Bowfishing is the evolution of an ancient art for modern times – using archery equipment and techniques to hunt fish.
The combination of ballistic sport and water might not seem like it needs extra electrical power – but there are almost endless uses for a generator when you’re out on a bowfishing expedition.
Which are the best generators for bowfishing?
Tell you what. You focus on hunting fish, we’ll hunt the best generators for bowfishing and lay them out in front of you.
Deal? Want to see our catch of the day?
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
What might you possibly need a portable generator for while you’re out hunting fish with the bow?
Modern bowhunting is a million miles away from traditional bowhunting.
We have phones to geolocate us, keep us in touch with our loved ones and the world, and keep our minds active during the longer “And now… we wait” portions of any bowfishing expedition.
We have laptops, on which we run everything from mapping software to fish finding programs.
The same equipment can give us live weather reports, real-time information on fish movements, and more.
Everything about modern bowfishing is about extending the range of our natural senses, plugging into advanced information systems to give us an advantage.
But modern bowfishing is also about more than the actual fishing experience – it’s about getting into nature, staying in it, sleeping in it, while also keeping our connection to the modern world.
So, everything you might need to charge on a camping or hunting expedition is valid for bowfishing too.
So you need a reliable generator, both to keep you tethered in modern life, and to expand your fishing instincts with extra layers of rich data which go beyond your eyes and your nose.
Enter the Jackery solar generator. It’s a fully portable power station designed from the ground up with outdoor use in its electronic heart and veins.
It has a handful of multi-functional outputs, including 1x pure sine wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), to provide consistent power to any appliances in a car or RV, 2 x USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A) for phones, e-readers, tablets or smaller, handheld charger packs, and 1x 12V DC car port for faster charging of everything from smartphones all the way up to laptops, cameras, fans, lights, and more.
It will support pass-through charging too, and, while not for instance out in a canoe, it can be charged by the handy, relatively free energy supplied by a solar panel.
Sadly, one of the few things missing from this charger is the panel that could charge it up, though technically that gives you your pick of the best available solar panels.
One of the best features about the Jackery is that it’s among the quietest of portable power stations, so if you do decide to take it with you on your bowfishing trip, you can use it without necessarily broadcasting our presence to every fish within a five mile radius!
For those who are all about the greenness of their energy, picking up a solar panel lets you turn sunlight into phone charge with the Jackery. Thank you, carbon neutrality in the moment of recharge!
It also takes portability seriously, with a thick, chunky, easy-to-carry handle and a weight just over 6 pounds.
While it’s admittedly weird that it’s solar panel compatible without being supplied with a panel to help charge it, the Jackery is a reliable source of power for a solid handful of devices at a time, and its portability, quietness and user-friendly versatility make it our top pick for the best generator for bowfishing.
- With a handful of different charging ports, it can help keep lots of different devices charged on your bowfishing expedition
- It’s very lightweight and has an easy-carry handle to boost its portability
- You can recharge the Jackery with nothing more than a solar panel and some patience, for green energy while you bowfish
- It’s among the quietest portable power stations on the market, which makes it particularly suited to a bowfishing trip
- It feels incomplete as sold, lacking even at least a basic solar panel to unlock some of its potential
The Champion generator is in no sense limited to the 2000 watt version – you can get it all the way up to 4500 watts if you’re on more of an RV jag than a bowfishing trip.
But for bowfishing, the combination of light weight (39.5 pounds), easy carry, and quietness (just 58 dBA from 23 feet) make the 200 watt version our particular choice.
In terms of charging ports, it comes with two covered 120V 20A household outlets to give you comparatively clean energy for any appliances you bring with you (there’s nothing like a fresh hot cup of coffee before a long day’s bowfishing – just saying), and also a couple of USB charging ports, so your phones don’t up and die on you at a crucial moment.
Again, the 200 watt is not the most powerful generator in the Champion range, but with silent operation, it’s one of most useful on a bowhunting trip.
It also has a sturdy carrying handle, and perhaps the coolest feature – with a simple connector, it can be harnessed together with another of its kind, and give you double the capacity instantly.
If there’s an issue with the Champion, it’s that you have to beware of potential oil leakage, both in situ and when transported from place to place.
While this is by no means a universal feature of the model, it’s a thing to watch out for, as some users have reported it.
- It’s good and lightweight, meaning you can carry it around with ease
- It comes with a pleasing array of ports, including USB chargers
- You can twin two units together for double the performance
- It’s very quiet compared to some models
- It can leak oil while you’re using it
The WEN 56200i inverter generator is an extremely portable generator that gives you enough wattage to keep your important devices alive when you need them most.
A weatherproof generator, it’s easy to carry, with a thick handle and a weight of just 48 pounds. It’s pretty quiet too, with just a 53 dBA sound rating.
That quietness makes it popular at campsites, and on trips like bowfishing expeditions, where making as little noise as possible is a real bonus.
With a handful of ports, including 2x three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port, it can charge both your pocket-held electronics and some larger appliances like your laptops and tablets too.
EPA III and CARB compliant, it has a built-in eco mode to stretch your fuel further than it would go in some other generators.
That’s not bad, considering its quarter-load runtime is over 9 hours. That gives you plenty of time to kill as many fish as you can and still have your whole electronic world at your disposal.
- This is a highly portable generator, being both sturdy and low in weight, with an easy-carry handle
- It has a low noise level, which is helpful while out bowfishing
- It can charge several devices at the same time, so you’re not forced to prioritize your charging needs
- This is a durable charger
- Despite its eco mode, this can still be an oil-thirsty generator compared to some
Slightly heavier than some in our list, at 53 pounds, the Honda 2200W inverter generator also brings more power to your bowfishing party – that extra 200 watts may seem like very little extra, but you’ll feel it when you need it.
More than that power boost though, the coolest thing about the Honda Companion is that it has a complete Bluetooth-connected smartphone app linked to it, so you can operate the generator by phone… assuming it’s not the phone that’s gasping for power and receiving port-to-port resuscitation.
It’s also another generator that allows you to pair it up and double your output, should you need that big power boost on your bowfishing trip.
And unlike most other generators on our list, it comes with automatic carbon monoxide monitoring and alert, because the last thing you want is too much local carbon monoxide.
- This is a generator that generates just a little extra than many on the market
- It has a small noise footprint, which is useful when bowfishing
- Honda has a strong reputation for making motors and generators
- It comes with its own smartphone app to use and monitor the generator
- A unique carbon monoxide monitor helps alert you to any danger
- When using the app, you’re dependent on Bluetooth, which is not always reliable
- Compared to some on our list, the Honda is an expensive generator
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 delivers exactly what it promises – 2000 watts on startup, and a steady 1600 watts under normal conditions.
That’s quite enough for charging the likes of your smartphone, laptop, and other modern pocket technology without breaking stride.
Weighing in at a nicely lightweight 44 pounds, it has a narrower handle than some others on our list, making it portable, but less than comfortable.
It has what it calls a super-muffler, to keep its noise level comfortably low at 51 dBA, so it’s not about to scare the neighbors on a campsite or the fish in a river while going about its power-replenishing business.
It also has another interesting development which most other generators don’t have – a smart throttle.
That allows the Yamaha to vary the speed of its engine, and deliver maximum fuel efficiency, so you get more power for your fuel-buck.
And in keeping with that concern, it also has a warning system that alerts in case of the oil reservoir falling low enough to imminently damage the engine.
So it’s a compact generator with one eye on your budget and the other on its own survival. In fact, it promises a fuel efficiency of 10.5 hours per tank of fuel, which is impressive in anyone’s book.
Throwing in a 3-year limited warranty means you can use it safe in the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, you’re covered.
- It has a pleasingly low noise output, at 51 dBA.
- It’s useful in many situations, including as an everything-charger while you’re bowfishing
- The smart throttle allows for additional fuel efficiency
- A 3-year warranty gives you some peace of mind about the operation of the generator
- The operating system leaves something to be desired – like a one-step start
Best Generators For Bowfishing Buying Guide
When you buy a generator to help with your bowfishing trips, you need to keep a few things front and center in your mind.
Bottom line, you need to know the kind of uses you’ll have for a generator on your bowfishing expeditions. And then you need to buy a generator that can serve those needs comfortably, rather than with its last gasp of effort.
The last thing you want to be thinking about as you draw your bow is whether or not your generator can cope with charging more than one laptop at a time.
On the other hand, simply going for the biggest and most powerful generator on the market is not the solution either. They come with penalties in terms of weight (and therefore portability), fuel efficiency, and noise.
Noise in particular you don’t want to increase while out on a bowfishing expedition, so think hard and find a generator that meets your needs, but doesn’t far exceed then if that comes with unnecessary implications.
How large your gas tank is ultimately determines how long you can keep the generator running.
It also determines how efficient your engine will be. Make sure you get a generator with a gas tank large enough for the kind of bowfishing trips you do.
As a follow on from the gas tank consideration, your generator will be marked with a maximum run time.
That’s the product of an equation of your gas tank capacity and the amount of wattage the generator is putting out. While you should know the capacity of your gas tank, this is the figure for how much time you’ll really be able to run the generator for in any given stretch.
Again, compare the figure to your usual bowfishing trip, and buy a generator you’re convinced can cover you when you need it, for as long as you need it.
The thing about a generator is that it’s a step-up choice – especially on noise. Batteries, generally, are as quiet as can be.
So if you’re going for a generator, you have to be able to a) justify the upgrade by having lots of things to power up, and b) get one that makes as little noise as possible, so it doesn’t grate on your nerves and possibly affect your bowfishing trip.
Look out for generators with low decibel levels – everyone will have a better bowfishing trip, including you.
This is not essential, but it can be extremely useful if your generator has an eco mode – it will help extend your fuel efficiency, which is good for the planet and also good for you, as you won’t have to replace your fuel tank so often.
Ecology and economy working as one entity can’t be bad, so if you have a generator with an eco mode on your list, maybe boost it higher on account of this feature.
Weight And Portability
The weight of any generator is always a factor in which are the most popular units.
That’s especially true if, for instance, you’re intending to take it out on a bowhunting expedition. Go as lightweight as you can without compromising power generation, and look for a good sturdy carrying handle.
Price – And Value
No-one wants to spend over their budget for a bowfishing generator, but you do want to get one that represents good value.
If you’re going to get a generator at all, you want one that delivers a lot of generation for relatively little fuel, and that brings a degree of ease and stress relief to your bowfishing trip, rather than adding in hassle, heavy weights, or loud noises.
Don’t pay too much, but make a list of the things that would improve your bowfishing trips and be prepared to pay more for those key features, like low noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Maximum Weight For A Portable Generator?
That depends on the strength of your arms and the condition of your fitness. Ideally, you want to keep the weight as low as possible without compromising the power output.
For bowfishing, you don’t want to add unnecessarily to the weight of all the other gear you need to pursue your fishing, so keep it as light as possible – the Jackery is only 6.6 pounds, for instance.
How Many Charging Options Should I Be Looking For?
How many appliances are you taking on your bowfishing trip? It’s really that simple. We all have phones, so you need at least one USB port.
Beyond that, if you want to charge laptops, coffeemakers, lights, separate cameras, etc, gather all your most likely gear together, and choose a generator that will charge them all – ideally, with room to spare for any bowfishing buddy who comes along.
keep your helmet out of direct sunlight and store it somewhere that doesn’t get too warm.