A lot of us have been there: You’re planning for a longer duration overlanding journey. But you want to bring along a handful of gadgets, electronics, or pieces of equipment that require some auxiliary power. So, you begin to think through how to power, charge, or recharge all of them.
You could try to charge them off your rig from the cigarette lighter while on the road. However, that only powers one device — and only while you’re driving. Sure, you could concoct some sort of cockamamie, Rube Goldberg-esque auxiliary wiring scheme to send power to more than one device at a time.
None of these feel like the right solution, though. After all, charging — or running — off the car’s electrical system requires idling the rig at camp.
With these ideas crossed off the list, you start researching portable gasoline generators. They tick most of the boxes. They’re mobile, on-demand power stations fueled by stuff you already have onboard your rig: gasoline.
Dig a little deeper, however, and gasoline-powered generators’ detractions start to outweigh their benefits. Yes, they run on gas. But because of the fumes they put off, even if you drain it of fuel between runs, you can’t carry them in the rig. That means they have to go on the roof or in the truck bed (if you have one).
Then there’s the issue of letting a gas generator sit between uses. Not only does gas go bad relatively quickly, old gas can easily gum up a generator’s carburetor, requiring you to remove and clean it.
Suddenly, a gasoline generator doesn’t seem like a hot idea. Just when you’re about to throw the towel in on the whole idea, that’s where the ALP Portable Propane Generator comes in. It offers all the on-demand power generation of a gas generator but without the drawbacks.
For example, the ALP is spill- and fume-free. This is the nature of a propane generator. Without noxious gasoline sloshing around inside its tank, it doesn’t suffer a lot of the drawbacks of a gas-burner.
Propane is much more stable when stored. Unlike the three- to six-month shelf life you get with gasoline, propane can store for 30 years without going bad. Similarly, without old gas being pushed through the carb, you’ll never suffer gummed up fuel-system components.
More than just avoiding a fouled carburetor, avoiding gasoline enables you to stow the ALP inside your rig when you’re not using it because it won’t spill gasoline nor will it put off fumes. It’s nice to have that sort of freedom with your generator and not to have to handle it with veritable kid gloves.
Those are not the only benefits of the ALP unit, of course. Not running on gas is not its sole advantage. For example, it weighs under 30 pounds, so it’s easy to handle and move around. Speaking of handle, the ALP was designed with a recessed and reinforced handle. This allows you to stack gear on top of it when you’re not using it. Also because it’s reinforced, you can run a cable or chain to it for extra security at camp.
We have established that the ALP is easy to store, easy to carry, and relatively low maintenance when compared to a gasoline-powered generator. So, let’s dig into it’s specs.
The ALP portable propane generator churns out a reliable 850 Watts of power with a peak surge power output of 1,000 Watts. To put that into perspective, that’s enough juice to run a fridge, freezer, TV, coffee maker, small air conditioning unit (up to 8,000 BTU), electric blanket, lights, small fry pan, or small space heater (not at the same time, obviously).
On a 20-pound propane bottle, you’ll get 60 hours of runtime pulling 500 Watts the entire time. Pop on a small one-pound (16-ounce) bottle and you’ll be looking at 2.5 to 3.5 hours of runtime.
The face of the ALP features a 12-volt charger regulated at 13.8 volts as well as two USB ports. In Economy mode, this 12-volt port put out 4.0 amps but can put out as much as 8.6 amps for faster device charging. There is also an incorporated parallel port enabling you to tie two ALP generators together generating 2,200 surge Watts and 1,900 running Watts.
The panel face also includes an LED light that makes finding the outlets easy in the dark. What’s more, the LED light is bright enough to illuminate the scene — it’s ideal for changing a flat tire in the dark, for example.
ALP generators are available in orange, blue, and green — each with either gray or black panels. So you can tailor the unit to compliment your rig or gear color scheme.
The ALP runs quiet and doesn’t vibrate much either. The low vibrations are thanks in large part to its aluminum chassis and rubber mounts and feet. The lightweight nature of aluminum cuts down on mass and the rubber mounts absorb a lot of the vibration thereby limiting vibration associated with generators.
Don’t forget, though: Just because it’s quiet and doesn’t vibrate much doesn’t mean you can run it inside your RV or any other inclosure.
One of the best parts of the ALP is that it runs on propane — a fuel most of us overlanders are already bringing with us on our journeys for cooking. This makes the ALP a great addition to your kit. It’s lightweight, relatively compact, easy to stow, quiet and efficient to run. Plus, because it doesn’t require anything you don’t already plan to bring along in the first place, it doesn’t add complexity to your preparation or journey. And when you don’t plan to use it for a while, you can store it just about anywhere — inside or outside.
A lot of well-heeled overlanders are starting to adopt solar panels and lithium battery packs for auxiliary power. While these are great options for those who have the money and space for them, they’re not for everyone. Not every overlander has the ability to install solar panels and then tote around a suitcase of heavy and expensive lithium batteries.
The ALP portable propane generator is that ideal midpoint between old-school gasoline generators and the next generation of battery-based portable power.
ALP generators are affordable, low-maintenance, easy to use, easy to store, and efficient. We’re confident that an ALP would make a great addition to your overlanding setup.
Use the code “OVERLANDERS50″ for $50 off when you purchase through the ALP website.
Header image credit: Overland Expo
Disclaimer: This paid story was produced in partnership with ALP.