Using a caravan away from hook-up offers ultimate touring freedom. Thing is, most people associate generators with noise and noxious fumes that tarnish the tranquillity. The best of both worlds comes courtesy of Honda. Its EU10i is well known in caravan circles. It offers mains power, but is quiet (for a generator) and because it uses an inverter to turn the 12V power it generates into mains power, there are no nasty power surges to contend with. It is loved by those in the know and has spawned a host of imitators. It has a mains rating of 1000W, however, which is roughly equivalent to 4.5A mains hook-up. Some users may find this a bit weedy.
The recently introduced EU20i model uses similar technology but with modern caravans bristling with mains-powered toys, its 1000W power advantage over the EU10i is very attractive. In the real world of caravanning, 2000W equates roughly to running a microwave oven, electric heater and mains-powered water heating without using precious gas. It also boasts two mains output sockets rather than one, so it could supply two caravans with a mains source simultaneously on the rally field.
Sounds like a done deal then? Well, it’s not all good news. The price of that extra power is weight. At 21kg, it’s got quite an 8kg weight penalty over its smaller brother. Which is fine if you’re tough enough to lug it in and out of the boot of the car on a regular basis, but it is quite a heavy unit. The other drawback is the price. Honda suggests the EU20i costs £1255, which buys you a lot of site nights with a hook-up. That said, we managed to find it for closer to £1100 with a bit of shopping around and the optional direct-to-battery charging cables thrown in. In terms of servicing, getting access to the air filter and spark plug is pretty simple, although the oil filler neck is tucked away at the base of the unit, making access a bit fiddly.
This is a beautifully made, robust unit that will doubtless delight the most intrepid tourers. For those wanting to venture off-grid for the first time, however, it’s more capable than required.