The Best Mini Projector for Camping

For some, camping is all about going to the great outdoors in order to rough it out. For others, they instead want to undergo what’s known as glamping or glamour camping, where they can go camping in the wilderness but they have all the luxuries in the world with them. If you have young kids, it’s likely for them to end up bored if they don’t have a TV show or movie to watch. You might get bored yourself if you’ve roughed it before and wish for some modern entertainment in the middle of making a fire or setting up a tent.

Did you know you can camp out and watch movies for a wide audience while camping? It’s all possible with the assistance of a mini projector. A mini projector, by the way, is a great way for you to entertain yourself even while camping. Just make sure to bring a USB full of movies or a mobile Internet connection for Netflix streaming and a screen, and you’re all set!

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What to Look for in a Mini Projector for Camping 

Not everyone wants to rough it outdoors with camping. You can go glamping in style with the right mini projector, such as the Vankyo Leisure 3 Projector. With that in mind, here are the hallmarks of an excellent mini projector for camping that you should be on the lookout for that incidentally coincides with the offerings of Vankyo Leisure 3. It’s tough, it can be used outdoors, it’s bright enough to shine in ambient light or low-lighting conditions, and it’s pretty portable with a long-lasting battery.

  • Avert Boredom with a Mini Projector: While cooped up in a tent with children, you can distract them with loads of movies from Netflix or a USB drive and your mini projector. You can also have them play their Nintendo Switch with the device since that game console is known to work both as a portable and home console just like mini projectors. Being able to bond with your family while watching the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is the kind of bonding experience your glamping lifestyle needs.
  • Tips on Setting Up a Portable Projector: A good camping mini projector is one you can setup anywhere and anytime, especially outdoors. With that said, you still need to follow several guidelines in setting up these display devices. First, wait until it’s pitch-dark to set them up. Sure, some of them have high brightness that allows them to be viewable at daytime, but they’re simply more vibrant and colorful at nighttime. You should also either bring a portable screen or use your tent as a screen then adjust the trapezoidal picture with keystone correction.
  • Things to Buy Along with Your Mini Projector: You should get a Bluetooth speaker along with the mini projector. Otherwise, huddle close in the tent or camping area to hear the sound coming from the built-in speakers of your projector of choice. Regardless, external or extra speakers are recommended for optimum viewing pleasure. Additionally, you should get some relevant accessories for good measures, like a carrying case and a tripod for your projector and/or projection screen.
  • Type of Media Player: There are many types of media players to choose from as well as mini projectors. You can try to stream movies to the projector wirelessly through a dongle or through online services like Netflix. However, how successful your attempts will depend on whether your Wi-Fi or mobile data signal is strong in the wilderness. Many projectors allow USB sticks, SD cards, external HDDs, and HDMI connections to connect to the. Consider saving your movie on a flash drive, tablet, or laptop for easier access when camping.

How Vankyo Compared to Other Mini Projectors 

Below are some recommended portable projectors to use for camping and how Vankyo Leisure 3 compares to them. To be more specific, their hallmarks of excellence will be discussed, followed by how Vankyo also has such properties or features included with its own camping projector offering. Vankyo is our chosen one because it seemingly has the best aspects of all other camping projectors. 

  • Connectivity Options: When getting a mini projector for camping, it should have multiple connectivity options. This is the case with both the InFocus IN1146 and Vankyo Leisure 3. They can connect through SD card, USB drive, HDMI ports, and RCA cables. The InFocus also has an optional Wi-Fi adapter that can connect to your smartphone, which is also the case with Vankyo.

Additionally, InFocus offers 640 lumens of brightness in its brightness mode, which works excellently for a portable model or when dealing with ambient light in camps like the campfire. However, it lacks battery options so you need t connect InFocus to a power source. Vankyo actually is portable and has a strong, long-lasting battery though as well as brightness to match.

  • Portability: Portability is also another important aspect of a camping projector. You obviously can’t lug around a huge projector that’s bigger than a water cooler with you. The AAXA HD is an extremely portable device that can fit into the palm of your hand like a smartphone. It’s a mobile device projector in and of itself. It does have drawbacks though, like the fact that it only has a projector brightness of 50 lumens in order to keep it portable.

However, the AAXA HD more than makes up for it with its ability to fit into a tent that you can use as your dark room or theater to watch whatever you want. Its minimum throw distance is 17 inches and it has a decently large image size comparable to a medium-sized flatscreen. It also includes a 2-hour lifespan from an embedded lithium-ion battery. Alas, it doesn’t have the connectivity of other projectors because it lacks the ability to link to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices.

  • Battery Life: The LG PH1508 is a one-pound device with a throw distance of 13 inches. It helps that it has a two-hour operating life, which makes it comparable to having a laptop around that lasts about 4-6 hours. The projector maintains its smallness due to its Bluetooth compatibility that allows it to reduce cable clutter when push comes to shove.

Meanwhile, the Vankyo Leisure 3 is the size of a small laptop, allowing you to bring it along anywhere you want in its suitcase or carrying case. Just be careful not to drop it. You can carry it anywhere flat that you can project an image unto, from your tent to your handy screen. It also comes with a remote, cables, and extra space on the case. It’s about 100 bucks as well. 

What The Vankyo Leisure 3 Brings to The Table 

Let’s now discuss what Vankyo Leisure 3 brings to the table. In a nutshell, it’s portable, lightweight, powerfully bright, has a myriad of connections, and can do multiple screen sizes depending on how near or far it is to the screen (throw distance). Let’s now dissect why it’s the best mini camping projector possible for your glamping needs. 

  • Small Carrying Case: Camping in the wilderness naturally will have that device face a rough and tumble existence it won’t normally face when used as a home cinema device. However, if you’re careful and don’t drop it, it can take the rough outdoors quite superbly, as many a customer would attest. It also has a small carrying case that allows you to bring along the device just about anywhere like you would with your other electronics. You don’t have to put it at the back or inside your backpack with your other things.
  • Native Resolution Concerns: You might be concerned about the limits of HD on this non-HD projector with a native resolution of 800 x 480. Rest assured that despite its compactness, it’s compatible with 1920 x 1080 or 1080p projections as well as 720p projections. The even smaller projectors above have similarly smaller native resolution that you have to blow up as well. For something portable at a hundred bucks, this is the highest quality camping projector money can buy. Also remember, it’s not recommended for office presentations with programs like PowerPoint. You need a separate office or business projector for those applications.
  • Affordable and Feature-Rich: Many of the camping mini projectors above, even though they’re truly excellent in their own right, lack one or two features that the Vankyo Leisure 3 has. The projector has a native resolution of 800×480 that can be blown up to HD proportions. It also makes use of single-chip LCD tech. You can even get it for a hundred bucks, making it affordable so you can buy other camping equipment without impacting your camping budget. You can even use it to watch movies while fishing or other lackadaisical activities involving long wait times.
  • LED-Illuminated and Incredibly Bright: The manufacturer claims that the projector can produce 2,400 lumens of brightness from its LED lamp, which is a lot brighter than the 50 or 640 lumens of other camping projectors. This also makes the Vankyo projector an ideal display device for your gaming needs, like if you have a Switch that you want to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on, you can do it with Vankyo as opposed to much smaller devices. The 2000:1 contrast as claimed by Vankyo also helps you better see clear detail and colors even though the projector doesn’t have native HD support.
  • Long Lamp Life: Even though the Vankyo lacks a lens shift and zoom lens ratio due to its size, it’s still a glamping device mainstay with its long-lasting battery, its lightweight 2.4 pounds, and its long lamp life of 40,000 hours. As long as you maintain its integrity by keeping it from blunt-force impact, overheating, moisture or bodies of water, unstable mounts or stands, or anywhere filled with dirt, sand, rocks, and dust (get a table for it), then you’re good to go. You also might have serious overheating concerns during summer camping, so keep it cool. Its lamp will reliably give you 2,400 lumens of brightness that can withstand ambient lighting for 4.5 years. 
  • Color Wheel and Rainbow Effect: The single-chip LCD projector uses a color-filter wheel. This might result in a rainbow effect where momentary rainbows trail bright, moving objects on a dark background when watching a movie, TV show, or so forth as well as playing a game. This is caused by the color wheel of the device. This flaw is something that’s as natural as TV static on CRT TVs or artifacting on HDTVs. It can’t be avoided but it can be tolerated, especially since this is a much more cost-effective and compact camping projector made to last.
  • Screen Size Options: The Vankyo Leisure 3 is capable of filling screens from 32 to 176 inches. In other words, as big as a large HDTV or as big as the side of your camper or an inflatable backyard projector screen. As for resolution, the native 800 x 480 can fill up 1920 x 1080 HD content easily although it obviously isn’t as detailed as a bigger projector with native 1080p resolution. Regardless, this resolution works in tandem with its 2000:1 contrast ratio and 2,400-lumen lamp to give you the most detailed images and videos possible.
  • Black Levels, Dynamic Iris, and LED Modulation: There are relatively high black levels on most inexpensive projectors like Vankyo Leisure 3. On top of its low price, it also has LED modulation and dynamic iris. Sure, it doesn’t have lens shift but in terms of actually projecting a quality movie, its lens, lamp, and brightness will pull you through. It has many parts typical of a projector its size on top of sophisticated hardware found in more expensive projectors as well just for the sake of adding a bit of quality to the resulting projection or image.
  • Small Footprint: It might not be as supremely small and portable as the one-pound LG PH1508 or the handheld AAXA HD or has as many connectivity options as the InFocus IN1146. However, Vankyo trumps them all by having the same footprint as a small laptop and probably the same display specs of a laptop monitor with hardware. A modern projector is practically a laptop monitor with hardware and software to process and store movie files as well as play media sources through its multitude of connections and ports. It’s both portable and has enough connections for your movie needs, such as a portable DVD player or a flash drive.
  • A Good Laptop Companion: Do you have a laptop that you use on camping trips to watch movies on your lonesome, but it’s too small for watching movies as a family or as a whole office full of people? Then Vankyo Leisure 3 is the camping and laptop companion for you. If you’re in need of bigger screens for a larger audience of more than 2-3 people, then you can depend on the 2,400-lumen projector with enough brightness from its LED lamp to deal with even shaded conditions in daylight. Ambient lighting from a campfire won’t make its picture look dull, faint, or muddy at all.
  • Specs to Watch Out For: In terms of connectivity, the Vankyo offers inputs for analog, VGA, USB, and HDMI. It also has a throw distance of 4.9 to 16.4 feet depending on how big you want your screen to be and how many people in your camping expedition wants to watch a movie or show with you. There’s also no need to worry about overheating thanks to the device’s noise-suppressed cooling system that effectively dissipates heat and cuts the fan noise in half. It also has its own 4W stereo speakers in case you don’t want to connect a wireless dongle or a stereo system unto it. it also accepts SD memory chips with its TF slots. If you want to do Netflix, you need Chromecast or something similar to connect the projector to the Internet.

To Summarize

The Vankyo projector advertised in this guide is the best among the collection of camping projectors here because it’s a good balance of projector quality and portability as well as battery life. The others were more lacking in one or two departments, even though they excelled in the rest. You also don’t need a projector that’s too small or else you might as well just watch your movies on your smartphone or laptop. This projector is the salt that will add flavor to your camping experience steak when all is said and done.

It simply gives you more bang for your buck with its brightness, its serviceable native resolution, its LED modulation, its dynamic iris that adjusts zooming and clarity dependent on the lighting conditions around you, and its small footprint as a portable device. The whole point of having a projector is to simulate the movie theater or even home cinema experience in the great outdoors, whether you have to do it on a screen, tarp, towel, blanket, or the side of your tent. In terms of glamping, the Vankyo Leisure 3 is a must because it’s the most high-quality yet cost-effective option you have when it comes to movie projection in trailer parks, national parks, forested campsites, or pure wilderness.

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James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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