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How many times have you had a great trail ride and which you had video footage of some of your moves or the challenging terrain? Smartphones take great pictures and decent video, but most are not designed to hand the bump and shakes of a biking adventure.
Whether you’re planning on a solo ride or an informal mountain biking event, you may be looking for the perfect tech device to film the ride but are a little overwhelmed by the results. There are a few options to consider, a helmet-style action cam or a trail cam.
We will discuss the differences between each and give you some details, so you know which one will work best for your biking needs.
Action Cameras vs. Trail Stealth Cams
Action cameras and stealth or trail (sometimes called stealth) cams are completely different recording devices but can be useful to a mountain biker like yourself, it all depends on your wants and needs.
If you’ve been riding for awhile, you’re probably pretty familiar with an action camera. Action cams (which are also often referred to as Point of View or POV cameras) are designed and geared towards extreme sports and outdoor enthusiasts (although anyone can use one).
Actions cameras make great helmet cameras but usually have various mounting capabilities like on the handlebars or strapped to the body of a rider. Today’s action cams are lightweight, compact, easy to use, and can withstand the elements.
The prices of action cams vary from under $100 to well over $300. The cost of the camera usually reflects the recording quality (4K) as well as Wi-Fi capabilities, stabilization, and other features that make high-quality photos and video footage.
An action camera is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to shoot POV film, record from a variety of angles, and have versatility when it comes to editing.
Trail Stealth Cams
If you bike around in the woods a lot, maybe you’ve noticed rectangular boxes mounted to some trees along the trail; these are most likely trail cams. Like action cameras, trail cameras vary in price, have a lot of features, and can take some high-quality video footage or photos.
Trail stealth cams are designed to film or take photos of any motion that is detected within a range (100 feet, for example). These types of cameras are popular among hunters or people who want to watch wildlife without getting too close; some people even set them up as a security device for their home.
While there are many “bare bones” trail cams on the market, many of the today’s models have wireless capabilities, remote systems, and clear 4K video. Most trail cameras are durable, designed to withstand the elements, and detect motion and operate at night.
Even though a trail cam is not traditionally considered an action cam, especially outside of the hunting and wildlife realm, it may be a great alternative for trail races, group rides, or when getting additional perspectives. One plus of a trail cam is not having to worry about mounting a camera on your helmet or bike.
Things To Consider When Shopping For Action or Trail Cams
Although each device is different, there are few things to consider when shopping for either one.
Most action and trail cams are designed to handle all kinds of weather. Many are waterproof, shockproof, and even freezeproof. Before you settle on an action or trail camera, you’ll want to make sure that it has a waterproof case and that will hold up for the style of riding you like to do.
If you travel a lot or have other outdoor hobbies such as surfing or snowboarding an action camera might be better suited, as it’s portable, lightweight, and designed for various everyday use. If you enjoy mountain biking, but are also an avid hunter or enjoy watching wildlife, a trail cam is an excellent and versatile choice.
The battery life in most action cams will allow you to film 4K footage continuously for about an hour before you need to recharge. Trail cameras typically only operate when the motion sensor detects within its field of view, so the battery is likely to last longer; keep in mind that your options with the length of the footage are usually limited.
Safety and Security
Some riders use an action camera to film as they ride as a safety precaution in case of an accident. As fun as mountain biking is (and responsible as you may be as a cyclist), there is always the risk of injury or accident; an action cam can film any helpful details.
If you have trails on your property, and you allow other cyclists to use them, a trail cam can be a useful tool if someone wipes out and gets hurt.
Action and trail cams with a basic design and features typically don’t have connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth; some of the more expensive models will connect to Wi-Fi which makes it easier to edit and upload material.
Software and apps, such as the Stealth Cam app, can also help with the editing and uploading your video footage or photos.
Whether you’re interested in buying an action cam or a trail cam, you’ll want to consider if you need extra accessories such as a waterproof case, memory cards, spare batteries, USB cables, or mounting equipment.
When buying an action camera, there is a variety of buying options such as buying the camera or a “kit” which contains extra accessories. Trail cams often come with everything you need but some accessories, like the Stealth Cam card reader, can enhance your experience of using a trail cam.
An Up-Close Look At An Action Cam and a Trail Cam
Now that we’ve discussed the differences between the cameras and a few things to consider, we will take a look at an action cam and trail camera so you can get an even better idea what you want (maybe you’ll want to end up buying one of each).
EPIC Stealth Cam
The EPIC Stealth Cam is an action camera by EPIC, a Texas-based company that manufactures and distributes action adventure cameras.
The EPIC Stealth Cam is 9.8 x 7.1 x 3.5 inches and weighs less than two pounds, which makes it an ideal helmet camera. It has a 168-degree wide angle, 640 x 480 digital video with audio capabilities, 30 frames per second, and can take still photos.
Although the EPIC Stealth Cam has a relatively basic design and not as many advanced features as similar action cameras, the batteries are included as is the 2GB memory card. It comes with a variety of mounting option and a waterproof case.
Stealth Cam G42NG
This trail stealth cam is targeted to hunters, but it may be an ideal option for a mountain cyclist who is looking for a high-quality camera to set up along a trail. The dimensions of this trail cam are 5.5 x 2.8 x 4.2 inches and weighs 11.4 ounces, which makes it a discreet option. The case is weather-resistant and durable.
The G42NG camera takes 10MP pictures and five to 180-second HD videos with audio. Video resolution options are 20×480 and 1280×720. The camera also operates after dark and will film or take pictures within a 100-foot range. The burst mode takes up to nine photos once the sensor detects motion.
Depending on your preferences for video and photo, you can manually set up the camera or use the preprogrammed modes. A password protects video footage and photos, and you can also utilize the time, date, and name stamp features.
The camera uses eight-AA batteries, and there is also an external jack for a 12-volt battery; most reviews say that the batteries are good for about three to six months, the frequency of use will play a significant role on your battery life.
The G42NG is not the most tech-advanced trail camera on the market, but it gives you a good idea of what a trail cam is and if it’s the right choice for you.
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