Ground a Generator When Camping

How to Ground a Generator When Camping

Going camping can be a lot of fun, but some people just don’t want to completely walk away from the electrical grid, which is completely understandable. If you’re the type of person that likes to go camping, but you still want to have access to your electrical devices, then you’re going to want to take a camping generator along with you.

Why Should You Use a Portable Generator for Camping?

Basically, a portable generator generates electrical power; surely, you know this. While you’re camping and you need quick access to electricity, this is why a generator will come in handy. Getting the generator going is relatively easy. In order to power your generator so that you can use your devices, all you need to do is get the generator running and plug the cable in.

How about Grounding?

Safety should always be a concern, and while you’re using a portable generator, you will need to be as safe as possible. While you’re camping, the last thing you need is for someone to get injured because you didn’t ground the generator.

Grounding (some refer to it as earthing) involves connecting an electrical device to the ground – this is an action that makes it safe to use as it will lessen the chances of electrocution.

Of course, you can get some portable generators that don’t require grounding and are ready to go. However, if you have a generator that does, then you must do it properly.

How to Ground a Generator While Camping

Before you get started, let’s make sure you take the right tools with you so that you can properly ground the generator. You will need to have the following:

A Copper Rod – When you’re at your camping spot, you will stick this copper rod in the ground and use it to ground the generator. You will need the copper rod to be at least four feet long.

Copper Wire – The copper wire is what you’re going to use to connect to the copper rod. The wire will serve as a conductive electrical wire.

Pliers – When it comes to grounding the generator, you will need to use pliers in order to make sure you do it properly. A good pair of pliers will be able to twist the wire around the rod so that a good connection between the two has been established.

Hammer – You should take a hammer just in case you need to beat the copper rod into the ground.

Wire Strippers – Most portable gens have a well-insulated grounding wire. To attach the copper wire to the rod, you will need to strip the insulation off of both ends.

Wrench – Once the grounding wire has been properly stripped, you will need to hook it to the generator. Many times, you will need to loosen a nut in order to do this, and this is where the wrench will come into play.

Grounding Your Generator

Step 1: Hammer the Copper Rod into the Generator

First things first, you’ll need to hammer the copper rod into the ground. There are some cases where the earth may be soft enough for you to push the copper rod into the ground without a hammer. If the soil is too hard, though, it would be best to use a hammer to drive the rod into the ground.

Step 2 – Strip the Wire

Next, you will need to use the wire tool to strip the wire – make sure you do this carefully so that you don’t damage the inside of the wire. You’ll need to get all of the insulation off of the wire as well. Make sure you remove enough insulation at each end so that you can twist it around the rod and attach it to the generator.

Step 3 – Wrap the Wire

Now it’s time to wrap the wire around the rod. This is how electrical contact will be made between the earthed rod and the grounding wire. This makes it so that you can run the generator safely without an accident happening. During this time, you will want to use the pliers so that you can tightly twist the wire around the rod.

Step 4: Attach the Wire to the Generator

Now, take the other end of the wire you stripped and attach it to the appropriate place on the gen. Usually, you will need to take a grounding bolt off. This is when you will be using the wrench to loosen it. Once done, you can twist the stripped portion of the wire around that bolt and then tighten the nut to hold the wire in place.

Once you have followed Steps 1 – 5, you have finally grounded the generator. This means that you can start using it right away.

A Short List of Other Power Sources You Can Use for Camping

Portable generators are super convenient to use, but I felt that they’re not for everyone, as some people just don’t want to use one, which is perfectly understandable. So, for you guys, I will reach out and give you a list of other power sources you can use when you plan on going camping but aren’t ready to be off the power grid.

Lithium Battery Power

Have you ever thought about taking a lithium battery with you? There are rechargeable lithium batteries that you can use if you would like to charge your smartphone or tablet while you’re camping. These make for a suitable power source if you’re just trying to charge your devices while enjoying the great outdoors. However, before you go camping, if you plan on using a lithium battery, you must make sure it has a full charge, or it’s not going to work for you.


Solar power is one of the most popular sources. In fact, did you know that you can buy generators that can be powered by the sun? Those are really cool. They’re not like those standard diesel-powered generators; the solar-powered generators are the ones that will work for a long period of time (as long as you have sunlight), and believe it or not, they are quiet. Solar-powered generators are also cheap to operate because you don’t have to use gas; you’re using the sun for free.  If you go camping frequently, you may want to look into solar-powered generators. If you get a solar-powered generator, you will still need to ground it and use our instructions above for grounding a generator.


Normal Batteries

Sure, you can use the traditional battery. The only problem here is that they tend only to be able to power small devices, such as a light. However, with technological advancements, the power of the batteries lasts a bit longer. Many people choose to combine regular batteries with a generator.

A Car Battery

Have you ever thought about using a car battery to power/charge your devices?  Believe it or not, this is possible. If you don’t have a portable generator on hand, but you really need to power something, you can use the car battery, but you will need to have a special type of connection (one that plugs into the car via the lighter). The one issue I can think of here is that the voltage output will be limited to the output of the battery. What this means is that it may not be enough to power what you need.


If you’re going on a camping trip, and you don’t want to remove yourself from the power grid altogether, then you can take a generator with you; just make sure you correctly ground it so that no one gets electrocuted. Yes, there are other power sources, such as using a car battery, traditional batteries, and lithium battery power. Still, if you really want to be in service, a portable generator is the best way to go.

Many times, it is a good idea to combine a lithium battery with a generator. The lithium battery will come in handy when you’re on a long hike where you don’t have access to a portable generator.

Again, you will need to ground your generator, and it’s easy to do. Grounding it will prevent injuries such as electric shock. Along with this, it will also help you stay safe during a storm if the generator manages to discharge electrical power as a surge.

It’s straightforward to ground a generator. As long as you have a copper wire, a long copper rod to hook the wire to, and the appropriate tools, it will be super easy.