PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS WITH SERIOUS SURVEILLANCE GEAR.
Not all spies travel to exotic locations, drive premium sportscars or gamble away millions at the casino.
The truth is that the “average Joe” might resort to using “spy” gear for a number of not-so-world-shaking reasons. From keeping tabs on a babysitter or detecting people who have entered their home to catching someone in a lie, the uses for surveillance and spy gear are highly diverse and are becoming increasingly common.
The quality of such equipment also varies greatly. For some situations, a simple, low-cost recording device might do, while for others, more-refined and reliable equipment is the smart way to go.
The underlying point to be mindful of is that even though you might not be a secret agent, the need to record audio or video, escape from cuffs or zip ties, or detect hidden cameras that invade your privacy are very real possibilities. Thanks to the items we’ve selected, you can do all those things like a world-class spy.
Note: Check local laws before using covert surveillance equipment.
Identify a culprit in a matter of seconds … if they touched this invisible and truly amazing fluorescent powder. Just sprinkle it on locks, doorknobs, windows or valuable objects and wait. If the area is disrupted, pass an ultraviolet light over the hands of the suspects, and you’ll have your criminal. The guilty party won’t stand a chance when you have this handy item.
- Easily applied to most household objects
- Powder is invisible to the naked eye
- Compact jar fits easily inside a pocket
- Powder is seen under ultraviolet light
- For use on indoor and some outdoor surfaces
MSRP : $18
With single-touch recording, built-in 16GB of internal storage and 2K 30 frames-per-second (FPS) video quality, this “spy” audio and video recording watch can help secure the information you need, no matter the situation. The recorder is extremely user friendly, with quick file transfers to a computer using the included USB cable. Best of all, this is a real working watch, so no one will be the wiser when you have its electronic sensors tuned on them!
- Continuous and motion-detection recording options
- Fashionable design won’t cause suspicion
- Easy-to-use software to set date/time and adjust resolution
- 65-degree viewing angle
- 2K, high-definition color video offers incredible clarity
MSRP : $299
It looks like an ordinary lighter, but it is really an audio recording device. This amazing and compact unit can sit idle for up to 25 days until it picks up nearby audio—and away it goes, recording until the conversation stops. The recorder uses a 64 Kbps MP3 format, and the date and time stamp allow for great accuracy in organizing all your recordings. Use it at home, in the office or anywhere you need to covertly collect audio. It is not a functioning lighter, but no one will ever know!
- 28-hour continuous battery; 25-day standby battery
- Automatic sensitivity adjustment
- One-click easy-activation feature
- USB external power option
- 8GB of storage; up to 250 hours of total recording
MSRP : $199.98
Fitness bands are all the craze these days—so much so that no one will know yours is actually an audio recording device. With voice-activated recording, date and time stamps, automatic section breaks and playback through ordinary headphones, you’ll enjoy the “tech” as it captures whatever audio you need. The unit charges through a micro USB port and only takes one to two hours to fully charge. Wear it at the gym, home, school or nearly anywhere else; it’s that inconspicuous.
- Voice-activated recording
- 8GB internal memory
- 570 hours of audio recording
- 23-hour battery life
- Time and date stamp for easy organizing
MSRP : $299
You can’t let the darkness stop you from your surveillance. With these lightweight Gen 2+ technology night vision goggles, you won’t have to. Featuring a high-resolution image intensifier, auto brightness and bright source shutdown, seeing your target in the dark will be a snap with these rugged NVGs. Thanks to the included goggle head strap kit, hands-free usage makes multi-tasking easy. A carrying case, lens tissue, battery, warranty card and full instruction manual round out this amazing package.
- 40-degree field of view
- Infrared (IR) illuminator for use in total darkness
- IR and low-battery light indicator
- Long, 60-hour battery life
- Lightweight, 1.1-pound unit won’t weigh you down
- Sold to U.S. addresses only
MSRP : $1,695
Utilizing two high-performance image intensifier tubes for clear and crisp images, this set of goggles offers increased depth perception and unrivaled clarity of any subjects within your sights. The built-in infrared (IR) illuminator lets the user read or scan documents in total darkness, while the goggles’ lightweight and compact design allows them to be carried or stowed away with ease. These Gen 2+ technology night vision goggles take stealthy surveillance to the next level. The package includes instructions, lens tissue, battery, head mount kit and warranty card.
- Built-in infrared illuminator
- Resolution: 45–54 lp/mm
- Automatic brightness control
- 40-degree field of vision
- Sold to U.S. addresses only
MSRP : $3,695
These high-performance night vision goggles are more than ample to supply you with top-tier night vision technology. These Gen 2+ technology goggles come with multiple accessories, including a soft carrying case, de-mist shield, sacrificial filter, shoulder strap, head-mount assembly and full instructions. Whether you are securing your homestead, camp or backyard, you’ll be safer when you’re able to see in the dark.
- Low-battery and IR illuminator indicators
- Range of focus: .25 yard to infinity
- Long, 60-hour battery life
- Field of view: 40 degrees
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Sold to U.S. addresses only
MSRP : $2,095
Blend into your outdoor surroundings while keeping an eye on someone or something and get the needed video to back up your story. These ultra-wide-angle video recording sunglasses offer durable and weatherproof construction, a comfortable and sporty fit and, best of all, up to 21 hours of recording on a 128GB microSD card. No one will suspect a thing while you enjoy fun under the sun.
- 147-degree wide-angle lens with HD sensor
- Weatherproof and durable for most environments
- Built-in microphone with noise-canceling technology
- Vibration alert when glasses start and stop recording
- One-button operation for fast activation
MSRP : $199.99
This stylish and sporty watch will fool the subject of your surveillance. You’ll enjoy this working watch/HD recording device without anyone being the wiser. Use it for a variety of purposes. Whether dealing with aggressive neighbors or managers or during customer service interactions, this multifunctional timepiece offers numerous functions and is always discreet.
- 1080p video resolution motion and still pictures
- Holds up to 32GB MicroSD cards
- Up to 9 feet of IR night vision
- Built-in microphone picks up audio
- Up to two hours of battery life
MSRP : $189.99
This self-contained, do-it-yourself camera kit allows you to turn nearly any household object into a covert spy camera. Once installed, this camera offers HD-quality video and clear, crisp audio. It utilizes a USB port for charging; alternatively, it can be directly plugged into a wall outlet. All video files can be stored on a microSD card or streamed live to your tablet or smartphone.
- 1080p HD video resolution
- Watch or record live from your smartphone
- MicroSD card slot for up to 128GB (records up to 128 hours of video/audio)
- Easy-to-set-up WiFi
- Receive motion alerts on your smartphone
MSRP : $249.99
Surveil and listen to people or animals from up to 300 feet away with this nifty, “old-school” spy device. Eye your subject through the 8X monocular, aim the parabolic audio cone in their direction, and whatever they do or say, you will know about it! The soft headphones and ergonomic handle allow long stakeouts without discomfort or fatigue, while the digitally recorded sounds can be played back later at your convenience.
- Create digital recordings of what you hear
- Compact unit fits discreetly just about anywhere
- Includes stereo-quality headphones
MSRP : $59.99
You can’t be home every minute of the day. However, this trusty spy cam—that is conveniently disguised as a coat hook—will let you know everything that goes on when you are gone. This 1080p camera offers up to 12 hours of continuous recording that stores on a simple SD card and is viewable on most PCs. The unit switches between photo shooting, video recording and motion detection with just a push of a button on the included remote control. No one will suspect they are being watched by a coat hook!
- Simple design blends into any decor
- Playback video on PC with a USB connection cable
- Supports up to a 32GB SD card
- High-capacity, rechargeable, lithium-polymer battery
- Easy to install with the included adhesive mounting strip
MSRP : $43.99
When you need to look around a corner or view a subject from an impossible angle, this device lets you connect to your Android phone or PC to keep an eye on the target. Utilizing a 10-meter USB cord with a waterproof 7mm camera, you’ll be able to watch the subject easily from a covered or concealed location. Six LED lights keep the picture clear and bright, even under the most dirty or confined conditions. Included with the camera are a magnet extension, mirror extension and a small hook extension—all useful when more-precise work is needed.
- Get a view of hard-to-access places
- USB cord with integrated Android plug adapter
- LED lights with adjustable brightness settings
- 67-degree camera viewing angle
- Compact components easily store inside a pocket or gear bag
MSRP : $29.99
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April, 2020 print issue of American Survival Guide.