Why We Needed a Generator
Five years ago almost to the date we sold our house in Victoria BC and headed out on a planned 1 year RV trip all around the US and Canada. We had plans to visit numerous state and national parks so realized we would need some sort of power source for dry camping.
At the time, solar power was still relatively expensive and we just laid out a pile of cash for our new Keystone Cougar fifth wheel trailer so a generator figured to be the best option. We also needed the ability to run our air conditioning unit when off grid. We were traveling with an older dog who didn’t handle the heat so well anymore. Researching things showed we would require about 2800 watts to make that work.
Why I Chose a Champion Generator
After combing through scads of RV forum posts it became readily apparent we needed what is called an “inverter” style generator versus the cheaper construction open framed type. Inverter generators are much quieter having the ability to lower their RPM to only output the required power at any given time. This variable RPM ability also saves on fuel. Furthermore, the inverter circuitry creates cleaner output power in the form of a pure AC sine wave.
When studying the possible brands and models to fit the bill the Honda and Yamaha units appeared to be most recommended. The only problem for me was the cost was much more than I was willing to pay. I priced out the Honda 2000 Watts model for example and it was going for around $1399 CAD in Canada. To run my AC unit I would need two of them plus a special wiring cable setup called a parallel kit to make them work in tandem. The total cost was quickly approaching $3000 CAD.
I looked for alternatives and came across Champion Generators. They had a good reputation for building construction style generators and had recently come out with a 2000 watts inverter type unit. Early reviews looked promising and the price was much less, right in my budget ballpark. I was sold when I noticed them available on the Canadian Costco website. I ordered 2 of them ($499 CAD each) plus the parallel kit ($120 CAD) for a total cost of $1118 CAD plus tax. I even got free shipping right to our door.
How Have They Performed Over the Last 5 Years?
During that first 1 year trip with our older dog, the pair of Champions were up to the task of powering our rooftop AC unit. One time in late July near Ottawa, Canada the heat index rose to over 100F degrees and on top of that a severe thunderstorm knocked out power to the RV Park. Our Champions working in tandem kept us from melting and our batteries charged.
Now that our older dog has moved on to Rainbow Bridge we don’t need to use both units together very much anymore so I alternate them. For most of the last 4 years, they have shared the boondocking power load. We typically dry camp 4 months of the year or more. Solar power is a very recent addition to our rig before that our power came exclusively from the Champion generator.
Neither of the generators has missed a beat with zero breakdowns. The only attention I give them is my yearly maintenance which includes an oil change, filter clean, spark plug gap check/clean and an exhaust spark arrester clean. Both still run great starting up with 1 or 2 pulls of the cord every time unless they have sat too long. In the summer, we live in an RV park for long stretches of time so I have to remind myself to exercise them a bit. Sometimes it may take 5 -6 pulls if I’ve let them sit too long.
I am most impressed with how tough these little units are. They are definitely not babied by me. Our trailer being only 30 feet has limited internal storage, especially for full timing. I ended up using the metal tool chest in the back of our pickup for generator storage. For 5 years now they have been subject to temperature fluctuations, humidity and (sometimes severe) road vibrations and keep on ticking.
Sound level wise they are pretty good. You can stand beside the generator when running and easily carry on a conversation. I would still give the Honda or Yamaha units a slight edge in this department but not much. Fuel economy is excellent. I’m seeing anywhere from 6 – 8 hours out of a gallon of gas depending on the power required.
Things I Like About My Champion Generator
- Good bang for the buck for an inverter generator
- Very durable
- Square shape, hard to knock over and stackable
- Great fuel economy
- Easy to maintain
- Lightweight 48 pounds
- Able to be parallel together
Demo Video of the Champion 2000 Watt Generator
The pair of Champion 2000 watt generators have given us great service at an affordable cost. If I was in the market for a generator again I would definitely be inclined to buy another Champion generator. They now have model putting out 3100 watts, enough to power an RV’s air conditioner without the need for two smaller units in parallel. It comes with a 30 amp socket and remote start. Looks pretty sweet!