The 4 Best 2-Way Radios of 2018

Truth be told; hiking can be one hell of an experience; it cuts across. It can be fun, but at the same time life threatening. Imagine you are right in the middle of a very thick forest, lost and not able to trace your trail back to the camp. The whole problem can be made even worst even you are not able to communicate with the people you were hiking with. When hiking communication is everything at any given time

You must be able to contact your fellow hikers and most importantly call for emergency, should you find yourself in a very awkward situation. Like you have fallen down, broke your arm and you not able to move. So if you are going hiking, make sure you take your safety into great consideration and for that; you need to arm yourself with the best 2 way radio.

This piece of gadget does not only come with a rugged, compact and lightweight design, but can effortlessly help you stay in touch with your hiking or skiing friends at different location on the mountain of the trails.

QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST 2 WAY RADIOS

  1. Midland GXT2050VP4
  2. Midland LXT600VP3
  3. Backcountry Access BC Link
  4. Cobra CXT 145
  5. Cobra CXT545
  6. Uniden Atlantis 270
  7. Midland LXT500VP3 GMRS
  8. Cobra MR HH450
  9. Garmin Rino 750
  10. Motorola Talkabout MT350R

 

How To Choose The Best 2 WAY Radio For Your Outdoor Adventure

The 2 way radio market is probably among the largest in the market. Technology is growing and we have consistently seen new players join this lucrative industry and design the very best there is. In fact, with the number of choice available, we are pretty sure singling out the best from the crowded market is not going to be a walk in the park for any shopper.

Thankfully, there is something you can do. You need to have an idea of what features you need and what to look out for. To get you started, here is quick look what you need to consider when buying a 2 way radio from your next hiking adventure.

Size And Weight

A 2-way radio is something you have to carry it on your hands, or have it packed in your backpack for a considerable length of time. For that, you need to consider the size and most importantly its overall weight. Ideally, you would definitely need something that is lightweight and one that is not bulky. In other cases, if you are a serious mountaineer, go for an ergonomic shape so that you can easily use it even with your gloves on. It does not even stop there; consider a 2 way radio that comes with an antenna length that is similar to the length of the unit’s body, as that will provide great power in a small package.

Wattage and Range Of Coverage

What is the point of buying a 2 way radio that cannot even work over a 100M range? While most radios claim they have a range of up to 20 miles in optimal conditions, any radio’s actual range is roughly about 2 miles or even less.  It is because that that you may want to go for a radio that comes with great power and one that can do long distance. The point is; you need a radio that can help you communicate with a friend who is lost deep in the forest or mountain.

In other cases, other than just the range of coverage, outdoor enthusiasts are always advised to go for a unit with great power. One of the biggest benefits of going for a high powered unit is that it can fill in coverage dropouts like behind hills; that often occur within the line of sight of a radio use. Technically, the higher power, the better is the overall quality of the signal. Most highly powered 2-way radio units are quite expensive, but if you want to have everything running smooth deep in the mountains, you may want to spend some extra cash on a great piece of gadget. The benefits are far reaching.

Batteries

What kind of batteries does your unit use? Are they readily available? These are some of the questions you need to ask before you make a choice. A good number of 2 way radio units run on AAA or AA batteries. They have been designed to accept disposal alkaline batteries or even rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries. Other unit also comes equipped with their own rechargeable battery packs. So at the end you may want to settle for a unit that meets you needs when it comes to batteries.

In other news, battery life is important and must be considered as well. However, so you know the higher a unit’s power output, the faster it will drain your batteries. So at any given time, look for a model that can send the unit into a low power, battery saving mode, after a specific amount of time has elapsed.  Additionally, it will make a lot of sense if you buy a unit that can be recharged using your hiking solar panel.

Channels and Privacy Codes

Technically, the maximum number of channels you can get on standard FRS/GMRS 2-way radio is 22.  This can be broken down as follows; 7 Family Service channels, 7 shared FRS/GMRS channels and 8 General Mobile Radio Service. However, so you know, so that you can use GMRs channels, you will need to get some kind of license from the relevant authority.  Although, FRS only mode; can operate all the 22 channels using a maximum 0.5 watts, but keep in mind that you will get a much shorter range that those units using a GRMS or FRS/GMRS radio.

The privacy code is another important feature and must be taking into great consideration as well. This feature adds another layer of identification to your transmission. It filters out all transmissions that do not in any way feature this identifier. Ideal, a unit that comes with a very larger number of channel combination is a solid choice for people who may need to use their 2-ways in busy areas.

VOX Support

If you can get a unit that comes with this amazing feature that would be great. Any radio that comes equipped with VOX Support feature will allow you operate the unit hands free. This is a pleasantly useful feature to have in a hiking 2-way radio. When activated, this function can transmit your communication as soon as you begin to speak. Additionally, if you want to greatly enjoy this feature and get the most out of it, consider pairing your radio with a high quality microphone and headset. You will love it. You will totally like it.

Weather Alerts Capabilities

By Badseed (Vectorized version of Image:NOAA.png.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Mother Nature can get real nasty and as much as we respect her, she can turn on use in a matter of seconds and wreak havoc. For this key reason, you may want to buy a 2 way radio that does not only help you communicate with your pals, but also one that can help you with weather alerts. A good number of them can scan NOAA channels and automatically transmit alerts as they happen. That is not even all; they also let you tune into a weather channel, rather than just receiving alerts on your device. With all that, what else can you possibly ask for?

Bluetooth compatible

A 2-way radio that comes with Bluetooth compatible feature is also great and must be considered at all times. Such radio will not only help you from having to deal with those long wires,  but  also provide longer range group communication, especially for mounted or dismounted motor cycle rides, hunter and campers,  as well.

Top OF The Range 2 Way Radios You May Want To Check Out

MIDLAND LXT600VP3

See this product on: Amazon.com

Pros

  • 2 power options
  • 2-pack
  • NOAA weather alerts

Cons

  • No USB charge
  • Limited range in use

Bottom Line: While the range is relatively lower for this model than most in our list, this unit should be sufficient for most purpose.  For that, It is comes highly recommended.

The MIDLAND LXT600VP3 is among some of the most models by Midland. This unit comes with 36 channels even when it comes to some of the busiest settings. As for the range you get around 26 miles and if you are looking for ways to maximize your range, the 26 miles range you get is still great for many situation.  With this unit, you also get this useful feature called Weather scan. This great feature comes through in one quick scan for the closet NOAA broadcast. The best part, it comes with plenty of features and ridiculously cheap.

 

Motorola Talkabout MT350R

See this product on: Amazon.com

Pros

  • USB charging
  • LED flashlight
  • Battery Meter
  • Robust

Cons

  • No base station
  • Bright orange color

Bottom Line: While the bright orange color the device comes in might turn off a lot of people, the Motorola Talkabout MT350R is an amazing 2-way radio you could take hiking today. It is not only robust, but able to cover a range of about 35 miles makes it a must have.

Motorola, has in the recent past wowed us with the best communication technologies and being one of the key players, there is no way they were not going to wow us with the best 2 way radio. One of their own, the Motorola Talkabout MT350R is currently sending shockwaves across the industry and for a number of reason. It is all about it build quality. This device is robust and promises to withstand any harsh weather conditions out there. Its range is also worth mentioning. This 2 way radio by Motorola comes with 35 miles range. That is just amazing. Included in this device is a LED flashlight. That could come truly in handy in case of an emergency. We would not hesitate to go for this model any time for we know what it can do.

 

Midland GXT2050VP4

See this product on: Amazon.com

Pros

  • Fast charger
  • Comes in pack of 2
  • Headset included

Cons

  • Only JIS4 resistant

Bottom Line: If you are looking for quick charger capabilities and plenty of other useful features the Midland GXT2050VP4 is all you have got.

For hikers who are looking for a 2 way radio that can be chargef real fast, you are going to be excited about this new Midland GXT2050VP4 2-way radio. It is an amazing piece of technology, and considering what it comes packed with and what you can do with it, we could say this is a great choice for hikers and any other outdoor enthusiast. The Midland GXT2050VP4 currently enjoys one of the best positions in and around the market. From it, you get plenty of good things. First, it can be charged real fast and most can cover a wide range. Rated at 36 miles or even more depending on the condition of that area, this Midland two-way radio is a must have. It will never disappoint.

COBRA CXT 145

See this product on: Amazon.com

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • NOAA weather channels

Cons

  • No scan feature No privacy

Bottom Line: The COBRA CXT 145 is a solid choice for hikers who are operating on a shoe string budget.

If you are looking for greatness and you just don’t want to hurt your wallet, the COBRA CXT 145 2-way radio is definitely what you should be going for next. Interestingly, despite coming with one of the lowest prices on the market, that has not even compromised on what this gadget could do. It is well built and comes equipped with plenty of great features. It can cover a range of 16 miles. It is also lightweight, and you can comfortably hold in your hands for extended period of time.

 

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