See everything lurking in the woods with one of these trail cameras
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or looking for some extra security, a trail camera is a must-have piece of gear. The model I rely on is the Campark T45. As a wildlife photographer, this camera allows me to see where animals are traveling day or night, and produces crisp 1080p footage. The Campark isn’t the only trail camera I swear by. Read on to learn about this year’s best trail cameras.
Best Overall: Campark T45
Animals do much of their roaming after the sunsets. Most trail cameras take decent daytime photos and videos, but capturing movement after dark is another story. The Campark T45 excels at grabbing high-quality stills and video in the pitch black of night and during daylight hours.
With three passive infrared sensors (PIR) and a 120-degree detecting range, the Campark is an excellent scouting cam for hunters and also serves well as a security camera. The 14 megapixel images that come out of the Campark are clear as can be, day or night, and the 1080p video is never grainy, shaky, or challenging to make out. The lenses detect motion accurately and trigger the Campark to begin recording in milliseconds.
The housing on the Campark is tough enough to withstand adverse weather, and it’s a camo print that blends in well with trees and foliage. My only gripe is with the memory card location. The MicroSD card is in a slot at the front of the camera and at the bottom of the unit. It seems like this would be convenient, but when this camera is attached to a tree, it’s challenging to remove the card without first untethering the camera. Aside from that, this is a well-rounded trail camera that snaps excellent stills and videos.
- 3 PIR
- Clear stills and video
- 120-degree viewing range
- 2.4″ LCD
- Blends in with surroundings
- MicroSD card location
Best Value: TOGUARD H40-1
The TOGUARD is proof you don’t have to overspend to get a high-quality trail camera. This game camera has 16MPs and full HD 1080p. You’ll shoot video in full-color during daylight hours and in black and white after dark. Both stills and video are clear and every bit as impressive as pricier models.
The trigger speed on the TOGUARD H40-1 is less than half a second. It quickly detects movement and grabs the shot accurately, thanks to the built-in motion sensor. The 120-degree wide-angle lens and built-in Night Vision marry beautifully, ensuring you never miss a shot day or night. You’ll also get IP56 waterproofing and a battery that lasts up to eight months in standby mode. Impressive.
Setting up the TOGUARD is easy, though it’s only fair to point out that the instructions are lacking. For example, it would be helpful to know how to use the time-lapse function instead of winging it. If you’re OK with a little trial and error, the TOGUARD is a tough trail camera that punches well above its price point.
- 16MP camera
- Works for 8 months in standby
- Anemic instruction manual
Best Cellular/Wi-Fi: CreativeXP 4G Cellular
When you need a camera that will take images hundreds of miles from home and email or text the action to you as it’s happening, you want the CreativeXP. Other game cameras require you to insert a memory card and then return to the camera to retrieve the images. The CreativeXP has 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, which gives it the upper hand at delivering photos to your cell or computer in real time.
The CreativeXP 4G is water and snowproof so that it can stay up year-round. The trigger actives in less than half a second and shoots up to five photos per trigger, so in addition to being a stealthy hunting camera, it also excels at doing home security. This setup is powered by batteries or a solar panel, a plus for those who leave the camera in the woods far away from home and don’t want to return to change out the batteries.
You’ll need a data plan to take advantage of the cellular capabilities with this model. The starter kit includes one free SIMHERO card for AT&T, and additional cards are available for purchase. You are not required to broadcast footage via 4G. You can store photos and videos on the included memory card, instead, if you like, or beam live footage via Wi-Fi. If you’re an avid hunter who doesn’t want to leave a human scent near a tree stand, the CreativeXP’s 4G LTE and Wi-Fi features can’t be beaten!
- Cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Can be powered three ways, including solar
- 1080p video
- 12MP stills
- 4G footage requires an AT&T data plan
Easiest to Use: Browning Strike Force Extreme
The Browning Strike Force Extreme bundle is an affordable kit that includes a memory card and a card reader. The trigger speed on the camera is adjustable. That’s a helpful feature for those who move their trail cam from location to location to capture everything that moves.
Brownings’ Zero Blur Technology is built into this camera, meaning it consistently takes high-quality 16MP photos without motion blur. The detection range is 80-feet, so you’ll be able to see game animals near to the camera or far away. Each image is stamped with the date and time, a plus for hunters.
Daytime photos are crisp as can be, but videos are a tad grainy at night. You can still clearly make out what in front of the camera, but with HD baked in, we expected better. If nighttime video isn’t on your must-have list, this is a trusty little camera that’s easy to set up and use, and it comes from a reliable brand.
- 16MP photos
- Captures are blur-free
- Adjustable trigger
- A few extras included
- Video grainy at night
Best Entry Level: Victure HC200
The Victure HC200 is a phenomenal trail camera for beginners. Just because it’s geared toward those new to capturing images in the wild doesn’t mean it lacks features. You’ll get full-HD 1080p video out of the HC200 and a 2.4″ LCD on which to view your shots. The camera clocks in at 12 megapixels, which is more than enough resolution to snag crisp stills day or night.
I love the 360-degree surround recording. You see and hear everything that’s happening in front of the lens and nearby as it comes into view. The LCD screen is an impressive 2.4″, and allows you to view images on the unit without having to remove the SD card. The housing stands up to warm weather and subzero temperatures.
One caveat: the instruction manual is too anemic to be helpful. The tech is easy enough to get up and running but could benefit from basic instructions, such as where it’s best to place a camera to track animals or how to set PIR intervals. In colder weather, I recommend going with lithium batteries or using the 6V external power supply to get the most out of this model. As a beginner camera or for those wanting a backup, this is a top-notch unit that takes sharp photos and videos.
- 2.4″ LCD
- Poor instructions
And the best trail cameras are …
The best binoculars bring things up close and personal, but they don’t operate on their own. Trail cameras do the hard work while you’re far away.
The trail camera you choose should be able to snap high-resolution stills and clear videos no matter what time of day. Since many animals roam at night, it’s critical to invest in a model that can meet the challenges of low-light shooting. My favorite trail camera, the Campark T45 outmatches any other unit on the market today.
With 14 megapixels, 1080p video, three infrared cameras, and a 120-degree viewing range, you’re guaranteed sharp photos and rock steady video from the Campark. When motion is detected, the fast trigger never misses a shot, and it’s quick to stop recording when activity disappears from view, saving battery life. We love the infrared night vision. After dark stills and videos are clear and detailed, even in bad weather.
My one complaint is that the MicroSD is hard to remove. The slot is located at the front of the camera, but it’s hard to slip out without first untethering the camera. It’s inconvenient, but it gets easier with time. For wildlife viewing, scouting, and home security, it’s a no-brainer to invest in the Campark T45. The camera comes with a belt, tree mount, three screws, USB cable, and easy-to-follow directions.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
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