3 Best Solutions for Mounting a Generator to a Trailer Bumper

 

I saw this generator mounted on the bumper of a rental travel trailer and liked the setup. The bumper was a little too low to the ground, but I liked seeing the platform frame welded onto the frame of the trailer and not hanging off as a dangerous appendage.
I saw this generator mounted on the bumper of a rental travel trailer and liked the setup. The bumper was a little too low to the ground, but I liked seeing the platform frame welded onto the frame of the trailer and not hanging off as a dangerous appendage.

When I first bought my 25′ Rockwood Travel Trailer, I picked up a Champion 3100 watt generator for $1,000 and it has been amazing!

However, the generator doesn’t fit under any of the compartments on the travel trailer, and I tow with an SUV instead of a truck so there isn’t anywhere to store the generator.  If I put it in the trailer, I have to haul it out (75 pounds!) and it makes the trailer smell like gas.

So if you’re in a similar situation, you may be looking for other options.  There are two good ways to do this, and I’ll walk you through some things to consider.

In the end, I decided to go with the bumper carrier solution which I felt was easier to set up and more versatile.

Option #1: An A-Frame Carrier

Camping World sells an A-Frame cargo carrier that fits above your propane tanks at the front of the trailer.  I was really excited when I saw this product because it puts the generator at the front where the ride is much smoother, and mounts it to the frame of the trailer so it’s super secure.

However, the reviews of the product aren’t great.  At the time of writing, it only has 3/5 stars.  So I’m too hesitant to try it.  Also, the listing isn’t clear if it can fit above the larger propane tanks that I have on my rig.  The product photos only show it above a trailer with the smaller tanks.

The other issue that kept me from buying one of these is that it blocks the propane so you have to get a wrench and unscrew the shelf in order to change out the propane.  Not a good solution as far as I’m concerned, but close.

This is the frame mounted hitch that I am going with. It adds a LOT of durability and seems to be a much safer option than putting the generator on the bumper. I've read too many horror stories from people who tried that and ended up dropping their bikes or generator on the freeway!
This is the frame mounted hitch that I am going with. It adds a LOT of durability and seems to be a much safer option than putting the generator on the bumper. I’ve read too many horror stories from people who tried that and ended up dropping their bikes or generator on the freeway!

Option #2: Rear-Mounting Your Generator to a Hitch Directly on the Bumper

This is the solution that I’m going with.  It’s basically a large platform that mounts to the rear square bumper of your trailer.

The danger with this solution is that the rear bumper isn’t designed to hold a heavy load, and I’ve heard reports of people having their rear bumper ripped off when they load it down too much.  In fact, do yourself a favor and read the reviews of this hitch that mounts to RV bumpers and see how many people have had their bumpers ripped off just when carrying bikes!

When you’re barreling down the freeway at 80mph and a generator falls off the back, you’re extremely likely to kill the driver behind you.  Be careful!

If you’re still positive that you want to go with this route, PLEASE at least buy a set of safety struts to reinforce the bumper.  It may still not be enough, but it’s the least you can do if you choose this method.

Option #3: A Rear-Mounted FRAME CONNECTED Hitch

This is the option that I’m going with for mounting my generator on the exterior of my travel trailer.

The problem with option #2 above is that you’ll always be a nervous about the bumper supporting the weight of the generator as you bounce down the freeway.  It’s a dangerous gamble and many RV’ers have learned the hard way that it can be dangerous.

There’s a company that has addressed this issue with a product that is basically a huge, sturdy bar that mounts onto the frame of your trailer below the bumper and allows you to support much more weight.  It’s made by Curt and you can get it on Amazon here.

Once you have the frame mounted under your bumper, you can use a normal hitch carrier like many people have behind their SUVs when traveling.

This is a good angled-shank carrier to put your generator in. It will keep you from bottoming out!
This is a good angled-shank carrier to put your generator in. It will keep you from bottoming out!

However, it’s worth trying to find a carrier that has an angled shank.  If you get a straight mounted carrier, you’re likely to bottom-out when going over mounds of dirt when boondocking in the woods.  This frame-mounted hitch is lower than the bumper, and so if you don’t get a little angle on the shank of the carrier, you’d have to be careful about bottoming-out. This is the angled-shank carrier that I’m buying.

Just be sure to strap the generator down well to prevent it from bouncing out!  I’m using a chain on mine to prevent theft as well.

 

5 Comments

  1. Good luck…I tried that and got away with it..second time not near as confortable..it must have been the black and gray water tanks had water in them because the trailer was swaying back and forth bad…I mean LA freeway blocking 3 lanes bad. I put the same type receiver hitch on the back of the trailer and bought one of those 2’6″X5’0″ platform bike carriers. I had 2ea. Evelo Electric Bicycles mounted on the carrier.

  2. I put a front hitch on my expedition and use a cargo carrier up front for hauling my generator and cooler.

  3. Stephen A Ellerbrake

    Option 1: The A-frame version carries my 2 Hondas fine and I can access my 30 G propane tanks fine. I will probably go to the bumper style though because the bedroom is up front and the noise and vibration are the problem. It’s also hard to mess with the generators because they are up there so high. I used longer bolts than came with the rubber feet and bolted through the mounting platform to secure them. 4000 miles later, no problems.

    Option 2: the stock bumpers on new trailers are JUNK and will rip with only 2 bikes and a receiver welded to the bottom of the bumper. These new bumpers are so thin and cannot be relied on to carry ANY weight in my opinion, with or without the add-on devices. I’m cutting my bumper off and welding a 4x4x3/16 (75# +/-) to build the rest of my carrying devices onto. I bought it for $75.00 at the steel yard. The weight at the back of the trailer needs to be considered. It will put a lot of force on the tires and also swing around back there contributing to trailer sway, especially with these longer trailers. Don’t forget, that weight on the bumper. Imagine your trailer is a see-saw with a big load bouncing around on one end…. I would not use this method if you are borderline on your tow vehicle, which I see more and more. Just drove across Kansas with high winds and saw countless rigs with WAY TOO SMALL a tow vehicle for the load swaying dangerously. Be smart and oversize your tow vehicle, PLEASE.

    Option 3: I like this option if the hitch bar is correct for the trailer and the load except that those carriers flop around a bit creating issues. Movement in your design is always going to be an issue. Solid and stiff are hard to come by in any of these rigs.

  4. ROGER D STUMP

    Did you ever find someone to make the rack like you pictured in the article? Attached to the frame?

  5. Hi Jim:
    I have been researching this exact issue (adding a rear receiver hitch and cargo carrier: coincidentally, to a 2018 Rockwood 25′ TT). Can you give me an update to this project?
    How abut ground clearance (one concern)?
    Lastly, what about weight distribution to the trailer and related handling after adding the extra load to the aft of trailer?
    Thanks for any updates/responses.

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