Mountain walkie-talkies, also known as two-way radios, are portable devices that allow users to communicate wirelessly over short distances. They are commonly used in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain climbing, where cell phone service may be unreliable or unavailable.
- 1 The best mountain walkie-talkies buying guide
- 2 Advantages and disadvantages of mountain walkie-talkies
- 3 How long does the battery last?
- 4 Is the device durable?
- 5 How many channels does the device have?
- 6 Does the device have any additional features?
- 7 Is a License Necessary to Operate Walkie-Talkies?
- 8 How Far Do Walkie Talkies Work?
- 9 How Long Does the Average Two-Way Radio Battery Last Turn Off?
- 10 do walkie-talkies work in the mountains?
While smartphones are effective ways to communicate with people, it’s not always that we can rely on them. It is mainly because they use mobile networks to communicate with one another. Mountains are mostly far from urban areas where telcos set up their towers, so basically, smartphones are useless in this scenario.
It would be best if you had a walkie-talkie, two-way radio that uses wireless signals to communicate with one another. They’re cheap, durable, and boast a long lifespan, which means that you can equip everyone in your group and make communication a bit easier.
#1.Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios
- Has earphones
- Overcharge protection
- 18-month long warranty
- Not weatherproof
- Difficult to attach with clips on the belt
The working of this two-way radio is pretty simple. There are 16 channels already programmed in this two-way radio. The range of this radio is UHF 400-470MHz. It comes with 1500mAh rechargeable battery. The battery takes almost 2 and a half hours to be completely charged and lasts for almost 96 hours after a full recharge. In open areas with fewer obstacles, the range can go up to 5 miles.
It is made up of durable plastic and rubber and has a black and blue body. There is a microphone along with an LED indicator. Due to its sturdy construction, it can be used outdoors with ease. There is a built-in LED flashlight as well. This radio is waterproof as well but is not weatherproof. There is a 60 days money back warranty on this radio if you don’t like it. Overall, there is an 18-month guarantee on it.
#2.Cobra ACXT645 Waterproof Walkie Talkies
- Dual power source
- Built-in LED that automatically turns on to help you find it easily.
- Presence of NOA weather scan.
- Sound quality may disappoint you.
- Fast battery consumption when the LED flashlights function is on
- No Bluetooth function.
It comes with a built-in NOAA radio receiver, and the built-in LED Flashlight and rubberized grips provide enhanced functionality. Its VibrAlert features notify you of incoming transmissions with enhanced vibrating feedback. IPX4/JIS4 waterproof spec helps you be ready for anything. Voice-activated transmission lets you have free hands for other tasks. A total of 2662 channel combinations are available when the 22 channels are combined with the 121 privacy codes (38 CTCSS/83 DCS). The radios include rechargeable NiMH batteries and a two-port charging dock. It can also be used with AA alkaline batteries.
#3.Motorola Talkabout T801 Bundle Two-Way Radios
Range: 35 miles (voice range), 20 miles (data range)
Power output: 0.5-2 watts
Frequency ranges: 462-467 MHz (FRS/GMRS)
Battery: NiMH Rechargeable Batteries or 3 AA Alkaline Batteries
Size: 7.52 x 2.2 x 1.28 inches
Weight: 0.47 lb (with batteries)
Waterproof: yes (IPx4)
License needed: yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)
- Convenient communication with Bluetooth
- Out of grid texting
- Efficient when there is no cellular network
- Utilizes radio weather warning features; warn users of impending danger
- Withstand heavy rains and splashing water
- Has an emergency alert message
- The share button for updates and locations
- Emergency buttons let out audible sound to let other users know you’re in an emergency.
- Battery drain on the phone running the Talkabout app.
- The actual range is significantly lower than the 35 miles claimed
- Battery life
The T801, for instance, is a top-notch device that I find helpful when traversing any mountainous area.It has a voice range of 35 miles and a data range of 20 miles which are above average numbers, and considering that it has a $99.99 price tag, it is imposing. Since you’ll mostly use this walkie-talkie in an open space, you won’t experience any drop in range. A rechargeable battery powers it, but you may use alkaline ones as a backup since the T801 can accommodate them.
The T801 utilizes a USB charging port, which is crucial for hiking, especially if you plan to set up a camp for breaks or simply resting. You may use any power bank to recharge the device back to its total capacity and have it ready once it’s time to move along.
I also love how the T801 is powered by Bluetooth, which adds another communication layer that you may use anytime. Aside from that, Motorola also made sure that this device could be used in emergencies, so they have added a share location feature that is through a button that can be easily pressed. Lastly, I have to point out the earphone jack feature, which can be seen at the topmost part of the device.
#4.Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio
- Easy to use
- Rechargeable batteries
- Not as many features as you would expect
It has excellent range, even in tough terrain and with bad weather conditions. The battery life is outstanding, running up to 40 hours on standby. If you’re stuck somewhere and waiting for help, this can be crucial.
There are a few drawbacks here. The first, of course, is the price. The second is how large it is. On long approaches where you need to layer and de-layer, clip and unclip gear constantly, having a big walkie hanging off your chest can be a pain. More disappointing is the lack of weather broadcast access, which at this price point should be standard.
#5.Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio
- Hands-free operation
- NOAA weather alert
- 50 channels with 142 privacy codes;
- The range of 36 miles
- Rechargeable NiMH battery
- Takes a long time to charge
It has pretty amazing features such as flashlight and NOAA weather alerts. This radio is waterproof. The battery present in this radio is a rechargeable battery. There are 50 channels in Midland- GXT1050VP4 with 142 privacy codes. The range of this radio is pretty large, with the radio functioning for almost 36 miles. You can use this radio in a hands-free mode as well.
You get vibration alerts with Midland- GXT1050VP4. Microphone and a headphone jack are also present. With the help of NOAA weather alert service you can get notifications regarding the weather conditions. There is a feature for group call on this radio. With the help of the 10 available call tones, you can set different tunes for 10 different people. Being JIS4 waterproof, it can be used safely in rain, storms etc. without worrying about the radio failing. With the help of eVOX, you get voice activation in 9 levels. The bright LCD display makes it easy to read the radio in dark as well.
#6.Retevis RT1 2 Way Radios Walkie Talkies Long Range
- Can be powered by a rechargeable battery or alkaline battery.
- Built-in LED flashlight that automatically turns on during an emergency.
- A push-to-talk power boast
- Provides automatic functions like the VOX voice control
- NOA weather scan and alerts.
- Battery cannot last for more than a day of continuous use.
- Mainly for outdoor activities.
It supports 12 hours of continuous working time. This Military Grade Design walkie-talkie can withstand multiple drops from up to 2 meters high. It has a squelch level of 1-9. You can receive a clear sound by adjusting the squelch level to your liking. Non-standard CTCSS can ensure safe calls and prevent unfamiliar signals from entering your channel.
#7.Retevis RT29 Military Grade Walkie Talkies Long Range
Range: not stated, but can handle long-distance
Power output: not stated
Frequency ranges: 400-480MHz / 430-440MHz (UHF), 144-148 MHz / 136-174 MHz (VHF)
Battery: Li-On rechargeable batteries
Size: 5.9 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches (with antenna)
Weight: 0.74 lb
Waterproof: yes (IP67)
License needed: yes (amateur / FCC license)
- Long-distance range
- Impressive battery life
- Small and Handy
- Dust and water resistance
- Affordable price
- Does not support disposable batteries
- Need a license to use
- It can be a bit pricey for some
The looks of this device are straightforward and don’t require that much experience to operate. It comes with a handy manual so that anyone can use this right away.The manufacturer didn’t state how much range the Retevis RT29 can manage. Still, I can personally attest that it would be a good purchase if you plan to go to broad and mountainous areas. Aside from that, you’ll never have to worry about where to put the device while operating since the package comes with many functionalities like straps and clips.
The 3200 mAH battery equipped on this device is responsible for the 30 hours life span. You might have to constantly think ahead about charging and budgeting your device’s power because the Retevis RT29 doesn’t support disposable alkaline batteries. Much like other newer walkie-talkie models, the Retevis RT29 also comes with the VOX functionality, which would allow you to operate the device without even touching it.
Also read:7 Best Walkie Talkies for Kids
#8.DEWALT DXFRS800 2 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies
- Weather resistance
- Simple to use
- Rechargeable/AA batteries
- Not GMRS compatible
- Lack of features
it doesn’t have as many functions as more purpose-built backcountry radios. It’s also the second most expensive radio on this list. But if you would end up having to replace something less durable otherwise, the FRS may be worth it.
Also read:The Best walkie talkies for family camping in 2023
#9.BTECH Mobile UV-50X2
- A customized Multi-Color adjustable display screen
- Resumes scanning even when power is disrupted
- Can monitor Channels in a single line display
- Mono Speaker-Output cannot be used without the appropriate adaptor
The channels can also be customized in a way that it shows the setting of the frequency. It has a range of VHF of 136-174mhz. The dual sync features make it a pretty smart choice. 4 channels can be displayed simultaneously with the help of the channel monitor.
In BTECH MOBILE UV-50X2 you can scan the different frequencies and channels. Even if the power is interrupted, the two-way radio will save the scanning preferences. BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 includes a 3.5mm Line In/Line Out multiple jacks that gives the capability of remote audio input and output. You can adjust the gain of the microphone with the help of the button for the in-menu audio adjuster.
Also read:The best walkie talkie for security of 2023
- Can be powered by a rechargeable battery or alkaline battery
- Built-in LED flashlight that automatically turns on during an emergency
- A push-to-talk power boast
- Provides automatic functions like the VOX voice control,
- NOA weather scan and alerts
- Splash Proof but not water-resistant
- Battery cannot last for more than a day of continuous use.
- Mainly for outdoor activities
With 22 channels, there’s always an open line for uninterrupted communications. And since the SX507 operates on industry-standard frequencies, you can easily communicate with people using other models or brands. You can even receive NOAA Weather alerts to keep you ahead of foul weather. Rated at up to 50 miles, these two-way radios provide great range when there is a clear view between the radios. Your actual range may be limited by hills, buildings, trees, and other obstructions. So get out without losing touch. Uniden SX507 two-way radios.
Also read:The best walkie talkie for long distance of 2023
The best mountain walkie-talkies buying guide
Before you go out and buy a Two-way Radio for Mountains, it is important to keep a few things in mind. All Two-way Radios have different and advanced features which distinguish them and make them unique. It is surely a nuisance to see several Two-way Radios available and not being able to make an informed choice.
The features of the Two-way Radios are different from each other. The usage instructions and compatibility of each are different. Since there are a lot of Two-way Radios available, it may seem difficult to choose the perfect one. Here are a few things which you should keep in mind and look for in Two-way Radios before you decide to buy the one you think is the best!
The maximum distance for the transmission and receival of signals that is possible with the help of two-way radio is its range. The range depends on the type of radio being used, that is FRS radio has a maximum range of 6 miles while a GMRS radio has a maximum range of 50 miles. Moreover, the range which is given by the manufacturer is the range under perfect, optimal conditions. The real-time range of a two-way radio is going to be slightly different since there will be interference by obstacles, weather conditions etc.
This means that if you are in an open area, like on a hill with not a lot of trees on it, then you will be able to communicate quite far. But if you are in the built-up residential area, your range might be considerably shortened. So, it is better to buy a two-way radio with a greater range as compared to your requirements, because it is going to be affected by several factors in the real world.
The durability of a radio is pretty important. You need to know under what conditions will the radio not work, like weather conditions plus whether the radio will be able to survive crashes or falls etc.
Two-way radios usually use AA/AAA batteries. Alkaline batteries that are meant to be disposed of after being used as well as nickel-metal hydride batteries which can be recharged are compatible with two-way radios. Some two-way radios have their own rechargeable batteries which come with the two-way radios.
The batteries will drain fast if the output power of a two-way radio is high. The two-way radios which go into battery-saver mode after a while are a pretty good choice.
You need to know how long your batteries will last after they will be completely charged. Knowing the time after which your batteries will drain plays a crucial role in determining how long you can go without a battery backup. Make sure you are stocked up on batteries, if your radio works on rechargeable batteries, or if they are rechargeable, how long will they go without a recharge.
You don’t want to keep a battery on you, you can get a two-way radio that is capable of charging through a USB and works with a solar charger.
Size & Design
Design, weight, and size of a two-radio are very important especially in situations where you are carrying all your belongings on your back. If the two-way radio is small in size, compact and lightweight, it will be pretty easy and convenient for you to keep it inside your bag, or keep it attached to your belt, or maybe keep it inside your pocket. Small two-way radios may have the added benefit of being cost-friendly as well. But they may not come with a lot of functionalities. On the other hand, big in size, a heavy-duty two-way radio which may have crush and impact-resistant make would definitely weigh more but are a good choice for outdoor usage, especially mountaineering and hiking.
The length of an antenna on the two-way radio is also important since the length plays a role in determining the range, plus the clarity of transmission.
Some two-way radios have the feature of Voice Activated Transmit functions, VOX. With the help of VOX, you can use your two-way radio without using your hands. It is a better useful functionality in a radio, especially when you are hiking and need both your hands on the task. This feature automatically starts broadcasting when you begin to speak in the direction that is of walkie talkie’s consequently, letting you operate it without using your hands. This is best suited for you if you are a mountain biker or a skier.
With the help of a noise filter, your signals get clearer and you get an enhanced range. Make sure whether the two-way radio that you are buying comes with a noise filter or not. This serves as a noise canceller and also tends to enhance signals.
If your two-way radio is a weather radio, this means you can tune into the NOAA weather band stations where you can hear the local forecast and weather conditions. This feature is useful for everyone, but mostly campers and mountaineers can derive maximum benefit from it.
Although two-way radios which have GPS functionality in them will be a little bit costlier, they allow you to navigation capabilities. You can also have peer-to-peer positioning with these kinds of two-way radios with the help of which your location coordinates will also appear on the partner screen.
It doesn’t matter if you are keeping your two-way radio in a small protective bag or are not using it quite often. Your two-way radio is going to come in contact with natural elements one way or the other. Waterproofing, safety from sun exposure, signal clarity in storms etc. are all things you need to keep an eye out for before you buy a two-way radio.
If the place where you live, or the place where you are going for mountaineering or hiking is a cold area, you should know the operational temperature range so that you can know whether the radio will work at extreme temperatures or not.
If you use the 22 channels available on two-way radios, it is possible that you will hear the transmissions from all people using the same channel, thus missing out on important communication. With the help of privacy codes, you can filter out those radio transmissions which don’t have the same channel and code as you. It is like another form of identification for your radio. Radios come with up to 120 privacy codes, and when they are combined with channels, you can get more than 2,500 possible combos. If you are going to use your two-way radios in a busy area, you should buy radios with a large number of privacy codes.
With the help of a privacy code, your communication is not going to become private. It is more like an elimination of transmissions which do not have the same privacy code as the one set by you. In areas which are busy, 22 channels get occupied very quickly. Consequently, many radios provide CTCSS or CDCSS that enables you to use a busy channel by employing the use of some codes.
The use of CTCSS or CDCSS “codes” can reduce the amount of unwanted noise on the main channel the user would be hearing otherwise.
Some two-way radios give you a notification or sound an alarm when the partner radio is going out of the range of communication. This is a pretty handy feature and you should look for this before buying your radio.
Advantages and disadvantages of mountain walkie-talkies
There are several advantages to using mountain walkie-talkies:
- Long range communication: Walkie-talkies can transmit and receive signals over longer distances than cell phones, making them useful in areas where cell phone service is unreliable or unavailable.
- Durability: Mountain walkie-talkies are designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, making them more reliable than cell phones in such environments.
- Group communication: Walkie-talkies allow users to communicate with multiple people at once, making them useful for coordinating with large groups in the mountains.
- Ease of use: Walkie-talkies are easy to use, with simple push-to-talk buttons and clear audio.
However, there are also some disadvantages to consider:
- Limited range: While walkie-talkies have a longer range than cell phones, they are still limited in the distance over which they can transmit and receive signals. This can be a problem in mountainous terrain where obstacles such as hills and valleys can interfere with the signal.
- Battery life: Walkie-talkies can have a shorter battery life than cell phones, especially if used extensively. This can be a problem in the mountains where charging options may be limited.
- Cost: Walkie-talkies can be more expensive than cell phones, especially if you need multiple units for group communication.
- Size and weight: Walkie-talkies are typically larger and heavier than cell phones, which can be a burden if you need to carry them with you on a long hike.
Buying Mountain Walkie-Talkie FAQs
The range of a walkie-talkie refers to the distance over which it can transmit and receive signals. In mountainous terrain, the range may be shorter due to obstacles such as hills and valleys. Consider your communication needs and choose a walkie-talkie with a range that meets or exceeds them.
How long does the battery last?
It’s important to have a walkie-talkie with a long battery life, especially if you’ll be using it for extended periods of time in the mountains. Look for a device with a high capacity battery and/or the ability to use replaceable batteries.
Is the device durable?
Mountain walkie-talkies should be rugged and able to withstand harsh outdoor conditions such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Look for a device that is water-resistant and/or has a waterproof rating.
How many channels does the device have?
Walkie-talkies typically have multiple channels that users can switch between to communicate with different groups. Look for a device with a large number of channels to increase your options for communication.
Does the device have any additional features?
Some mountain walkie-talkies have additional features such as GPS, SOS signaling, and the ability to communicate with other devices such as cell phones and satellite phones. These can be useful in emergency situations or for coordinating with larger groups.
Is a License Necessary to Operate Walkie-Talkies?
You don’t need any license to operate a common walkie-talkie, such as the 22-channel radio or FRS. However, if your device is more advanced and uses GMRS/HAM frequencies, it may be necessary for an FCC license, which can vary depending on what kind of equipment was purchased. Check with the user manual provided by the manufacturer if unsure about requirements related to operating frequency bands.Do I Need a License for Two Way Radios?
How Far Do Walkie Talkies Work?
The range of the radio is often exaggerated. For example, some claim their signal can cover 30 miles, but in reality, it could be as little as 15-25, depending on the terrain and obstacles between two points.
You can expect the best range from mountain peak to peak or peak to valley. However, the advertised range of any device is only under ideal conditions. In addition, batteries can affect performance, so make sure you’re using fresh ones.
How Long Does the Average Two-Way Radio Battery Last Turn Off?
Today two-way radio rechargeable batteries come with a lot of power and can last for up to 24 months, on average. Many factors influence how long it will take before your battery is exhausted, including what type you have, like if it’s rechargeable or not, weather conditions such as hot or cold temperatures.
do walkie-talkies work in the mountains?
The range will vary from place to place. In mountainous regions, your walkie-talkie would work, but the frequency and range would vary. One thing you should remember is that radio frequencies work on the line of sight, and mountains can completely block radio signals.