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GenTent or the Alternatives: DIY Plans or Ready Made Stationary Portable Generator Enclosure or GenTent? You Decide!

A December ice storm that caused a week long power outage was the first time we purchased and attempted to use a portable generator. But the warning labels were clear -- don't use it indoors, even in the garage, or in an enclosed space due to CO Poisoning hazards, and don't use it in Wet Weather. Well, you know the conundrum: when you need emergency backup power it's typically due to a storm--which means wet weather--but if you can't use a portable generator inside or in wet weather, what do you do? Storms tend to be followed by, well, more storms.

GenTent is the result of finding no viable, affordable products that would allow safely running a generator in rain or wet weather. The Patented, Independent Lab Tested, and Multiple Storm Proven GenTent is the only engineered product on the market today that keeps generators safe to use and protected from damage, in rain and severe wet weather.

GenTent Objectives and Comparing the Alternatives

GenTent has been engineered as a portable generator accessory with these key objectives:

  • Waterproofs sensitive areas in severe wet weather--even blizzard and hurricane amounts
  • Withstands winds up to 70mph
  • Easy to install
  • Keeps the generator portable
  • Maintains portable generator airflow and natural cooling
  • Fits on nearly all portable generators
  • Affordable and Commercial Grade

The typical portable generator large enough to provide emergency home backup power, or an inverter class quiet generator used for recreation and on the jobsite, is in the $800 - $4000 price range. Most homeowners will spend between $1000 and $1800 for a ready-to-go emergency backup portable generator, transfer switch and outdoor outlet, fully installed. Let's take a look at how affordable the GenTent is compared to alternative offerings on the market.

Based on this information, let's compare GenTent to the alternatives available today:

GenTent Steel
Accessory Product? Yes No No No No
Waterproofs Severe
Wet Weather?
Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Withstand Winds
up to 70MPH?
Yes Yes Maybe
(if anchored)
(20 MPH Max)
Easy to Install Yes
(10 Min Avg)
Install Req'd)
(2-4 hours)
(10 Min Avg)
(4-8 hours)
Generator Stays Portable Yes No No Yes No
Generator Naturally Cools Yes Yes No
(can cause
Yes No
(can cause
Fits Nearly All
Portable Generators
Yes No No Yes No
Price Range $149-$199 $1000-$1200 $429-$949 $75-$300 $150-$400
As a percentage of Your Portable
Generator Investment
5%-20% 55%-100% 50%-80% 3%-30% 5%-40%

Steel Enclosures

Steel enclosures are one way to run your portable generator safely. Notice the extensive use of louvered openings which are required to ensure the portable generator doesn't overheat. The units are matched only to certain portable generators. Not all portable generators will fit into this enclosure, and those with higher heat profiles may not be able to cool themselves enough when placed in this type enclosure. Steel enclosures require professional installation, and a cement pad for mounting the enclosure. When using a steel enclosure, your portable generator becomes stationary and its location becomes fixed. These types of enclosures typically cost between $1,000 and $1,200 and installation costs can be up to $300 or $400.

Retrofit Plastic Shed

There was a product on the market some years back called the GenShed. It was priced at approximately $850 and sold on Amazon. The product received poor reviews, primarily because of overheating issues (including reports of the plastic shed melting), despite including an exhaust fan. It accommodated only a limited number of relatively low to medium powered portable generators with specific types of mufflers. The product has been discontinued by the manufacturer. Now, there is another company offering a "bring your own plastic shed" retrofit kit. Starting price is over $400 for the retrofit kit and fits in plastic sheds that are priced in the $200-$300 range. Larger portable generators require more expensive retrofit kits. They also offer a shelter that includes the plastic shed, starting at $949. Given the reviews and experience related to the GenShed, and heeding manufacturer's warnings that prohibit against enclosing portable generators, these types of products should not be considered viable.

As Ron from Maryland stated in his review in March 2015, "I made the mistake of putting a generator in a vinyl shed. When I started the generator it set the shed on fire from the heat of the exhaust. [GenTent] appears to be the right solution at a reasonable price."

Pop-Up Canopy

Pop-up canopies do not protect the sensitive outlet areas from rain that is blown sideways, thereby eliminating their consideration as a viable alternative. Pop-up canopies are very difficult to anchor on a driveway and even when anchored are damaged by winds over 20 mph. Pop-Up canopies range in price from about $75 to well over $300, depending on a number of factors including frame and fabric quality.

In March 2014, Kirk from Pennsylvania reported he "was looking for a solution to house my portable generator in wet weather; make a home-made structure in preparation for the Hurricane Sandy; that solution was not portable enough; used a portable canopy during the last power outage in an ice storm this winter; the canopy did OK but was damaged by the wind; after this last event, I found gentent.com; it is the portable solution I was looking for; the quality of the materials and construction is very good; very easy to attach to the generator; it will do the trick in allowing me to use the generator in wet conditions."

DIY Dog House

Perhaps the worst of all options is to build a portable generator 'dog house'. Why? Because DIY dog houses typically start with a visit to the local lumber yard for 2x4's and plywood -- flammable materials that can auto-ignite if they get too hot! Exhaust gasses typically reach 600F and muffler components maintain temperatures between 300F-350F. Although the heat dissipates quickly in open air environments, putting a generator in an environment that cannot vent heat as quickly as it is produced will cause a significant heat buildup. The materials for a dog house will cost anywhere from $150 to $400 depending on your design and what size exhaust fan you will install. The result will be a stationary box that takes up room on your property, is a fire hazard, and time-consuming and potentially difficult to design and build.

GenTent Wins

GenTent has been carefully engineered to be a relatively small percentage of your overall portable generator investment. GenTent keeps your portable generator portable, and ensures that it can run safely in nearly any wet weather. All of the potential alternatives are more expensive and won't perform as expected. Isn't it better the spend less time and money solving this safety issue with a product purpose-built for a portable generator that must be ready to run safely on a moment's notice? We think so.

As Joseph from Michigan reported in June, 2015: "I found your product while searching for ways to house the generator in inclement weather. This looked to be the most cost effective, viable alternative as it would meet my needs yet keep from taking up space in my yard and keep the generator portable. I read many reviews and decided this is what I needed. VERY happy with the product and it installed very quickly."

Join the Thousands -- Simply Clamp it, Frame it and Cover it to Weatherproof your Power Today!