Today is Christmas, and while our boys are giddy with excitement over their new toys and gadgets , it is the experiences and time we spend together that we cherish most as a family. One of our favorite things to do is invite some friends to gather around a beach bonfire, and set up some food, snacks and an outdoor movie for the kids.
Earlier this month, we gathered with some friends at Crystal Cove State Park, and watched some Christmas Movies over cheese board and pizza together. OC Local Tip: You can reserve and rent gas fire pits from the Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove Historic District, and from the Lost Pier Cafe at Aliso Beach. We’ve also brought this set up camping, and it would work well in a backyard as well. I’ve gotten questions about our gear every time I post one of these evenings on Instagram, so I figured it was time to compile all the information in a blog post.
Projector: We own two. There are pros and cons to each one which I’ll note below. We bought the Tenker in 2017, and the Cinemood in early 2019, so there may be other options that are newer and with good performance. Note: I don’t think either of these will play content downloaded on iTunes.
Tenker S6 Mini Cube Pico Projetor with Wi-FI, Smart DLP Projectors for Outdoor Indoor Movies, Includes Mini Tripod, 30,000- Hour LEDs, supports android and IOS devices
- Pros: Super portable, easy to use. We’ve been able to plug in our iPhone or iPad via the hdmi cable and watch movies we have downloaded on our devices, or stream content using our cellular data. We did buy lightning to hdmi port adapter. This projector works on wifi too, but we usually plug it in.
- Cons: Limited battery life (only 1-1.5 hours per charge)- we often have to bring external battery pack, Soft speakers – we use an external speaker, Support Stand/mini-tripod does not hold well- we use our gorilla pod or camera tripod (see below)
- Pros: Super portable, fairly easy to use with a caveat – if you have access to WiFi. On WiFi (ie use in home, backyard), you can stream Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime. Good battery life. Pretty good speakers. There is a forum with good tips on Facebook.
- Cons: Limited downloaded content to watch without WiFi. There is a way to upload content, but it literally took me a couple hours to figure out how to load 1-2 movies. Supposedly you can plug in a micro usb external drive but I haven’t figured out or tried that yet. No way to attach to a tripod, so you have to have a surface to set the projector on. Because of these reasons, we tend to use the Tenker more often for camping and/or outdoors.
Projector Case: (for the Tenker Cube) : It’s easier to have all the cords, connecting cables, projector in one place so we bought this case, and it’s worked well for us.
Speaker: We’ve been able to connect our projectors to external speakers that we already own. We like this one by Ultimate Ears
Tripod: When using our Tenker cube, we’ve used tripods we already own for our cameras. It works well on the gorilla pod, which is very portable.
Battery: There is nothing more frustrating than your projector or speakers running out of battery in the middle of movie night! We love our Aimtom 300W portable power station with a 75,000mAh 280Wh lithium battery. We have plenty of power, not just for movie nights, but for all our off grid needs including charging our phones, cameras, and lights!
Folding Table: I love this folding table for picnics and beach trips. It can hold snacks and pizza for movie night, and/or be a place to set the projector .
I hope this post helps some of you create outdoor experiences for friends and family!
Note: All the opinions expressed in this post are our own. We are recommening the above items because they’ve worked well for us. Updated Summer 2020: We were gifted the power bank to help fuel our adventures.