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Walkie talkies and two-way radios are an invaluable piece of gear for any outdoor enthusiast, whether you’re hiking, camping or hunting. Similar to handheld GPS devices, they provide a direct and reliable means of staying connected in areas with limited or no cell phone coverage. They can keep you safe and even potentially save your life in emergency situations, allowing you to call for help or coordinate rescue efforts. Lastly, they promote a sense of camaraderie and nostalgic fun—after all, there’s something about using a walkie talkie that makes you feel like a kid again.

Whether for safety, job-site coordination, or simply enjoying the great outdoors with friends, walkie talkies are a great addition to any outdoor adventure. We tested out some of the best walkie talkies from brands like Motorola, Cobra, and DeWalt to find the ones worth buying.

The Best Walkie Talkies

Best Walkie Talkie Overall: Rocky Talkie

Best Overall


  • Durable thermoplastic case with shatterproof screen
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Convenient attachment system with built-in carabiner and back-up leash
  • Designed to operate in extreme temperatures
  • Simple and easy to use


Rocky Talkie specifically engineered a walkie talkie radio to deliver reliable communication in challenging environments. It has everything you would expect from a budget-friendly outdoor radio from the quality rugged look to the fundamental features. Right out of the packaging I noticed the quality materials and the radio just felt nice in my hands.

Camping photo
The Rocky Talkie is my favorite walkie talkie I’ve ever used. -Bethany Beathard

This walkie talkie is light-weight and compact with a convenient carabiner attachment system and back-up leash. At first, I was not sure about the back-up leash; but during testing I really grew to appreciate the added security. The radio has a simple design that’s ready to use right out of the box. It’s so easy to use that even my kids had no problem working it. When we were out hiking, I wasn’t afraid to hand the Rocky Talkie off to one of the kids, which was a huge plus. Family-friendly products are alway high on my gear selection list.

Despite how easy it is to operate, the features are not lacking. This radio has 128 channels, 121 privacy codes, low/high power modes, scan mode, channel lock and a roger beep option. It also comes equipped with a lithium battery operating system, designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 105 degrees when I tested this radio and it operated to the level and standard expected.

Rocky Talkie
The long battery life and intuitive operation made this walkie talkie our top pick. -Bethany Beathard

Additionally, the battery life lasts for more than three days—with minimal usage, it could last up to five days on a single charge. You can purchase additional spare batteries to interchange for longer trips, extending usage. I did not come close to draining the batteries after a couple full day outings. The radio has a thermoplastic covering case with a shatterproof display screen that’s easy to read in any lighting.

Of all the radios we tested, this was the most user-friendly. Overall, I was most drawn to this radio and could pick it up without questioning the outdoor activity. It “checks all the boxes.” With its unmatched quality, the Rocky Talkie is just as good as more expensive models for a much lower price.


  • Weight: 4.8 oz
  • Battery Life: 3-5 days
  • Power Source: Rechargeable 1550 mAh Lion, USB-C Charger [included]
  • Range: 25+ miles (line of sight)

Best Long Range: Motorola Talkabout T265

Best Long Range


  • Very budget-friendly at under $100 for the set
  • Includes earbuds and microphones
  • NOAA Weather Channels and Alert
  • Dual power capable, AAA or rechargeable NiMH


  • Shorter range then some of the others on this list

The Motorola Talkabout series has become the ultimate budget outdoor communication radio line. It’s purpose-built to keep you connected, informed, and secure while exploring the great outdoors. The standout feature of the T265 is its dual power capability. You can use standard AA batteries for up to 29 hours of use or the included rechargeable NiMH 800 mAH batteries with up to 12 hours of power.

Stay ahead of Mother Nature with NOAA weather alerts, which will inform you of changing weather conditions and impending storms to ensure your safety during outdoor activities. This radio was made for the sportsman with its features and blaze orange design, making it one of the best walkie talkies for hunting. The Motorola Talkabout T265 is also a budget pick at under $100 for a pair, along with earbuds/microphones and a carrying case.


  • Weight: 6.4 oz
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 hours
  • Power Source: Rechargeable NiMH 800 mAH, Dual power option
  • Range: Up to 25 miles

Best Waterproof: DeWalt DXFRS800

Best Waterproof


  • Shock-resistant—can withstand up to a 2-meter drop
  • Ideal for close range outdoor job sites, camp sites, rock climbing, and hiking
  • Well made with a heavy-duty design


  • Shorter range then the others we tested

This walkie-talkie is everything you would expect from DeWalt; it’s well-made, rugged, and heavy-duty. When I tested this radio, I couldn’t help but think this is perfect for a job-site professional, hiker, cave explorer, or rock climber. I did not feel like this was a radio that needed to be handled with care. This tough radio is simple and easy to use, but you are not settling for less.

DeWalt DXFRS800 Walkie Talkies
This DeWalt walkie talkie is as good for a worksite as it is a campsite. -Bethany Beathard

The DeWalt DXFRS800 has a 2-meter drop shock resistance and an IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating. Even with the tough anti-slip design, it is still lightweight at under half a pound. The large backlit LCD screen and user-friendly controls make it effortless to navigate channels, check battery status, and adjust settings, even in low-light conditions.

DeWalt DXFRS800 Walkie Talkie
It has a simple design yet does everything you need it to. -Bethany Beathard

With 22 preset channels and 121 privacy codes, you can easily find a clear and private channel for secure communication, preventing unwanted interference. I wasn’t too impressed with the attachment clip, so I ended up opting for the mesh pocket in my pack. From now on, this will be a must have for our off-road four-wheel adventures.


  • Weight: 7.68 oz
  • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
  • Power Source: Lithium Polymer batteries
  • Range: 37 miles

Best Rechargeable: BaoFeng BF-F8HP

Best Rechargeable


  • 100+ channels and multiple frequencies
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Features AM/FM radio
  • Includes V85 High Gain Antenna


  • More complicated to use than the other walkie talkies we tested
  • Does not have a waterproof rating
  • Heavier

I was slightly overwhelmed when testing this BaoFeng walkie talkie. However, my active-duty military husband was able to operate it with ease. The Baofeng BF-F8HP really packs a punch when it comes to capabilities and features. It provides a high-power performance with 8 watts of broadcasting power and an equally impressive range. It has dual-band VHF and UHF frequencies along with a convenient built-in AM/FM radio. I had no trouble picking up numerous stations. The BF-F8HP includes emergency alert functionality and an integrated flashlight for added security during outdoor adventures.

BAOFENG BF-F8HP Walkie Talkie
While it performed well, the BaoFeng walkie talkie was more complicated to operate. -Bethany Beathard

This radio allows you to tailor your communication with customizable channels and privacy codes (CTCSS/DCS). I really liked the rugged military-style design and the bright, easy-to-read LCD screen. It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket or clip onto your belt, ensuring it’s always within reach. I feel like this would be the perfect addition to a bug out bag or survival kit.

A few things to note: The BaoFeng walkie talkie was on the heavier side compared to the others. Though it had a robust amount of features, this radio is not as user-friendly. If you are not radio tech-savvy, there will be a bit of a learning curve.


  • Weight: 7.8 oz
  • Battery Life: Up to 24 hours
  • Power Source: 2000mAh Battery
  • Range: Up to 25 miles

Best Battery Life: Garmin inReach mini

Best Battery Life


  • IPX7 waterproof rating-submergible
  • 2-way text messaging through a global satellite network
  • Interactive SOS to 24/7 Search and Rescue monitoring center


  • Price and satellite subscription required

Garmin continues to set the standard with satellite communication with the Garmin inReach Mini. Though it’s not exactly a walkie-talkie radio, it offers many similar and even more advanced features. With an extra-long battery life and the ability to store up to 500 waypoints/favorite/locations and 20 routes, this device really stands out as a leader in its class. It has a high waterproof rating of IPX7, which means it’s fully submergible for 30 minutes in up to a meter of water, making it a preferred choice for boating and fishing trips.

When we tested the inReach Mini 2, we were thoroughly impressed with its intuitive controls, battery performance, and incredibly smart navigation technology. Our reviewer had peace of mind heading out into the backcountry alone with this by his side.

I also have to call out the interactive SOS to the 24/7 Search and Rescue monitoring center. This provides safety reassurance when out in secluded backcountry. While you’ll need to pay for a monthly subscription plan to access the Iridium satellite network, the plans are customizable to meet your safety, recreation, and expedition needs. Overall, the Garmin inReach Mini is a pint-sized powerhouse that keeps you connected and secure no matter where your adventure takes you.


  • Weight: 3.5 oz
  • Battery Life: Up to 90 hours or 24 days (varies with usage and activity recording)
  • Power Source: rechargeable internal lithium-ion battery
  • Range: Global satellite

Best Budget: Cobra ACXT345 Walkie Talkies

Best Budget


  • VOX mode “hands-free” capability
  • Very affordable price under $50 for a pair
  • NOAA weather radio


  • Not as heavy-duty as the others we tested
  • Can only withstand a minimal amount of moisture

The Cobra ACXT325 was the lightest walkie talkie we tested and thus the most packable. This walkie-talkie is an entry-level communication device designed for outdoor adventures and perfect for families. It is great for the person who is not looking for something overly complicated; yet is capable of getting the job done.

Cobra ACXT345 Walkie Talkies
I liked how many features this Cobra walkie talkie has for such an affordable price. -Bethany Beathard

While I found that this radio was not as robust as the others tested, it surprisingly has a lot of features for a basic radio with 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, ensuring secure and interference-free conversations. The ACXT345 comes with essential features like NOAA weather alerts, VOX hands-free operation, and a scan feature for added convenience. Honestly, I really like when a radio has the weather alert option. In the ever-changing Oklahoma weather it is nice to have that extra assurance when I can’t load my weather app. It also has a removable clip attachment on the rear for easy carrying.

I really don’t have many complaints about this one, especially for under $50. Whether you’re exploring the wilderness or need reliable communication on a job site, the Cobra ACXT325 walkie-talkie is a dependable choice for staying connected on a budget. The only thing I was apprehensive about was taking it fishing with my kids. The IPX2 water rating only allows it to withstand a few drops of water. I did not encounter any issues, but I kept a close eye on it.


  • Weight: 3.76 oz.
  • Battery Life: NA
  • Power Source: 3 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries per radio
  • Range: Up to 25 miles

How We Picked the Best Walkie Talkies

I primarily hunt on a military installation, where the cell service is almost nonexistent out on the hunting compartments. So I’ve learned first-hand the importance of reliable communication. When testing these radios, I prioritized durability, range, battery life, and weather resistance. Through research and testing, I recognize the importance of durability and the reliability to operate in various outdoor conditions.

Cobra walkie talkie
A walkie talkie is a must-have for me when I’m hunting or hiking somewhere without reliable cell service. -Bethany Beathard

While there have been a lot of technological advancements made in communication, 2-way radios have been used for decades and remain a preferred method of communication in the backcountry. Considering the most common outdoor needs, I narrowed down the best walkie talkies for any budget using the following factors:

  • Durability: Is this radio going to withstand the ruggedness of my outdoor use?
  • Range: How far do I need the walkie talkie range to be? What terrain will the radio be used in?
  • Battery Life: Consider how long the battery life needs to be. Does the walkie talkie have a rechargeable or extra battery option?
  • Weather Resistance: Will this radio be able to endure the elements? What is the waterproof rating?
  • Cost and Quality: When mentioning “cheap” it does not have to mean a loss in quality. There are quality walkie talkies that incorporate the features needed to accomplish the tasks required.

What to Look For in a Walkie Talkie


When considering which walkie-talkie is best for your personal use, take into account the terrain. Most walkie-talkie manufacturers provide a maximum range based on a “line of sight” distance projection. This means the radios were tested in optimum conditions without any obstructions. There was a clear line of sight at a specific distance and had the ability to work effectively free of any disturbance.

Rougher country, such as mountains and elevation change, will affect the range. As you add denser coverage, like forests and hills, the range will continue to shrink. That means your backcountry radio will not work the same in the city. There are more obstructions and frequency interferences.

Frequencies and Channels

When it comes to radio frequencies, channel options, and privacy codes, a person can really nerd out. Walkie-talkie channels are designated frequencies on which two-way radios operate. You can select a specific channel to communicate on, and then add privacy codes for additional security and reduced interference. This is why walkie talkies are commonly used in industries and hobbies like emergency services, construction, and outdoor recreational activities.

Satellite Communication

As communication technology advances, the options for handheld transmission devices increase. There are compact handheld communicators with satellite technology specifically designed to be portable and user-friendly. Satellite communication with handheld devices allows people in remote or challenging environments to stay connected and access essential communication services. You can make calls, send two-way text messages, or transmit data from virtually anywhere on earth, including remote and off-grid locations where cellular networks are unavailable.


Q: What is the best 2-way radio for mountains?

The best walkie-talkie for hunting is rugged and durable. It offers long-range communication along with features like weather resistance and quiet operation. Take into account the terrain as this will affect the range.

Q: Are walkie talkies waterproof?

Some are, but others are merely water-resistant. You’ll want to look at the IPX rating. An IPX2 rating allows for vertical sprays or dripping water. With varying weather conditions or a drip from your water bottle, a little added protection is nice. If you are boating, fishing, or duck hunting, consider a radio that is submergible. You don’t want to have to worry about your walkie talkie like you do your cell phone.

Q: Do cheap walkie talkies work well?

Cheap walkie talkies often have fewer features and customization options compared to more expensive models. However, they are often suitable for standard outdoor use. Two-way radio communication has been around for decades, which has allowed manufacturers to hone designs into reliable, budget-friendly options.

What is the Best Walkie Talkie?

Whether you’re a backcountry hunter, a construction worker, or a casual weekend hiker, the best walkie talkies tested above provide an accessible and dependable means of staying connected. The Rocky Talkie was my favorite overall due to its durability and user-friendly design. If you want a communication device that keeps you safe even outside of cell service, any of these picks will do.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.