While having a movie night out in the wild and under the stars definitely elevates your camping to the realm of glamping, it doesn’t come at the expense of getting in touch with nature or doing something different from your routine. It’s not like you have to use the projector, but trust us, unless you’re really committed to wilderness living long term, a portable projector will bring a much-needed flavor of comfort to your experience. So we’d say you need one on your camping “to get” list, not far down from smartphone and flashlight.
Specifically, your ultimate portable projector for camping, glamping, or staycations should have the following.
- Compact dimensions and reasonable weight: you don’t want a bulky device that’s impossible to pack and that’ll slow you down. Products like the BenQ GS2, and the GS50 fit myriad high end features in just over three pounds. Don’t go for heavy projectors that you’ll regret having to lug around.
- Bright: displaying outdoors demands good projection power, so check that your choice has the ability to deliver 500 lumens or more.
- Battery life: what’s the point of a portable projector if it has no internal battery and thus depends on a clutter-inducing external power source? Or a tiny battery that runs dry mid-movie or game session? No, you need at least 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Tied to the previous point, LED technology. LED lighting is far more efficient than traditional projector lamps, leading to longer battery life. Also, the projection LED element lasts up to 30,000 hours. That’s a lot of camping.
- Resolution and contrast: look at specs carefully. The GS2 has 720p native, and the GS50 has 1080p native, which is ideal for outdoor viewing distances. You don’t need 4K for that, but 480p may be too low. Contrast goes to an impressive 100,000:1 native, but then great contrast is a hallmark of projectors in general.
- Connectivity: modern life means you’re never really off the grid. Positive or negative, that’s up to your interpretation. Either way, a good portable projector offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for hooking up with the internet and your personal devices. That’s effectively a smart projector.
- Elemental protection: touched on above, but not to be overlooked. If you’re outside, there’s a good chance the projector may be exposed to water or fall to the ground or something. Products designed with that in mind offer hardened shells and fortified internals to resist shocks and prevent water-caused damage.