This last winter I was approached by the GenTent company and asked if I would like to test out and review their tent-like portable generator cover. I was interested, but since I was traveling the southwest desert for months to come, I asked if they could wait until we headed back up the coast in the spring. Having RVed the Oregon coast in April numerous times, I knew the predictable stormy coastal weather would provide an ideal testbed.
Although we have now 500 watts of solar and four big batteries on board we still do need our Champion 2000 watt inverter generators from time to time. And, those times are usually when the weather is at it’s worse. If it’s pouring rain, I have to tuck the generator under the fifth wheels front overhang. However, if windy, water can get into the electrical panel creating a safety issue. Furthermore, I’ve always been a little nervous of the exhaust fumes so close to the rig. The GenTent safety canopy looked to be a great solution.
Disclaimer: Although I received no monetary compensation for my review, I did receive a free review sample of the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer courtesy of GenTent.com – Ray
Unboxing the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer
The GenTent safety canopies come in various configurations depending on your generator type. My Champions required the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer Edition for Inverters 1000W-3000W. They also included some additional extension hardware and flaps for when I stack my pair of 2000W units in parallel mode. The GenTent website has all the makes and models listed making it easy to locate the right kit.
When I first opened the package, I was a little intimidated. It reminded me of my childhood model airplane days. There were a whole bunch of weird plastic pieces, a bag of rubber grommets, a strap with a ratchet buckle, a small vinyl tent with extra extension flaps. Luckily there was also an assembly manual! Honestly though after reading the manual and watching some of the help videos on the GenTent website things became much clearer. It wasn’t as daunting as it first appeared.
Assembling the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer
Putting together the GenTent is relatively straightforward. It’s done in 3 main steps and takes 10 – 15 minutes. The only tool required is a tape measure.
1) Strap on the corner brackets – The canopy structure is held onto the generator body by four corner brackets each sporting push on rubber grommets. 2 sizes of grommets are used to adjust for angle/curved versus straight walled inverter style generator cases. A ratcheting Kevlar strap is used hold the corner brackets in place.
2) Install the plastic extenders and tent poles – Next step is to snap on plastic extenders to each corner bracket. The extenders have multiple tentpole receiver holes. My aim was to find a configuration that spaced the four tent poles approx 24″ on the short side, and 35″ on the long side, give or take. The other end of each pole attaches to a common centerpiece. The domed tent frame created is held together strictly by tension. Smart design!
3) Add GenTent canopy and extension flap – The Stormbracer’s vinyl canopy pulls over the frame and is held on by elastic straps at each corner. A front extension flap is added via velcro strips. Shown in my completed setup is the optional clear flap. The flap is used to provide extra coverage for the electrical panel and any sensitive electronics plus access to gauges and controls.
At first setting up the unit was a little tedious with all the different pieces and getting the strap and corner brackets lined up with correct tension. But after a doing it multiple times, with practice, I became much quicker. The large front door flap made adding gas an easy task and let me get to the carrying handle so I could move the unit around even with the GenTent attached.
Testing the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer
I tried the GenTent in three different scenarios. First, camped in an open field with heavy downpours and modest sideways wind. Second, I left it out 16 hours in a damp coastal forest with intermittent rain showers and swirling winds. Each time the bulk of the generator stayed dry especially the electrical panel area and performed as advertised.
Finally, I exposed it on an ocean bluff at Cape Blanco, Oregon with the full force of a Pacific Ocean storm battering the GenTent with extreme wind gusts and pelting rain.
Cape Blanco is the westernmost point in Oregon, second in the 48 states, and perhaps the windiest—gusts clocked at speeds as high as 184 mph have twisted and battered the Sitka spruces along the 6-mile road from Hwy 101 to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. – http://www.enjoyportorford.com/capeblancostatepark.html
Unfortunately, it was too much for the GenTent Canopy, and the strapping started to loosen, I had to intervene before it broke or blew off! Now, I admit this was an extreme test but does prove it has limitations. I moved it behind my truck, and with the truck as a partial wind block, it performed fine. (See video below for footage)
GenTent Generator Canopy Pros and Cons For RVers
- Protects expensive inverter generator from water damage
- Reduces chance of electrical shock
- Safeguards us from generator fumes in the RV
- Folds up small for storage
- Muffles generator noise
- Comes with handy zippered carrying bag
- Quality website and support based in the USA
- Thieves may not easily recognize as a generator
- Some may find the $164.99 USD price tag expensive
- I have concerns about plastic parts breaking
- Lots of parts to assemble and disassemble
GenTent – Unboxing, Assembly, and Demo Video
I give the GenTent 10k XKi Stormbracer a Love Your RV thumbs up. It will be a welcome addition to our boondocking arsenal and for times when nasty weather knocks out the RV park power.