Two-way radios are the best means of communication in areas where mobile signal is unavailable or out of range. They are simple, light, and easy to use. It explains why they are a darling among outdoor enthusiasts. Initially developed in the First World War to improve communication among soldiers, the two-way radio has evolved into a priceless safety tool. There are more reasons for every avid adventurer to get this handheld device.
Walkie-talkies make it easy for adventures to keep in touch or seek help at the touch of a button. Through these receivers, they can get updates on weather, direction, and so on. Advanced models even have flashlights, compass, disaster alerts among other useful features. The best walkie talkies for hiking should be reliable on top of having a rugged design and a rich feature set. Let us learn more about walkie-talkies and their crucial role in outdoor excursions.
Best Walkie Talkies For Hiking and Camping
1. Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio, 2 Pack
“Ideal for kids play and close range communication!”
“You can never go wrong with the Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio!”
The Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio is a family friendly walkie-talkie essentially designed for use by young folks. It ticks all the boxes for a great modern walkie-talkie not forgetting a fair price point. Check out more features:
Awesome Battery Life
This unit gives you the freedom to enjoy the outdoor for hours. This possible due to its durable 3x AAA batteries that yield up to 18 hours of activity. Likewise, the model includes a low battery alert that flashes when battery life is almost out.
The model is not only small and lightweight, but it also fits well in the hand and pocket too. It is expertly designed to fit in any hand comfortably. Its interface is easy to navigate with clearly marked buttons well within reach. A lock button prevents unintentional change of the channels.
Rich Feature Set
The handset is comprised of 22 channels for excellent communication. Its radio can transmit to roughly 16 miles without obstructions. Together with that, is a confirming tone, keypad tone not to mention auto-squelch. Generally, this device works well indoors and outdoors.
Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio is a fairly priced family-friendly model perfect for kid’s play and short-range communication.
2. Midland - GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio
“Meant for communication over a short range such during family camping and trips to the river!”
“The two-way radio you can trust!”
Nothing comes close to the Midland - GXT1000VP4 when it comes to outdoor communication on long ranges. It incorporates a pioneering feature set to make everything run smoothly for outdoor lovers.
Well Adapted For the Outdoors
The model offers you a lifetime of service owing to its long lasting water resistant design. This way you can hike even in adverse conditions without worrying about functionality. Its housing is tough and rigid to endure unforgiving terrains. Additionally, it has two charging options; AC and DC with a battery span of up to eleven hours. Portability is another top selling point. Hikers can clip it on the belt or fit it in the pocket.
This radio handset boasts of a range of up to 36 miles under ideal conditions. On top of that, it has 50 channels compatible with FRS and GMRS frequencies. Plus, it can transmit to a 1 mile range on in the worst conditions. The model comes with privacy codes alongside the eVOX technology that allows hands-free signal transmission Fantastic sound quality is worth mentioning too.
Effective Emergency Features
The handset guarantees your safety at all times. It automatically receives forecasts from the NOAA weather radio and will alerts you of any hazards. What’s more, it incorporates the SOS siren function that sends out locator or distress signals.
The Midland - GXT1000VP4 is an adequate two-way radio thanks top waterproof construction, dependable emergency options and satisfactory overall performance. Limited range is the only drawback.
3. COBRA ACXT1035R FLT
“Quality waterproof makes it great for kayaking and canoeing or hiking in areas of with extreme weather conditions!”
“The communication handset that does not disappoint!”
Are you looking for a premium walkie-talkie for hiking? The COBRA ACXT1035R FLT should be your go to model. It has everything a modern communication device needs for clear and crisp outdoor communication. Here is a detailed insight into its advanced attributes:
To begin with, the model is entirely waterproof. It actually floats when dropped in water. For hassle-free retrieval, this comes in bright colors. Moreover, it’s tough exterior shell includes rubber armor that keeps it shockproof. To top it off, it is dustproof for better outdoor operation.
Revolutionary Hazard Alert System
With the COBRA ACXT1035R FLT you can hike with minimal concern about your safety. This is owing to an integrated alert system and the NOAA weather receiver. It will warn you of adverse changes in weather.
The model stands out for its smart additional facets, which heighten safety and convenience. At the top of the list is LED flashlight in case you get caught up in the dark. Its display also encompasses a backlight. Finally, it boasts of the dual charging system in conjunction with durable battery life.
Loud and clear communication should not be an impediment with the COBRA ACXT1035R FLT. It is an all round device compatible with FRS and GMRS channels. As if that is not enough, the model comes with the intriguing Rewind-Say-Again technology. You can replay any audio communication relayed in the last 20 seconds. Yet again, it has the VOX technology that enables hands-free transmission. Finally, VibrAlert ensures you catch all your calls.
The COBRA ACXT1035R FLT might not be the best walkie talkie for long distances but its performance on short distances and specifically on water is next to none.
4. Uniden Walkie Talkie
“It is simple enough to be used by kids hence right for family outdoor activities!”
“The one-stop-shop for all your communication needs!”
The design of Uniden SX237-2CK caters for the needs of every hiker. It is equipped with the right features to help hikers keep in touch. Moreover, it is quite affordable while still yielding value for your money. These features define the gadget:
The radio hosts 22 channels and 123 privacy codes. It operates on industry-standard frequencies, giving you a wide range of choices. This also means it can connect seamlessly with other brands. Other than channel selection, the gadget comes with privacy codes for undisturbed communication. With a 23-mile range in clear view, the model is suitable for all outdoor communication. Onward, the handset has 5 call tones and access to NOAA weather channels for alerts. Hands free operation is mind-blowing too.
Exceptional Group Mode
Uniden boasts of the group mode, which also includes the Direct Call Feature. With this feature, you can choose to call a specific person in your group without interruptions.
Uniden SX237-2CK is crafted out of quality material that gives it a long life. It has a huge display with backlight for night operation. Furthermore, its ergonomic shape ensures it fits well in the hand. Another notable attribute is the compact size for improved portability. It also features a headset jack and a micro USB charging cradle to boosts your experience.
It is the best option for anyone looking for a resilient high-standard walkie-talkie on a tight budget.
5. Motorola Talkabout T800
“Appropriate for short-range communication under favorable conditions!”
“The ultimate outdoor communication companion!”
Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radio ushers you into a new age of uninterrupted outdoor communication. Every aspect of the gadget is up to date. It is engineered with modern features to elevate convenience and help hikers keep in touch effortlessly. Let us take a close look at some of its attributes:
Apart from a dependable battery life, the model offers you two charging options. You can charge either using the built-in standard USB mini cable or use the USB-powered charging cradle. All you need is a power source from any equipment with a USB port.
The model boasts of ingenious hidden blue display that allows hikers to read the radio under any condition. Likewise, the gadget doubles up as a flashlight. It also encompasses an emergency alert button and belt clips. Moving on, it is light, compact besides fitting well in the smallest hands or pocket.
Ingenious Bluetooth connection
You will definitely love Bluetooth feature. You can connect the radio to your phone then share messages or location whenever you are off the grid. Through the Bluetooth feature, you can also view maps offline or track your routes
Multiple Communication and Emergency Options
The gadget has 22 radio channels giving hikers a wide range of options. Of course, all the channels run on industry-standard frequencies making it compatible with other radio brands. To add on that, it has 121 privacy codes which eliminate uninvited ears. For emergencies and hazardous conditions, the handset comes with the NOAA weather alert and 11 weather channels. VOX operation enables hand-free operation.
The Motorola TalkaboutT800 Two-Way Radio might be a little costly but worth every penny owing to high-end construction, clear communication and useful extra features.
What Is The Importance Of Walkie Talkies While Hiking?
I. Offers better voice clarity
Walkie-talkies are the best medium to connect with fellow hikers in the jungle. Most hiking trails are outside the city where there are no network towers or cell coverage. Fortunately, these devices can operate off the grid. The top walkie-talkies for hunting boast of better voice clarity thanks to powerful UHF and VHF ranges. This way you will miss nothing. In the same way, obstacle-free outdoor trails allow seamless transmission.
II. Life-saving in emergencies
Help is only a call away if you have a walkie-talkie. The risk of getting lost, injury, or falling victim to animal attacks is real in the jungle. This is why you need a gadget like this while hiking. You can also receive weather alerts through the same device.
III. Wider coverage
You can use two-way radios to coordinate different hiking or trekking groups or relay information to a big group all at once. Remember, everyone has his or her own hiking pace. In case one team takes a different route or falls ahead it is easier to stay connected at the click of a button.
How Do You Choose Walkie Talkies?
Choosing the right hand-held communications device for backpacking can be puzzling. For one, manufacturers make non-existent claims about their products. Two, the number of walkie-talkies in the market is just insane. Here is an easy way to go about it:
1. Confirm if the radio frequency is suitable your terrain
Two-way radio manufacturers use either VHF (Very-high frequency) or UHF (Ultra-high frequency). VHF waves are longer. VHF radios cover a longer range with minimal power consumption. They are preferable in areas with little interference. On the other hand, UHF-enable radios are ideal for terrain with obstructions. UHV waves are shorter which allows them to penetrate obstacles. Your final choice should be guided by the terrain you intend to explore.
2. Go for more channels
These devices have a unique number of channels with the least being twenty. More channels mean better communication. Yet such models are a little expensive.
3. Opt for radios with privacy codes
Privacy codes ensure that only intended recipients hear what you say. Every message shared through radios with privacy codes will only be audible to radios with similar radio code. This way no one can eavesdrop.
4. Focus on power
Generally, two-way radios require 1 Watt of power to cover 1 Mile. To cover a higher range you need higher wattage. Nevertheless, this is not always the case if there are any obstructions in the way. Obstructions can be created by bad weather or uneven terrain. To be on the safe side, go for models with a higher power.
5. Look for better range and distance from one radio to another
You need a walkie-talkie with more range or one that can cover a bigger distance. There are numerous sources of sound interference in the jungle. Therefore, you need a powerful model than will cut through all the interference and still yield a decent range. A great long-range radio can reach between 30 and 50 miles. Anything in between would be awesome.
6. Do not forget about licensing
Another important aspect to keep in mind is licensing. You need a license to access certain frequencies privately. However, this comes at a cost. It is vital to check the kind of frequency your radio operates on and the legal requirements needed prior to making your choice.
7. Consider your terrain and weather conditions
Environment or terrain is a key variable when choosing a walkie-talkie. Harsh terrains with bad weather and endless obstacles demand a powerful handset with more channels, longer range, and extended battery life.
Types of Walkie-Talkies for Backpacking
There are numerous walkie-talkies flocking the market but few are suitable for hiking or backpacking. We have rounded up three types of two-way radios you will find appealing for the outdoors:
a. Waterproof walkie-talkie
As the name suggests, they are the best pick if you plan to venture into wet terrains or backpack in bad weather. They have a waterproofing mechanism that makes them indestructible by water. It is a reliable option for mountain climbers and nature walkers too.
b. Long-range walkie-talkie
Walkie-talkies are designed with different ranges. The range a radio receiver can cover depends on power. More power means a higher range. For instance, to cover 8 miles, you need a 2-watt radio. Similarly, you will need a 4-watt radio to cover 30 miles. Two-way radios have more power hence can cover a longer distance with minimal obstruction.
c. Hunting Walkie-talkies
They are ideal for hunting although they can be used for backpacking as well. Hunting radios feature a headset and microphone for convenience. If you are a hunting enthusiast, read hunter's guide and tips on websites like Shrewd Hunter or sportsmansguide.com.
Things to Consider While Choosing Walkie-Talkies for Hiking
Several variables make a radio ideal for hiking. Let us look at some of the things you should consider while choosing the best walkie-talkie for hiking.
Walkie-talkies like much other outdoor gear are priced according to quality and level of sophistication. Radio receivers on the low end of the spectrum might be simple but still as effective as the high-end ones. Anyway, whatever you choose should be well made, highly functional and worth every penny.
Quality of construction
Design and construction are essential when selecting good walkie-talkie. You need a model that features a rugged design for the unforgiving jungle conditions. That is not all; it should render unmatched shock absorption in the event of a fall in addition to being waterproof. Outdoor two-way radios should also be light and compact. Above everything else, hikers prefer two-way radios that last long. Models of this caliber feature top materials and an impressive build.
Sound quality or clarity
The most dependable walkie-talkie for the outdoors must be clear or else it will be useless. Top-notch sound quality relies on by better range, good battery life, and the extent of interference.
The best walkie-talkie for hiking needs to have a vast set of emergency features. This could come in the form of emergency channels, natural disaster updates, SOS options, or weather alerts. Modern radio receivers incorporate LED flashlights, sirens, and flashing beacons. Other extra facets are Bluetooth connectivity for improved use, a compass for direction and a backlight LCD screen for improved user experience.
Most high-end walkie-talkies models use Nickel-Cadmium, nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries. Conversely, cheaper models utilize AA or AAA batteries. All these options have their own pros and cons. The only factors that cut across all of them are battery life and the charging speed. Other selling points are durability and better shock absorbance. Pick longer battery life and fast charging speed.
Hiking is all about unwinding and taking a break from a stressful routine. Do not let little issues relating to security and communication kill your fun time. Regardless of what you call it, a walkie-talkie is an invaluable safety tool to add to your hiking gear. Whether you choose to pay top dollar or stick to a budget buy, ensure it is a model you can count on in a worst-case scenario. Do not forget to refer to our buying guide if you are unsure about anything about a great walkie-talkie. Otherwise, have an awesome outdoor experience!
Here are several resourceful FAQs about the best walkie-talkies for hiking.
1. What walkie-talkie has the longest range?
The ultimate walkie-talkie should be comprised of top-class engineering alongside pioneering power to produce enviable long-range performance. It should provide at least a 20-mile range under ideal conditions. Voice clarity should be exceptional too.
2. How many miles can walkie talkies reach?
The range of any walkie-talkie relies on its power and availability of obstacles. Basic radios can reach up to 6 miles on flat ground. Advanced long-range radios can reach 30 miles under favorable circumstances.
3. Can walkie talkies be traced?
Walkie-talkies transmissions are very hard to trace although not entirely impossible. With an antenna pointed in direction of the signals and proper triangulation two-way radios can traceable.
4. Why are walkie-talkies illegal?
The legality or illegality of a walkie-talkie depends on the channel. FRS (Family Radio Service) channels are free to use. You need a license to use GMRS (General Mobile Radio Services) channels.
5. What is the difference between a walkie-talkie and a 2-way radio?
Essentially, they are one and the same thing. A two-way radio is able to receive and send radio transmissions. A walkie-talkie works in the same way only that it is handheld and more portable.
6. Which is better UHF or VHF walkie-talkie?
It all narrows down to the intended use. UHF radios are preferred for indoor use due to a short wavelength that can penetrate thick obstacles like walls. VHF radios are ideal for outdoor use owing to a longer wavelength that delivers a longer range.
7. Is a GMRS license worth it?
If you need to avoid brushing shoulders with authorities, a GMRS license would be worth it. Else, you stand being slapped with unnecessary fines, losing your handheld receiver or imprisonment.
8. Can walkie-talkies pick up police?
You cannot find police on any walkie-talkie channel. They operate on unique frequencies that are different from one place to another.
9. Are walkie-talkies private?
Well, it depends on the channel underuse. PMRs or Private Mobile Radio allows radios to transmit privately. This is not the case with shared frequencies.
10. Are walkie-talkies safe?
Walkie-talkies are only safe when they are have not been compromised. Radio frequencies can be intercepted making it easy for the wrong people to listen in to your conversation. The safest way to communicate is through private codes or private frequencies.