Adventure Outdoors

Best Radios For Skiing

If you are planning for a ski trip, you may want to consider a walkie-talkie to bring along to keep you in contact in case an emergency arises. You will want something that will offer a good signal range that will last 24-hours without being charged and durable and waterproof. In addition, you will want a device that can withstand harsh conditions, which is especially important for skiing. Here are some of the best radios for skiing on the market!

What are the Best Radios For Skiing?

To decide on the absolute best radios for skiing, we have examined dozens of radios for skiing and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they experienced and shared, we have shortlisted the top 12 radios for skiing for you to consider, including their most important features, to help you make an informed decision.

On top of that, to make it easier for you, we have also compiled a list of key/ critical things and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider before buying radios for skiing. You can find it further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best radios for skiing.

1. Midland 50 Channel GMRS Radio

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 2.6 Pounds (1.2 kg)
Size: 2.4 x 1.5 x 7.9 Inches (6.2 x 3.9 x 20.1 cm)
Range: 36 miles
Power Source: 3 AA batteries

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Midland 50 channel GMRS radio pair pack is a portable walkie talkie that can cover a long range of about 36 miles. You can connect the radio with other different midland GMRS and FRS walkie talkies and their accessories also. It has a whisper mode feature that allows the receiver to hear a clear and loud voice when you send signals by quietly speaking to the radio. The two way radio has special automatic features like NOA weather scan and alerts that select weather band channels and notifies you about emergency weather conditions. However, you should know that this radio is only resistant to water spash like rainfall and it is not fully water resistant.

Pros

  • Silent operation,
  • Presence of easy VOX voice activation transmission,
  • Presence of NOA weather scan and alert feature,
  • An LCD display screen.

Cons

  • Only splash proof, not as water-resistant as stated,
  • poor sound quality when you receive signals.

2. SAMCOM Two-Way FPCNA30 6-Pack Radios

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.5 Pounds (0.2 kg)
Size: 11 x 1.2 x 1.2 Inches (27.9 x 3 x 3 cm)
Range: 30 miles
Battery Life: 50 hours
Power Source: 1500mAh Lithium-Polymer batteries
Continuous Talktime: 12 hours

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With 5 watts of power, the SAMCOM Two-Way FPCNA30 6-Pack Radios show impressive results both inside and outside of the buildings. They boast impact-resistant housing and dual channels for both single and group calls.

The automatic noise reduction with volume control provides clear transmission, and you can change the frequencies of the channels using your computer.

While the display helps a lot after it gets dark outside, the buttons are not backlit, so it will take trial and error until you find the required settings in the menu. Still, there aren’t too many buttons, and the radios are overall beginner-friendly.

The radios arrive with dock chargers, earpieces, and pre-installed belt clips. However, many customers recommend carrying the walkie-talkies in a backpack or a pocket because those belt clips are cheap.

Pros

  • LCD screen and anti-drop design,
  • Automatic noise reduction,
  • Supports dual channels and group calls,
  • Excellent battery capacity and max distance

Cons

  • Belt clips are not reliable,
  • The buttons are not backlit

3. Retevis RT18 Two-Way Radio

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.3 Pounds (0.1 kg)
Size: 5.1 x 2.1 x 1.6 Inches (13 x 5.2 x 4.1 cm)
Range: 0.5-1.5 miles
Battery Life: 10-12 hours
Power Source: 1000 mAh lithium-ion batteries
Continuous Talktime: up to 10 hours

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The Retevis RT18 Two-Way Radio is an incredibly lightweight option with a very thin design. For ease of use, these radios come with both front and side PTT buttons. The metal back clip is much sturdier compared to thin plastic clips usually found at this price range.

Since the radios come with a Y-type USB cable, you’ll be able to charge both of them simultaneously. The channel lock function is exceptionally useful for active people to prevent occasional side button presses.

When using it in crowded places, you are likely to hear a noticeable signal interference. In addition, the battery needs improvements unless you carry a power bank with you. Still, it is a fantastic pick for shorter hiking routes.

Pros

  • Front and side PTT buttons,
  • Channel Lock function,
  • Metal clip and Y-type USB cable,
  • Slim design

Cons

  • Might get interference,
  • Drains battery quickly

4. Midland 36 Channel FRS Long Range Walkie Talkie

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.6 Pounds (0.7 kg)
Size: 1 x 2 x 7 Inches (2.5 x 5.1 x 17.8 cm)
Range: 48.3km
Battery Life: 2-3 hours
Power Source: 2 AAA batteries

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The Midland 36 Channel FRS Long Range Walkie Talkie is waterproof and has a clear transmission It is licence free which means it has FRS channels. It also has a yellow faceplate which makes it easily visible. It also has a Hands Free Operation with a 30 mile communication range without obstruction.

Lastly, it has NOAA Weather Scan + Alert which is excellent as it sounds an alarm for when there is a risk of severre weather in you vicinity.

Pros

  • Waterproof.
  • Long range of communication,
  • NOAA weather scan+Alert,
  • Licence free,
  • Hands free.

Cons

  • Transmission is not so clear,
  • Short battery life.

5. NOAA Rechargeable Walkie Talkie

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.7 Pounds (0.8 kg)
Size: 2.2 x 1.3 x 6.1 Inches (5.6 x 3.3 x 15.5 cm)
Power Source: 12 AA batteries

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The NOAA Rechargeable Walkie Talkie is an excellent device for family outdoor activities. It has a NOAA Weather Alert feature that will notify you when there is risk of adverse weather.

It is compatible with any FRS radio regardless of the brand as long as you are on the same channel. It also has a sound and voice activation featire therefore it is hands free.

It has a PTT button that can be faulty from time to time therefore it may not be the best choice if you are in a place that may need you to call for help abruptly. it also has a micro-USB charger cable therefore you can charge it from your car if you are travelling which is very convenient.

The NOAA Reachargeable Walkie Talkie is also excellent if you are shopping on a budget. It is also great or family activitoes or when communicating between two cars on the road and need directions.

Pros

  • Licence free,
  • NOAA Weather Alert Scan Feature,
  • It has long range of communication and clear transmission,
  • Easy to use,
  • Compatible with any radio.

Cons

  • Not easy to set up,
  • The PTT button is not reliable.

6. Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.5 Pounds (0.2 kg)
Size: 7.8 x 2.4 x 1.5 Inches (19.8 x 6.1 x 3.8 cm)
Range: 35 miles
Battery Life: 9hours or 23 hours
Power Source: NiMH battery or 4 AA batteries

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Motorola T600 talkabout radio is suitable for outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. It can cover a range of about 35 miles. It can be powered either by an NiMH battery or 4 AA batteries. The two way radio is known for its ruggedness, water resistance and the ability to float on water. Also, it has an LED flashlight feature that turns on to alert you and helps you to easily locate the radio when falls in water. The LED flashlight also functions as torch to help you see in the dark. This flashlight however does drain the battery easily when its on.

Pros

  • Dual power source,
  • Built-in LED that automatically turns on to alert and help you find it easily,
  • Water resistant,
  • Presence of NOA weather scan and alert feature,
  • Floatability.

Cons

  • Not the sharpest sound quality,
  • Fast battery consumption when the LED flashlights function is on,
  • No bluetooth function unlike other motorola products.

7. Midland – X-TALKER T71VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 2 Pounds (0.5 kg)
Size: 2.6 x 1.4 x 6.1 Inches (6.6 x 3.6 x 15.5 cm)
Range: 61 km
Battery Life: 10 hours
Power Source: 3 AA batteries

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The Midland X-Talker Walkie Talkie is a hands free device which means transmission is activated by sound or voice. This feature allows you to still be in communication while doing other hands on activities.

It also has a NOAA weather scan and alert which gives you an alert when there is risk for adverse weather in your area and thus can plan accordingly. They are licence free and have a very long range of communication. It has a 10 hour battery life and has an option to use regular batteries that do not require charging. They are also water resistant. These features allow you to be out without worrying that it may die on you or that the rain and water may cause some damages.

It has a belt clip that is sturdy and great for when you are hiking or doing other thongs with your hands.

If you are a hunter or want to go camping with your friends, this would be the perfect fit.

Pros

  • Waterproof,
  • Has an NOAA weather Scan + Alert Feature,
  • Licence free,
  • Long range of communication,
  • Hands free device.

Cons

  • The belt clip is abit loose,
  • its not durable.

8. Topsung K-10 Portable NOAA Walkie Talkies

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.3 Pounds (0.1 kg)
Size: 6.3 x 2.2 x 1.3 Inches (16 x 5.6 x 3.3 cm)
Range: 20 miles
Battery Life: 48 hours
Power Source: 1800mAh lithium-polymer batteries
Continuous Talktime: 8 hours

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A wide choice of colors and rugged ABS housing are the first things that you’ll notice about the Topsung K-10 Portable NOAA Walkie Talkies. These offer 22 channels with 121 sub-codes, VOX function, keypad lock, auto scan, and a power-saving mode. Thanks to the backlit LCD screen, it is very fast and convenient to adjust the settings.

To make sure your trip is safe, you can benefit from an NOAA weather scan and alerts. With the help of USB ports, you can charge your radios right in the middle of your adventure using a power bank.

The drawbacks are uncomfortable earpieces that come with the product and a limited range if you use these radios indoors. Luckily, the signal can go for 20 miles when used in open.

Pros

  • Rugged ABS housing,
  • VOX-ready, keypad lock, auto scan, power-saving mode,
  • Backlit LCD screen,
  • NOAA weather scan and alerts

Cons

  • Earpiece could be more comfortable,
  • Limited range in urban areas

9. SAMCOM FPCN30AA Programmable Two-Way Radios

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 2.7 Pounds (1.2 kg)
Size: 11 x 1.2 x 1.2 Inches (27.9 x 3 x 3 cm)
Range: 1.5-5 miles
Battery Life: 50 hours
Power Source: 1500mAh Lithium-Polymer batteries
Continuous Talktime: 12 hours

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The SAMCOM FPCN30AA Programmable Two-Way Radios deliver 5 watts of power and offer long antennas for better reception. The best part here is a 1500mAh lithium battery that grants up to 50 hours of operating time. In addition, the product withstands impacts and all weather conditions easily.

With direct and group PTT buttons, you can talk to different people without having to switch the channel. The backlit LCD screen is easy to read and navigate through the menu.

While the product comes with an earpiece, its quality is questionable because you’ll need to press the button multiple times to find out if it works correctly. You also might need to reprogram the radios to improve the transmitting range. Luckily, this process doesn’t take much time.

Pros

  • Easy-to-read Backlit LCD display,
  • Direct and group PTT buttons,
  • Excellent battery capacity,
  • 406.1-470MHz UHF frequency range

Cons

  • Cheap earpiece,
  • Might require reprogramming for max transmitting range

10. Retevis RT48 Waterproof Walkie-Talkies

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.3 Pounds (0.1 kg)
Size: 10.4 x 4.7 x 3.6 Inches (26.4 x 11.9 x 9.1 cm)
Range: 5 miles
Battery Life: 72 hours
Power Source: 1200mAh Li-ion batteries
Continuous Talktime: 12 hours

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If you head out to sea frequently, our recommendation is Retevis RT48 Waterproof Walkie-Talkies. The radios feature IP67 waterproof and durable housing along with impressive battery capacity. Once fully charged, they provide up to 12 hours of continuous talk time or up to 72 hours in standby mode.

The built-in squelch dampens the interference, while VOX is very helpful while paddling. On top of that, they have an emergency alarm, time-out timer, and channel lock functions.

Because the belt clips are non-removable, these can be quite bulky and tricky to put in smaller pockets. Also, be mindful that pre-programmed channels don’t match with radios from other brands.

Pros

  • IP67 waterproof housing,
  • VOX, squelch, alarm, time-out timer, and channel lock,
  • Excellent battery capacity,
  • Come with dock stations and hand straps

Cons

  • Channels and frequencies don’t match with other radios,
  • Non-removable belt clips

11. Retevis H-777S Rechargeable Two-Way Walkie-Talkies

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.6 Pounds (0.7 kg)
Size: 11.3 x 8.1 x 2.6 Inches (28.7 x 20.5 x 6.5 cm)
Range: 2.5 miles
Battery Life: 3 days
Power Source: 1100mAh Li-ion batteries
Continuous Talktime: 12 hours

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When durability plays the most important role, it’s hard to beat the Retevis H-777S Rechargeable Two-Way Walkie-Talkies. These come with anti-drop, non-slip, and dustproof housing that makes them an excellent choice for any environment. Along with standard 16 channels, they offer VOX, squelch, and low battery alarms.

Since the knobs and buttons are large, it’s very straightforward to use them. In the package, you’ll find earpieces, cables, charging stations, and belt clips. The size of those charging stations is compact so you can recharge the batteries on the go using your power bank.

However, if you want to reprogram these radios using CHIRP, you’ll have to purchase an extra cable separately. Lastly, keep in mind that the max range of these radios is shorter than specified.

Pros

  • Anti-drop and dustproof housing,
  • Large knobs and buttons,
  • VOX-ready, squelch, and low battery alarm,
  • Come with headsets, USB wall chargers, and belt clips

Cons

  • Requires a cable for reprogramming,
  • The transmitting range is shorter than specified

12. NXGKET 2-Way Rechargeable Radio

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.2 Pounds (0.6 kg)
Size: 7 x 2.4 x 2 Inches (17.8 x 6 x 5 cm)
Range: 3-5 miles
Battery Life: 12 hours
Power Source: 1200mAh Li-ion batteries
Continuous Talktime: up to 6 hours

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Coming in four different colors, the NXGKET 2-Way Rechargeable Radios offer 22 channels with 121 sub-codes. The signal can go for up to 5 miles in open, and the rugged design provides fantastic protection against impacts.

These bright walkie-talkies boast various automatic functions like squelch, memory scan, and switch on/off. Thanks to the large backlit display, it is very straightforward to use and customize.

Our only gripe is the poor quality of some buttons, so you’ll need more effort to press them. Also, some owners weren’t satisfied with the built-in speaker. In some conditions, these may be too quiet.

Nevertheless, the product is an optimal choice for beginner hikers, mountaineers, and even kids.

Pros

  • Bright and compact design,
  • Large backlit LCD screen,
  • Auto squelch, memory, scan, and power-saving modes,
  • Impact-resistant housing

Cons

  • Speaker is too quiet,
  • Low-quality buttons

Verdict

Following all the research, comparisons and information we have gathered about these top radios for skiing, we can confidently say that Midland 50 Channel GMRS Radio is the best radio for skiing out in the market.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Retevis RT18 Two-Way Radio as an affordable alternative.

Lastly, if you are looking for something with all the best features made with high-quality materials and would like to consider all the premium options out there, we strongly recommend the SAMCOM Two-Way FPCNA30 6-Pack Radios.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying Radios For Skiing

Durability

When we take walkie talkies on expeditions, chances of it getting damaged are high. They can be kicked, smashed, or dropped by mistake no matter how much care you put into handling them. A good walkie-talkie should have a casing made of ideally steel or plastic and most of its parts should be able to resist any small hurts. Water-proofing and dust-proofing are major factors to determine the durability of a walkie-talkie. It can be tested through an IP number passed by International Electrotechnical Commission for each device. The combination of these two numbers will tell you of the protection level of a walkie-talkie. For instance, it is 0-6 for dust resistance and 0-9 for water resistance. The higher the number is, the better the protection will be.

Hands Free Communication

Hands-free communication in a walkie-talkie set is a combination of two features, the VOX and the second one is jacking for the microphone.

A VOX (Voice-activated) feature turns on the microphone whenever you speak towards the radio from an adequate distance. Thus, it lets you operate the walkie-talkie in a hands-free mode. Mountain bikers and hikers found it to be a very useful thing while on a voyage.

Jacks for microphone and headphones are the other feature in a walkie-talkie that enables hand-free communication where you cannot hold the set like while cycling, kayaking, or skiing.

Walkie talkie models with a PPT button placed at an access point is a more convenient option rather than a VOX feature where you cannot fully control voice transmitting.

Battery Life

Usually, a walkie-talkie battery shelf life can lasts up to 18 to 24 months. Currently, most of the walkie-talkies come with rechargeable batteries that you can use and recharge multiple times before their final point of exhaustion.

The component that determines the battery life of a walkie-talkie is the cell. There are two types of cells: premium-grade cells and low-tier cells. Each type has its impact on capacity and cycle life. Generally, picking a walkie talkie with premium-grade cells will ensure a longer capacity of 10% more than the standard one.

Most of the Motorola build models have used premium-grade cells.

Range Of Coverage

The range of a walkie-talkie is one of the most important factors to look for when buying this device. Regardless of solid construction, a good walkie-talkie set should provide an optimum range coverage of 25 to 30 miles on limited frequencies of 400-512 MHz with some ultra-high frequency range.

The range coverage may vary due to unclear whether or location-based obstacles. It can be increased by optimizing the built-in components like antenna and signal receivers that may also enhance its overall functionality. Always remember that range coverage of a walkie-talkie set largely depends on the weather, location, distance, and geography factors.

Emergency Features

Emergency features such as lone worker, man down, and GPS locator come in handy while operating commercially or professionally. They are mostly useful in places like outdoor nature settings, oil rigs and even for health workers.

Emergency features in a walkie-talkie set are essential to ensure the safety of the user. These services as standard in most manufactured models, and sometimes you can also programme and customize it. Always remember to activate it before use and be sure they are working properly before going off the grid.

Noaa Weather Alert

Having a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) enabled walkie-talkie is a must-have while planning outdoor recreational activities like hiking, camping, or going to mountains in order to avoid any unforeseen weather surprises.

A walkie-talkie with the support of the NOAA feature can proactively tell you in advance about emergency weather conditions that may arise in your way ahead. They constantly broadcast weather alerts from your local NOAA stations while roaming around the outskirts. The SAME is the most advanced technology in this regard, by which you can limit the alerts based on your described area and the alert type needed. There are some models that perform well in waters while others are good in forests and mountains.

Belt Clip

Apart from the standard components of a walkie-talkie, a belt clip is also considered an important part of it. It allows you to keep your hands free from holding the bulky walkie-talkie set while continuing the communication over a wirelessly attached earpiece.

There is a range of belt clips available from the original equipment manufacturers but you can also use a cross-brand compatible belt clip with your walkie-talkie. Make sure to have a test run before buying because it may face hindrances in connectivity or signal broadcasting.

Channels And Privacy Codes

Not all the walkie-talkies in the market are private and secure. If you want to build safe and reliable communication, you need to have a privacy code enabled walkie-talkie set to function on specific channels.

Privacy codes are an effective way of communication via radios while you need an end to end encryption. It is beneficial to have privacy and interruption-free communication. These days, advanced walkie-talkies are coming with Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) or CDCSS (Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System) that lets you set your privacy codes to keep others away from your channels.

Questions and Answers About Radios For Skiing

What radios do ski patrol use?

Walkie-talkie radios are what most ski patrollers use during skiing to report conditions, respond to injuries, and ensure every skier on board is safe.
Most patrollers prefer a walkie-talkie that is snow and water-resistant and can withstand dropped; in addition to the range capacity and long-lasting battery to stay on for hours in the winter cold.

Can you use a ham radio as a walkie talkie?

Technically yes, a ham radio has a much broader range of 8W compared to a GRMS walkie of up to 5W of power. However, it is illegal in the US to connect ham with RS/GRMS walkies. First off there’s an issue with licenses. FRS walkie operators is not required to be FCC registered while GRMS walkie users require an FCC license. As for ham radios, users willl have to go through tests in order to obtain up to 3 levels of licenses. If ham radio connect with GRMS/FRS walkies, it may cause them to go over their legal frequency.

Can I use a UHF radio without a license?

It is advisable to have a license, whether for a UHF or VHF radio. As it is an external device, most people think it is okay not to have licenses, whereas a license can save you from getting into trouble. The credible authority would recommend its users to have an authentic license to use the device at events or any other official work.

Does walkie talkie work long distance?

Generally, devices can stay connected for a 1-2 KM radius depending on your walkie talkie model and its features. It can remain linked for maximum length, but that device needs to have a WiFi function and more specifications. This is because different audiences experience a more comprehensive range, whereas the walkie-talkie gives you an optimal distance experience.

Can walkie talkies be traced?

Walkie talkies can still be traced albeit it being more challenging and less accurate than locating it with a GPS. Assuming the walkie talkie does not have any GPS functions, one can trace the location of a walkie using triangulation, trilateration and fox hunting methods due to the radio waves released when the device is on.

How to save battery in a walkie talkie?

Saving battery can be very subjective as it will depend heavily on how you use the walkie talkie and how you maintain the battery. Any kind of batteries tend to have a finite lifespan and will usually use more energy when it’s in a hot environment. To preserve it, you should limit your usage and the intensity of your use. Any other additional functions such as VOX, weather alerts, even volume of the walkie talkie will need to be kept to a minimum. Another thing is the charging time. Overcharging it is counter-intuitive as it ends up eating away your battery lifespan when overcharged. On the other hand, you shouldn’t let the battery fully deplete either as this can eventually prevent the battery from holding a charge.

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