Last Updated on 27/08/2023
In this guide to the best baby monitors for camping, we share the limited options available and how you can use them to keep an ear on young children when camping. You will learn the maximum ranges, battery life, and capabilities just by skimming through our reviews. By the end, you will understand why there are so few baby monitors that work for camping.
I don’t have any kids yet, but my sister has three (six months, three years, and six years) to whom I’m the proud uncle and godfather too. I was looking for a gift that might help for an upcoming camping trip that I just got back from and decided a portable baby monitor would help to put their mind at ease on an evening.
This guide has my shortlist of 5 of the best baby monitors for camping and a short review of why I think it belongs here.
4 Best Baby Monitors For Camping
VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor
- BATTERY LIFE: 4+ hours
- RANGE: 1000 ft
- FEATURES: Vibrating Sound-Alert, Talk Back Intercom, and Night Light Loop
The VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor is a popular option around the home, but it also works for camping. Both units use a rechargeable battery. However, this is more of a backup feature, and they work better when plugged in. The battery life will typically last around 4 hours when camping but can be increased by using a power bank or station.
The loop attachments are great for clipping on the side of a cot or at the top of a tent so you can get a clear sound from the monitor. The loop on the baby monitor also doubles as a night light with a warm orange glow which can help reassure your baby when it wakes. On the parent unit, you can control the volume and transfer messages via the two-way talk button.
VERDICT: The VTech DM221 baby monitor is okay for camping but has a limited battery capacity, making it much better when plugged in. The loops at the top make this one of the easier monitors to hang in a tent, and the soft night lamp is a nice touch for babies who don’t like the dark. The screen doesn’t offer many benefits but the sound is well-isolated and very clear. I would still recommend the ROAR baby monitor.
ROAR Baby Monitor for Camping
- BATTERY LIFE: 20+ hours
- RANGE: 1000+ ft
- FEATURES: Fully Wireless, Dustproof, Water Resistant, 2-Way Talk
The ROAR Baby Monitor is the only unit that is designed specifically for camping and outdoor use when you don’t have a power supply or heavy power station in your tent. Most families who go camping won’t have access to a power supply, so having both the parent and receiver unit be powered by rechargeable batteries is a game changer.
They work kind of like walkie-talkies, only that the baby monitor unit (orange) doesn’t receive sound unless you press the button on the side to send a message. So not only is it good for keeping an ear on your baby when it sleeps, but they can also be used by young children as they explore close to the tent.
VERDICT: The ROAR is probably the best audio-only baby monitor for camping at the time of writing this. It is the one I ended up settling on for my nieces and nephew, and I am satisfied there isn’t anything else out there with better battery life on both units and a more durable design for the outdoors.
VTech VM819 Video Baby Monitor
- BATTERY LIFE: 19 hours Screen, Wired Camera
- RANGE: 1000 ft
- FEATURES: 2.8” Display, Auto Night Vision, 2Way Audio Talk, Temperature Sensor
The VTech VM819 would be the best video baby monitors for camping if only the camera didn’t need to be plugged in. If you have a power station like the Anker Powerhouse, then you can use that for power in the tent, and you don’t need any wifi. But if you don’t have a power station, then you should look for a completely rechargeable system.
There’s no app on your phone, so you need to use the LCD display unit, but that works for up to 1000 feet using a secured internal 2.4GHz channel with FHSS technology. Audio and video are very clear and work in the dark, so you can always keep an eye on your baby night and day.
VERDICT: The VTech VM819 baby monitor is a great video baby monitor for camping IF you have a power station to plug the camera into. If you don’t, then you are out of options for video monitors unless you rig your own system using a GoPro or something. The good thing about this is it is that you can use it at home too (which will be like 95% of the time).
TimeFlys Audio Baby Monitor Mustang OL
- BATTERY LIFE: 8 – 10 hours
- RANGE: 1000 ft
- FEATURES: Two-Way Talk, Temperature Monitoring and Warning, Lullabies, Vibration, LCD Display
The TimeFlys Audio Baby Monitor Mustang OL is ok for a cheap camping baby monitor, but they don’t feel too durable compared to other audio-only monitors. Some of the good things I do like, though, are the temperature monitoring which warns you if your baby gets too hot or cold. Also, it has six different lullabies you can control, which can help to settle your child if they start to stir in the evenings.
On the back, there is a rotating loop that you can use with a carabiner to hang inside a tent or on the side of a cot. This helps solve the problem of where to put your baby monitor to get clear audio if you have young children as well as a baby, good luck trying to stop them from using these like a toy as they also make the perfect walkie-talkies.
VERDICT: The TimeFlys Audio Baby Monitor Mustang OL is good value for money and will do the job on short camping trips with a young child or children. The design is fun and friendly for children but doesn’t feel too robust compared to the VTech DM221 or ROAR monitors. Still, I would recommend these to new families who like camping because they also double as a toy as they grow older or they gain siblings.
Importance of Choosing the Right Baby Monitor for Camping
As a seasoned camper and a doting uncle, I’ve had my fair share of experiences when it comes to camping with babies. Selecting the appropriate baby monitor is crucial for the safety and comfort of your little one, but the real reason people use them is for peace of mind.
When you are camping with young kids, and they are asleep in the tent while you sit around the campfire with whiskey and smores, it’s nice to know your children are safely asleep.
Factors to Consider when Selecting a Baby Monitor for Camping
Before diving into the different types of baby monitors, let’s first consider the factors that come into play when choosing the right one for camping:
- Signal range and interference
- Rechargeable batteries on both units
- Ease of use and durability outdoors
- Price and budget considerations
Understanding Baby Monitor Types
There are various types of baby monitors available in the market, each catering to different needs and preferences. When camping, you will be pretty limited in your options unless you have some kind of power supply from the campsite, your RV, or from a power bank/station.
These monitors focus solely on transmitting audio from the baby’s environment. They’re ideal for parents who prefer a straightforward and affordable option and are currently the only type that can be powered fully by rechargeable batteries. When you are camping, this is likely to be your only option.
Video monitors provide both audio and visual information, allowing parents to keep an eye on their baby at all times. These monitors are especially useful for camping, as they offer a better view of the baby’s surroundings; however, there is one big problem. Baby monitor cameras need a power supply.
I have had a very good look around for a fully battery-powered video baby monitor set to take camping, and there just isn’t anything on the market. Your best options would be to take some kind of power supply like a power station or to rig your own setup using a camera phone or GoPro camera linked to your phone.
Movement monitors to track the baby’s movements and can alert parents if there is a lack of movement for a certain period. These monitors provide an extra layer of security and reassurance; however, because this requires a video output, there isn’t anything currently available that can do this while camping without a power supply.
Wi-Fi Enabled Monitors
Wi-Fi-enabled monitors connect to your smartphone or tablet, giving you the freedom to monitor your baby from anywhere with an internet connection. While they offer convenience, keep in mind that a reliable internet connection will rarely if ever, be available when camping.
Top Features for Baby Monitors Ideal for Camping
When selecting a baby monitor for camping, consider the following features:
Long Battery Life
A baby monitor with a long battery life ensures that you won’t be left in the dark when you need it most. Some simple math to help figure this one out would be: if you put your baby to bed at 6 pm and you go to bed at 10 pm, you are going to need about 4 hours per night. If you can recharge it every night, then you can use any of the audio-only baby monitors for camping, but if you can’t recharge and you are away for a full weekend, then the 20-hour battery life of the ROAR unit is a massive benefit.
Portable and Lightweight Design
A compact and lightweight monitor is easy to pack and transport, making it an excellent choice for camping trips. My personal preference is one that I can keep on my belt or in my pocket. Anything bigger than this can become a hassle trying to balance it on things when you’re sitting on a camping bench or chair.
Robust Signal Strength
A strong signal is essential for maintaining a clear connection between the monitor and the parent unit, especially when camping in remote areas. Avoid things like wifi, and instead, go for the tried and tested secure frequencies that you will see in this guide. The standard range seems to be about 1000 ft indoors and around 150 ft indoors.
A weatherproof monitor can withstand the elements, ensuring that it remains functional during your camping adventure. Baby monitors that are not designed for camping will be vulnerable to breaking if they get wet or even a little damp. Even on a dry night, condensation inside a tent might be enough to cause an indoor monitor to malfunction when camping.
I have heard from many parents that video baby monitors are great for the obvious reason, but they struggle to differentiate background noise from their baby’s breathing. Audio-only camping baby monitors seem to do a better job of transmitting clear audio, which is another reason why I went for audio-only.
Night Vision Capabilities
Night vision capabilities only apply to video baby monitors allowing you to monitor your baby even in low light conditions, providing extra reassurance during nighttime. If you do need a video unit, then getting one with night vision is recommended for camping.
Can I Use a Regular Baby Monitor for Camping?
While it is possible to use a regular baby monitor for camping, it may require additional gear to work it. If, for example, your regular baby monitor requires a wired power supply, then you will need some kind of power station or generator to operate it. Then you have to think if that is even possible – those things are heavy!
If your baby monitor works on rechargeable batteries and has a good signal range, then you could absolutely use it for camping. It’s just that most baby monitors are not built like this, which is why there are so few options in this guide to the best baby monitor for camping.