Hiking up the mountains can be a lot of fun for groups. However, it’s not really all that fun once you have problems and missing one of your party is one of them.
To prevent that, you can have rules about no one going solo, while you also make sure that each one of you has the best two-way radios for mountains.
- What are the Best Two-Way Radios For Mountains?
- Best Two-Way Radios for Mountains – Buying Guide
- Best Two-Way Radios for Mountains – Reviews
- 1. Midland – GXT1000VP4 GMRS Two-Way Radio for Mountain Hiking
- 2. Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios
- 3. Uniden SX507-2CKHS Up to 50 Mile Long Range FRS Two-Way Radio
- 4. Midland LXT630VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio
- 5. Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio
- 6. Cobra ACXT1035R FLT Walkie Talkies 37-Mile Two-Way Radios
- 7. BaoFeng BF-888S Long Range 16 Channels Two Way Radio
- 8. Arcshell Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radios with Earpiece
- 9. Radioddity FS-T1 Long Range Two-Way Radio for Hiking
- 10. Komvox Professional Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radios
- FAQs on Mountains Two-Way Radio
What are the Best Two-Way Radios For Mountains?
Before buying a two-way radio, you want to be sure it has a good range, several channels, alerts, and, most importantly, easy to use. Some radios combine all of the above features and many more in them. Take a look at this quick summary of the best two-way radios for mountains.
Best overall: Midland- GXT1000VP4 GMRS Two-Way Radio
It is lightweight, waterproof, can work in a range of 36 miles and can receive 50+ channels with additional NOAA broadcasts.
Best all-inclusive: Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios
It is compatible with all GMRS and FRS radios, has Bluetooth connectivity, and can track people on your smartphone as well as send messages and record tracks.
Best wide range: Uniden SX507-2CKHS Two-Way Radio
It has a 50 Mile range connectivity which works perfectly even in the mountains.
Best budget-friendly: Midland LXT630VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio
It’s affordable with a compact design, 30 miles range, NOAA alerts, and easy to use, making it the perfect choice if you’re on a tight budget.
Best for camping: Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio
It has a red flashlight for night vision, a vibrating alert when others are asleep and is waterproof withstanding even heavy rain with a light activation system when it gets wet.
Editor’s choice: Cobra ACXT1035R FLT Walkie Talkies
It has a unique “Rewind-Say-Again”, enabling you to replay a missed call for the last 20 seconds to ensure you get everything.
Best value: BaoFeng BF -888S Long Range Two Way Radio
A 10-pack of this could cost almost the same as a high-end radio, and it comes with all features the best two-way radio for mountains should have.
Best battery powered: Arcshell Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radios
It has a strong battery that gets full in only 2.5 hours, which serves you for about 96 hours with other intelligent charging and overcharging protection features.
Most versatile: Radioddity FS-T1 Long Range Two-Way Radio
Apart from regular channel communication, you can listen to FM radio, use it as a flashlight and operate it at VOX hands-free.
Best voice feature: Komvox Long-Range Two-Way Radios
It has voice-activated communication, which has three sensitivity levels to choose from.
Best Two-Way Radios for Mountains – Buying Guide
So how do you distinguish a good 2-way radio for use in the mountains from the mediocre radios you probably shouldn’t rely on? When you read reviews, try to focus on the following factors before purchase the best two-way radios for mountains.
It’s true that the range claimed by many 2-way radio brands can be rather optimistic, to put it kindly. They do point out that these claims are largely dependent on specific situations. In real life, the range is probably much less.
Still, long distance range is great especially when you’re using radio outdoors. In some cases, pay attention to how the audio clarity is affected when the two users are inside the same building—cement and steel can affect the range as well.
Number of Channels (and Privacy Codes)
Taken together, you and your party can make sure you and your party are the only people using a particular channel and privacy code. With at least a thousand possible combinations, it should be unlikely that other people in your general are using the same channels and codes. So, get more channels and more privacy codes.
You can get NOAA alerts even when you’re not actively listening to a particular weather channel, to make sure you’re notified in case of bad weather coming your way. This is so important that it’s virtually a standard feature in many 2-way radios for outdoor use.
You don’t want your radio to stop working just because it rains. There’s a distinct possibility that your radio will get wet if you use it outdoors, so it better be waterproof. Check for adequate water resistance, at the very least. Some units even float on water, which makes it a lot easier to retrieve if you drop it in the water.
In some cases, the radio may even activate its lights when you drop it in the water. You may also want to get it in a bright yellow or orange color so you can get it from under the water if it doesn’t float.
Ease of Use
This is crucial especially when you want to hand radios to kids for a family outing. At the very least, these radios shouldn’t be overly complicated.
VOX refers to voice activated communications, when you’re able to get in touch with someone when you talk. This is great when your hands are busy while you need to talk. It’s a crucial feature when you’re biking or rock climbing.
Read lots of reviews written by customers. Take note of how long they were able to use their radios before some went wrong with them. The better radios can work for years without any trouble.
More and more radios these days come with built-in rechargeable batteries like your smartphone. Find out how long a single charge will last. It’s great if you can use disposable batteries for backup, in case you can’t recharge your phone. Also, find out how long it takes to recharge the battery.
Almost all the good 2-way radios these days can double as flashlights, and they may even be able to emit SOS lights as well. You may even find radios that can get FM radio stations.
Bluetooth connectivity is also becoming a thing these days, so you can use an app with the radios. With the app, you can even get chat messaging and map tracking.
Best Two-Way Radios for Mountains – Reviews
It’s better to have the best walkie talkies for mountains with you and not need them, than to need them and not have them. Except that these can be rather useful in so many ways. Being able to communicate with one another helps you act more efficiently as a group, and it surely boosts everyone’s safety.
1. Midland – GXT1000VP4 GMRS Two-Way Radio for Mountain Hiking
Without the antenna, these are pocket-sized radios you’d have no trouble bringing along. The antenna doesn’t really pose a problem, but they’re sizable enough to ensure that you’re able to communicate with each other even over considerable distances. These radios have a range of 36 miles, and it works great even with a mountain in the picture.
These radios offer privacy codes so that other people with their own walkie talkies won’t be able to overhear your conversations. In fact, there’s even a whisper feature that lets you talk to one person in your party without having to disturb the others.
Of course, there are times when you want to be noisy especially when you need help. This has an SOS siren that works better than screaming your head off for help. The radio also receives NOAA alerts, so you’re able to get storm warnings ahead of time.
- Compact and lightweight
- 36-mile range
- Receives NOAA broadcasts
- 50 channels with 28 extra channels with pre-programmed privacy codes
- Waterproof against light rain or splashes
- “Whisper” feature
- SOS siren
- Rechargeable battery gives you 11 hours on a single charge, with 4 AA batteries as backup
2. Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios
One of the best reasons to get this radio is that you don’t have to worry about friends using another brand of walkie talkie. This is compatible with all FRS and GMRS radios, so if you already have one of those then adding this model is alright. However, this is good enough to seriously consider switching all the radios in your group to this Motorola T800.
One great feature here is the Bluetooth connectivity, which means you’re able to use this with an app. This gives you a long list of capabilities that you won’t get from just the 2-way radios. One of these features is that you’re able to track the location of each person in your party on a map on your smartphone. You’re also able to use chat messaging and record track stats.
The range is also pretty substantial, as you can go up to 35 miles. The radios are easy to use, and pairing one radio to the others is quick and easy. You get the handy Vox “hands free” capability, so that even when your hands are grasping the side of the mountain, you’re still able to talk to the others.
You also get 11 total weather channels, including 7 of the all-important NOAA weather channels. These can send out emergency alerts so you’re always aware of any incoming bad weather.
- 35-mile range (mountain to valley), 6-mile range in neighborhoods
- 22 channels with 121 privacy codes
- Voice-activated hands-free communication
- Receives NOAA alerts
- Bluetooth connectivity, works with app
- Allows for chat messaging for 20-mile range
- Tracks party members on offline map
- Rechargeable battery plus AA battery
3. Uniden SX507-2CKHS Up to 50 Mile Long Range FRS Two-Way Radio
This offers a much longer range for communications than other radios, and that’s a good thing. With mountains in the picture, you never know just how far your friends can get away from you. When you need to talk, you have 22 channels and 142 privacy codes to use.
This radio also uses standard frequencies, so you’re able to talk to others when they use another radio brand. You’re also able to get the crucial NOAA weather alerts so you’re not surprised by bad weather.
This is great if you’re climbing a mountain with a lake, since this radio is waterproof. You can stick it 3 feet under water for half an hour and it won’t be a problem. You won’t even have to dive under the water if you drop it in the lake—this radio floats.
This can work as a flashlight, and for emergency situations it can flash an SOS light as well. It comes with a rechargeable battery, which gives 14 hours of use on a full charge.
- 50-mile range
- 22 channels and 142 privacy codes
- Talks with other walkie talkies brands
- Waterproof, and it floats
- Receives NOAA weather alerts
- 14 hours on battery charge
- Works as flashlight and SOS light
4. Midland LXT630VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio
We like the yellow and black color scheme (there’s a plain black version too), since it’s easier to find in a dark campsite. But the color isn’t really the main reason why you’d like this walkie talkie.
This radio is quite affordable, but it’s great. It offers nice clean sound, and it’s very easy to use. It’s small and lightweight as well, so it’s no trouble to carry.
Here you have 36 FRS channels to work with, along with 121 privacy codes. You even have 3 levels of eVOX “hands-free” operation. The range is 30 miles, and the clarity is amazing even when you’re 10 miles away from the person you’re talking to. You also get NOAA alerts, which are virtually mandatory for your safety if you’re “going away from civilization”.
Each one comes with a charger base, so it’s really easy to recharge. It only takes about 12 hours to recharge, but it also uses 3 AA batteries for backup.
- Highly visible yellow color
- 36 channels with 121 privacy codes
- eVOX hands-free operation
- Comes with rechargeable battery and charger base
- Gets NOAA alerts
- Extremely lightweight
- Easy to use
5. Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio
When your mountain adventure involves bodies of water, you may want to get this. This doesn’t mind even heavy rain, because you can expect it to work after submerging it a meter under water for half an hour. What’s more, this floats on water. It’s even easier to find because it works as a flashlight and the light activates if it gets wet.
With this, you have 22 channels along with 121 privacy codes to work with. You can talk to other radios, as long as you both use the same frequencies. The range is 35 miles, but in real-life situations you won’t really need that much range. You’re able to receive NOAA weather alerts as well.
This is great for camp too, and it takes camp conditions into account. At night, you’re able to use a red light as your flashlight illumination, to preserve your night vision. If the others are sleeping, you can get a vibrating alert instead.
The rechargeable battery here gives you 9 hours, and you also have 3 AA alkaline batteries for another 23 hours. You’ll also get an alert if battery power gets low.
- 22 channels with 121 privacy codes
- IP67 waterproof, floats on water with water-activated flashlight
- Receives NOAA weather alerts
- Flashlight uses white and red LEDs
- 9 hours on rechargeable battery, 23 hours with alkaline batteries
- Can vibrate instead of beep
- Works with other FRS and GMRS radios
6. Cobra ACXT1035R FLT Walkie Talkies 37-Mile Two-Way Radios
This has the usual features you’d expect in the best two-way radios for hiking on the mountains. It has a long range (37 miles), 22 channels, and 121 privacy codes. You also get the NOAA alerts that you absolutely need if bad weather is headed your way.
You also get the nice VOX “hands-free” capability, which means you’re able to transmit even when you’re not pressing any button. That’s useful when you need to talk while you’re busy. It also offers a vibrating alert in case you don’t want the beeps to bother people around you.
One unique feature here is called “Rewind-Say-Again”. This feature replays missed calls. It automatically records the last 20 seconds of audio so you can be sure you didn’t miss anything.
This is waterproof as well, and it’s great that it floats on water. With its noticeable bright orange highlights, you should be able to retrieve it quickly if it falls in the water.
- Uses rechargeable battery
- 37-mile range
- 22 channels, 121 privacy codes for each channel
- VOX feature for hands-free communications
- Waterproof, floats on water
- Records last few seconds of audio
- Gets NOAA alerts
7. BaoFeng BF-888S Long Range 16 Channels Two Way Radio
This sure is affordable, as you can buy a 10-pack of these that costs the same as a high-end radio. Yet you can’t fairly consider its quality “cheap”, because it’s actually good.
First of all, let’s consider the range. This also comes with a 3-mile range, but it’s a realistic assessment. Also, it uses UHF which works very well with interference in buildings (and with mountains). In a building, you’d expect to be able to talk to someone on the 40th floor when you’re on the ground floor.
The battery features are also terrific. You only need 4 to 5 hours to get a full charge and you can get 6 hours with heavy use. With “light” use, you can go up to 18 hours.
- 16 channels
- 4-5 hours for full recharging
- Works up to 18 hours (6 hours with “heavy” use)
- Good sound clarity
- Easy to use
8. Arcshell Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radios with Earpiece
When you’re in a forest up a mountain, you may have trouble trying to communicate with a walkie-talkie. But you won’t have trouble with this portable two-way radio for mountains. It uses UHF waves that can penetrate wood. It also works great with steel and concrete, which is why it’s also terrific for use inside a building.
The battery features are amazing, starting with how you only need 2½ hours to get a full recharge. That will give you 8 to up to 96 hours of use, depending on how heavily you use the radio. This comes with lots of nice battery features including Intelligent Charging, Overcharging Protection, and an alert when you’re low on battery.
This comes with 16 preprogrammed channels, and you can just turn the knob to the channel you want to use with the other people on the other radios. It works like a regular walkie-talkie with a button you push when you talk. But it does have VOX for hands-free communications. You also get an earpiece so for clearer sound.
- Lightweight and compact
- 16 channels
- Has VOX “hands-free” feature
- Comes with an earpiece
- Doubles as a flashlight
- Needs only 2.5 hours to fully recharge
- Can go at least 8 hours with heavy use
9. Radioddity FS-T1 Long Range Two-Way Radio for Hiking
It can be rather annoying when you’re told to deal with licenses before you’re able to work with your walkie-talkies. You don’t need a license at all with the FS-T1, which is a relief. It’s actually easy to use, and kids use this with no trouble.
That’s great, especially when you use this for family jaunts in the outdoors. You can use any of the 22 FRS channels, along with 154 private codes. It even offers VOX “hands-free” communications. You’re also able to listen to 10 NOAA weather channels, and get alerts in case of incoming bad weather.
This is so versatile you can even use it to listen to FM radio (which gives you news as well as music). It also doubles as a flashlight, which comes in handy when you’re hiking and camping. It’s easy enough to carry as well, since it only weighs a quarter of a pound.
- Measures about 6.7 inches long and 2 inches wide, and an inch thick
- 22 memory channels
- Uses FRS license-free channels
- Gets NOAA alerts
- Lets you listen to FM radio
- Works as flashlight
- Weighs very little
- Comes with an earpiece
10. Komvox Professional Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radios
How far is the range of the radio? In town, you can expect a range of 2 kilometers. Out in the woods and mountains, it extends to 5 kms. It goes all the way up to 10 kms when you’re on water.
This offers 22 channels, but with the privacy codes you get 2,662 channel options so you can block other conversations. This also offers eVOX hands-free communications so you can talk without needing your hands to press a button. This voice-activated feature has 3 sensitivity levels you can choose from.
This works with disposable batteries, but you can rechargeable batteries that you can recharge via USB. This also doubles as a flashlight.
- 22 channels with 121 privacy codes
- Offers voice-activated communications
- Can be recharged via micro-USB
- 5-kilometer range in the woods
- Clear audio
- Works as a flashlight too
FAQs on Mountains Two-Way Radio
What’s the difference between FRS and GMRS channels?
The main difference in practical terms is that you may need a license to use the GMRS channels. You don’t need a license for an FRS radio.
Which is better for your 2-way radio—VHF or UHF?
That depends on the situation. If you’re on open water or talking without obstructions, the VHF is better. But UHF is better talking around and through buildings.
What’s the difference between “consumer-grade” and “commercial-grade” radios?
The consumer-grade radios are more affordable, and they make sense if you only use it every now and then. The commercial-grade radios are often more durable and have longer battery duty cycles, but they’re generally much more expensive as well.
Isn’t a smartphone enough to let people talk to one another when hiking?
Sure, but only if you get a signal. But when you don’t, having 2-way radios is a great way backup. Besides, these radios keep you from using up your smartphone battery too quickly.
Just because these are the best two-way radios for mountains doesn’t really mean that you’re limited to using these radios for hiking expeditions. If they’re reliable enough for mountain use, then it stands to reason that you can rely on them to work well in more urban settings as well.
Use them for family holiday trips, or for workers to coordinate with each other. With lots of situations, being able to talk to your people tends to reduce your worries to a minimum!