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  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

Best Ways to Hide a Trail Camera for Home Security

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


Best ways to hide a trail camera for home security

How game cameras can be used for home defense and where to place them


As concerns about home security continue to rise, many homeowners are seeking innovative ways to protect their properties from possible intruders and criminal activities. Security cameras are of course an option. However, the best way to place a camera for locations that may not have good Wi-Fi or cellular coverage are trail cameras, also called game cameras.


Originally designed for wildlife observation and tracking, trail cameras have proven to be versatile tools that can effectively monitor and safeguard homes. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using trail cameras for home security, various techniques to conceal them discreetly, and the pros and cons associated with using a trail camera for security purposes.


Personal Experience with Trail Cameras for Home Security


I have personally used a trail camera to enhance my home surveillance. I found mine to be very versatile. It not only helped me cover more of my property but also discover wildlife that didn't know was there. Plus, it was fun to check the camera with my young son and see what we found.


It is important to note that cameras (game or security) do not actually provide any level of security. They can only provide some level of deterrence and footage of any crime that has taken place. The cameras themselves do nothing to protect your home.

Home security assessment from The Secure Dad

Why Trail Cameras for Home Security?


The first reason a homeowner might want to consider using a trail camera is for enhanced surveillance. Trail cameras are equipped with motion detectors that trigger image or video recording whenever movement is detected within their range. This feature ensures that any suspicious activity around your property is captured in real time. If the camera has notification capabilities, it can alert you to an issue, allowing you to respond promptly.


Many cellular trail cameras offer remote access through mobile apps, enabling owners to view live feeds and recorded footage from their smartphones or computers, even when they are away from home. But the more budget-friendly models will only have an SD card that will need to be manually checked frequently.


Trails Cameras are Good for the Budget


Generally, trail cameras are more cost-effective than the typical DIY home surveillance camera. Compared to traditional home security systems, trail cameras are relatively affordable, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners. Of course, there is the added cost of batteries and any monthly monitoring that may come with your camera.


Pros of Trail Cameras for Home Security


Perhaps the most attractive reason someone would want to add a game camera to their property for home security is the potential to have a hidden camera. Trail cameras can be easily hidden from view, making them inconspicuous to possible intruders who may be wary of conventional security measures.


Most of us can spot home surveillance cameras attached to a home. They are at the front door as a doorbell, at the garage, and on the porch. The advantage of a trail camera with decent battery life is that it can be placed anywhere on the property, out of plain sight.


Of course, trail cameras make a great addition to an existing home surveillance system. Perhaps a lack of Wi-Fi connectivity prohibits placing a traditional camera in the backyard. A trail camera is a good option to add coverage in a hard-to-reach space.

A hidden trail camera placed for home security

The Hidden Trail Camera: Techniques and Tips


While the placement of trail cameras may seem straightforward, concealing them effectively requires planning and attention to detail. Leaning a camera up at the mailbox, in plain sight, is not going to be the best use of your surveillance camera. Plus, someone could steal it. Let’s consider some appropriate and advantageous placement locations.


Camera Placement


The first step in placing a game camera is to identify vulnerable areas around your property where potential thieves may cross. Common locations to cover with surveillance cameras include exterior doors, windows, and garage/carport areas.


Of course, when you want to place a hidden trail camera, you want it to blend in with the surroundings of your property. Camouflage the trail camera in a natural environment such as tree bark, under branches, and in shrubbery. This will prevent it from drawing unwanted attention.


You want to avoid obvious placements. Keeping the game camera out of plain sight is priority number one. Place the camera at angles that are less likely to be noticed. Trail cameras offer a wide range of flexibility in where they can be placed like on a tree in a bush. These are typically places that humans overlook when they approach a home. Aim for places that provide a wide field of view while remaining unnoticed.

Join Field Notes from The Secure Dad

Another consideration is elevation. Mount the camera at a height that will capture the best view of the area while keeping it hidden. Generally, humans will see things at eye level because it’s easier. Placing the camera just above or below eye level can help increase the likelihood of being overlooked.


Hide Your Trail Camera in Your Environment


An advantage of a trial camera is that they are made to mimic the natural environment right out of the box. If you want, you can invest in a protective case that will help hide the camera even more. For some models, you can find cases that are common objects like birdhouses, rocks, or other common yard objects. But don’t overdo it here. If you go overboard with concealment, you’ll inadvertently make your camera more obvious.


As with all surveillance cameras you want to be mindful of light. Shadows and full sun can heavily influence how successful your trail camera will be. Ensure that the camera is not exposed to direct sunlight or strong sources of light like flood lights. This could cause a glare that will trigger the motion sensors. Also, the light may cause a glint on the camera lens that will give away its position.


Test Trail Camera Locations


Don’t feel like you only have one chance to place your trail camera. Test the field of view to make sure it works for you. Set the camera up at test locations and then walk in front of it to trigger the motion sensors. See what looks best and verify the angle that is most effective. Test it day and night to see how the night vision functions on your property.

A game camer hidden from plain view for home security

What to Look for in a Game Camera for Home Security


Not all trail cameras are made the same. Some only have basic features like pictures and video recordings triggered by motion sensors. More robust ones will have cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity with apps that will alert you to any clips that have been captured. It really depends on your budget.


Must-Have Trail Camera Features

  • Lasting battery life

  • Photo and video recording

  • Mounting kit

  • Waterproof

  • Night vision

  • 1080p video recording

  • 20 mp photos

  • 120° field of view

  • Time and date stamp option

  • Camouflage pattern

  • Memory card included

Upgrade Features for Trail Cameras

  • Cellular connectivity

  • Wi-Fi network

  • Standalone app

  • Cloud recording

  • 4K resolution video

  • 36+ mp photos

Budget-friendly trail camera for home security:


Vikeri Mini Trail Camera for Home Security

Vikeri Mini Trail Camera - Game Camera 20MP 1080P with Night Vision Motion Activated Waterproof, Hunting Camera

Upgraded trail camera for home security:

GardePro E6 Trail Camera for home security

GardePro E6 Trail Camera WiFi Bluetooth 24MP 1296P Game Camera

Pros of Hiding Trail Cameras for Home Security

  1. Cost-Effective: As mentioned earlier, trail cameras are a cost-effective alternative to elaborate home security systems, making them accessible to a broader range of homeowners.

  2. Remote Monitoring and Alerts: Many trail cameras are equipped with Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity, allowing you to receive real-time alerts and access live footage through smartphones, enhancing peace of mind.

  3. Great Addition: Trail cameras often function individually meaning that don’t need a network of other cameras or base station to work. Adding a trail camera to your property can act as an additional camera to your existing system to enhance your home’s security.

  4. Inconspicuous Camera: The discreet nature of hidden trail cameras can offer you camera angles that you cannot get with traditional home surveillance cameras.

  5. Off-Grid Security: Because most trail cameras are powered by batteries, in the event of a network or power outage, they will continue to work when other cameras go offline.

  6. Versatility: Apart from security purposes, trail cameras can also be used to observe wildlife, monitor pets, or keep an eye on children playing outdoors.

Cons of Hiding Trail Cameras for Home Security

  1. Limited Coverage: Depending on the number of trail cameras used and their placements, there might be gaps in coverage. This could leave some areas of your property vulnerable to intruders.

  2. Susceptible to Theft: Concealed trail cameras are not immune to theft or vandalism. Intruders might discover and steal the cameras if not positioned carefully.

  3. False Alarms: Wildlife, pets, or even strong winds may trigger false alarms, potentially desensitizing you to real security threats. This can happen with any type of motion-sensing outdoor camera.

  4. Privacy Concerns: Placing cameras in concealed locations might raise privacy concerns, especially if they inadvertently capture footage of neighbors or passersby.

  5. Manual Checking: Budget-friendly trail cameras won’t have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity. This means you will need to retrieve the SD card to see what footage you’ve captured and how won’t receive real-time alerts.

  6. Local Laws: Depending on where you live there may be laws or ordinances that regulate where trail cameras can be used. Check your local laws before you buy to make sure you are not inadvertently breaking the law.

Trail Camera Home Security Conclusion


The use of trail cameras for home security offers numerous benefits, including affordability, remote monitoring, and inconspicuousness. By strategically hiding these cameras, homeowners can maximize their effectiveness in safeguarding their properties against possible intruders. However, it is essential to create a balance between surveillance and privacy, ensuring that the cameras are used responsibly and in compliance with local regulations.


Remember, while game cameras can provide an additional layer of surveillance, they should not replace comprehensive home security measures such as sturdy locks, outdoor lighting, and alarm systems. By combining multiple security layers, homeowners can create a robust defense against potential threats, offering greater peace of mind for themselves and their families.


To enhance your home’s security today download The Secure Dad Home Security Quick Reference for free. It will walk you through some quick security wins to upgrade your home’s defenses.

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Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.

 

Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

 

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