What is a Trail Cam?
Hunters commonly use trail or game cameras to monitor the activities of wild animals, birds, or farm surveillance.
These camera traps provide a camouflage effect that allows them to blend in with their surroundings and is activated by a change in activity in their immediate surroundings, normally for the presence of an animal.
Still, now we are going to use it to detect humans.
Their initial purpose is made to record data very accurately without disturbing the animal. Or, in our case: humans.
Wikipedia writes: “They operate continually and silently, provide proof of species present in an area, can reveal what prints and scats belong to which species, provide evidence for management and policy decisions, and are a cost-effective monitoring tool.”
Furthermore, they are sturdy, tough, and ready for adverse weather conditions such as snow, heat, and dust.
Trail cameras (Read here for Best Trail Camera Locks) are prepared to handle any situation. Police also use camera traps to combat poaching or other law enforcement purposes.
And with pricing starting at just $40…. like a home security enthusiast, doesn’t this sound like music to your ears?
Yes, it does!
Typical features and advantages of trail Cameras
The following are some of the qualities or benefits of these low-cost wildlife cameras that turn out to be excellent for home security too:
Intelligent recording triggers
These cameras are often only triggered and begin recording when they detect movement, detect heat, or detect infrared beams. Therefore, a good trigger speed is essential, and these cams come with that.
Great battery life
Designed to monitor occasional animal behavior for a longer period, these cams are made to last with very long battery life in mind.
Housing that is weatherproof and waterproof
Trail cams must withstand not only harsh weather and humidity but also be strong enough to withstand an animal assault or a fall from a tree.
IP66 is quite common here, meaning that they are: waterproof, dust-proof, drop-proof, and rain-proof.
Wide view angles and motion sensor range (Also read: Best Outdoor Motion Sensor with Text Alert)
Even the cheapest models priced at $40 have a 120° wide-angle, providing a wide detection range.
Picture and Video quality
It is almost unbelievable, but 24-megapixel support and out-of-the-box full HD 1080p videos with H.264 MP4 video support is just quite normal for these wildlife cameras!
Night vision and no glow
Trail cameras with fully automatic infrared filters can capture shorts utilizing no-glow infrared flash illumination technology.
As a result, even in complete darkness, you may obtain fantastic images of a person without him realizing he’s being recorded.
Cellular trail cameras
Most trail cams under $200 have SD card support.
More expensive models ($200 and up) even have LTE 4G cellular network capability and send the photos and videos immediately to your phone or email address.
You can use rechargeable batteries, but solar panels are very common in the trail cam business.
They are widely supported, using sunshine as a constant energy source and generating clean, emission-free electricity for your home security setup. As a result, you don’t need to worry about the battery draining anymore.
Why use a trail camera as a home security camera?
A trail camera is superior to conventional outdoor surveillance cameras, given the features listed above: price, features, and durability.
Game cameras are the perfect outdoor cameras, no one ever told you about until now.
Instead of paying premium prices for traditional home security cameras because of their brand name, these cams provide a budget-friendly and extremely reliable alternative, superior to many typical security brands.
How to hide and use a trail cam for home security?
The placement of your camera is crucial, as the placement should function as camouflage too. This is what we’re looking for.
Here are some solid tips:
1. Use trees and bushes and natural surroundings to conceal your trail camera
You can hang your trail camera from a branch high in the tree, for starters. However, most game cameras are always mounted high in the air to provide a good overview.
The place is strategic because trespassers are unlikely to notice it. Use the vegetation surrounding your surveillance area to cover up and obscure your camera. Choose a shady or covered area.
If you have trees or bushes on your land, they will be an excellent place to conceal your trail camera as well too.
All you have to do is make sure the leaves don’t get in the way of your lens. Make sure the camera is in a shaded area to avoid glares on the lens.
2. Hide the trail camera in a birdhouse
The children will love a birdhouse feeder, and you can put some actual food in the birdhouse, too, if you don’t mind some false positives – if you know what I mean.
But as you can see here, this is the last place a thief will look into when he’s in a hurry.
3. Hide it in squirrel feeder boxes
The last thing on a burglar’s mind is your animal friends that visit your backyard regularly.
That’s why bird feeder boxes and squirrel feeder boxes are perfect to put the camera in.
You can put some food in there and enjoy some beautiful pictures while simultaneously monitoring your house!
Squirrel boxes typically are hung higher up trees than bird feeder boxes, so they can immediately provide a better wide-angle view range.
4. hide your trail camera on the ground
Who in their right mind would place a security camera on the ground? You! That’s who.
Potential intruders pay no attention to items on the ground when scanning for cameras. So this makes it a perfect spot for you to place one with the lens upwards and hide it between everyday objects.
A tree stump, pots, plants, garbage cans can be suddenly useful objects. So go ahead, and inspect your garden now.
5. Hang it under the ceiling of your house
This works especially well if your camera is not too big and you can paint it the same color as your house if you like. Something hard to do with regular security cameras. Perfect stealth with very little effort.
6. Hide it in plain sight: a hanging basket
One of the best ways to hide a trail camera in plain sight is in a hanging basket. Everybody’s used to seeing them and paying no attention to them.
Positioning the camera is easy, and they remain very accessible for you to manage and adjust them as well.
7. Use your fence
Make use of a fence as a natural hiding spot. For example, a trail camera hidden behind a wall is out of harm’s way. All required is a small gap in the fence large enough for the camera to see through.
8. Don’t forget about your garage
Garage and storage sheds are often the first places most criminals look for easy targets: they’re often poorly locked, secluded, yet filled with valuable machinery and tools.
Place at least 1 trail camera in there between the usual garage messiness (yes, we know your garage) so that it certainly captures the garage doors (Also read: How to Make a Garage More Secure) being opened and closed.
Additional tips for trail camera hiding:
Mounting Brackets: There are actual mounting brackets and swivels for trail cameras out there. As a result, it can be convenient to place the devices efficiently.
Camouflage: Not all trail cams come with a camouflage print on them. Make sure the one you order has one and has the right colors. If not – or if you want to disguise a normal camera, you can do that by adding extra camouflage using this CAMBUSH 3D concealment tape.
Lockboxes: The are lockboxes made specifically for trail cams, helping camouflage them further and making them impossible for the thieves to steal the camera with the evidence on it in case they found it. It’s true, and this is starting to feel like a Home Alone movie at this point.
Choosing the right trail camera for your property
Choosing the ideal camera depends a bit on your personal needs. Here we present two products that are guaranteed to be a good buy.
Due to the price difference, we keep things simple, and you should choose between 2 models: the regular trail cameras and the cellular trail cameras – if used for a shed or a garage that is a bit remote, or you want that convenience.
Let’s start with the regular one, using an SD Card.
Best regular trail cam: Vikeri E2 Trail Camera
We can’t recommend the Vikeri Hunting Camera enough, with almost 10.000 positive Amazon reviews and 4/5 stars, and owning a few of them ourselves.
Vikeri isn’t just another trail camera manufacturer; they’re the specialists dedicated to those who know what they’re doing.
It has everything we talked about earlier: ultra-high video resolution, an amazing trigger speed of 0.2 seconds with 3 continuous shots, trigger distance of 80ft (25 meters), IP66, 120° Wide Angle Lens, Infrared Night Vision using 48 PCS No Glow Infrared LEDs, holds up to 8 batteries for the highest 180 days standby time, easy to install, it comes with a free mounting strap.
Best cellular trail cam: CREATIVE XP – 4G Cellular Trail
This is the Jaguar of surveillance cameras. It has wifi cellular capability and can send photos and videos to any phone number or email address. In addition, it comes with a free Simhero sim card and an SD card.
It can hold up to 12 AA batteries (compared to Vikeri’s 8), but it requires more power to send emails and photos. It does come with its data plan, which costs $8 for 1500 photos if you want to use it.
There are no contracts to sign, and AT&T isn’t required.
Thanks to the wide Dynamic Lens with a 110° PIR angle and the quick 0.35-sec trigger, you can take 1 to 5 photos or videos per trigger.
This camera gives you godlike vision and power – and it’s hard not to want to buy more once you’ve tried it!
Conclusion: trail cams are your home security system’s new best friend
Consider using trail cameras instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on expensive outdoor security cameras.
Trail cameras are typically easier to set up and have a discrete design, making them ideal for security camera installations.
It’s simple to use a trail camera for security; be careful where you place them and how you hide them.
You’ve probably invested a significant amount of money in your home security system by now.
Installing no or insufficient outdoor cameras is a waste of opportunity!
Instead, invest in a few trail cameras. You’ll be rewarded for going above and beyond!