Don’t we all love our hikes? Completing those trails and uncovering new ones; there’s nothing more exciting than going on a hiking adventure with your loved ones and breaking all your previous records.
Perhaps, you have mapped out your next hiking trail, got your shoes ready and every other gear, including your mobile phone. Now, wait a minute. Your mobile phone lost signal after about four minutes of walk the last time, so can you rely on it this time around? I doubt that.
This is one area where the use of walkie talkies still remain relevant today. Thankfully, there are walkie talkies designed for hiking, however, it could be like searching through a hay stack for a needle with the hundreds (or even thousands) of products out there. T
his post will help you streamline your search by walking you through the 5 best walkie talkies for hiking. But that’s not all, we’ll also take you through the critical factors you should consider before deciding what radio to buy for your next hiking adventure.
List of Top Two-Way Radios for Hiking
Buyer Guide: Critical Factors to be Considered before you Select a Walkie Talkie for Hiking
There are quite a number of things to look out for if you’re searching for a two-way radio that fits the spec. Hiking can be a very tough, draining and dangerous activity and your walkie talkie must be up to the task.
A hiking adventure can go in for several hours; navigating the terrains of countryside, footpaths in the wild and through mini streams and ponds. Sometimes, hiking may also involve rock climbing as mountains often form the terrain in such paths.
Whatever the case, it can go for several hours across several miles. What this means is that you’ll require walkie talkies that can cover several miles in reach when you go hiking.
This is important because staying in touch and being able to reach out for help during emergencies is crucial for your safety and that of your team. Besides, won’t it just make you feel safer that you can communicate with the rest of the team no matter how far apart you are?
2. UHF or VHF?
Two-way Radios are usually set on one of two bands; the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF). Based on their uniqueness, the UHF is able to penetrate through walls and obstacles while the VHF has the ability to travel farther in open areas.
VHF radios may work just fine for you in most cases. However, if you’re hiking in a place with a dense tree population and rocks all around, a UHF band is most suitable. Whatever the case, hikers should get a radio with the best signal quality and strength.
The number of channels your walkie talkie for hiking has access to is another important factor to consider. This is crucial because it can determine how many other radios you’re able to connect with and how securely and ‘uninterrupted’ you’ll be able to communicate.
When it comes to walkie talkies for hiking, the more the channels the better. You just don’t know when you’ll need that one channel to pull through.
Also, the number and strength of a radio depends on its frequency. There are two types; the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
While the GMRS will give you much more options and better signal strength, it is not available without a license. FRS, on the other hand, is often available license-free.
Durability can mean different things to different people. For a hiker who just needs the right radio for a successful hiking adventure, durability would mean having a radio that won’t break when you accidentally drop it.
It may also mean a walkie talkie that is waterproof, heatproof or one that can generally withstand the elements. It is hard to tell what the weather holds during a hiking expedition. You should, therefore, be prepared at all times.
It is also important to note that the best walkie talkies for hiking should have specific features that supports hikers in some way. For example, hiking leaves participants exposed to all forms of conditions.
The list a radio can do is have access to weather channels or even come with the NOAA Alert system that warns of impending bad weather.
Furthermore, features like anti-shock, Voice recognition, belt clips and neck straps can also come in really handy. Built-in LED flashlight is another important feature.
Accessories such as earphones will go a long way to make your walk more comfortable. You’ll be wise to look out for all these in a walkie talkie for hiking.
6. Battery Life
If you have all the above features but your walkie talkie goes out every other hour due to poor battery, you haven’t gained so much. A good battery life caps it up for an amazing hiking adventure.
You may not even find a place or power source to charge, so it’s important you find a walkie talkie that will last through several hours of hiking time until you turn in for the day. And in case you’re not able to recharge, replaceable batteries are really helpful in such situations.
Top 5 Best Walkie Talkies for Hiking
1. Midland T290VP4 X-TALKER
Best For: Value for Money
If you want to talk about truly high-performance radios for hikers, the X-Talker from Midland is certainly a huge topic.
As a great outdoor gadget, the Midland T290VP4 X-TALKER comes top on this list of best walkie talkies for hiking as a result of its great range and coverage, impressive signal output power and other great features and accessories that will make your hiking experience worth your time.
The fact that it combines both FRS and GMRS channels, along with 121 privacy codes makes it a top-notch selection for outdoor lovers.
What’s more, you can go with the custom rechargeable battery or use 6 AA Alkaline batteries to power it up for up to 10 hours of active use.
Specifications of Midland T290VP4 X-TALKER
- Up to 36 FRS/GMRS Channels
- 40 -mile range
- 121 Privacy codes
- Dual battery mode
- NOAA Weather Scan feature
- Weather Alert feature
- eVOX feature for hands-free use
- Wall adapter and USB charge cable.
- Belt clip for easy saddle
Pros and Cons of Midland T290VP4 X-TALKER
- Amazing range of channels
- Superb reach, up to 20 miles with trees present and 40 miles in open field
- Weather scan and alert to keep you in the loop.
- You can easily switch to AA batteries if no power source is available.
- Can provide at least 10 hours of talk time.
- Great price for its category.
- Water resistant.
- May not withstand impact.
2. Retevis RB26 Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies
Best for: Battery Life
Another great entry in this review of best walkie talkie for hiking is the Retevis RB26. It is a multi-purpose, two-way walkie talkie that performs incredibly well for hikers.
With super clear signals and VOX option for hands-free function, you can be sure of your convenience even when your hands are the only things keeping you hanging in there.
Its durable design transcends just its strong exterior with visible sturdiness on the antenna. You don’t even have to worry about impact with rocks and other hard surfaces. More so, when you get it charged up, you can enjoy this radio for more than 12 hours.
Specifications of Retevis RB26 Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies
- Comes with 30 channels
- 4.8 x 2.4 x 1.42 inches in dimension
- Compact build.
- Built-in LED flashlight
- Emergency alarm
- 2000mAh inbuilt battery
- iVOX/VOX feature for hands-free operation.
- Micro USB interface included.
Pros and Cons of Retevis RB26 Two Way Radio Walkie Talkies
- Very durable, can withstand drop up to 2 meters.
- Portable design
- Fast charging convenience.
- Good battery power.
- Can be bought on a budget.
- Built-in flashlight for night-time and SOS operations.
- Crystal clear and loud audio output.
- Range is quite poor.
3. SAMCOM FRS Walkie Talkie
Best for: Key features
Talk aboutthe perfect radio for adults and kids, and the SAMCOM FRS Walkie Talkie will rear its head. This is the time where you get to take out the checklist you created for your preferred walkie talkie for hiking.
This radio comes with 10 different call tones which can help your team locate you during an emergency. Also, it comes with built-in flashlight to help you power through the night.
These combine with an amazing zipper USB cord that can charge two radios simultaneously- talk about a truly groupie experience for hikers.
Specifications of SAMCOM FRS Walkie Talkie
- 1250 mAh rechargeable battery.
- Battery saver with High/Low power mode.
- 22 channels
- Up to 2 miles
- 2-in-1 split zipper charger
- Keypad lock to prevent accidental calls.
- 10 call tones
- 50 CTCSS & 104 CDCSS codes
- NOAA Weather Alert
Pros and Cons of SAMCOM FRS Walkie Talkie
- Can save up battery power for extended use.
- Two radios can be charged at the same time.
- 22 channels for multiple options.
- 10 call tones great for calling attention.
- Good audio quality
- Ability to monitor weather changes.
- Poor range
4. SOCOTRAN Walkie Talkies for Adults
Best for: Audio Clarity
For a truly remarkable and crystal-clear communication, it is important to seek out the best. And when it comes to the best walkie talkies for hiking, SOCOTRAN comes really close to the top.
This radio is portable, compact and truly great for adventures. Its impressive battery life is another great advantage as you can go all day long without having to worry about your radio dying out.
Hiking has never been better; there are numerous channels to navigate through and stay in touch with your fellow hikers no matter how far apart you are on the trail.
Specifications of SOCOTRAN Walkie Talkies for Adults
- Up to 5 miles
- 22 channels to choose from
- 1500 mAh battery
- Built-in LCD flashlight
- Smart belt clip
- USB support
- 4.9 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches in dimension
Pros and Cons of SOCOTRAN Walkie Talkies for Adults
- Great audio clarity
- Beautiful to look at
- Budget friendly radio
- Portable and durable
- Impressive battery life, up to 3 days of standby time.
- Hands-free enabled
- Dual charging options
- Range not good enough
5. Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio
Best for: Range
Whether it’s for a hiking adventure, a rock-climbing experience or even a weekend camping activity, the Motorola Talkabout T460 is a truly reliable product.
Its wide range is still a best-seller among hikers, coupled with its weather alert features that help you make valid decisions when you’re out hiking. With two radios in the pack, it is actually great value for money.
A VOX feature means you can engage in hands-free communication, especially when your hands are engaged. What’s more, it’s truly lightweight and comes highly recommended. For a truly satisfying hiking adventure, you may want to give this walkie talkie a chance.
Specifications of Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio
- Two radios in the pack
- 22 preset Channels
- 35 miles in range
- Built-in flashlight for night-time activities.
- Up to 121 Privacy Codes
- NOAA Weather alert
- Weather channels
- Emergency Alert Button
- IP54 Weatherproof
- Dual battery option
- iVOX/VOX Hands-free
Pros and Cons of Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio
- Up to 21 hours with the AA batteries.
- Impressive wide range for enhanced coverage.
- Weather alert for up-to-date weather info.
- Easy to carry around with belt clip
- It is water resistant
- All day access to emergency alert.
- License-free FRS frequency
- Water resistant.
- Range is limited by terrains, obstacles and weather.
Comparison of Top 5 Walkie Talkies for Hiking
|Midland X-Talker||40 miles||Yes||36||Yes||Yes|
|Retevis RB26||2 miles||No||30||No||Yes|
|SAMCOM FRS||2 miles||Yes||22||No||No|
|Motorola T460||35 miles||Yes||22||Yes||Yes|
A hiking adventure should be exciting, breath-taking and filled with beautiful memories. At the same time, it should be refreshing. One important component that can determine its success or failure is the type of walkie talkie you deploy. With this guide, you can make the right choice and conquer new trails for as long as you desire.