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Best Two Way Radios For Hiking & Mountaineering 2019 (With Comparison Table)

  • Updated: October 10, 2019
Best Two Way Radios

If you're looking for a two way radio to help you keep in contact with your hiking or mountaineering group, then have a look through our best two way radios guide to help narrow down your options.

Whether you're on a hiking trail and want to charge ahead but keep in touch with the other people you're with, or going on an adventure with friends and want to keep in touch for navigational or safety purposes, two way radios help you keep in contact over long distances.

Other hiking technology reviews: Hiking Watches | Cameras for Hiking | Hiking GPS Devices | Portable Power Stations | Solar Backpacks

Best Two-Way Hiking Radio
Our pick: Midland GXT1050 VP4

The Midland GXT1050 VP4's are a great choice of two-way radios.

Key features that make them perfect for hiking / mountaineering are: 36 mile range, 50 GMRS channels, excellent water resistance and 11-12 hour rechargeable battery life! 

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Best Two-Way Radios For Hiking - Comparison Table






Best Overall

11 hours

36 miles


Editor's Choice

15 hours

35 miles


Best Long Range

8 hours

37 miles


Best Battery Life

16 hours

6.2 miles


Best Budget

6 hours

30 miles


1. Best Overall Two-Way Radio For Hiking

​5/5 Overall Rating
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The Midland GXT1050VP4 two way radios are great for outdoor use and have many useful features that come in handy when you're out hiking, hunting or trekking. 

They have 50 GMRS channels with a channel scan function that checks for any activity.

These Midland walkie talkies have up to a 36 mile range if there are no obstructions and privacy codes allow you to block other conversations.

With JIS4 Waterproof Protection, the two way radios are resistant to splashing water and light rain. Dual Watch allows you to keep an eye on 2 channels at the same time.

The ​Midland GXT1050VP4 includes a Weather Scan function that scans the NOAA broadcasts to alert you to severe weather updates in your area so that you can find shelter in time.

There is also a SOS Siren that you can use to alert others in case of emergency. The Whisper feature allows you to talk quietly but be heard clearly on the receiving end of the call, which is great for animal sightings.

With Direct Call and caller ID, you can easily contact one person in your group without disturbing the others. These Midland walkie talkies also have Auto Squelch technology which removes background noise for clearer communication.

While these Midland two way radios have many useful features, the batteries could be better. They come with rechargeable batteries that take about 12 hours to charge, and last can last for 11 hours of use. AA alkaline batteries can also be used if you want to carry extra with you on your outdoor excursion. 

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Main Features
  • Water resistant
  • 50 GMRS channels
  • 36 mile range
What we like
  • 3-year warranty
  • Auto Squelch feature makes communication clearer
What we dislike
  • Rechargeable batteries run out fairly quickly
Key Takeaway

The Midland GXT1050 VP4 are a great choice of two-way radios. They offer many useful and effective features that make using them easy and affective.  

2. Editor's Choice Two-Way Radios

4.5/5 Overall Rating
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The Motorola MT350R two way radios are robust, weatherproof and ideal for taking on rugged, outdoor excursions. The handsets are bright orange in colour so you can easily spot them if you accidentally drop them or put them down somewhere. 

With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, there are plenty of different combinations to use. They have an IP54 rating for dust and splash resistance so you can pack them with you no matter what type of environment you'll be in.

They also feature NOAA weather channels so that you can keep up to date and be alerted to any Amber Alerts, storms, floods, tornadoes, or other unpredictable weather conditions.

These two way radios also feature a VibraCall setting, which causes the device to vibrate when calls are received instead of ringing.

This is a very useful setting to have in situations where any noises would be disruptive. The Motorola MT350R also feature a built-in LED flashlight so that you can find your way in the dark.

The VOX feature allows for hands-free operation so that you can still communicate while climbing, skiing, hunting etc.

With a class D amplifier, the Motorola MT350R two way radios have excellent sound quality so you can always hear the transmissions clearly. You can even extend the range of your transmissions with the Push-To-Talk Power Boost.

These walkie talkies come with a rechargeable battery pack, but can also take regular alkaline batteries. They also come with a convenient USB charger so you can charge them up in your car while on the road.

Main Features
  • 22 Channels
  • 35 Mile range
  • Voice Operated Transmission feature
  • plus
    LED flashlight
What we like
  • Battery meter shows how much battery you have left
What we dislike
  • Doesn't have a base station
Key Takeaway

The Motorola MT350R two way radios are an ideal choice of walkie talkie. They are robust, weatherproof and offer crystal clear sound in addition to many other useful features.

3. Most Long-Range Radios

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The Cobra ACXT1035R FLT two way radios are ideal for you next outdoor day trip. While the battery life is only 8 hours, these walkie talkies have a multitude of useful functions and features. 

They have an excellent range of up to 37 miles and have 22 channels with 121 privacy codes, which adds up to a total of 2662 channel combinations to try out.

They feature a weather alert that automatically monitors the weather around your location so that you can be warned of storms or other hazardous weather conditions.

With rubbery grips, the Cobra ACXT1035R FLT are easy to hold in wet conditions and are shock resistant.

They are water resistant and float on water so you don't have to worry about losing it if you accidentally drop it. A BURP function vibrates the handset to get rid of any water droplets in the speakers so the sound is still crystal clear.

The Cobra ACXT1035R FLT have a VOX setting so that you can operate them hands-free.

They also feature Rewind-Say-Again technology, which replays 20 seconds of the last transmission in case you missed any of the information that was said.

The walkie talkies also feature a LED flashlight in case you need some extra light.

Main Features
  • 37 mile range
  • 22 channels, 121 privacy codes
  • Rewind-Say-Again technology
What we like
  • Floats on water
  • Flashlight
  • Rubberized grip
What we dislike
  • Battery doesn't last very long
Key Takeaway

The Cobra ACXT1035R FLT two way radios are a great choice for hiking, boating, climbing, and other rugged, outdoor activities. They are durable and easy to hold, with great sound quality so you can communicate easily with your group.

4. Best Battery Life Radios

​4/5 Overall Rating
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The ​Motorola TLKR T80 (or T460) Extreme​ are license-free two way radios, with 8 channels and a 6.2 mile (10km) range.

License-free two way radios are radios that use pre-programmed public-access channels and have a maximum of 0.5 watt power.  

The Motorola TLKR T80 Extreme radios have many useful features to aid you on your outdoor adventures.

They feature a push-to-talk (PTT) button, as well as a Voice Operated Transmission (VOX) function that allow you to communicate hands-free while you're skiing or climbing etc.

The TLKR  T80 Extreme are very user-friendly and easy to setup and use. They can clip easily onto your belt or bag so that you can use your hands for other activities.

Two headsets are included which work well with the VOX setting. The TLKR T80 handsets are built to be strong and durable, and are bright yellow in colour so you can easily find them if you put them down or drop them.

The rechargeable batteries take 14 hours to charge and can last for about 16 hours of use. The handsets are also compatible with 4 AAA batteries so you can still use them while the rechargeable battery packs charge.

The Motorola TLKR T80 Extreme two way radios also feature a built in LED flashlight as well as a stopwatch and clock.

Main Features
  • 8 Channels (License-free)
  • 6.2 mile range
  • VOX setting
What we like
  • LED flashlight
  • Good battery life and it comes with a carry case
What we dislike
  • Takes quite long to charge
Key Takeaway

The Motorola TLKR T80 (or T460) Extreme two way radios are robust walkie talkies with good quality sound and plenty of useful features. They are an excellent choice of two way radios and can be bought in a 2- or a 4-pack.

5. Best Value Radios

3/5 Overall Rating

The Midland LXT630VP3 two way radios offer 36 channels and an up to 30 mile range in an unobstructed area. It has a small, compact design and light weight structure so that it's easy to carry and pack with you on your trip. 

It comes with belt clips so that you can attach it to your belt or a bag strap if you need your hands to be free. The Voice Operated Transmission function allows you to operate the Midland LXT630VP3 using only your voice for if you're climbing or need your hands for something else.

It also features a HI/LO setting, which can be used to conserve the battery life if running low. The average battery life of the Midland LXT630VP3 two way radios is quite short as it lasts approximately 6 hours.

These walkie talkies also have NOAA weather alerts that will keep you up to date with changes in weather and notify you if stormy, hazardous weather is coming your way so that you can find cover in time.

The Midland LXT630VP3 come with a rechargeable battery pack, but are also compatible with 3 AAA batteries so you can pack some extra if you need the radios to work for an extended period of time.

There is also a silent mode option, which turns off all alert tones. Auto Squelch technology cuts out any background noise so that your transmissions are crystal clear.

Main Features
  • 36 channels
  • 30 mile range
  • VOX for hands-free use
What we like
  • NOAA weather alert
  • Auto squelch technology results in good sound quality
What we dislike
  • Battery doesn't last very long
Key Takeaway

The Midland LXT630VP3 two way radios two way radios are small, powerful and affordable walkie talkies. They have many of the features you would find on more expensive models, so they offer great value and would be a good, reliable choice.

Buyer's Guide For Two-Way Radios (Key Features)

Number of Channels

Two way radios generally have access to a number of channels. There are Family Service Radio (FSR) channels, which are completely open to the public and free to use, and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) channels, for which you need a licence.

Two way radios need to be on the same channel in order to communicate. GMRS channels will have a longer range than FSR channels.

Privacy codes are used to block out other conversations so that you have more privacy with your group. All radios will need to be programmed on the same privacy code in order to communicate. 


Range is an important feature to consider as you need to choose a two way radio that can be relied on to be able to communicate. FSR radios will have a much shorter range than GMRS radios.

You choice also depends on what type of activity you need the radios for. For example, for climbing and hiking, a FSR radio should be fine, but for skiing or hunting, you should probably consider a GMRS two way radio.

Your surroundings will also have an impact on the range. Obstructions, such as trees and mountains, can severely limit the range on any type of two way radio.

Hands-Free Settings

Many two way radios come with a Voice Operated Transmission (VOX) setting, which is sensitive to the sound of your voice and will transmit as you speak without the need to push a button.

This is a great feature for activities where you need your hands, like skiing, hunting, climbing, cycling etc. Some two way radios will come with a headset that you can use to ensure clear, hands free communication

Battery Life

The battery life of a two way radio is very important. You don't want to be stuck in an emergency situation only to find the battery's dead.

Many two way radios are compatible with both rechargeable batteries and regular alkaline batteries so you should always try pack some extra. Radios that have a signal boosting feature tend to use up battery more quickly so be aware of that.

Safety Features

The battery life of a two way radio is very important. You don't want to be stuck in an emergency situation only to find the battery's dead.

Many two way radios are compatible with both rechargeable batteries and regular alkaline batteries so you should always try pack some extra. Radios that have a signal boosting feature tend to use up battery more quickly so be aware of that.

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