Thermal optics and imaging devices have long been sought after but priced out of reach for most preppers. I make no claims to have any expertise in thermal nor any other kind of night vision. Night vision – including thermal – provides the ability to at least monitor what exists in the darkness while others can only listen and guess. This is incredibility important and cannot be overstated. Knowing what goes “bump” in the night provides a tremendous benefit. In particular, thermal can be very expensive and for most of us not more than a dream.
Inexpensive Thermal for Prepper’s
Enter the Seek Thermal XR. The Seek XR is a very small, highly portable device that attaches to Apple and Android compatible devices. Running between $240 and $275 it is very affordable(maybe not “dirt cheap”). My particular model uses a Lightning adapter allowing it to be connected to my iPhone 6S.
Once the camera is connected to the phone an App allows access to viewing. There are a variety of modes – called filters – that can be used depending on the environment and your personal preference. I’m not going to go through all the specifics of the software, however, there are a couple critical things to know:
First – Pictures and video can be taken within the App to allow for viewing later. This is excellent for surveillance record keeping and being able to actually show someone what has been seen rather than just describe it.
Second – This device is not mountable to a firearm. Well – it is possible however mounting to a firearm is not its intended purpose.
To show some of the thermal capabilities a few video clips and still images follow:
ABOVE: Approx 30 yards away an intruder peeks around a shed and then moves to a tree for cover.
ABOVE: Approx. 30 yards away an intruder walks behind the fence along the property perimeter. There is a 1.5″ inch gap between the 6″ boards in the fence.
ABOVE: An individual walks around the side of a house approx. 100 yards away.
ABOVE: Still image with a maximum distance of approx 175 yards.
ABOVE: Approx 80 yards away to the wood line.
Benefits of Thermal for Preppers:
Consider the incredible benefits of thermal. Hunting wild game could be made much more successful. Not only could hunting commence at night but even during the day, thermal could assist greatly in finding animals hidden in deep brush.
The biggest benefit of thermal usage is identifying potential threats in the dark of night. Expanding the number of surveillance hours per day from around 12-16 to a full 24 hours is huge.
Search and rescue is another area that the Seek XR Thermal would provide benefits, Imagine a lost dog – or kid – somewhere out in the woods. Thermal would provide great benefits over a flashlight beam.
At this price point, there is not a lot that is truly negative about the Seek XR. There are a few points to keep in mind th0ugh…..
- Image and video resolution are not the greatest. This affects the ability to see details. You can tell a man is a man even at a few hundred yards – if moving. Animals can be identified as animals, however, knowing their specific species depends on how far away they are and their actions. I’ve seen rabbits hopping around at 40-50 yards however if they were still I would have just known there was an animal there.
- The Seek XR Thermal is a quality item, however, it does not feel like the most durable piece of equipment. Care needs to be taken not to drop it or drop it in water.
- When connected to a cell phone the screen emits quite a bit of light when used in total darkness. This obviously would be an issue when trying to detect potential intruders. One possible solution is darkening the screen however this may limit the ability to see details. Making some type of shade to hide the emitted light would be helpful. The most plausible solution is using a remote cable so that the Seek XR can be placed outside or a building while the cell phone connected to it is inside. I’ve not tried this yet, however, the cables are sold.
Let’s Wrap It Up
The Seek XR Thermal has limitations – but it’s $250! I have demonstrated this device to several prepper friends and they were blown away – especially using the WHITE filter – the level of detail observed. It is a game changer for those who cannot afford more expensive and capable thermal.
Well worth the price.