August 8, 2022

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Best Night Vision Goggles of 2022 for Camping and Spotting Wildlife

Night vision used to be exclusively used by the military, but now the technology has become a regular feature in many smartphones and security cameras. Night vision goggles have also become commonly used devices for nighttime fishing, boating, hiking, climbing, hunting, and camping because they give the user the ability to see in very dim lighting and in complete darkness. This ability is incredibly helpful to avoid encounters with animals or prevent accidents while walking around a campsite. 

Hunters are usually hindered by the foliage, but with an appropriate set of night vision goggles, they can spot animals that are hidden in bushes or even partially hidden behind trees. The infrared technology picks up on the heat of the animal, displaying it clearly to the user. With this and many more uses, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re are incredibly popular. We’ve rounded up the best night vision goggles for your next camping trip.

Best Overall: CREATIVE XP Night Vision Goggles
Best Cheap: Nightfox Swift Night Vision Goggles
Best Weather Resistant: GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles
Best for Recording Video: JStoon Night Vision Goggles
Best for Kids: Hike Crew Camouflage Digital Night Vision Binoculars

How We Picked the Best Night Vision Goggles


I selected the best night vision goggles based on extensive product research and significant experience hiking, camping, and fishing in nighttime conditions that required navigating dark paths and lakes with both standard and infrared goggles. I compared more than 30 products, but eliminated many options due to inconsistent information and low availability, including the ATN PVS7-3 goggles, the Yukon NV goggles, and the Sharper Image True Night Vision Binoculars

Range, zoom, runtime, and weather resistance were the key factors that helped to select our picks. The product needed to refer to the night vision range. I dropped products with misleading information. This was also the case for the zoom. Having a zoom function was not necessary, but it was important for the stated zoom magnification to be accurate without reducing image clarity until it’s indistinguishable. 

For runtime, I looked for models with runtime between 3 to 8 hours. I rated products with more runtime more favorably than similar devices that lacked the long runtime. Additionally, if a set of night vision goggles claimed to be designed for camping, hunting, or boating, then it was important for the product to have some level of weather resistance. Finally, models that came with extra features that improved the user experience, like photo capture or video recording, were given preference over similar models that lacked these features.

Best Night Vision Goggles: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Night Vision Goggles Overall: CREATIVE XP Night Vision Goggles

Long-Range Night Vision. CREATIVE XP

Why It Made the Cut: Users can view up to 1,340 feet away with this set, then use the 4-inch screen to play back captured images and video.

— Zoom: 3.5x and 7x
— Range: 1,340 feet
— Runtime: 4 to 8 hours

— Impressive range
— Camera and video function
— Includes carrying case, neck strap, and 32 GB SD card
— Infrared illuminator for full pitch-black vision

— Batteries and not included

The CREATIVE XP night vision goggles are the best night vision goggles overall for anyone that is looking to take photos of nocturnal birds, like owls, and other animals. While some night vision goggles cannot record videos or capture images, this set is specifically designed to take clear photos and record video with volume.

The data is stored on an included 32 GB SD card and can be uploaded to a computer if the user wants to keep the files. This device has a 3.5x digital zoom and a 7x optical zoom, as well as an impressive range of 1,340 feet. When used at night, these goggles can run for up to 4 hours with eight new AA batteries, and it can run for up to 8 hours in the daytime. Just keep in mind that the goggles do not come with batteries, so they will need to be purchased separately. 

They are also well-suited for camping, hiking, and even fishing due to their durable, impact-resistant shell and the IPX4 water resistance rating. However, it should be noted that these goggles are not resistant to dust and sand, so it isn’t advised to use them on the beach or in the desert. 

Best Cheap: Nightfox Swift Night Vision Goggles

Affordable Hands-Free Goggles. NIGHTFOX

Why It Made the Cut: These are the best cheap night vision goggles that let you walk around comfortably in dim and pitch-black conditions while hiking, camping, or hunting.

— Zoom: 1x and 2x
— Range: 225 feet
— Runtime: 3 hours

— Hands-free design
— Adjustable brightness
— Rechargeable battery
— Multiple IR (infrared) levels

— Not waterproof

While some night vision goggles rely exclusively on enhancing ambient light to improve the user’s vision, this set by Nightfox Swift use infrared (IR) light to create images even when it’s pitch black. They have multiple IR levels that allow for improved clarity in varying light levels, making them ideal for the early morning or late evening. This sets runs on rechargeable batteries, instead of forcing the user to repeatedly purchase six to eight disposable batteries, like other products. When fully charged, the goggles can last for up to three hours of runtime.  

Nightfox Swift’g goggles are specifically made for hands-free use and include a head mount to keep the goggles secure on the user’s head and face. They have a 1x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom with a range of 225 feet. The modest zoom levels help users remain safe and properly oriented when wearing the goggles, as higher zoom levels could cause the user to slip or trip on unseen obstacles. However, these don’t have a waterproof rating. The manufacturer notes that they are suitable for light rain, but beyond this point, they are not water resistant.

Best Weather Resistant: GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles

Dust- and Water-Resistant. GTHUNDER

Why It Made the Cut: Take advantage of the impressive weather resistance to enjoy nighttime fishing or boating trips without concern.

— Zoom: 3x and 4x
— Range: 984 feet
— Runtime: 3 to 6 hours

— IP56 water and dust resistance
— Camera and video function
— Includes carrying case and 32 GB SD card

— Batteries not included  

While you will need to pick up six AA batteries to use this set, you can take the GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles out fishing, boating, hiking, climbing, camping, or hunting without having to worry about dust or water damage. These goggles have an impressive weather resistance rating of IP56, which means that they are protected against powerful jets of water, waves, and splashing making them our pick for the best weather-resistant night vision goggles. However, it should be noted that the goggles are not completely waterproof, so if the goggles are dropped into the water and fully submerged, they are vulnerable to damage. 

In addition, these goggles come with the ability to capture images or record video with the built-in camera. The files are then saved on a removable 32 GB SD card, so users can move the files to a computer for more permanent storage. The goggles have a 3x digital zoom and 4x optical zoom, as well as an impressive range of 984 feet. At night they last for up to 3 hours of continuous use, while during the day they last for up to 6 hours before the batteries need to be replaced.

Best for Recording Video: JStoon Night Vision Goggles

Capture and Record Video. JStoon

Why It Made the Cut: Capture superior image clarity with seven levels of infrared light adjustment with this set of night vision goggles. 

— Zoom: 3x and 4x
— Range: 984 feet
— Runtime: 3 to 6 hours

— Seven infrared levels for enhanced clarity
— Camera and video function
— Includes carrying case and 32 GB SD card
— Six buttons for multi-functional image adjustment

— Batteries not included

Take time to enjoy the nighttime sights with the best night vision goggles for recording video, equipped with 3x digital zoom and 4x optical zoom, as well as seven infrared levels. By increasing the infrared level the user can increase the brightness of the image that is displayed on the LED screen. These goggles have an impressive range of 984 feet, allowing you to capture truly awe-inspiring sights with the photo function or in HD video. You can use the six buttons located on the top of the night vision goggles to adjust the image for optimal clarity and positioning. The files are saved and stored on the included 32 GB SD card, which can be inserted in a laptop or desktop computer to upload the files for more permanent storage. 

Once the fun is over, pack the JStoon Night Vision Goggles into the included carrying case to keep the goggles protected while they are not in use. These goggles operate on six AA batteries, which must be purchased separately. New batteries last for up to 3 hours during the night and 6 hours in daylight. 

Best Night Vision Goggles for Kids: Hike Crew Camouflage Digital Night Vision Binoculars

Easy To Use. Hike Crew

Why It Made the Cut: Head to the backyard or pack up and go camping to explore the night with the best night vision goggles for kids.

— Zoom: 2x and 7x
— Range: 350 feet
— Runtime: 6 to 10 hours

— Long battery life
— Camera and video function
— Includes carrying case and neck strap
— Seven infrared levels to improve focus

— Not waterproof

Take the kids out to the yard and hand them the Hike Crew Night Vision Goggles so that they can enjoy watching nocturnal animals, like owls, rabbits, and foxes. This set well-suited for kids because they are made with durable, impact-resistant ABS plastic that can help protect them if they are accidentally dropped. The goggles last for up to six hours during the night and 10 hours in daylight, though users will need to replace the eight AA batteries when they run dry.

Take advantage of the camera and video function to capture images and record video at a range of 350 feet. Use the 2x digital zoom or 7x optical zoom to increase the magnification and the seven infrared levels to enhance the brightness of the image. Just keep in mind that while these goggles are impact-resistant, they are not rated for water resistance, so it’s recommended to keep them out of the rain and they aren’t the best option for going boating or fishing. However, they do come with a carrying case and a neck strap to help prevent them from getting damaged when they are not in use.

Things to Consider Before Buying

It’s important to know how you want to use these goggles before trying to figure out which ones you want to purchase. Take some time to familiarize yourself with some of the key product factors before choosing the best goggles for hunting, camping, or hiking. 

Weather Resistance

One of the first things to consider when you are deciding on a pair is if the goggles need to be weather resistant. You can find versions that are completely waterproof, ensuring that even if they are dropped in the water they can be retrieved without damage. This feature is ideal for nighttime fishing trips or camping trips. Similarly, certain models have a dust and debris resistance rating that indicates how well the device is protected against dirt, dust, sand, and other small particles.

Another factor to keep in mind is durability. If you plan to carry them in a backpack or wear them while running, walking, or crawling through forested areas then it’s a good idea to look for goggles that are impact resistant. 

Zoom and Range

Zoom: Depending on the design, some night vision goggles are equipped with an optical zoom and a digital zoom, allowing you to magnify the current image and get a closer look. That said, the resolution of images that have been enhanced with night vision technology can be greatly reduced by zooming. Also, if you will be walking around with hands-free night vision goggles, you should avoid zooming the image to prevent accidental injury.

Range: The range refers to the maximum distance that the night vision goggles will allow you to see before the image becomes distorted. This is typically measured for both daytime use and nighttime use. Choose a set that can focus on images clearly within the desired range.


Night vision goggles typically run on rechargeable or disposable batteries. However, if the battery life runs out, then the goggles no longer work, forcing the user to try and see in near or complete darkness. Additionally, the runtime of night vision goggles is different during the day than it is during the night because they require more energy to see images clearly during the night than they do during the day.

Check the product information to find out the runtime and make sure to note the distinction between daytime use and nighttime use to avoid getting stuck in the dark. Also, it’s a good idea to keep spare batteries in a pocket or backpack if you are going to be using the eyewear during an extended camping trip.


There is a clear distinction between Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3 night vision goggles. Many companies don’t include the generation of their night vision goggles in the product information, but the main difference between the three generations is the strength of the light amplification. 

Generation 1 are the most commonly used by civilians and they are also the most affordable. These goggles can increase the light gain to about 900x.

Generation 2 are typically used by military personnel, though some enthusiastic hunters may also employ these high-tech devices that are capable of increasing the light gain to 30,000x. This is a significant step up in image clarity and light sensitivity, but also a big step up in price.

Generation 3 are used by the military because they can also increase the light gain to 30,000x and they are also capable of being used for more than 10,000 hours. Additionally, Gen 3 goggles are made for use with scopes, camera adapters, and magnification lenses to increase the versatility and cost of these impressive devices.


Q. Are night vision goggles legal in the US?
Night vision goggles are completely legal to own and use in the United States. However, it is prohibited to take these devices out of the country.  

Q. Do night vision goggles work?
Night vision goggles do work to illuminate objects in near-darkness and complete darkness. Traditional night vision goggles require a low number of light photons to amplify the image, while infrared ones detect heat and convert the heat signal into visual images. 

Q. Is there a difference between night vision and infrared?
Standard night vision goggles use light photons that are present within the area to create a visible image for the user. This is accomplished by converting the light photons into electrical signals and amplifying the energy to create an image.

Infrared goggles can be used without any light in the vicinity because they detect heat and convert the heat signature into images. This means that even in a smoky building, infrared goggles can pick up heat signatures, though intense heating or cooling can counteract these devices.

Q. How much do night vision goggles cost?
A pair of night vision goggles for the average user costs between $100 to $600. However, the cost can quickly increase and exceed $5,000 if you are looking for premium military-grade equipment.

Final Thoughts

Get everything most casual users will need with the CREATIVE XP and take advantage of the powerful range for hunting and spotting. If you prefer a more affordable option, you can go with the hands-free Nightfox Swift.

Interested in seeing the planets up close instead? Check out our guide to the best telescopes.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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