Best Walkie Talkies For Hunting (And Two Way Radios 2018)
You’re out hunting in the woodlands and a storm hits. You don’t know where your buddy is and you’re all alone. You go to call him but your phone has no signal.
This is a life-threatening situation anyone can end up in all too easily. In the past this was a risk in hunting that couldn’t be avoided, luckily now it can be.
Two-way radios enable you to have peace of mind, knowing that in any situation you’ll be just one press of a button away from talking to your bud.
Two-way radios and walkie talkies for hunting are essentially the same. They have their own antenna so don’t need a signal tower which makes them damn handy for when your off hunting in the woods.
The range of abilities these bad boys now have is almost endless. Animal sounds, distress signals, and flashlights are just a few of the features some of these have.
But be careful!
Not all models have the same capabilities and the list of cheap substandard walkie talkies is endless.
Best Two Way Radio For Hunting Comparison
Why you need a two-way radio
This is a vital life saving bit of kit.
An all too common scenario is a group of hunters going out on a trip only for it to be rained off. Worse still when you’re out in the woods and caught in a storm. This is how hunters can die, not from animals but from the weather.
Most high-quality two-way radios have NOAA weather alerts, channels you tune into that can warn you before these life-threatening situations happen. Having weather alerts could not be more useful to a hunter.
What features you NEED to have on your two-way radio/walkie talkie
The most important thing on any hunting trip is safety. With all the features available on modern two-way radios these can now be your most important piece of safety equipment (apart from maybe your gun!).
Not all walkie talkies come with the same inbuilt abilities. It’s important you know what’s on offer so you don’t end up with a substandard product that’s missing vital abilities.
What to look out for?
NOAA Weather Alerts. These are radio channels you can tune into to get updates about storms or other hazardous weather. The ability to access these channels could not be more important. Getting stuck in a thunderous downpour of rain is not how you want to start your hunting trip.
If unprepared it’s not just unenjoyable, it can also be life threatening. So make sure to get a model that has access to these channels.
LED Flashlight. An inbuilt flashlight can be another trip saving function. Too many times have hunters been caught in the dark woods with no source of light. Have one of these inbuilt into the device and in your hand and this will never be a problem again.
You don’t want a bit of equipment that breaks halfway through your hunting trip leaving you unable to contact each other. Many knockoffs and unbranded walkie talkies aren’t built to last and will just stop working.
Make sure what you buy is a trusted and reviewed brand.
Make sure it’s durable, waterproof and reliable. I find the best way of ensuring this is by using a well-known product that you know has worked for others (like the five I review below).
Range of Coverage
This is important.
Most walkie talkies will advertise themselves as having a maximum range way over what you’ll ever realistically be able to use them for.
Interference is always there and as a result, the range is always decreased. As a rule of thumb, most receivers work reliably at just less than 10% of the advertised maximum range.
Privacy codes DO NOT keep your transmissions any more private than they would be otherwise. This is a common misconception.
Privacy codes DO clear up incoming and outgoing calls of outside noises, sounds, and other people talking. This can be really handy and save crucial time in understanding what your buddies talking about.
Size and weight
Simple but important.
Don’t get a walkie talkie that’s going to pull your pants down every two minutes or clank against your leg every step you take.
Spend a bit extra and get one that’ll fit in your pocket and you’ll thank me later.
Next up I review five of the best walkie talkies for hunting, in my….
Five Best Two-Way Radio Reviews
Midland GXT1050VP4 FRS/GMRS 36-Mile 50-Channel Two-Way Radio
The GXT1050VP4 Two-Way Radio is a great bit of kit and probably one of my favorite on this list. At 76 dollars it’s also one of the cheapest and this did make me worry whether its quality would reflect its cheap cost.
Luckily this wasn’t the case…
The first thing you realize about the GXT1050VP4 is, let’s be honest, its sexy look. The desert urban camo is definitely a good style and will complement any seasoned hunter.
It is said to have a range of 36 miles, but due to background interference which is always present, it won’t ever really reach this far. This is something you must be wary of and keep in mind with all of the different gadgets. Realistically in a hunt, you’ll get a clear signal if you’re within a two to three-mile radius of your partner and, for me, this tended to be enough.
This is a 22-channel radio, which should be enough to get a clear line of communication especially with the privacy codes that are included in this model. The radios use is optimized for GMRS, but in order to use them in this setting you’ll need to get yourself an FCC license but don’t worry, they’re easy to obtain.
The privacy codes also pair up with the whisper function really nicely. With both of these, communication on this device works like a charm. Everything you say, even if whispered, can easily and clearly be heard by those your hunting with.
This is important.
Lower quality gear might be crackly and distorted and having this clearness of sound can be a real lifesaver.
Direct and group calling is also supported as is NOAA weather radio reports, a vital feature you need if you want to be kept informed and stay safe.
Another vital safety feature is the SOS siren it has built into it. Being able to sound an alarm has saved me more than once and is another feature I think is really important. There are also five different animal calls that can be used from the radio as well as a silent operation mode. Use silent mode when you need to. It can make all the difference at a vital part of a hunt.
Finally, it runs on AA batteries, which are handy as they’re easy to swap out and replace with fresh ones when needed.
So if your a hunter looking for top range, top quality, and top value, this could be the one for you.
It doesn’t have a few of the features some of the others on my list have but it’s high range and crystal clear quality sound make it a real game changer for any hunter.
Midland GXT895VP4 GMRS 36-Mile 42-Channel Two-Way Radio
Second on my list is another gadget made by Midland. Their products are consistently high quality and reliable and this is why they’re one of my favorite go-to manufacturers.
At a slightly more expensive price tag of $89.99 you get just that little bit more with the Midland GXT895VP4. The mossy oak camouflage is a gorgeous feature that stands out while keeping you blended in.
But did this walkie talkie hold up past its looks and impress with its technical capabilities?
The short answer. Yes.
It has a similar range to the previous model of 36 miles, though once again, one must remember this is a distance with absolutely no obstructions. When used in woodland or even relatively clear fields you’ll get a communication range of around 3 miles.
Similarly, it also has vital features such as NOAA weather reports which are paramount for hunting safety.
The 5 animal alerts are also included in this model along with 15 other call alerts as well as voice activation, which can be really handy when deep into a hunt.
It is a 42 channel GMRS radio, so again an FCC license will need to be obtained.
Running on rechargeable batteries, that power up through its own charging unit the battery life really holds up on this one, while I was using it, it never ran out of charge. However it does also offer the option to swap in a pair of AA batteries, so you know for sure you won’t run out of charge while you’re deep in the woodland.
This is another great option which stands out amongst the rest. From its camouflage covering to its long range and huge amount of channels, you can’t go wrong with a Midland GXT895VP4.
Motorola MT350R FRS Weatherproof 35-Mile 22-Channel
Motorola is a company that was formed back in 1928 and in that time this company has perfected its product design.
At $110 this is the most expensive of the lot on my list, but every penny of that 110 dollars is well spent with the MT350R.
The amount of great features this has that others don’t is incredible.
Any veteran hunter will have had times where their radio ceased to function due to dust or moisture getting into the operating system. This is a problem of the past with the MT350R which has an IP-54 weatherproof rating, so no matter the weather conditions you face this model will stay functioning. No matter whether its rain, hail or snow, weather conditions that might cause other models to malfunction simply do not affect this model.
With 22 channels, privacy codes and NOAA weather alerts this has all the standard necessary safety features that you want. It stands out from other models with its added built-in flashlight which, if you misplace your main flashlight, can be a priceless extra feature. Along with an emergency distress alert button, this has the most safety features out of everything I’ve reviewed.
What really makes these such great bits of kit though is simply their portability. They’re small enough to slot into your jacket or trouser pocket, so there’s no need to have it banging against your leg as you stalk that prey.
It has a VOX hands free system and you’re able to set it to vibrate, ideal for when you’re nearing the peak of your hunt and want to avoid scaring away any animal.
With 15 hours of talk time, durable and compact design, and an extraordinary amount of safety features if you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars the Motorola MT350R will not disappoint.
Motorola MR350RVP FRS/GMRS 35-Mile 22-Channel Two-Way Radio
Another great one from Motorola, the MR35ORVP has some big differences from the Motorola MT350R.
Its range is similar, maxing out at 35 miles, although again when used in real conditions this will normally top out at a range of around 3 or 4 miles.
It also shares many of the safety features of the previous model having an emergency distress alert signal, an integrated LED flashlight and access to weather alert channels.
It’s weather channel access capabilities surpass most of its competitors, however, with it being able to access 11 different channels. With 7 of these being NOAA channels, you’ll never be caught out in an unexpected storm or arrive at a prime hunting spot just to realize you don’t have the right kit for you.
Durable and dependent, waterproof and reliable the MR350RVP won’t let you down.
An incredibly simple, yet incredibly useful, aspect of this model is the extra large buttons that it has. No more deciding between the cold or communicating. Instead, you can keep your hands snug in your gloves and still find yourself easily able to operate the walkie talkie.
It has that all-important vibrate call setting as well as 20 unique call tones that you can choose from.
What really makes this model stand out, however, is the ability to charge it in four different ways. At home in the wall, plugged directly into your PC, your rechargeable battery pack or even through your cars USB. This versatility really makes it stand out as the one to get if you never want to miss a charge.
At $88.50 this is a steal for a rugged, reliable, walkie talkie that will keep you safe, secure and successful on your hunting trips.
Uniden GMR5099-2CKHS Submersible GMRS/FRA 50-Mile 22-Channel Two-Way Radio
Wow. This is one I just couldn’t miss putting on my list.
It has a great battery life of almost 12 hours but that’s not what makes this so incredibly special.
It’s fully waterproof.
It can go completely underwater and will float back to the surface.
This makes it ideal for fishing trips or any occasion when you’re near a big body of water.
If you drop most of the others on this list into water, you’ll likely never see them again. If you do, the receiver will be crackly or they simply won’t work. This insane device from Uniden is not the same. Complying with JIS7 water submersion specifications the GMR5099-2CKHS is able to withstand being under three feet of water for half an hour with absolutely no problems.
I know. Game changer.
But that’s not all. Its maximum range is a whopping 50 miles, so in normal conditions will function for around 4 miles with ease.
With 22 channels, 7 are FRS so can be used by anyone, the other 15 being GMRS, and therefore requiring FCC license, this is a perfect choice for veterans and new hunters alike.
Those all-important weather alerts from NOAA are included, ensuring you, your hunting party and your family are kept safe. Also built into the model is a very high powered LED flashlight which if needed can be used as a strobe light in emergency situations.
Another feature I love is the ability to call a single member of your party through the caller ID system inbuilt into the device. Being able to have private calls is a cool feature which a lot of the others don’t have.
With almost 300 privacy settings interference also becomes a thing of the past, resulting in very clear audio.
Super portable, compact and lightweight, this is not one to be missed. At $79.50, being the only fully submersible walkie talkie on this list and with such a powerful inbuilt torch this is one of those products which just doesn’t disappoint.
Which ones for you?
All of the brands and models I’ve reviewed are great. Anyone will greatly improve your hunting adventures.
So what do you value? Waterproofness? Cost? Battery life?
Make your decision and get yourself one of these. I promise you won’t regret it.