Having picked your favorite location to go on your hiking expedition, the next step is minding your own safety. A two-way radio, also known as a walkie- talkie, should top your list of safety measures.
If you are hiking in a rural area where there is no cellphone nearby or radio frequency, a two-way radio will be your savior. With it, you can communicate with anyone.
This article will give you the qualities to look out for when you next go shopping for a two-way radio, we will also list for you our top three two-way radios that you can choose from.
Bottom Line: The Motorola T400 has 22 channels with 121 privacy codes, emergency alert button, rechargeable battery and a built in flash light. It is a good two-way radio for a hiker.
With this walkie-talkie, you can use the privacy codes anytime you need to communicate without interference from other channel users.
In case you are hiking during winter or a rainy season, it will be protected from any damage in case it gets wet.
Emergency alert button
In case you have an emergency and need help, you can press the alert button and the push-to-talk to help you communicate easily.
This can be used during an emergency to attract attention or use at night.
Motorola Talkabout T400 Two-Way Radio Review
Motorola T400 is waterproof. This means that it is capable of withstanding rain and snow. Apart from the 22 channels, it also has 121 privacy codes. With it, it is very easy for you as a user to find available channels. The privacy codes will also ensure that you communicate with others without interference.
Additionally, it has a Keep It Private The Quiet Talk (QT) feature that allows you to communicate with other Motorola radio users without any interruption.
To keep track of any weather changes or emergency alerts, this model gives you a weather alert option or you can use its weather channel. This is good because you can always be up to date with any updates that might affect your hiking adventure.
If you are hiking in a location that is dimly lit or it gets dark while still on the trail, this model provides you with a light option. It comes with a fitted LED flashlight that you can use in such a scenario. The flashlight is also ideal in case of an emergency since you can light it to attract attention.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: This is a license free two-way radio that complies with all US FCC legal rules. It is also ideal for a hiker because of its lightweight.
Side key scan
this function allows the user to find channels easily.
It does not require a license like most two-way radios and still has complied with all US FCC rules.
You can carry it on your hands for a long time without being weighed down by its weight
You can communicate over a long range area because it also has enhanced coverage features.
Retevis RT27 2 Way Radios Review
This two-way radio from Retevis is light inn weight making it easy to walk while holding it. With its voice technology it means that your voice will be loud and clear. It is also long lasting because of its strong firmware.
It is fitted with a VOX function. This makes it easy for one to still use the two-way radio hands free in case you are busy.
With its battery save function, you can extend the life of the battery. This is good if you are hiking for more than a day or you are hiking in an isolated area. The battery is 1100 mAh meaning it can last 10-12 hours.
This two-way radio is license free meaning you do not need to get a license to use it or the privacy codes. With it, you can also communicate with anyone within range regardless of the two-way radio brands they have.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: this two-way radio is ideal since you can still use it while still on the go by clipping it to your backpack using the handset. It is also glove friendly and easy to use, a great choice for hikers
It is easy to use even if you are still in your gloves. This is ideal when hiking during a cold season.
It has 121 sub-channels that can be used to provide clarity during an emergency.
You can clip it to the radio or on your backpack strap meaning you can still communicate while still on the go.
Smart Mic Unit
You can use the push-to-talk button in case of an emergency.
Backcountry Access BC Link Radio System Review
The Backcountry Access BC Link is fitted with 22 channels and 121 sub-channels that can be used during an emergency by proving clarity. It uses a lithium-ion battery is rechargeable making it easier for you to recharge it when hiking in case the battery runs out.
One of the most exciting features of this two-way radio is the group communication feature. With this feature, a user is able to boost their connection using BCA BC Link Group Communication System.
In case of an emergency, this model allows you to send an on-going slide. If you are going on a hiking adventure back country, this model will help you when it comes to search and rescue.
It is also water and dust resistant meaning you can use it at any time of the year whether it is raining o dusty. Its design allows you to fit it easily to BCA stash series.
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What to Look for in a Two Way Radio for Hiking
Here is a list of things to look out for when buying a two-way radio for hiking:
The most common frequencies are General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS). The difference is that FRS channels can be used without a license i.e. they are free. For the GMRS one you will require a license in order to use its channels. One advantage of the GMRS frequency is that it has a wider range compared to FRS.
If you are going to hike in an area that has a lot of trees or has a rough terrain then the GMRS frequency is ideal for you. FRS is best for hiking in a flat land terrain.
Despite what many two-way radios will say on their packages, most of those will not be suitable. This is because they are listed on an optimal situation mode and in most cases, the range will be affected by many things like trees and topography. The best way to decide is by going through the reviews of each two-way radio you are interested in. the longest range is usually under 5 miles. As a hiker, your optimal range should be at least 2 miles.
When it comes to batteries, you should consider the life of the batteries as well as the type of battery. Some batteries last for a few hours while others can last a few days. If you know how long you will be hiking, then you have a rough estimate of how long you need those batteries to last.
Some radios will give you the option of using the AAA, AA batteries or a battery pack. If you are hiking during winter, then a radio that uses Lithium-ion batteries is the best for you. New radio models can be charged through a power bank. A flexible model that uses both rechargeable and regular batteries is much better.
Although rechargeable batteries are pocket friendly, they do not last long compared to the regular batteries especially when it is cold. In such a scenario, regular batteries are much better.
Privacy codes/ Antenna
Privacy codes help in reducing any interference from other channels. Apart from the 22 available channels, there might be additional channels that you can use if you are need of a channel that does not have chattering from other users in the same channel. This works with radios from the same manufacturer.
The best two-way radio to consider is one that gives you emergency channels. The most common emergency channels will give you alerts concerning weather, natural disaster, and NOAA alerts. Some models have the SOS option, which is ideal for you in case of an emergency. Any model that has an SOS option will have features such as LED flash lights, siren, flashing beacons, SOS flashing as well as the ability to transmit alerts to other users that are within your range.
Getting a two-way radio that suits all your needs when you are going on a hiking expedition might not be an easy feat. With our reviews, you are one step closer to getting the best two-way radio you can rely on in case of an emergency and one that will serve you well all the time.