In this modern age, it is easy to think that two-way radios are a thing of the past. Think again – your mobile phone may be your most reliable medium of communication now. Still, when you are hiking, your phone loses signal.
Our top pick for the best walkie talkie for hiking is the Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Walkie Talkie. It is a water-resistant radio that offers crisp point-to-point communication, transmission, reception, and quality sound. The almost 40-mile range is enough in most backcountry situations.
So, you can’t communicate or coordinate with other people in your group. The walkie-talkie is an essential means of communication for various outdoor activities as well as public safety.
We have rounded up the 6 best walkie talkies in the market today.
Table of Contents
- Best Walkie-Talkies – Comparison Table
- Importance of Walkie Talkies for Hiking
- Types of Walkie Talkies
- What to Look for?
- Best Walkie Talkie for Hiking
- Key References
Best Walkie-Talkies – Comparison Table
Importance of Walkie Talkies for Hiking
If you plan to spend some time hiking, you need a way to communicate.
- Mobile phones are not a dependable option. Even in the connected world of today, it’s strenuous to find services in the backcountry.
- So how can you effectively communicate with the outside world and the rest of your group when something goes wrong? A satellite phone is one option that works anywhere as long as you can clearly see the sky.
- However, these phones and monthly service fees are expensive. Fortunately, there are cheaper options.
- Obsolete two-way radios (also called walkie-talkies) remain a cost-effective and efficient option for communication off-grid. You can choose from hundreds of models, most of which are reasonably priced.
Types of Walkie Talkies
There are two main categories of walkie-talkies on the market today:
- GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service).
- FSR (Family Radio Service).
No license is required for FRS radios. They are very cheap and have a legal limit of 500 milliwatts.
- FRS radios have a short range of about two miles and are best suited for occasional leisure travel.
- On the other hand, GMRS radios need a license from the FRC (Federal Communications Commission). Typically, they are more expensive than FSR radios and have at least 15 channels. GMRS radios have a more extended range of over 5 miles, some up to 30 miles.
What to Look for?
VHF vs. UHF
When shopping for walkie-talkies, it is essential to know the difference between a VHR (Very High Frequency) radio and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radio.
- Generally, VHF radios operate at 126-174 MHz.
- They perform well over long distances where landscapes and buildings are hardly found.
- Usually, they have a more extensive range than UHF radios and can easily penetrate leaves and trees.
- Conversely, UHF radios operate between 400 and 512 MHz.
- They are quite versatile than VHF radios because they can penetrate the walls of buildings.
- They have shorter waves and are perfect for carrying around because of their interference capacity.
- VHF and UHF radios are not compatible. So if you are purchasing more than a pair of walkie-talkies, make sure they are all the same type.
Primarily, the manufacturers of walkie-talkies provide the specific distance that walkies can communicate with each other when there are no barriers such as landscapes and buildings between them.
An 8-mile walkie-talkie can only have a range of about 3-4 miles. The best walkie-talkie for hiking should have a longer range. Most two-way radios have a range of between 20 and 50 miles.
When purchasing your two-way radio, it’s essential to look for extra features such as channel saver, earphones, hands-free gear, backlit LCD keypad, and screen, as well as other related devices.
Some devices also have noise cancellation features and privacy codes. If you want to hike, you should look for a walkie talkie with a vibration function. You should also make sure you do not accidentally press the call button.
Therefore, you must select a radio with a keystroke alert or keypad lock.
Walkie-talkies work with different types of batteries. Low-end devices generally use AAA or AA batteries.
- Still, most modern walkie talkies use a nickel-cadmium battery, a nickel-metal hydride battery, or a lithium-ion battery.
- It’s important to know the estimated lifespan of the radios you will buy so you can determine if you need to carry spare batteries.
- The battery life is generally estimated at 90% on standby, 5% on reception, and 5% on transmission time.
Two-way radios have different channels for a variety of reasons.
- By knowing what type of walkie talkie, it is, you can determine which type of walkie talkie fits your needs.
- There is a total of 20 channels. The more channels a walkie talkie offers, the pricier it is.
- It is, therefore, vital to know how to use your walkie talkie before making a purchase. A radio with more channels makes communication easier.
Best Walkie Talkie for Hiking
Here are the best walkie-talkies for hiking on the market today:
1. Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout 2-Way Radio
The Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout 2-Way Radio is the perfect option for long-range communications when in the backcountry.
- This Motorola walkie talkie offers communication over a range of about 35 miles and operates using 22 channels.
- This best walkie talkie for mountains comes with an excellent ergonomic design, making it easier to hold and use.
- This dual-band enabled radio can broadcast over both FRS and GMRS bands, offering hikers more channel combinations.
- The Motorola MS350R is lightweight, making it easy to transport around. It uses a Ni-MH battery, which can last for up to 8 hours.
- Thanks to its modest size, you can carry it around in your pocket or clip it on your belt.
- The Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout 2-Way Radio is a reliable hiking walkie talkie with decent coverage and range.
2. Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Walkie Talkie
The Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Walkie Talkie is a water-resistant radio that offers crisp point-to-point communication, transmission, reception, and quality sound.
- The almost 40-mile range is enough in most backcountry situations.
- This best walkie talkie for long distance has a great battery life of about 15 hours, so you never have to worry about the battery dying on you and your group.
- The 36 channels in this Midland walkie talkie make finding an open channel to use very quickly.
- The built-in weather alert technology can scan for NOAA weather updates, which is helpful when you are out in the elements.
- Additionally, the Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) gives you about 2662 channels options to help block other conversations.
- The Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Walkie Talkie offers a low-cost, license-free, and easy to use yet reliable solution to communicate while on the trail.
3. Retevis H-777S 2 Way Radio Walkie Talkies
The Retevis H-777S 2 Way Radio Walkie Talkies are among the best short-range two-way radios on the market.
- This best walkie talkie for hunting uses the UHF 400 to 475 MHz and features 16 channels.
- Also, it features the DCS and CTCSS function that blocks the interference signal and reduce unwanted noises.
- For improved communication, these walkie talkies come with an original earpiece.
- The Retevis H-777S has a solid construction and can withstand exposure to elements, everyday use, and falls.
- This best walkie talkie without license is equipped with a built-in LED flashlight that improves visibility in the dark as well as an LCD screen that is very visible.
- The unit is exceptionally lightweight and easy to use, making it very easy to carry around.
- With its monitoring function and decent power output, the Retevis H-777S 2 Way Radio Walkie Talkies has many reliable features.
4. LUITON Baofeng UV-5RH Walkie Talkies
The LUITON Baofeng UV-5RH Walkie Talkies comes with 2 power levels and 8 watts in the frequency range of 480 to 480 MHz and 136 to 174 MHz.
- The UV-5RH is compact and economical and has a unique VHF receive band from 65 to 108 MHz.
- It boasts about 128 memories for simplex frequencies and programming repeaters.
- The device supports dual watch and dual reception. The dual watch allows hikers to tune 2 frequencies and monitor them simultaneously.
- This best walkie talkie without license runs on an 1800 mAH Li-ion battery that is guaranteed to last long.
- It features a belt clip and wrist strap that allows you to carry it with you securely.
- Not only does the LUITON Baofeng UV-5RH Walkie Talkies receive the regular UHF and VHF frequencies, but it also can transmit and receive FRS and GMRS frequencies.
5. DEWALT DXFRS800 Heavy-Duty Walkie Talkies
The DEWALT DXFRS800 Heavy-Duty Walkie Talkies is a sturdy and effective two-way radio solution for hiking.
- The devices operate on 22 FRS channels with pre-programmed privacy codes to help keep interference at a minimum.
- It has 83 DCS and 38 CTCSS codes for up to 121 privacy codes.
- It features auto squelch, vibrates alert, hands-free VOX operation, and a key lock that prevents hikers from changing the channel accidentally.
- This unit has an LCD display that is easy to view.
- Additionally, it is equipped with a microphone/speaker jack for use with various external mics, headsets, and earpieces.
- It uses a 1000 mAH Li-polymer battery that can last up to 12 hours.
- The walkie talkie is waterproof and dustproof and can withstand up to 30 minutes of water immersion.
- Extremely tough yet easy to use and compact, the DEWALT DXFRS800 Heavy-Duty Walkie Talkies gives you and your group the instant communications you need on a hike.
6. SAMCOM FRS Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies
The SAMCOM FRS Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies features 36 miles long range and 22 channels, making it perfect for hiking.
- The 104 CDCSS and 50 CTCSS codes provide private and safe communication, allowing you to stay in touch with your group.
- This best walkie talkies for kids comes with a split-zipper charging cord design that can power up to 2 radios at once.
- The 1250 mAH battery can operate for 10 hours on a full charge.
- The backlit screen offers high visibility and allows hikers to set up the unit in the dark conveniently.
- Additionally, the built-in flashlight is helpful in emergency situations.
- The device features a unique group function that allows you to notify all your group members even if you are not on the same channels.
- The SAMCOM FRS Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies come with noise suppression function for crystal-clear communication.
Our top recommendation for the best walkie talkie for hiking is the Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Walkie Talkie. It features a water-resistant shell that offers crisp point-to-point communication, transmission, reception, & quality sound. The almost 40-mile range is enough in most backcountry situations.
The best walkie talkie for hiking can be much more useful than you think. These robust and compact devices are especially important for hikers like a flashlight, a raincoat, or first aid.
- “Walking the Talkie – How Walkie-talkies Work | HowStuffWorks”. Accessed July 16, 2020. Link.
- “A Short Guide to Walkie Talkies | Two Way Radio”. Accessed July 16, 2020. Link.