The NightRide Scout: An Automotive Thermal Camera System to Help You See Through the Dark 

 June 15, 2021

By  Miranda Jones

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Last updated on June 27, 2022

It goes without saying that driving in low-light conditions is vastly different from driving in areas with ample light. It can be difficult to navigate areas where visibility is considerably decreased. The lack of light also prevents you from being able to operate how you normally would when you have sufficient light.

This is when thermal cameras like the new NightRide Scout come in handy. It can be used for a multitude of activities; primarily hunting and driving through rural areas. It’s also great to use for added visibility while driving at night. Developed by the NightRide brand, the NightRide Scout was designed to be an efficient solution for boosting situational awareness and seeing clearly through any type of lighting and weather conditions.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing the key features of NightRide Scout and how this device can be used.

A Background on NightRide

NightRide was founded by Shawn Groce, who drew inspiration from his personal experience after going through a difficult nighttime ride. A few years back, Shawn and his friends were headed toward a campsite when somewhere along the way, they realized that they had missed a turn.

Shawn and his friends tried to help get the driver back to the right road, which proved challenging due to the lack of light and poor phone service. The group managed to make their way to the campsite after a stressful 30 minutes of retracing where they came from. To ensure that people wouldn't have to go through an experience similar to theirs, Shawn started the NightRide company.

The ultimate goal of NightRide is to boost situational awareness for a variety of situations. Its line of products consists of high-performance thermal imaging cameras that can be mounted on cars. From the NightRide Pro to the NightRide Scout, these cameras are useful for navigating rural areas and hunting. Additionally, they can be used for pedestrian detection, transport, construction, security, and law enforcement. 

The NightRide Scout

Nightride Scout thermal camera

The NightRide Scout is a high-resolution thermal camera with a 360° remote controlled view that has a specially designed mount, so you can easily install it on cars, SUVs, and trucks. It has a rugged, heavy-duty build for withstanding the wear and tear of outdoor use.

The NightRide Scout gives you precise thermal information and helps boost your situational awareness, so you can see things around you more clearly. With NightRide Scout, you can see pedestrians, animals, and structures in total darkness and in almost any type of weather. 

How the NightRide Scout Works

Through its high-quality video resolution, the NightRide Scout can help you see people, animals, and objects even in extremely low-light conditions. It uses thermal imaging technology to scout your location and pick up even the faintest heat signature, so you're aware of your surroundings at all times.

With its powerful thermal imaging capabilities that can help you zero in on all sorts of game, it’s the perfect hunting companion. It can also pick up heat signatures in various weather conditions, so you can use it to see targets even through snow, smoke, rain, and fog.

You can connect your NightRide Scout to your personal device, such as your phone or tablet, for easier viewing. Simply hook it up to NightRide’s own Wi-Fi connection for seamless viewing and file transfer.

Key Features of the NightRide Scout

The NightRide Scout has quite a few key features that make it an effective hunting and driving companion. With an operating temperature range of -40° Fahrenheit to 140° Fahrenheit, it can be used in a variety of outdoor conditions.

Its hermetically sealed, IP69-rated design protects the device from dust, cold weather, and high-pressure streams of water. It also has a 28° field of view and operates at 25 Hz. Moreover, the NightRide Scout consumes 3W of power and requires 12 to 16 VDC.

Here are some of its other features: 

Remote controlled panning and tilting

The NightRide Scout is easy to control because of its combined remote controlled panning and tilting feature, which helps provide full situational awareness. The remote controlled panning and tilting feature allows you to shift perspectives and focus on certain areas in the field of view. The device is also fairly lightweight considering its size, weighing only 5.5 pounds.

NightRide Scout_remote control

Magnetic mount

The NightRide Scout device is fitted with a secure, magnetic mount that permits quick and easy mounting on the hood or roof of your car. If you’d prefer an even stronger mount, you can remove the bottom cover and attach the NightRide Scout using the sturdy 3M tape included in the kit. Personally, though, I had no issues with the bottom cover on and thus didn’t take it off.

NightRide Scout_magnets on the bottom
Nightride_pads for magnets

The NightRide kit also comes with a very long and thick power cable, which you’ll have to connect to the camera. Once the NightRide Scout camera is mounted and set up properly, you can start or stop recording as you please. 

Automatic capture

The NightRide Scout also automatically captures videos. Whether it be on your phone, tablet, or computer, NightRide's automatic capture feature will allow you to easily access your footage, so you can review it anytime you want to.

NightRide produces videos with adequate clarity. It uses a 384 x 288 uncooled microbolometer to detect heat signatures.

NightRide Scout_02

Seamless device connection

Connecting the NightRide Scout to your personal device is quick and easy. The camera system comes with a red card that shows the name of your network and the corresponding password.

To connect your NightRide Scout with your phone or tablet, simply type the IP address in the browser. Another way you can view your video feed is through the NightRide app, which is available for Android phone models. The iOS version of the NightRide app is currently being developed, and Apple users should be able to access it on the App Store soon.

NightRide Scout_connecting to network

Unboxing and Using the NightRide Scout

Nightride_packaging 2

While unboxing the NightRide Scout, my first observation was that it’s quite large. It measures 7.25 x 6.38 x 6.75 inches, making it slightly bigger than its predecessor. It’s equipped with controls for power, left, right, up, and down, although you should note that the SOS isn’t an active button. The kit also comes with a car charger with extra USB ports, that can be used as additional charging stations.


In terms of detection, the NightRide Scout has excellent recognition and identification capabilities during nighttime and can clearly depict heat signatures of the bodies in view. Video footage is automatically saved on NightRide, which you can download to your phone or another device at a later time. This makes it incredibly convenient to gather and review the information you need.

However, the NightRide Scout doesn't come with an SD card that you can take out to transfer files to your laptop or computer. You need to transfer your footage straight from the device using a stable Internet connection. 


Also, if the NightRide Scout is attached just above your windshield, the angles may shift when you spin the camera remotely because of how car roofs are typically designed. Some footage may get angled when facing left or right, so you would need to adjust accordingly.

The NightRide camera communicates via 5 Ghz. If there is a source of interference, momentary video freezes may occur. Once you move away from such obstructions, the NightRide Scout can resume capturing smooth, high-quality footage.

Various Use Cases of the NightRide Scout in Low-Light Conditions

With its seamless and top-of-the-line video output, automatic video capture, and easy-to-control mechanisms, the NightRide Scout can help you spot your target, survey your surroundings, and see through virtually any condition.

NightRide Scout can help spot animals up to ¼ mile and even behind foliage. It contributes to a successful hunt by helping you avoid spooking game. From hogs to coyotes, the NightRide camera can pick up heat signatures of all types of animals and translate them into clear, crisp footage. 

Equipping your car with the NightRide Scout also improves your overall driving experience, particularly when you’re in rural areas. It makes navigating on the road easier, regardless of whether it’s dusty or foggy outside.

Aside from this, the NightRide Scout can also make nighttime driving safer for you. It helps combat common issues that come with night driving, including animal-car collisions and taking wrong turns. 

Watch NightRide Scout in Use

Final Thoughts

Primarily used by people who hunt and travel through rural areas often, the NightRide Scout is quite versatile. It can also be used for a broad range of situations, including search and rescue operations and security.

The NightRide Scout allows you to take your situational awareness to the next level. With all its features, you can use it to gather information, understand your surroundings, and keep yourself and your vehicle safe. You’ll no longer need to worry about hunting, traveling through rural areas, or driving at night because the NightRide Scout will help you see and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

About the author 

Miranda Jones

Miranda Jones is Smart Scouter's Product Research Manager. Miranda ensures that Smart Scouter stays at the forefront of thermal and night vision technology and knowledge so that our readers know they are getting the most up-to-date information. Miranda has been involved in the thermal industry in various capacities for 12 years. Miranda is a graduate of the University of Ohio and in her spare time enjoys camping and traveling across the US.

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