Expert Review of the 9 Best Two Way Radios for the mountains [2023]

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Reliable communication is key to enjoying a stress-free hike or ski trip, so let’s explore the best two way radios for the mountains for keeping your group organized and safe.

Not all mountain walkie talkies are created equal. You’re gonna have to pay for long range and durability, but the feeling of safety cannot be overestimated (especially with kids or in the backcountry).

dog holding two way radio
My boy Shadow and I sometimes have “communication problems” in the mountains. Maybe this would help? Probably not if there’s a deer.

Crave the Planet is reader-supported. When you click on some links and you purchase, I may receive money at no additional cost to you. – Thanks, Morgan

Quick Verdict: What Are the Best Two Way Radios for the Mountains?

Short on time? Don’t have time to read the whole article? No Problemo!

If you’re in search of the best walkie talkie for mountains that can keep up with all your outdoor adventures, check out the Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio. Its my overall best pick based on personal experience.

The 3 Best Walkie Talkies for Mountains

Are Mountain Walkie Talkies Worth it?

Not everyone needs a walkie talking for hiking. But they are good for 👎🏻

  • 🥾 Mountaineers, Trekkers, Hikers
  • 🚴‍♀️ Hunters
  • 🌏 Group Leaders
  • 💗 Fitness & Wellness Enthusiasts

This review is targeted at people that want the best communication and not end up lost, in pain, or stranded in the wild.

🧭 Read until the end for my top travel recommendations for hikers and more advice from a physical therapist hiking & travel addict.You will also like:➡️ 🗻 Discover the best PLBs for hiking and mountaineering.➡️ 🥾Take a look at the best GPS ski watches.

best two way radios for the mountains woman holding radio
I really enjoyed testing these radios for my upcoming ski safari in the Dolomites in Italy. Mobile reception is not so great and my phone battery is always dying.

When you’re exploring the great outdoors, staying connected with your group is crucial for safety and convenience. Two-way radios are a reliable way to communicate when cell service is spotty or non-existent.

However, not all radios are created equal, especially when it comes to the rugged terrain of the mountains. To help you find the best two-way radios for your next mountain adventure, we’ve rounded up a list of top-performing options.

9 Best Two-Way Radios for the Mountains

Overall Best

1. Best Overall: Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 9.7/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

This is the best 2 way radio for the mountains especially for people that like it simple. Let’s face it, that’s what most climbers, skiers and hikers want and the Rocky Talkie Mountain radio delivers on it’s roots – adventure based communication.

Pros

  • Reliable and Simple
  • 4 days battery life up to -20 deg F
  • Shatterproof LED screen and thermoplastic protective covering
  • 2 watts – 25 mile range, typicaly 1.5 in backcountry terrain.

Cons

  • No Bluetooth or streaming capabilities for playing personal music files.
  • Not a lot of bells and whistles
  • More expensive than basic portable radios.

The Rocky Talkie is a reliable product that you can use in the field. It has a rechargable 1550 mAh Li-ion battery with USB-C charging. The radio’s power of 2 Watts conforms to new FCC rules, ensuring that you have a clear signal.

The radio’s frequency of 22 FRS GMRS channels + 121 sub-channels ensures minimal interference, making it easy to communicate with your group. The on/off/channel selection dial switch is protected from inadvertent channel changing, ensuring that you don’t accidentally switch to the wrong channel.

Range:

  • Line-of-sight: 25+ miles
  • Mountains: 1 to 5 miles
  • Forest/Hills: 0.5 to 3 miles
  • City: Up to 1 mile

The Rockie Talkie Mountain Radio is a bit on the expensive side, but it’s worth the investment if you’re planning to go on a mountain adventure. The battery life of up to 4 days in standby mode may not be enough for longer trips, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

It is lightweight at : Radio Only: 6.1oz, with leash: 7.9 oz.

2. Runner Up: Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 9.1/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re planning to go on a mountain adventure, the Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio is a must-have. With its smart mic grill that doesn’t pack with snow and long-lasting built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, you can communicate with your group with ease.

Pros

  • The 2 Watts of power provide an increased usable range of up to 40 miles line of sight.
  • The on/off/channel selection dial switch is protected from inadvertent channel changing.
  • The frequency of 22 FRS GMRS channels + 121 sub-channels ensures minimal interference.

Cons

  • It’s a bit on the expensive side.
  • The battery life of up to 400 hours in standby mode may not be enough for longer trips.
  • It may not be suitable for beginners who are not familiar with two-way radios.

The Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio is a reliable product that you can use in the field. It integrates into all Float avalanche airbag and Stash backpacks, making it easy to carry around. The radio’s power of 2 Watts conforms to new FCC rules, ensuring that you have a clear signal.

The radio’s frequency of 22 FRS GMRS channels + 121 sub-channels ensures minimal interference, making it easy to communicate with your group. The on/off/channel selection dial switch is protected from inadvertent channel changing, ensuring that you don’t accidentally switch to the wrong channel.

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The Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio is a bit on the expensive side, but it’s worth the investment if you’re planning to go on a mountain adventure. The battery life of up to 400 hours in standby mode may not be enough for longer trips, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

3. Best Bundle: Motorola T605 Talkabout, 2 Pack Bundle

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 7.9/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for a reliable two-way radio for your outdoor adventures, the Motorola T605 Talkabout is a great option.

Pros

  • The T605 Talkabout is waterproof and can withstand submersion in water for up to 30 minutes.
  • The built-in flashlight with white and red LEDs is a helpful feature for nighttime activities or emergencies.
  • With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, you can easily find an available channel and communicate with other FRS radios regardless of brand.

Cons

  • While the maximum range is advertised as up to 35 miles, the actual range can be reduced due to terrain and other factors.
  • The included cords and charger feel cheap and may not hold up well over time.
  • Some users have reported that the volume is not loud enough, especially when riding in a noisy vehicle.

The Motorola T605 Talkabout is a rugged and reliable two-way radio that can keep you connected during your outdoor adventures. The IP67 waterproof rating means you don’t have to worry about your radio getting damaged if it gets wet, and the built-in flashlight with white and red LEDs is a helpful feature for nighttime activities or emergencies.

With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, you can easily find an available channel and communicate with other FRS radios regardless of brand.

It’s important to note that the maximum range advertised is up to 35 miles, but the actual range can be reduced due to terrain and other factors. The included cords and charger feel cheap and may not hold up well over time. Some users have also reported that the volume is not loud enough, especially when riding in a noisy vehicle.

4. Best Value: Midland® T10 X-TALKER Two-Way Radios

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 7.2/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for reliable and durable two-way radios for your outdoor adventures, the Midland T10 X-TALKER is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Exceptional point-to-point communication with extensive reception, transmission, and sound quality
  • 38 CTCSS Privacy Codes with 22 Channels and Weather Alert technology for secure and private conversations
  • Easy Voice and Sound Activated Transmission (eVOX) for hands-free operation

Cons

  • The range may not be as long as advertised in areas with obstructions
  • The radios require 6 AAA batteries, which can add up in cost over time
  • The radios are small and may be difficult to handle with gloves on

The Midland T10 X-TALKER delivers clear and reliable communication even in challenging terrains. With 22 scannable channels and easy button access, you can explore and communicate efficiently without worrying about channel congestion or missed messages. The privacy codes provide an added layer of security, outsmarting eavesdroppers and keeping your conversations private.

The eVOX feature allows for hands-free operation, making it easier to multitask while communicating. However, the range may not be as long as advertised in areas with obstructions, so it’s important to keep that in mind when planning your outdoor activities.

5. Best for Weather Alerts: Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 8.3/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for a reliable two-way radio for outdoor activities, the Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio is a great choice.

Pros

  • Long range communication up to 36 miles
  • NOAA weather scan and alert feature
  • JIS4 waterproof protection

Cons

  • Heavier than other two-way radios
  • Battery life could be longer
  • Voice activation feature could be more sensitive

This two-way radio set comes with everything you need to stay connected with family and friends during outdoor activities. The 50 GMRS channels and JIS4 waterproof protection make these radios ideal for outdoor use. The NOAA weather scan and alert feature is a great bonus for staying informed about severe weather conditions.

One downside to the Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio is that it is heavier than some other two-way radios on the market. The battery life could be longer, and the voice activation feature could be more sensitive. But these minor issues don’t detract from the overall quality and usefulness of the product.

6. Most Rugged: DEWALT DXFRS800 2 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 8.5/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for a reliable and durable walkie talkie, the DEWALT DXFRS800 2 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies are a great option.

Pros

  • With its 2 Watt RF output and 300,000 sq.ft range, you can expect ultra-clear long-distance reception.
  • The radios are IP67 rated for water and dust protection and have a shock-resistant, anti-slip design that can withstand drops up to 2M.
  • With 22 preset channels and 121 privacy codes, you can enjoy secure talk with long runtime. The battery-saving technology allows for up to 18hrs of continued use.
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Cons

  • The button location on the face of the unit may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Changing the channel selection while driving may be difficult.
  • The radios do not come with all the necessary accessories, such as earpieces and wall adapters.

The DEWALT DXFRS800 walkie talkies are ideal for jobsites, contractors, and businesses. The radios are dependable and backed by an industry-leading limited lifetime warranty. They are also versatile and have hands-free VOX operation, vibration alert, roger beep, and auto squelch.

The walkie talkies are rugged and built to last, making them a great investment for those who need reliable communication in tough environments. The radios are also easy to use and have a user-friendly interface.

7. Best for Family: Retevis RT86 Two Way Radios

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 6.9/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for a reliable two-way radio for mountain adventures, the Retevis RT86 Two Way Radios might be worth considering.

Pros

  • The long-range and high-power design of these walkie talkies make them effective even in buildings and steel structures.
  • The shatterproof active view display saves power and is better dustproof than fragile LCD screens.
  • The RT86 high-power radios are specifically designed for large commercial environments, with pre-set channels that can reduce unnecessary chat and improve communication efficiency.

Cons

  • The charging base can be finicky, with some units not charging easily when set in the base.
  • Programming the radios can be challenging for those who are not familiar with how to do it.
  • The emergency alarm function can be accidentally triggered by the side key.

These walkie talkies are built to withstand tough conditions, with a heavy-duty appearance design and stout antenna that can withstand drops of about 2 meters. The built-in 2600 mAh battery provides 16-24 hours of use time, and the separate charging base makes charging more convenient.

The RT86 walkie-talkies work out of the box and are easy to use, with good compatibility with both Mac and Windows systems. The VOX function allows for hands-free operation, but you need to change the settings of the side buttons through the computer first to use it directly.

8. Best High Power: BAOFENG BF-F8HP Two-Way Radio

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 8.1/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you are looking for a powerful two-way radio that can handle the mountains, the BAOFENG BF-F8HP is a great option.

Pros

  • The BF-F8HP is the most powerful BaoFeng capable of transmitting 8 watts.
  • The customizable tri-color display makes it easy to use.
  • The BF-F8HP maintains full cross accessory compatibility with all previous UV-5R accessories.

Cons

  • The BF-F8HP is a bit bulky and heavy.
  • The battery life is not the best.
  • The user manual can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.

With its high power and durable shell, the BF-F8HP is a great choice for those who need a reliable two-way radio in the mountains. The tri-color display is easy to read and customize, and the radio is compatible with a wide range of accessories.

However, the BF-F8HP is a bit bulky and heavy, which can be a downside for those who need to carry it around for long periods of time.

It’s battery life is not the best, so you may need to bring extra batteries or a charger with you. The user manual can be a bit overwhelming for beginners, so you may need to spend some time learning how to use all of the features.

9. Absolutely Cheapest: DURLK Walkie Talkies

⭐️⭐️⭐️RATING: 5.7/10 Stars | ✅ Buy it!

If you’re looking for reliable communication while exploring the mountains, DURLK Walkie Talkies are a great option.

Pros

  • Rechargeable batteries and USB-C charging make it eco-friendly and convenient
  • Long range of up to 15 miles in open areas
  • Comprehensive set of features for easy communication

Cons

  • Range can be affected by adverse weather, car (iron material), and buildings
  • Not suitable for underwater use
  • May not work in areas with poor signal reception

The DURLK Walkie Talkies come with 4 x 1200mAh built-in lithium batteries that can last for 3-4 days after charging for 2-3 hours. The USB-C charging feature is incredibly convenient, saving both stress and money on batteries. The upgraded antenna and sound technology provide crystal clear communication within 1.5 miles, with a range of up to 15 miles in open areas.

The available 22 channels and 121 sub channels provide an extended signal range with 2,662 channel combinations, and all radios must be set to the same code (channel) to communicate with each other. The comprehensive set of features, including auto squelch, auto memory, auto scanning, auto power saving, and low battery alert, makes communication easy. The HD LCD display and compatibility with most brands are additional benefits.

The DURLK Walkie Talkies are lightweight and easy to use, with an ergonomic design that fits well in the hands. The radio set comes with a hands-free belt clip, making it easy to carry.

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They are perfect for camping, hiking, cruises, keeping track of one another in an amusement park or shopping mall, or using in environments where cell phone reception is spotty.

The DURLK Walkie Talkies are rigorously tested to comply with CPC and FCC standards (FCC ID: 2AN6WXF-638). If you have any quality problem, contact DURLK for a 1-year warranty.

Buying Guide: best walkie talkie for mountains

best two way radios for the mountains

When it comes to buying the best two-way radios for the mountains, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you get the right product for your needs. Here are some key features to look for:

Range

The range of your two-way radio is one of the most important factors to consider. In the mountains, you may need a radio with a longer range than you would in other environments, due to the rugged terrain and potential obstacles that can interfere with the signal. Look for radios with a range of at least five miles or more.

Durability

Durability is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a two-way radio for the mountains. You want a radio that can withstand the elements, including extreme temperatures, moisture, and impacts. Look for radios with a sturdy, rugged design and waterproof or water-resistant features.

best two way radios for the mountains

Battery Life

Battery life is also important, especially if you plan to use your radio for extended periods of time. Look for radios with long battery life or the ability to use rechargeable batteries. Consider investing in a backup battery or portable charger to ensure you never run out of power when you need it most.

Channels and Frequencies

The number of channels and frequencies available on your two-way radio can also impact its performance in the mountains. Look for radios with multiple channels and frequencies to avoid interference from other radios in the area. Some radios also offer privacy codes or encryption features to keep your conversations secure.

Additional Features

For the best two way radios for the mountains, consider any additional features that may be important to you, such as weather alerts, GPS capabilities, or hands-free operation. These features can enhance the functionality and convenience of your two-way radio in the mountains, such as NOAA weather alerts.

Final Verdict – Best 2 way Radios for the Mountains

FAQ Best Two Way Radios for the Mountains

What is the best two-way radio for long range in mountainous areas?

The best two-way radio for long range in mountainous areas is one that has a high power output and a long antenna. Look for radios that have a power output of at least 5 watts and an antenna that is at least 6 inches long. Some popular options include the Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio and the Midland GXT1000VP4.

What are the top 10 two-way radios for outdoor use?

The top 10 two-way radios for outdoor use are:

  1. Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio
  2. Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0 Radio
  3. Motorola T600 H2O Talkabout Radio
  4. Midland GXT1000VP4
  5. Cobra ACXT1035R FLT
  6. Uniden SX507-2CKHS
  7. Motorola T460 Talkabout Radio
  8. Midland LXT630VP3
  9. Retevis RT86 Two Way Radios
  10. Motorola T800 Talkabout Radio

Which walkie-talkies are best for use in forests and mountains?

Walkie-talkies that are best for use in forests and mountains are those that have a high power output, a long antenna, and are durable. Look for radios that have a power output of at least 5 watts and an antenna that is at least 6 inches long. Some popular options include the Motorola T605 Talkabout and the Midland GXT1000VP4.

Do walkie-talkies work well in mountainous terrain?

Walkie-talkies can work well in mountainous terrain, but the range may be limited due to the terrain. The range will be affected by the number of obstacles between the two radios, such as trees, rocks, and hills. It is important to choose a radio with a high power output and a long antenna to increase the range.

What are the best walkie-talkies for families on outdoor adventures?

The best walkie-talkies for families on outdoor adventures are those that are easy to use, have a long battery life, and are durable. Look for radios that have a simple interface, a long battery life, and are waterproof. Some popular options include the Midland® T10 X-TALKER and the DURLK Walkie Talkies.

Which radio frequency is most effective for communication in mountainous regions?

The radio frequency that is most effective for communication in mountainous regions is the Very High Frequency (VHF) band. This frequency band is best suited for line-of-sight communication, which is important in mountainous regions where there may be obstacles between the two radios. The UHF band can also be effective, but may have limited range in mountainous regions.

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Thanks for reading my review of the best two way radios for the mountains. I hope it helps your group feel safer to explore the world by foot.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>