Adventure Outdoors

Best Survival Walkie Talkie

When one is in survival mode, it usually indicates some form of urgency and sometimes even emergency. You will most likely not have access to much convenience facilities. This also means that you’re on your own to get through the ordeal. Having a reliable emergency walkie talkie can be the difference between life and death. Here’s some of the best survival walkie talkies for emergency.

What is the Best Survival Walkie Talkie?

To decide on the absolute best survival walkie talkie, we have examined dozens of walkie talkies for survival and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they experienced and shared, we have shortlisted the top 8 survival walkie talkies 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 walkie talkies for survival. You can find it further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best survival walkie talkie.

1. Professional Rechargeable Walkie Talkies

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 8.8 Pounds (4 kg)
Size: 2 x 1.4 x 2.2 Inches (5 x 3.5 x 5.5 cm)
Range: Up to 10 miles
Power Source: ‎6 Lithium Polymer batteries

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The Professional Rechargeable Walkie Talkies has all the standard qualities one would expect from a typical walkie-talkie. It has 22 channels each with 121 privacy codes; can be charged using a USB port (no worries about suddenly losing power); compatible with any other FRS radio; and has an easy voice activation feature to provide a hands-free experience. However, one thing to note is that the advertised feature of being “rechargable” may be misleading as it apparently refers to the chargability of any rechargable batteries you placed within them. However, this can be easily remedied with using rechargable batteries. Overall, this is a basic walkie without any frills that can serve your usage on a camping trip, but again, this is subjective and depends on your usage.

Pros

  • 22 channels each with 121 privacy codes totalling 2662 combinations,
  • Can be charged with a USB charging port,
  • Compatible with any other FRS radio,
  • Easy voice and sound activation to provide a hands-free experience.

Cons

  • “Rechargable batteries” in the product description may be misleading as separate rechargable batteries will have to be purchased for it to be ‘chargable’,
  • Instruction manual can be improved.

2. Retevis RT87 High-Power Dual-Band Radios

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.4 Pounds (0.2 kg)
Size: 4.9 x 2.1 x 1.3 Inches (12.4 x 5.4 x 3.2 cm)
Range: 3 miles
Battery Life: more than 12 hours
Power Source: 1200mAh Li-ion batteries
Continuous Talktime: 10 hours

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For tech-savvy adventurers, the Retevis RT87 High-Power Dual-Band Radios offer exceptional functionality thanks to 128 channels and a dual-band feature. It’s quite common to find an LCD screen in the radios, but this one also comes with a mini keypad for programming. While it is a tricky task to perform without a cable or manual, the variety of settings here is impressive.

These walkie-talkies have VOX, squelch, CTCSS/DCS, busy channel lock, SOS alarm, and more. In addition, you can adjust the screen brightness or add an external microphone or earpiece here.

The only disadvantage of this product is its low battery capacity as it provides only about 10 hours of continuous talk time.

Pros

  • IP67 waterproof,
  • 128 channels and dual-band feature,
  • LCD screen, keypad, and SOS alarm,
  • VOX, squelch, and busy channel lock

Cons

  • Drain batteries fast,
  • Hard to set up without the programming cable

3. Motorola Solutions T480 Talkabout Rechargeable Emergency Preparedness Two-Way Radio

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.4 Pounds (0.2 kg)
Size: 1.4 x 2.3 x 7.5 Inches (3.5 x 5.7 x 19.2 cm)
Range: Up to 25 miles
Battery Life: 26 hr. alkaline (3 AA) or 10hr. NiMH
Power Source: 3 AA batteries

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The Motorola Solutions T480 Talkabout Two-Way Radio is certified IP54 weatherproof to be able to sustain any weather such as snow or rain. It is compatible with any other FRS radio making it all the more easier to communicate with your friends and families carrying different models and brands of walkies. You have the choice of using the NiMH rechargable batteries or using 3 AA batteries. The AA batteries will be capable of surviving for longer duration. Despite this, the batteries may refuse to hold a charge after some time of not using the walkies so do note that proper battery care is required.

Pros

  • 22 channels each with 121 privacy codes, totalling 2662 combinations,
  • IP54 weatherproof design withstands the effect of rain and snow,
  • Compatible with any other FRS radio,
  • Has the option of using NiMH rechargable batteries or 3 AA batteries.

Cons

  • Batteries may deterioate and deplete very quickly with time,
  • Ocassional static may occur at the end of a conversation.

4. Retevis H-777 Rechargeable 16CH 2 Way Radio

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.9 Pounds (0.4 kg)
Size: 2.4 x 1.3 x 4.5 Inches (6 x 3.3 x 11.5 cm)
Battery Life: 10-12 hours
Power Source: 2 1500mAh lithium metal batteries

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Retevis H-777 rechargeable two way radios can be used for both indoors and outdoors activities like travelling and camping. They are portable in size and also made with strong and quality materials which makes them easy to carry and durable for long time usage. They are powered by 2 1500mAh lithium metal batteries which allows you use the radio for about 10-12 hours. They are also known for the clear and quality sounds it produces when you recieve a signal. These two-way radios also have an LED flashlight that can help you see clearly when using it in the dark. However the hand-held radios does not have a display screen.

Pros

  • Produce a clear and quality sound,
  • Portable,
  • Emergency alert button that you can press in an emergency situation,
  • VOX voice control that helps you tranmit signals without using the keypads.

Cons

  • No display screen,
  • Batteries can not last for more than 24 hours.

5. Retevis RT22 Rechargeable Voice Activated Walkie Talkies

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1 Pounds (0.5 kg)
Size: 8.8 x 7.2 x 3.9 Inches (22.3 x 18.4 x 10 cm)
Power Source: 4 lithium ion batteries

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Retevis RT22 rechargeable walkie talkie is specifically made for outdoor activities like skiing, hunting, camping and hiking. It is portable in size and it is also powered by 4 lithium ion batteries. This radio has an emergency button that you can press when in an emergency situation and it also automatically saves the battery life when it is not in use. They offer a 2 years warranty and 2 months warranty for the radio accessories. The two-way radio has a short and fixed antenna which makes it easy for you handle and pocket, but the antenna can cause limitations in the range covered by the radio because it is short and can not be replaced.

Pros

  • 2 years warranty from the customer service,
  • Portability,
  • Provides VOX voice function, An emergency alarm button you can press during emergency situations, An auto-squelch function,
  • Automatic power saving mode

Cons

  • No display screen,
  • A short, fixed and irreplaceable antenna,
  • Specifically for outdoor activities

6. Baofeng Long Range FRS Two Way Radios with Earpiece BF-888s

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 2.9 Pounds (1.3 kg)
Size: 14 x 9.3 x 2.5 Inches (35.6 x 23.5 x 6.4 cm)
Range: Up to 5 km
Battery Life: 5-7 days in standby mode
Power Source: 1500mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery
Continuous Talktime: 8-12 hours

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The Baofeng Long Range Two Way Walkie Talkie is the only one on this list that features an emergency alarm that can be activated should you need it in times of crisis. It also features a LED screen to provide slight illumination in the dark. However, there is a reputation that this walkie-talkie may come pre-set not on an FRS frequency as advertised, which might take one with programming knowledge to reset it to the desired frequency. Despite this, the Baofeng Long Range Two Way Walkie Talkie is claimed to be operating on its own unique frequency that makes it incompatible with otther brands and models. This can be both a positive or negative point depending on whether you intend to use it in tandem with another device.

Pros

  • Built-in LED light on screen to illuminate in the dark,
  • 16 channels with 50 CTCSS and 105 CDCSS,
  • Noise reduction to allow for crisp transmission,
  • Emergency alarm function in cases of emergencies.

Cons

  • FRS function might not work as well,
  • Might not compatible with other devices as it supposedly works on their own pre-programmed channels.

7. Retevis RT5 2-Way Long-Range Rechargeable Radios

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.4 Pounds (0.2 kg)
Size: 4.1 x 2.3 x 1 Inches (10.3 x 5.8 x 2.6 cm)
Range: up to 5 miles
Battery Life: more than 24 hours
Power Source: 1400mAh Li-ion battery
Continuous Talktime: 10-12 hours

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The Retevis RT5 2-Way Long-Range Rechargeable Radios are incredibly versatile since they support UHF, VHF, and allow FM reception. With the 3 power levels and high-gain antenna, the signal can travel up to 5 miles while providing crisp sound at all times. The provided functions are VOX, channel scan, repeater, 1-9 level squelch, keypad lock, and emergency alarm. For ease of use, the walkie-talkies come with backlit screens, belt clips, headsets, and hand straps. The LED flashlights are a nice addition, too.

The 128 memory channels are programmable via CHIRP, but the process of changing the frequencies and updating firmware can be time-consuming. Luckily, the battery has decent capacity and is easily removable.

The only thing that needs improvement is a charging station. It tends to break easily, according to multiple customer reviews.

Pros

  • UHF and VHF frequencies with built-in FM radio,
  • LCD screen and flashlight,
  • VOX, scan, repeater, squelch, keypad lock, and emergency alarm,
  • Come with desktop chargers, adapters, belt clips, hand straps, and headsets

Cons

  • Can be tricky to program and update firmware,
  • The dock station is not lasting

8. GOCOM G9 IP67 Waterproof Two-Way Radios

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.9 Pounds (0.9 kg)
Size: 8 x 2.4 x 1.8 Inches (20.4 x 6 x 4.5 cm)
Range: up to 25 miles
Battery Life: 24 hours
Power Source: 1200mAh Ni-MH batteries
Continuous Talktime: 13 hours

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For outdoor adventurers, it’s hard to look past the GOCOM G9 IP67 Waterproof Two-Way Radios. The first reason is durable and dustproof housing that is ready for submersions. Next, it offers 22 channels, 121 privacy codes, excellent distance, and an SOS button for emergencies.

While it has a built-in NOAA weather scanning, it is quite tricky to receive a clear signal. On the other hand, you can find an LCD display here and a lot of accessories, including earpieces, cables, and belt clips.

Before going somewhere with it in complete darkness, our recommendation is to check the led flashlight. Some customers mentioned that it was too dim. On the other hand, the battery here lasts about 24 hours when fully charged.

Pros

  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof,
  • VOX-ready and low-battery warnings,
  • LCD display and SOS button,
  • Come with micro-USB cables, earpieces, belt clips, and charging stations

Cons

  • Hard to receive NOAA Weather signal,
  • The led flashlight is not bright

Verdict

Following all the research, comparisons and information we have gathered about these top survival walkie talkies, we can confidently say that Professional Rechargeable Walkie Talkies is the best survival walkie talkie out in the market.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Motorola Solutions T480 Talkabout Rechargeable Emergency Preparedness 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 Retevis RT87 High-Power Dual-Band Radios.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying Survival Walkie Talkies

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Questions and Answers About Survival Walkie Talkies

Are walkie talkies good for emergencies?

Walkie talkies are great as a form of communication during emergencies and can be quite reliable. They can be an excellent replacement for cases of emergencies when phone and network lines are down. This is because they rely on radio waves to communicate and it also functions on batteries which can be easily swapped with any other household items that uses batteries. The modern brands and models have additional nifty features that can be a lifesaver during emergencies. These includes VOX activation, weather alerts, SOS signals etc.

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.

What is VOX mode on a walkie talkie?

VOX, also known as “voice-activated transmission or exchange” allows for users to start transmitting without having the need to press any button. It is made possible because it detects sounds over certain frequency threshold and activates the trasmission, which makes it perfect for hands-free operation of the walkie talkie. Most walkies have both a PTT (push-to-talk) and VOX function.

What is the farthest a walkie talkie can reach?

Manufacturers often label what is the furthest range their walkie talkies can handle. However, one important thing to note here is that often, manufacturers will indicate the furthest distance base on the assumption that there is no obstruction between two walkies. However, they fail to apply it to real-life situations where one will face a lots of natural obstacles in the way like trees, rocks and terrain. Thus, it is still important to read reviews of the walkie-talkie you have in mind first prior to purchase.

When Do I Need An FCC License?

An FCC license is needed if you’re plannig to use a GRMS frequency walkie talkie, which has a broader range, high power and more sophisticated technology as compared to a FRS walkie. You can register for a license with FCC for just $70 which can last 10 years and covers the entire family. An FRS walkie talkie does not require FCC license to operate.

Do walkie talkies work through walls?

Walkie talkie can work through the wall depending on whether you’re using a UHF or VHF walkie. UHF has a wider signal range than VHF and thus tends to penetrate any objects that is in the path of transmission better. Thus, it can be said that a UHF walkie can penetrate walls but that will depend on the strength of the brand/model of the walkie talkie and what range does it claim to work.

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