While camping out in a tent can be a relaxing getaway from the world, I find it more comfortable when I have some sort of control over my surroundings.
One way to buff up your security while camping is a tent alarm. Whether you’re enjoying a night at a festival or in the woods, a tent alarm can give you a heads-up whenever someone (or something) enters or exits your tent.
The best tent alarms to keep you safe and secure while sleeping in a tent include:
- Motion sensor alarms from brands such as BASU and WSDCAM that will alert you when your tent’s zipper is moved.
- Brite Strike’s Perimeter Alarm System
- Motion Sensor LED Lights that will activate when something enters your tent’s vicinity.
- Hand-crafted tent zipper alarms can be made from various items, including bells and even beer cans (great for festival-goers).
Pairing a tent alarm with a tent lock can create a comforting sense of security, especially if you aren’t too familiar with the area, but I always stress convenience when using these kinds of gadgets.
Sometimes these items can create more of a disturbance than actually being helpful, so you’ll want to keep reading to learn how to properly choose and use your tent alarm.
1. BASU Tripwire Emergency Alarm
The BASU Emergency Alarm is a tripwire alarm that can be converted for tent camping use.
This alarm is pretty much as basic as it gets. To use it, you’ll attach one end of the alarm to one zipper, and the other end to the other tent zipper. The alarm comes with a carabiner that will help with attaching, but you may need an extra to attach to each zipper (you can also substitute keyrings or other items).
The alarm will be triggered when anyone attempts to pull the zippers apart, as the detachable end will disconnect and trigger a noise.
The noise itself is fairly loud and it’s more than enough to scare away any snatch-and-go thieves, but be warned you may disturb your neighbors if you’re using this alarm at a festival (although that’s probably not the biggest concern if there’s a thief in the area).
My favorite part about this alarm is being able to attach it to my bags or keys, and being able to use it in various other ways is always a plus.
2. Wsdcam Motion Sensor Alarm
Although this alarm is technically meant to be used on bicycles, it actually works fairly well as a tent alarm.
The Wsdcam alarm can be attached to your tent’s zippers using a zip tie or a small cord/rope. Once attached and activated, the alarm will detect any vibrations (e.g. someone trying to get into your stuff).
The best part about this alarm is that the sensitivity of the alarm, as well as the noise level that it creates, can be adjusted, which I find to be great for applying to both wilderness and festival camping. You don't want the wind setting off your alarm while you're out dancing.
The Wsdcam alarm can come in handy whether you want a lower noise that will scare away thieves without causing a disturbance, or a loud noise to scare away animals.
It even comes with a handy little remote that can be used to control the alarm, dial S.O.S., and even locate the alarm if you attach it to any belongings or bags.
Featuring adjustable sensitivity and volume plus a wireless remote this alarm can help give you added protection to your equipment.
Loud enough to hear from far away this alarm will scare off most potential thieves.
3. Brite Strike Perimeter Alarm
Perimeter alarms like this one from Brite Strike will alert you if anything wanders into your campsite, but I would really only recommend it for those who are camping in areas where there may be larger animals.
This camp perimeter security system (CAPSS) will alert you with flashing lights and a loud noise if something enters the perimeter of your campsite.
It works off of a tripwire/pin setup, and while it may seem complicated it’s fairly easy to set up and activate at night.
Simply attach the alarm and connect the provided tripwire to an object or stake, and run it along the edge of your site to another stake.
While I don’t see this method being practical for securing your tent at a festival, it can definitely add some peace of mind while camping if you’re worried about animals wandering nearby at night.
4. Homemade Tent Alarm
If you’re a light sleeper or are really just looking to have something to alert you if a kiddo decides to run off, a homemade tent alarm can give you a similar result as a store-bought alarm.
You can make your own tent alarm using anything that will make noise when moved, which can be anything from beer cans (for my festival-goers) to jingle bells as this Redditor suggests.
To use your leftover beer cans, simply tie them together using some string and attach them to your tent’s zippers using the zip loops. The same can be done with bells or any other noise-makers.
Your end result will be a functioning tent alarm that will alert you if anything tries to enter or exit your tent at night.
Pair it with a nighttime tent lock and you should be able to sleep a little more soundly.
5. Motion Sensor Lights
While these won’t create an audible noise to alert you of any intruders, motion sensor LED lights like these battery powered Bright Solar Motion Sensor Lights from Amazon can be a great way of scaring off any animals or people who come near your tent at night.
These are best for those setting up for outdoor camping, as I’d imagine taking these to a festival might get you laughed at. The lights can sense any movement at a 150-degree angle and scare away any curious beings.
They are solar-powered, which means you’ll have to set them up in an area where they can charge, but luckily the battery can hold up to 72 hours of life.
They aren’t too large and shouldn’t be too much of a burden to carry around and set up, and one of the biggest upsides is that the portability will allow you to set them at a distance so that animals or people won’t get near your tent.
You can also pair these with any of the previous tent alarms to create a foolproof system, as anything that isn’t scared off by the lights will more than likely run off after setting off an alarm.
These waterproof outdoor spot lights can last 9-72 hours and work in rainy and snowy weather. They feature high-sensitivity PIR motion sensors that can detect 150º angles and 15 m/49.2 ft