doesn’t silence a loud generator, plywood boards turn the volume down—just enough for you and your pals to be able to ignore the generator altogether.
For a practical solution, use several plywood boards. Fashion a makeshift soundproof box around the generator and use props to hold the structure together. This assembly can cut the noise by up to 10db.
5. How to Make a Generator Quiet for Camping Using the Water Bucket and Hose Trick
The noisiest parts of a generator are the engine and exhaust. There isn’t much you can do about the engine save for covering it up. However, the exhaust is free real estate if you’ve wondered how to make a generator quiet for camping.
The water bucket trick is a classic science lesson in water acoustics. While diving, you must have noticed how silent it was. Even bubbles seem to quietly float to the surface without as much as a pop.
So the whole idea behind the water bucket technique is to direct all the sound from the generator exhaust into the water. It sounds easy, and if you follow a few guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy relative peace at the camping site.
You’ll need a regular garden hose for this trick. Also, if you aren’t camping next to a lake, a bucket of water would do.
Attach the hose onto the generator’s exhaust outlet. The other end of the pipe should then go into your water bucket or lake. Once powered, exhaust fumes will run through the tube and into the water.
Much of your generator’s exhaust noise will get dampened once inside water.
When conducting this procedure, be wary of the exhaust’s temperature. Burning fuel tends to heat a lot of engines. This temperature increase stretches to the exhaust pipe and will melt through your hose pipe if hot enough. To avoid this, choose a sturdy metal-clad line.
Additionally, ensure that the submerged pipe doesn’t suck in water. You can elevate the generator or drill an outlet hole on the tube. This hole will drain any water that gets sucked in.
6. Turn the Generator Exhaust Pipe Away From Your Campsite
The noisiest part of any generator is the exhaust pipe. This tube provides direct access to the engine’s combustion chamber. It is a crucial factor if you want to know how to make a generator quiet for camping.
Turn the generator away to deflect most of the noise. Ensure the exhaust is facing away from your campsite.
Some people point the exhaust upwards. As long as the pipe isn’t directing any noise your way, you’ll be good to go. Just be mindful of the generator’s interior working. The fuel tank, for instance, might leak some fluid if it is tilted at an angle.
7. Replace Defective Generator Mufflers
Like in a car, some generators come equipped with mufflers. These are handy devices that soften the sound from your machine’s engine. These dampers are found on the exhaust section of a lot of machines.
If your generator didn’t quieten after applying some tips, maybe the muffler is defective. A damaged muffler is as good as having a naked exhaust. And as soon as you can get a replacement, the better your eardrums will feel.
There are plenty of muffler options online. Most of them, however, are intended for cars and motorcycles. While you can use an automobile exhaust muffler on your gen, it won’t work as well as a dedicated piece of equipment.
Before installing a car muffler on your generator, get a pair of gloves to hold the equipment. Exhaust gases will burn your hands even if you’re testing an add-on. Give the gen a start and attach the muffler to the exhaust. Watch the exhaust note with and without the attachment. If it doesn’t make a significant difference, move on to generator mufflers.
There are hundreds of generator brands out there. To be on the safe side, have a chat with your local repairman. A specialized generator mechanic will know exactly what to do.
A skilled mechanic will point out the kind of muffler you need if you need one. Some will help you find a custom muffler for your camping needs.
8. Use a Generator Silencer
Like a muffler, a generator silencer reduces noise levels on most small engines. There are plenty of dealers from whom you can buy your silencer. However, GenSilencer makes a standout attachment for your noisy machine.
GenSilencer deals in a wide range of generator brands and has a silencer for several exhaust sizes. These attachments are easy to install, and you don’t need to drive to a workshop to get the job done. Just head online, buy your silencer and attach it when you get home.
The silencers are black with a matte finish. They look great, and you’ll soon be eager to show off your brand new silent generator.
9. Switch to Solar Generators
Generators are noisy machines. However, internal combustion generators, in particular, take the crown for producing some ear-splitting noise. While you cannot change much about these tried-and-tested machines, you can still get with the times.
A solar generator is the in-thing for most environment-savvy campers. Ditch the fossil fuel for a natural resource that never ends. What’s more, the sun’s energy is absolutely free and noiseless.
Solar panels usually power solar generators. The panels are held outside to soak in as much sunlight as possible. This energy is converted into electricity by cells inside the solar panel. Consequently, this power is directed to drive your generator.
When compared to fuel-driven generators, solar machines are much more efficient. Also, they produce no fumes and have a zero carbon footprint. Lastly, they are as silent as a church mouse. You can even forget about it while camping.
Unfortunately, solar generators are only active during the day when the sun is shining. However, you can still bring several battery packs, charge them during the daytime and use the stored energy at night.
10. Dump the Large Generator
A mega generator can produce enough electricity to power an entire campsite. Also, they make a lot of noise in the process. And if you want your camp to be as natural as possible, a bigger generator is not the way to go.
When traveling in groups, you will be tempted to get a single monster of a generator. One unit consumes a lot less fuel than several smaller ones. Also, it produces plenty of energy to go around, so it can be appealing to go with a big gen.
However, figure out how much energy you consume. What appliances are you bringing along? How long are you going to be camping? Once you have the answers to these questions, you will know how to make a generator quiet for camping.
In retrospect, you don’t need all that power from a single generator while camping. Furthermore, think about the weight of the machine. Who has the energy to lug around a 100lb machine?
Get a smaller, less noisy propane generator instead. They are cheaper, lighter, and will make your outdoor excursion worthwhile.
Electricity is important when you are out in the woods. Although generators are a valuable asset, they can get in the way of your interaction with nature. That’s why you need to know how to make a generator quiet for camping.
There are ten solid options you can consider for a peaceful campsite. The best by far is getting a small and virtually noiseless generator.
Once you’ve considered your power requirements, you’ll realize that you don’t need a big machine whirring away in the bushes. After all, once you’ve charged your phone, survival gadgets, and lamp, you’ll be set for the night.