After you have purchased a travel trailer, there is still one more major purchase that you will need to make: your trailer generator.
This piece of equipment is important because it helps power all of the appliances in your camper, and allows full access to all of your camper’s amenities even when you’re not hooked up in a campsite.
However, generators are bulky and heavy, so you need the right mounting system in order to secure it to your travel trailer.
How can you mount a generator to a travel trailer? There are five different options to mount a generator rack on an RV bumper:
What Are The Best Generator Mounts?
In this article, we are going to explore the different types of camper generator mounts.
We will discuss each mount in-depth, so that you can make the most informed decision about which type is best for your travel trailer.
1. Trailer Tray A-Frame Cargo Carrier
An A-frame cargo tray or carrier is a generator mount that you install over the propane tanks on the front of your travel trailer.
Weight Capacity: Up to 300 pounds
Benefits: The benefit of mounting your generator over the propane tanks is that the space it takes up is otherwise unusable, so you won’t be taking up space that you could otherwise use for other storage. More importantly, when the generator (a heavy piece of equipment) is mounted on the front of the trailer instead of the bumper, it’s far more secure. This also makes driving more smooth and keeps the weight of your trailer more balanced.
Installation: All you need to do to install this generator mount is a screwdriver, although a power drill would be the optimal tool. Installation is fairly simple, and it won’t put the added stress on the bumper of your camper like some of the other mounts on this list, so you don’t need to reinforce that part of your trailer before installing it. You can also adjust the mount’s tray to improve weight distribution.
Drawbacks: Since this mount goes above your propane tanks, there will be some issues if your propane tanks are larger than normal, because the mount might not fit. Additionally, the generator mount may block your propane tanks, so you may need to remove the mount whenever you need to add fuel to the tanks if this is the case.
2. RV Bumper-Mounted Generator and Cargo Carrier Tray Kit
Many travel trailer owners choose to mount their generator on their bumper, using a bumper-mounted cargo tray.
It’s essentially a large platform that you mount to the rear bumper of your trailer, and then you secure the generator on top of the tray.
Weight Capacity: Up to 400 pounds
Benefits: One of the benefits of a bumper-mounted cargo tray is that it’s a very easy way to mount your generator. It’s also more versatile, because some models have the ability to be expanded or lengthened to fit a larger generator, or extra cargo in addition to your generator. These types of mounts also often come with supplementary support arms so that the tray can handle the additional weight.
Installation: All of these generator mounts are pretty easy to install, but this one may just be the easiest. You will simply attach it to the bumper of your travel trailer, secure the attachments, load your generator, cable or chain it down, and you can then hit the road.
Drawbacks: The main danger with this method can be the capability of your travel trailer’s rear bumper. If it’s not designed to carry such weight as a generator adds, it can severely throw off the weight distribution of your camper. The extra weight on your bumper can also make the ride bumpier.
3. Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier Designed For Generators
Similar to the bumper-mounted cargo tray, a hitch carrier mount sits on the back of your travel trailer, but instead of attaching to the bumper, it attaches to a towing hitch.
If your trailer does not have one, you would need to install a hitch or choose a different solution for mounting your generator to your travel trailer.
Weight Capacity: Up to 500 pounds
Benefits: A hitch carrier mount is very strong, corrosion-resistant, and very easy to install and operate. Some models even have a folding ramp to make it easier to load with your gear. The main benefit of a hitch mounted cargo tray is that you can quickly install it or remove it. Some manufacturers design their mounts to fold when not in use, so that you can travel with less wind resistance and drag.
Installation: To install a hitch carrier mount, you simply need to attach the cargo tray to the hitch in your travel trailer, below the bumper. It’s smart to purchase some extra safety struts to further secure the mount to the hitch, and allow you to safely carry more weight. However, you should consult with a professional to be sure that your trailer hitch can handle the weight. Check with your trailer’s owner manual or the manufacturer’s website to find the hitch weight capacity.
Drawbacks: Unfortunately, many travel trailers are not designed to carry so much weight on the hitch and bumper. There is a risk that the carrier will bounce up and down as you travel down the road, and the generator could bounce loose from its securing straps or chains. In this case, the carrier could be damaged or break off of the hitch.
4. Rear-Mounted Frame Connected Hitch Platform
This option for a generator mount is more durable than the hitch carrier mount, since the cargo tray is connected to your trailer’s frame.
The mount includes a large, sturdy bar that mounts to the travel trailer’s frame below the bumper.
Weight Capacity: Up to 350 pounds
Benefits: The huge stabilizing bar in a frame-connected hitch platform allows you to support more weight safely. Since it’s attached to the frame of the trailer, it’s a lot stronger and safer than other bumper mounts, which is important because many trailer hitches are not strong enough to carry the weight of heavy equipment such as a generator. Your trailer’s frame is much stronger, and this mounting solution taps into that strength.
Installation: As I mentioned, this type of hitch attaches to the frame of your trailer, typically with a long bar that includes a towing hitch, which you securely bolt into place. Installing this hitch mount does not take long and requires a few basic tools. Once you install a hitch to this mount, it makes it so your bumper can handle way more weight than before. It’s a little bit harder to install than some of the other generator mounts on this list because you may need two people to secure it to the frame, but the added safety may be worth it.
Drawbacks: Since the hitch mount is attached to the frame at the rear of your trailer, you may still have trouble when driving up or down steep hills. This is because the carrier may drag or scrape the ground as you come up out of an incline or as you drive up from a lower incline. It’s a good idea to buy a cargo tray with an angled shank, so that the tray is lifted higher and your travel trailer can handle steeper hills.
5. Rear-Mounted Bumper Storage Box For Travel Trailer
Another option for mounting your generator to your travel trailer is to attach an enclosed storage box to your camper.
Although generators can handle the elements, keeping it in a covered box may extend the life of your generator. It will also keep it more secure as you travel, and could prevent someone from stealing it.
Weight Capacity: Up to 500 pounds
Benefits: Enclosed cargo carriers can often handle more weight than some of the other cargo mounts I have mentioned, but that only helps you if your trailer can handle the weight as well. Your towing tongue at the front of the trailer can usually handle more weight than the bumper. Most mounted cargo boxes can accommodate nearly 500 pounds, which is plenty, even for larger and heavier generators. Just be sure to secure the generator inside the box, so that it doesn’t bounce around as you drive down the road.
Installation: Cargo boxes can be installed on either the back bumper or on the front of your travel trailer, resting on the tongue hitch. It’s as simple as bolting it in place.
Drawbacks: Be sure to check the weight capacity of your travel trailer’s bumper or hitch, depending on where you plan to install the cargo box. Even if the box itself can handle up to 500 pounds, the place where you’re installing it needs to be able to handle the weight. Otherwise, your generator could break its mounting point and crash onto the road.
Conclusions About The Best Generator Mounts for a Trailer
As you can see, there are several options for different ways to mount your generator on your travel trailer.
Rear mounts over the bumper seem to be the most popular choice, but you may be able to handle a heavier generator if you mount it to the front of your camper, over or next to the propane tanks.
Always be sure to check the weight capacity of the bumper or tongue hitch before you purchase and install a mount for your generator.
No one wants to damage their trailer or have the bumper break off, causing your generator to go crashing to the road and presenting a serious danger for drivers behind you.
For this reason, my suggestion for the best generator mount for a travel trailer is the frame-connected hitch platform, because it can handle more weight and increases the strength of the mounting system, so that you won’t rip your bumper off with the weight of the generator.
Regardless of the mounting system you choose for your camper’s generator, always be sure to strap the generator down and secure it in place well, so that it stays attached to the mount.