Prepping for the worst-case scenario with the best survival walkie talkies when going out camping or hiking with family and friends may be what might save everyone from a tight spot. There are tons of reasons why, although you might not think that a survival kit is necessary, investing in the best survival walkie talkies are valid if you like going outdoors or venturing into the wild. A simple walkie talkie can be an invaluable asset in natural disasters, especially when cell service is down.
But what makes the best survival walkie talkies? Check out this review and buying guide to help with your purchase. However, if you don’t want to read the entire article, here’s a summary of our top picks of the best survival walkie talkies that you can purchase today.
Top 10 Best Survival Walkie Talkies Reviewed
- Motorola T600 Talkabout – Best Overall
- Baofeng BF-888S – Best Value
- Uniden SX377-2CKHS – Editor’s Choice
- Luton LT-188VHF
- Motorola T200 Talkabout
- Motorola Talkabout MH230R
- Midland GXT1000VP4 Two-Way Radio
- Cobra CXT1045R-FLT-CAMO Two-Way Radio
- Arcshell Rechargeable Long-Range Radios
- Olympia R100 Two-Way Radios
#1. Motorola T600 Talkabout – Best Overall
- Operating range: up to 35 miles
- Number of Channels: 22
- Ave. Battery Life: 23 hours (3-AA batteries); 9-hours (NiMH batteries)
- IP67 Waterproof
- Includes: (2) NiMH rechargeable batteries; built-in flashlight
It’s no secret that Motorola is a trusted and well-rated brand, one of the few companies that spearheaded the design and development of walkie talkies. Its knowledge and expertise in the field make it unsurprising that one of the best survival walkie talkies is from Motorola, particularly the T600 Talkabout model.
If you need to brave the harsh outdoor elements, you can expect that the T600 Talkabout can face the same tough situations you do without breaking down. It works wonders in tight and trying situations with its relatively wide 35-mile operating range. It also offers an excellent battery pack, powering the device for up to 23 hours. It’s a reliable walkie talkie if ever you find yourself stuck in the wilderness and looking and waiting for rescue.
Besides providing you with a dependable communication device, this one will also get you the proper information in case of emergencies, thanks to its NOAA radio with an alert system. Plus, you can expect it to be reliable no matter the condition in the wild with its IP67 waterproof protection. This walkie talkie can handle difficult weather and also designed to be dust-proof. There’s also a built-in handy LED light that you can use during night time.
Overall, this walkie talkie has all the necessary features to help you survive emergency and survival situations outdoors.
|Can withstand beating from outdoor elements||Not the most affordable pick|
|Excellent battery life to offer|
|Easy to use and hold|
#2. Baofeng BF-888S – Best Value
- Operating Range: 3.7 miles
- Number of Channels: 16
- Ave. Battery Life: 12 hours
- Power saving
- Includes: VOX function, flashlight, emergency alarm
Baofeng is another trusted brand when it comes to the best survival walkie talkies. The Baofeng BF-888S model, in particular, is one of our favorites for many reasons. This product offers a wide variety of useful and convenient features to help you brave through tricky outdoor situations. Among its notable features and functions include an emergency alarm, advanced charging, power-saving mode, and channel scanning. There are overall 16 channels available, giving you the necessary variety.
While you can find some of the best survival walkie talkies that offers extremely wide operating ranges, this one has a limited frequency. However, the rated 3.7-miles operating range is one of the most reliable you can find. The short frequency also has the advantage of providing clearer communication, no matter the obstruction present. It’s one of the most dependable walkie talkies you can use in the wilderness, even with dense overgrowth and trees.
Baofeng built this walkie talkie with the user in mind, providing several convenient functions for hassle-free operation. It comes with a VOX function that allows you to use the device hands-free. There’s also a built-in LED light to give you enough illumination for a clearer and brighter path in the wild. Meanwhile, the 12-hour battery life gives you enough time to run around and communicate.
|Can withstand bumps and drops||Fixed antenna’s length can be awkward|
|Easy to operate and hold|
|Excellent sound quality|
|Bright LED light|
#3. Uniden SX377-2CKHS – Editor’s Choice
- Operating Range: 37 miles
- Number of Channels: 22
- NOAA with alerts
- Waterproof; submersible
- Includes: Direct Call feature, hands-free earbuds, rechargeable batteries, charging cradle
Walkie talkies are an excellent investment, although they aren’t the cheapest bunch to get for your survival kit. If you want the best value for your money, you can get that from the Uniden SX377-2CKHS walkie talkie. It’s one of the most feature-rich models that you can find today and one of the best survival walkie talkies for wide-range settings. You can communicate using this two-way radio up to 37 miles, and operation is hassle-free with the channel scanner and around 22 channels available.
This walkie talkie would make the perfect companion for braving the wilderness. It can handle the toughest weather conditions, especially with its waterproof protection. This device can get submerged in water, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it. Plus, it boasts a floatable design, making it convenient to spot the device if you drop it in the water. This product is your best bet if you think of the best survival walkie talkies to use around the ocean or lake.
You can also get tons of incredible features from this one, something you can’t find in most walkie talkies. It includes an exclusive direct call feature, allowing you to have private communication with one in the group without anybody eavesdropping.
|Can submerge in water without worry||Volume could be louder|
|With impressive strobe light feature|
|Impressive features and functions|
|Floats in water|
#4. Luton LT-188VHF
- Operating Range: 10-miles
- Number of Channels: 16
- PC programmable
- VOX function
- Includes: auto battery save, busy channel lockout, low battery alert, wrist strap, belt clip
If you are looking to complete your survival kit for your hiking or camping trip, the Vuitton LT-188VHF will make a fantastic addition. It’s not the most wide-ranging walkie talkies out there, but the 10-mile operating range isn’t something to frown at, especially as it doesn’t have a problem penetrating obstructions. You’ll be pleased to know that this product boasts clear communication, again thanks to its shorter but reliable frequency range. Plus, that 10-mile radius can easily get doubled if you use the device in flatter terrains.
However, the top feature that makes this one among the best survival walkie talkies is its excellent battery saving feature. If you happen to get lost in the wild, this device’s battery can last you several days. Using the standby mode won’t hassle you about recharging the walkie talkie frequently.
Plus, you also get some convenient features on this device that could give you an edge while in the wild. It comes with a built-in flashlight to help illuminate your path at night. Another thing that makes this device excellent is its VOX function, allowing you to use the walkie talkie hands-free conveniently.
|Realistic and reliable operating range||Poor flashlight in outdoor settings|
|With convenient hands-free feature|
|Excellent build quality|
- Operating Range: 20 miles
- Number of Channels: 22
- Ave. Battery Life: 10-hours (NiMH batteries); 29 hours (3-AA batteries)
- Eco-Smart device
- Includes: low battery alert, customize call tones, belt clips, rechargeable battery pack
Another favorite walkie talkie model from Motorola is the T200 Talkabout. Although it’s a slightly older version, there are many things to like about this product, but firstly it has a pocket-friendly price tag. It’s an excellent survival tool to have, even if you are on a tight budget.
Motorola has an excellent line of walkie talkies with excellent overall durability designed for harsh outdoor use, and the T200 Talkabout is no different. It boasts the expertise and top-notch quality construction that Motorola is known for. This walkie talkie offers a decent 20-mile operating range, giving a reliable communication range, especially in the open country. It also works well with other walkie talkies of its kind.
It comes equipped with some convenient functions to make operation seamless and hassle-free, like the battery meter. It notifies you whenever the battery level goes low, and the device needs recharging. That way, you have ample time to get ready before a possible disaster happens. The dual charging option also makes it extra convenient to power up your device how you want. You can always stock up on batteries so you won’t have to worry about the device breaking down at the most inopportune times.
Overall, it’s a dependable walkie talkie for camping and hiking trips. The only downside is it doesn’t have weatherproof features, so you need to be careful when bringing it during boating escapades.
|Allows you to stock up on batteries||No waterproofing feature|
|Convenient hands-free feature|
|Decent communication range|
|Affordable price tag|
- Operating Range: 23 miles
- Number of Channels: 22
- Ave. Battery Life: 8-hours (rechargeable battery); 10-hours (alkaline batteries)
- NOAA weather channels and alerts
- Includes: NiMH rechargeable battery pack, belt clips, drip-in charger, VOX hands-free function
The Talkabout MH230R is another dependable walkie talkie from Motorola, one of its beautifully crafted radio models to date. It’s both beauty and brains blended perfectly to create a highly reliable device to help you get out of the toughest situations while in the wilderness. However, it’s not all about the looks because this walkie talkie can serve many purposes, making it one of the best survival walkie talkies around.
For one, it offers 22 different channels available in a 23-mile operating range, even in hilly settings or areas with a lot of obstruction. It boasts 121 security channels to prevent any interference. It’s a must-have if you go camping and want to ensure that you’ll always find your way back at the camp with little to no harm done.
Another advantage of this walkie talkie is you can use a rechargeable battery that comes with the purchase. It can give you around eight hours of operating time. Meanwhile, you can also utilize alkaline batteries, which can provide a slightly longer 10-hour operating time. Plus, you can always carry extra batteries in case of emergencies. That way, you can guarantee that your device gets powered up whenever you need it. Overall, this walkie talkie is a remarkable alternative when cellular service is non-existent.
|With a useful hands-free function||Not the best to use in cold temperatures|
|Beauty and functional design|
|Decent operating range|
|Simple to use and hold|
- Operating Range: 36 miles
- Number of Channels: 50
- NOAA weather scan with alerts
- Jis4 Waterproof
- Includes: rechargeable battery pack, desktop charger, belt clips, boom mic headsets
If you are looking for the best survival walkie talkies suitable for most outdoor pursuits, you won’t get disappointed with the GXT1000VP4 Two-Way Radio from Midland. It offers 50 different channels, one of the best options for channel availability. There are also 142 privacy codes the guarantee that your conversations are safe and secure.
This walkie talkie also provides an impressive 36-mile operating range, but that’s not all it has to offer. You can get many convenient features from this device that can make your time in the wild safe and guaranteed. It boasts the NOAA weather radio service that provides you with automatic audible weather alerts, allowing you to find shelter before a possible disaster happens.
Another notable feature that makes it one of the best survival walkie talkies is the cutting-edge eVOX voice recognition technology. This tech supports automatic transmission cued by your voice, making operation 100% hands-free and hassle-free. You won’t have to use your hands to press a button to use this device for communication. The only thing that could make this product even better is a tougher weatherproofing feature. It’s only splash-proof, which helps in most cases like downpours and against the mud, but it won’t be as useful when you accidentally dropped it in the water.
|Automatic alerts during severe weather conditions||Only splash proof|
|With extra headset for hands-free operation|
|Includes both car charger and A/C adapter|
|Excellent battery performance|
- Operating Range: 37 miles
- Number of Channels: 22
- Floating design
- IPX7 waterproof
- Includes: Rewind Say Again feature, NOAA weather channels with alerts
There are tons of walkie talkies to choose from. Some are better for use in specific outdoor settings than others. If you need the best survival walkie talkies to bring during your boating or fishing trip, you need something that is 100% waterproof. You won’t get disappointed with the IPX7 waterproof rating of the CXT1045R-FLT-CAMO two-way radio from Cobra.
It’s your best walkie talkie for any outdoor adventure near or involving water as it comes with the necessary features to brave through such conditions. Besides waterproofing, this device also features a floatable design. If you managed to drop this walkie talkie in the middle of the ocean, it wouldn’t submerge like most radios. Instead, it will float, making it easier for you to spot and retrieve it.
Plus, there are some useful functions included in the design, including a replay feature. It records 20-second audio of your last communication, allowing you to replay any necessary information.
|Decent channel options available||Not the best sound quality|
|Suitable for fishing and boating|
- Operating Range: 5-miles
- Number of Channels: 16
- Ave. Battery Life: 8 hours
- Includes: built-in speaker, Li-Ion battery pack, single earbud, VOX function, built-in flashlight
You don’t have to pay for all the bells and whistles for the best survival walkie talkies. It can be simple and to the point but offers dependability in survival situations, and that’s what you can get from the Arcshell rechargeable Long-Range walkie talkies. It’s one of the best budget options that get the job done without issues.
Besides having an appealingly cheap price tag, that isn’t the only advantage that this device can offer. It boasts a water-resistant feature, and while it’s not 100% waterproof, it still comes with enough protection against the elements. The solid design and build are also impressive, making it harder to damage, suitable to brave against bumps and drops. Plus, it can operate on 16 different channels with a 5-mile radius. The range might not be the widest, but you can expect it to go through even in the densest terrains with tons of obstructions.
Whether you purchase this one as a primary walkie talkie or as a backup plan, you can always expect durability and reliability from it, especially when facing harsh conditions.
|Simple and straightforward design||Short operating range|
|Reliable for survival purposes|
|Cheaper walkie talkie option|
- Operating Range: 37 miles
- Number of Channels: 50
- 7-NOAA channels with alerts
- IP54 waterproof
- Includes: belt clips, NiMH rechargeable battery pack, charging adaptor
Olympia made it to our list of the best survival walkie talkies with its R100 Two-Way radios. It offers an effective range of 37 miles, quite impressive, especially with the 50 operational channels that you can leverage on. Other incredible features make it suitable as your perfect survival companion, like its IP54 waterproofing feature. This device can handle a downpour without breaking down. Plus, it offers NOAA weather alerts for your safety while in the wilderness.
And if you have second thoughts about whether your communications are safe and secure, that shouldn’t be a worry with this device’s 120 privacy codes. You can also get tons of freebies with the purchase, including a rechargeable battery pack, integrated belt clips, earphones for each unit, and a charging station.
|100% waterproof construction||Unreliable range rating based on obstruction level|
|Adjustable wattage setting|
|Fantastic channel options|
|Splash and dust-proof|
Best Survival Walkie Talkie – Motorola T600 Talkabout
If you want the best survival walkie talkies, we can’t stop recommending the T600 Talkabout from Motorola. It’s completely waterproof, making it suitable for all weather conditions. Even if you accidentally submerged this device, it wouldn’t skip a beat, remaining a dependable walkie talkie to get you out of a tight spot.
The 35-mile range under ideal conditions is pretty impressive, especially with the 22 channels available, including NOAA channels with alerts. Plus, the battery lasts for up to 23 hours. Overall, it has the necessary features as your reliable survival companion.
Best Survival Walkie Talkie Brands
Motorola is a long-standing and well-rated electronics and telecommunications company. It primarily manufactures mobile devices and smartphones, founded in 1928. The brand was one of the companies behind the manufacturing of the first walkie talkies and the first one to come out with a wide-range radio. It’s a trusted brand if you’re looking for the best survival walkie talkies.
Baofeng is a China-based manufacturer of commercial amateur radio transceivers. The brand is well-known for offering well-priced, if not cheap, walkie talkie products with carrying styles, frequencies, ranges, and other features. Baofeng is among the well-known brands when it comes to walkie talkies.
What to Consider When Buying Best Survival Walkie Talkies
You can find many walkie talkies in the market today, but not all of them are among the best survival walkie talkies. Ideally, you need something with functional setups to help you get out of worst-case emergencies while outdoors.
In that case, check out the essential features that you should consider when buying the best survival walkie talkies.
UHF vs. VHF Walkie Talkies
The first thing that you need to choose when buying the best survival walkie talkies is the ideal type for your specific purpose. There are two primary types of walkie talkies, and they mostly differ in frequencies.
UHF walkie talkies or Ultra High-Frequency radios operate between 400 to 512 MHz frequencies. This type may have shorter radio waves but can easily penetrate obstructions or interferences like woods and dense urban areas. UHF radios can also handle more power and larger antennas, which can boost its transmitter distance.
Meanwhile, VHF walkie talkies or Very High-Frequency radios operate in frequencies between 136 to 174 MHz. Its primary advantage is the wider distance it can cover using less power. VHF waves are relatively longer than that of UHF radios, but they work best when there is a clear line of sight between the receiver and sender. VHF walkie talkies are best for open fields and low obstruction situations.
Although walkie talkies usually look alike, they come in varying sizes and slightly different shapes. More than how the device looks, the best design all comes down to which model is easiest to hold and operate. If it has an unrealistically awkward design and shape, it might not offer the best grip, and you’ll find yourself dropping the device frequently. Although a survival clip will help in that situation, it’s still convenient to have a walkie talkie that fits perfectly in your hands.
The best survival walkie talkies should be able to handle some beating. After all, you’re going to be using it in the wild, where you’re most likely to face unpredictable and tough conditions. Weatherproofing is fantastic to have in a walkie talkie for outdoor purposes, ensuring that they remain strong against elements like water, dust, snow, and mud.
You may find some walkie talkies with waterproofing features, which works well for many outdoor situations, especially if you go fishing or boating. After all, you don’t want a survival device that suddenly stops working when you accidentally dropped it on water.
Walkie talkies have a varying number of frequency options. Ideally, you want the best survival walkie talkies that offers a wide range of channels to allow you to switch between them when one frequency experiences too much interference. However, you also have to keep in mind that a radio with more frequency options usually comes at a premium price.
One of the most critical feature to consider when choosing the best survival walkie talkies is their transmission range. It can vary from a couple of miles to over 30 miles, each with its advantages and drawbacks.
When looking at the transmission range, the value defines the maximum range a radio can operate when there is no atmospheric interference or obstruction. However, that isn’t usually the case unless you’re in the middle of the ocean. Trees, snow, heavy rainfall, and buildings are obstructions that can interfere with the transmission ranges.
A wide-range walkie talkie means you can communicate from afar, although it usually gets harder to communicate that way. On the other hand, short-range models only allow you to communicate from a couple of miles away, but they tend to be more effective in getting through obstructions.
Many overlook the average battery life when shopping for the best survival walkie talkies, but it’s an incredibly critical feature that you shouldn’t brush off. Ideally, you’d want a device that remains reliable under critical conditions and battery is necessary to power your walkie talkie. You can have all the bells and whistles of the best survival walkie talkies, but if it dies merely minutes from use, it will soon be useless for survival purposes.
Some walkie talkies use rechargeable batteries, while others require alkaline batteries. You can also find models that support both giving you versatility. It’s the best option to have as you can recharge a battery when there is power available or carry extra batteries to keep your device powered at all times.
A high-powered walkie talkie is also essential if you plan to use many of its built-in features like the flashlight and the radio.
There are plenty of extra features that make the best survival walkie talkies. Some are pragmatic, while you can consider others luxuries. Check out a few of what you might want to have on your device.
It’s more convenient to operate your walkie talkie when you don’t have to fumble over the controls when it’s dark out. A backlit display ensures that you can easily make adjustments on your device at night, even without turning on a lamp.
An option for monitoring the weather or getting alerts when the weather starts getting bad can help you take shelter before a disaster happens. It is especially useful to have when outdoors or in the wild where the weather can be unpredictable. A weather radio in your walkie talkie will keep you updated on hazardous conditions or incoming storms.
VOX functionality is convenient to have, allowing you to operate your walkie talkie in hands-free mode. It’s a great feature to have if you need to communicate with the group while you’re still tied up.
A keypad lock is a smart feature that avoids any accidental channel changes. Nothing is more frustrating than switching frequencies accidentally, like when you stuff your walkie talkie in your pocket. This feature ensures that you don’t miss out on possible crucial messages.
If you want a seamless hands-free operation for your walkie talkie, then you might consider getting a model with a speaker and microphone support. This way, you don’t need to raise the device to talk or hear the message. It works in situations where you need to stay hidden or be discreet.
When cellular service is non-existent, the best survival walkie talkies like the Motorola T600 Talkabout can fulfill your need to communicate. It comes equipped with features to brave the harsh outdoor conditions, including waterproofing and a wide operational range and frequency options.
Reliable communication is necessary if you find yourself in a tight spot in the wilderness, and the best survival walkie talkies can offer that.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Question)
What is NOAA radio in walkie talkies?
The best survival walkie talkies will have an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio. It sends weather updates and alerts, which can be a life-saver if you’re staying in remote locations. It keeps you up-to-date with any changes in the weather condition in your area.
Should I get a waterproof walkie talkie?
Waterproofing is an ideal feature for a device designed for outdoor use like survival walkie talkies. They guarantee long-lasting quality and performance in all weather conditions.