Generators have long been a staple of RVing and camping. They’re a useful option for individuals and families looking to enjoy the comforts of electricity without a dedicated power source. With only a small jerry can of fuel, you can easily generate your own electricity to power all of your devices and appliances while off-grid.
As handy as they are, generators are also incredibly bulky and cumbersome. They take up a large amount of space and often weigh in excess of 100 pounds – even without fuel! For this reason, most RVers that use generators seek a more permanent installation on their rig. By mounting it in an unobtrusive, easily-accessed area, you can enjoy all of the benefits that come with a generator without breaking your back.
So, how exactly do you mount a generator to a travel trailer? Let’s look at some of the most popular methods for doing so and check out the leading generator mounts available on the market today.
- Reasons for Needing an RV Generator
- Mounting a Generator versus Storing It
- Things to Consider When Purchasing an RV Generator Mount
- The Best Travel Trailer Generator Mount Methods
- Mounting Directly to the Rear Bumper
- Using a Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier
- Installing an A-Frame Cargo Carrier
- Top Travel Trailer Generator Mounts To Buy
- Stromberg Carlson CC-255 Trailer Tray
- Pro Series 6502 StrongArm Hitch Mounted Folding Cargo Carrier
- OKLEAD Heavy Duty Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
- Mount-n-Lock GennyGo RevX2
- ARKSEN Heavy Duty Bumper Mounted Cargo Tray
- Which Travel Trailer Generator Mount is Right for You?
Reasons for Needing an RV Generator
If you do any amount of boondocking while RVing, you’re going to need power. While solar panels and other forms of alternative energy have slowly taken over, their utilization requires quite a bit of investment and installation. You need to have multiple panels for all of your rig’s energy draws, adequate sunlight, and all of the 12V wiring done so that you can use the power produced by the panel.
Generators are a much simpler method. By just filling up the fuel tank, and plugging your generator into your RV hookup outlet (either 30 or 50 amp), you’ll have infinite power until the gas runs out. This is especially beneficial when your RV requires a high energy draw. If you plan to run any complex appliances like air conditioners or microwaves, solar will generally not produce enough energy.
Additionally, cloudy days are never an issue with a generator. Should a multi-day storm pass through, you’ll feel confident knowing that your energy source is still there.
Mounting a Generator versus Storing It
Many RVers may find themselves wondering if it’s worth buying an external mount for their generator. After buying an RV itself, the cost of a generator can feel like one more major purchase. Adding an additional couple hundred dollars onto that price tag can seem pretty unnecessary.
If you’re not looking to keep your generator in a fixed location on your RV, you’ll be forced to lug it in and out of storage every time you want to use it. This can quickly become a hassle. While mounting your generator outside of your RV does increase the risk of theft, diligently locking it should deter any thieves.
If you plan on using your generator regularly as your main source of off-grid power, mounting it to your travel trailer is the best way to go.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an RV Generator Mount
Before you go out and buy yourself a generator mount, you’ll have to do some planning. Every generator is different, and you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting the proper mount for the operation you intend to use it for. Always take into account these factors when buying a generator mount:
- Dimensions (Size, Width, Height)
- Hitch Size
It’s imperative that you know the true length, width, and height of your generator. If you’re planning on buying a generator rack, or any other type of cargo tray, make absolutely sure that it’ll fit inside. Nothing is worse than going through the entire installation process only to learn that your mount is a bit too small for the generator you purchased.
Knowing the weight (with and without fuel) of your generator is possibly the most important piece in buying a generator mount. Generators vary greatly in size and weight. Some of the smallest generators on the market only weigh 50 pounds, with larger ones weighing in the hundreds. You need to be sure that the mount you choose is rated for the weight you put in it.
If you’re planning on attaching your generator to the towing hitch, or are planning to use the RV bumpers for support, the weight limit must also account for any additional weight you plan to put on the cargo tray. Ignoring these limits can easily translate to injury if the generator falls off your RV while traveling.
Trailer Hitch Size
If your travel trailer has a rear end hitch and you plan on using that to support a hitch carrier, you’ll also have to be sure of the size! Normally, these hitches fit a standard 2” opening, but it’s always best to check before finalizing your purchase.
The Best Travel Trailer Generator Mount Methods
When it comes to mounting your generator to your travel trailer, there are a variety of options! Each camper has a different frame and body, and not all of these methods will work for you, but you’re bound to find one that will. In general, a generator can be mounted to three places on your RV:
- Rear Bumper
- On the Tongue, Above the Propane Tanks
- Rear End Receiving Hitch (If Equipped)
Let’s break down each method and dive into the details.
Mounting Directly to the Rear Bumper
Most RV’s come equipped with a rear square bumper on the back of the unit to prevent any dings when backing up. This bumper is normally attached to the frame via welding and provides a perfect anchor point for your generator to mount to. However, not all RV bumpers are engineered in this way and if yours is not, it’s recommended to mount your generator elsewhere.
To mount directly to your trailer bumper, you’ll need to purchase a cargo carrier or other large platform kit for the generator to rest on. These kits come with all of the hardware you need, including the mounting brackets and support arms. Pilot holes are drilled through the RV bumper and the mount is secured via bolts. Many times, these cargo carriers come with a folding option, so that the platform can be neatly tucked against the camper when not in use.
With your generator securely placed on the platform, ratchet strap or lock it down – and you’re good to go!
Using a Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier
You can also utilize your RV bumper by installing a generator mount on the rear hitch. Most campers have a 2” receiving bar on the rear end that’s made for accessories like bike racks and spare tires. A number of manufacturers make a cargo carrier that fits right into the trailer hitch of your RV so that no complex installation or drilling is needed.
With this method, the generator mount is only supported by a single attachment to the hitch. For this reason, it’s best recommended for lighter generators as the holding capacity is not as high as using the trailer bumper. Many RVers have also found that this mounting option has a slight amount of “wiggle” when going over bumps, further emphasizing its use for smaller generators.
Installing an A-Frame Cargo Carrier
Every RVer understands the importance of utilizing unused space. You might be surprised to learn that you can even mount your generator above the propane tanks on your trailer’s tongue!
An A-frame cargo carrier attaches to both sides of the tongue hitch on the front of your travel trailer and arches above the propane tanks, where a platform rests. Underneath this platform is a sturdy metal bar that mounts to the tongue to support the weight of the generator.
While this option may seem unconventional, it’s the perfect option for RVers who have already utilized their back bumper for bikes. As expected, the weight capacity is quite a bit lower than a bumper mount, but the space-saving nature of this mount is tough to beat. Additionally, the tongue of travel trailers is one of the safest spots to add extra weight, so you’re generator will be more than secure here.
Top Travel Trailer Generator Mounts To Buy
Now that you’ve purchased your generator and are aware of what mounting options are out there, it’s time to select the mount itself. Below, we’ll outline 5 of the best travel trailer generator mounts and compare the various features they offer.
Stromberg Carlson CC-255 Trailer Tray
This Stromberg Carlson Trailer Tray is the classic A-Frame supported mount for your generator. It’s adjustable to fit most A-Frame tongues, with widths varying from 14” to 55”. The product rests above your trailer’s propane tanks, while still allowing access, and comes in at only 65 pounds. Its placement on the tongue ensures maximum platform support when towing, and next to zero weight shuffling when making turns.
Dimensions: Accommodates generators up to 20”x32”.
Weight Limit: 300 lbs.
Key Features: This mount is extremely lightweight and adds no noticeable weight to the tongue of the trailer. It’s designed in a way that maximizes storage space and is fairly affordable when compared to other mounting options.
Drawbacks: A major drawback of the Stromberg Carlson Trailer Tray is that it greatly hinders access to your propane tanks. You’ll need to either use no propane cover, a hard-sided cover with an access hatch on top, or a vinyl cover. Vinyl is the most practical as it will allow you to remove your tanks with the mount still attached.
Pro Series 6502 StrongArm Hitch Mounted Folding Cargo Carrier
The Pro Series StrongArm Hitch is a durable generator mounting option for RVers looking to utilize their rear hitch. This product has a diverse range of applications and can be used to carry a variety of objects alongside your generator. With a 500 lb. capacity, almost all RV generators will fit comfortably. This mount also features three metal rails that further support cargo inside.
Dimensions: Accommodates generators up to 48”x20”.
Weight Limit: 500 lbs.
Key Features: Beyond the generous weight capacity for a hitch mount, this cargo carrier comes with a variety of features that set it apart. First off, the entire tray is foldable, meaning you can easily pack it up against the rear of the travel trailer when not actively carrying something.
Additionally, the mount features an angled shank to prevent sagging on the road and promote maximum ground clearance. The entire mount is black powder-coated as well for longevity.
Drawbacks: As with all hitch-mounted carriers, security while traveling down the road can be an issue. This particular product has a fair amount of sway to it when going over bumps, even with the provided flank shaft installed. Depending on how much you load onto it, you may also have to install auxiliary lights if any trailer tail lights are covered.
OKLEAD Heavy Duty Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
This cargo carrier is very similar to the Pro Series StrongArm model, except that it accommodates larger items in its cargo area. It’s finished with a black matte powder coating to resist rust and corrosion and easily fits into traditional 2” receiver slots. Compared with the Pro Series StrongArm, you get more storage space for your money.
Dimensions: Accommodates generators up to 60’’x24’’.
Weight Limit: 400 lbs.
Key Features: Like other cargo carriers, this model features a foldable hitch so that it can be stored when not in use. The main basket is attached via an angled shank to prevent any clearance issues. A main distinguishing feature of this product is that it has a smaller mesh lining on the bottom to prevent smaller items from falling through the cracks.
Drawbacks: The typical drawbacks of a hitch-mounted carrier apply. Trailer lighting may be an issue as this cargo rack is so large, and wobbling while driving down bumpy roads is especially prominent. This model in particular requires careful loading to distribute weight correctly. Because it’s so large, items have to be stacked from the middle out. If not done correctly the cargo carrier can be unsafe to use.
Mount-n-Lock GennyGo RevX2
The Mount-n-Lock GennyGo generator mount is the premium mount on this list. It’s mounted directly to the bumper for maximum security via four different brackets and even comes in different mounting sizes for varying bumpers. The basket is constructed of durable, high-grade material that is surprisingly light. Additionally, it’s made in the USA with the highest quality metals for maximum longevity.
Dimensions: Accommodates generators up to 24’’x24’’.
Weight Limit: 400 lbs.
Key Features: The key benefit of the GennyGo is its diversity in application. This product can be purchased in a variety of sizes, and interchangeably used to create a larger, modular platform. The sides of the tray have numerous anchor points allowing for a wide configuration of tie-down locations. When multiple trays are added it can be up to 8 feet long.
Drawbacks: Price. Compared with other generator mounts the GennyGo is extraordinarily expensive. However, you do get what you pay for. The quality of materials is top of the line and you’ll know for sure that your generator is safe while going down the road.
ARKSEN Heavy Duty Bumper Mounted Cargo Tray
The Arksen Heavy Duty Cargo tray is a budget-friendly generator mount that attaches directly to your trailer’s bumper. Much like the GennyGo mount, this cargo tray mounts via four bolts drilled directly through your square metal bumper. The tray is made of powder-coated steel and has the ability to haul multiple items alongside your generator.
Dimensions: Accommodates generators up to 32’’x26’’.
Weight Limit: 350 lbs.
Key Features: The main pro of this product is its affordability. At nearly 25% of the cost of the GennyGo mount, it’s an easy buy for RVers looking for a functional generator mount. Optionally, you can also buy a cargo net that encompasses the tray, keeping loose items secure while driving down the road. This particular product is perfect for the RVer looking for a quick and affordable solution.
Drawbacks: Presumably, a cheaper product means an inferior product. The weight limit is not as high on this mount, and the bar placement in the cargo tray makes it difficult to carry smaller items as they will easily fall through the cracks. The visibility markers are also quite minimal on this product, so you may have to keep this in mind when traveling in bad weather.
Which Travel Trailer Generator Mount is Right for You?
Whether you use one in your everyday life or you simply reserve it for the days without any sun, having a generator is an amazing tool for providing serious power to your rig. The key to getting the most out of this cumbersome object is to find a fixed spot to mount it so that it can be easily utilized without enduring too much of a struggle.
With so many options for mounting a generator, which one will you choose? We’ll let you decide that. So get out there and fire up your RV!