Portable generators are great for the jobsite, emergency power, and outdoor adventures. While they’re great at what they do, it seems a little strange that a power source that requires you to run it outside isn’t capable of working in all weather conditions. That $1000 generator you just bought has to go undercover if it’s raining, snowing, or sleeting. Sometimes you have a covered porch or other shelter to keep working. For the times you don’t, GenTent offers a solution to keep your productivity up.
What’s a GenTent?
It’s a tent for your generator. It’s that simple, but at the same time, it’s more complex than just a tent. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.
We received the GenTent 10K Stormbracer (model GT10KB00TB) for our Ryobi 7000-watt generator. It comes with hardware to mount the GenTent to your generator’s frame, fiberglass rods to support the canopy and the canopy pieces.
Installation is pretty simple. Just attach and tighten the clamps to the four vertical posts of your frame. Insert each of the four rods into the center rod holder, then into each clamp. Pull the canopy over the top (it’s a tight fit on purpose), and you’re nearly ready to go.
As you pull the canopy across and down, you’ll need to release each rod as you go to loop the elastic strap over the clamp. There are also skirt pieces to install via hook and loop connection. Just be sure to use the longer one for your electric side.
Downplaying My Concerns
When I first saw the GenTent, several concerns came to mind. First is temperature. The GenTent clearly has a design that allows for airflow – a must on any engine. But with the canopy covering the top, won’t hot gases accumulate to the point that it melts?
Whether you go with the standard or extreme canopy, it carries a rating up to 185° F (85° C) and the temps really don’t build up that much.
My next concern covers rain, sleet, or snow that’s not falling straight down. You know, like most all rain, sleet, and snow. Are the electrical components left to the elements while you protect the top?
Again, that’s covered. The skirt pieces surround the electrical components and outlets. You do need to make sure you slide the clamps down far enough for the skirt to completely cover the electronics, though.
What about refilling the tank in the rain – do I have to expose the generator to refill?
There’s an access flap in one side of the GenTent that closes with a hook and loop connection. You may want a funnel to help when you’re working with a 5-gallon can, but you can do the job without taking the tent all the way off. Clearly, you have to expose part of your generator to refuel, though.
Does it Work?
Living in Central Florida, we’ll ask you for a little grace in not testing it in snow and sleet. However, rain is our forte and we had plenty of falling water to work with. For all the areas covered by the GenTent on the top and sides, things stay dry. But not every component has the luxury of cover – an engine has to breathe after all.
Some very light splashing got on the intake side of our motor. We’re talking about a dozen drops or so, nothing significant enough to damage components or disturb intake. Things are a little wetter on the electronics side. Our generator has an electric start and the battery installs on the side. The skirt covers the most critical part of the battery – the top connections – and comes down about an inch from there. That leaves the battery housing exposed. However, that’s not detrimental.
What is a slight concern is that some of the wiring on our generator comes down pretty far and that gets wet even with the skirt. Working around the rest of the generator, the outlets stay dry and there’s not really any other dripping or splashing to speak of.
There is one big downside to the GenTent on this model generator – the fold-down handle. The handle has to be folded down for the GenTent to fit. That means there’s no accessing it for transportation without removing the cover completely. Is it a fatal flaw?
No, just a reality of the handle style. You’ll want to be sure and get a generator like ours in position before the rain starts.
While the GenTent offers tool-free installation, it will take several minutes to put up or take down. I leave the clamps on the generator frame to help reduce installation time. Once it’s up, elastic straps hold the canopy in place and I haven’t found a weakness where bumping it or wind has a chance to take it off.
Two canopies are available – standard and extreme. You get a one-year warranty with the standard and UV protection on the extreme earns a three-year warranty. The vinyl laminated polyester construction seems tough enough for the job. However, it’s still essentially a tent with ripstop stitching. Don’t expect it to withstand sharp objects puncturing it or heavier debris falling on it. You don’t have to baby it but treat it nicely during transportation and use.
The GenTent 10K Stormbracer model for this review runs $149.99 direct from GenTent. You can also find them on Amazon. That may seem a little steep for a homeowner that’s just an occasional user, but this is more of a field cover for outdoor trips and jobsite use. In those cases, it’s a level of protection on your investment and as long as you stick with the same relative size of generator, the GenTent can go on your new one.
One thought that came up in our conversations was the use of a popup canopy that’s typically cheaper. While that can certainly work, it’s also bulkier and it’s much more likely that wind will topple it. In the end, if rain, sleet, and/or snow is a frequent uninvited guest on your jobsite, $150 is worth keeping your project running.
The Bottom Line
With only a handful of other options available, the GenTent is an effective cover to keep your generator running in nearly all weather conditions. You’ll have to expose mainly weatherproof parts and some generators may have components that are vulnerable if they sit low. However, GenTent’s design does a better job of keeping the airflow moving so your generator can run at peak performance.
GenTent Key Features
- Run your portable generator safely outside in wet weather – rain, snow, ice, sleet
- Protects sensitive electrical panels and outlets and dome shape sheds water away
- Allows easy refueling with large opening door flap
- Universal cover size fits most portable generators over 3000W up to 10000W
- Maintains generator natural cooling airflow and intake
- Self-attaching to keep the “portability” in your portable generator
- Directly connects to all four frame members on your portable generator
- RF Welded seams and vinyl fabric for waterproofing
- No Tools Required – Simple 3 step setup
Discover more at GenTent’s website.