Staying in touch with your partners during any excursions or survival situation is paramount. And you should anticipate that there’ll be some remote areas where your smartphones cannot get reception.
That’s when a walkie talkie comes into play.
The list below will walk you through 6 best walkie talkies for long distance picked by most pro survivors, campers, and hikers.
Here are the best walkie talkies for long distance you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Cobra MRHH350FLT
- Best For Sea Kayakers: Uniden MHS75
- Best For Island Hopping: Standard Horizon HX870
- Rugged And Durable: Retevis RT55
- Best For Route Tracking: Cobra COB-MR HH600W
- Best For Fishing: Uniden Bearcat BC125AT
Best Overall: Cobra MRHH350FLT
- Waterproof, floatable, and can be underwater within 30 minutes
- Accessible to 10 NOAA weather channels 24h/day to keep up with changing weather
- Built with an audible tone for emergency cases
- Batteries are proprietary and costly
- A bit short range compared to other counterparts
Although a basic walkie talkie will get the job done, we still want something rougher to survive wherever nature takes it to. That’s why we chose Cobra MRHH350FLT, the best all-in-one option for this scenario.
It features a compact and ergonomic design, giving you an incredibly comfortable holding feel, and besides, it floats.
The device is built with coast guard waterproof JIS7 to capably submerse in 3 feet underwater within 30 minutes. It also comes with an innovative BURP design to vibrate all water off the speaker when wet.
NOAA weather channel accessibility is a big bonus, at least in our standards. It allows you to instantly access 24h/day to 10 different channels and be the first to know of changing weather or incoming hazards.
But our most favorite part is the built-in audible tone of this unit. It keeps you safer in emergency situations while giving your family a lot piece of mind.
|Cobra MRHH350FLT Specifications|
156 – 163 MHz
All NOAA Weather Channels; 3 channel maps; JIS7; submersible for 30 minutes in up to 3ft/1M deep water
Finding a walkie talkie that’s reliable, features a full set of features to survive in different situations, and sold at an affordable price point? Cobra MRHH350FLT is the one!
Best For Sea Kayakers: Uniden MHS75
- Can handle tidal wave, gusty spray to whitecap splash and submerse at 5 feet with no problems
- Allow you to communicate in short to long distances
- You can easily connect with coast guards and other vessels for help in emergency cases
- The clips to hold the battery are a bit flimsy
For marine life, we highly recommend the Uniden MHS75.
It is superior to the Cobra MRHH350FLT when featuring a full JIS8 Submersible waterproof rating to work at 5 feet underwater in 30 minutes. That means the radio survives quite well in many harsh conditions, from a tidal wave, gusty spray to whitecap splash.
Making it outstanding is the multiple wattage options.
While the 1W transmission power is commonly all your needs, this gives you two more options, which are 2.5W and 5W, for longer-distance communications.
It also allows you to easily contact other vessels or coast guards for assistance during emergency cases.
Very satisfied with the batteries, so long-lasting and durable. On a full charge, they would give you 6-7 hours in normal use and up to 10 hours in the save mode.
|Uniden MHS75 Specifications|
14+ degrees F
Submersible for up to 30 minutes at five feet
Built with superb waterproof rating, rougher construction, and multiple wattage options, Uniden MHS75 is our top pick for avid ocean kayak fishermen.
Best For Island Hopping: Standard Horizon HX870
- Give you clear sounds, even at the highest volume
- Don’t take you too much time for charging – only 3 hours instead of 7 or 10 like other counterparts
- Help you send a distress call to nearby vessels and coast guard in emergencies
- Reliable: Meet ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC
- When changing directions, the compass function is slightly sluggish
- The instruction is useless
The Standard Horizon HX870 is constructed from rugged, floatable materials with a submersible IPX8 waterproof rating. It also uses a 66 Channel WAAS GPS receiver instead of the old 12, making it a perfect companion for crews going ashore or for island hopping.
Some notable features are the 3-hour quick chargers and the noise-canceling function, even at the highest volume.
Our testers really like its red button for emergencies. When you push it, a distress call will be automatically sent to the coast guard while repeating the call to any vessels with similar radio features.
If you prefer some technical information, this walkie talkie meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC.
|Standard Horizon HX870 Specifications|
Supplied with an 1800 mAh Li-Ion Battery, 3-hour quick chargers;
It’s hard to image how Standard Horizon can keep upgrading such a mundane item as the #1 hand-held VHF for island hopping, but they do.
Rugged And Durable: Retevis RT55
- Deliver highly IP67 waterproof rating, fog-proof and dust-proof capability to work well in the harshest situations
- The LCD screen lets you adjust its clarity to use in different light conditions
- Its waterproof ability is a bit inferior to other marine 2-way radios in this list
Retevis is the second brand we love the most, especially when it comes to ultra-durable walkie talkies that can handle better in rough conditions.
This one is a good example of our saying.
It is made to meet military marine standards – highlight a 100% floatable IP67 waterproof rating, fog-proof and dust-proof capability, and NOAA Weather scans and alert. This 2-way radio, in other words, can incredibly resist snow, sand storms, and heavy rains.
The LCD screen is our most favorite.
It comes in a reasonable size with adjustable screen clarity settings to let you easily read the information presented on it, no matter the weather, and besides, there is automatically backlit function.
|Retevis RT55 Specifications|
126 – 174 MHz
100% IP67 waterproof
1200 mAh li-ion battery
No matter nature takes you to, rest the heart about the durability of Retevis RT55. It’s lightweight, ultra-rugged, and easy to operate, which will let you enjoy completely any ocean trip with friends.
Best For Route Tracking: Cobra COB-MR HH600W
- Helpful instruction to help you program, understand every function and exploit all of them
- Built with GPS receiver & DSC for easier route tracking
- Offer Bluetooth connection to your smartphone to let you receive or make calls while it’s away from your reach
- Made in the USA, you can rest the heart about its quality
- A bit complicated to setup
- Don’t have USB charger
During an electrical power shortage on your boat, when almost hardwired and mounted radios would become useless, this handheld walkie talkie is the answer as a backup option.
It delivers both must-have modes that boaters need – weather and VHF – with a built-in GPS receiver for route tracking.
It, besides, has lots of great features and the Bluetooth connection is the most practical. Link your smartphone to this 2-way radio and leave it charged below deck while you’re still able to receive or make calls.
We also love its memory scan function which helps to look for conversations in progress.
|Cobra COB-MR HH600W Specifications|
126 – 174 MHz
Built-in GPS receiver & DSC
All NOAA weather channels
Bluetooth wireless technology
If you boat in major intercostal waterways or offshore, the Cobra COB-MR HH600W will be the best workhorse to help you track the route better aside from many other practical functions.
Best For Fishing: Uniden Bearcat BC125AT
- Allow you to access 500+ alpha-tagged channels and listen to 40k+ frequencies with 10 presets to assist your searching
- You can assign names for different channels to keep tracking them
- Can quickly tune to the signals and give the clearest sound
- Let you avoid all close call checks during the transmissions
- Manuals are not quite helpful
- The USB charger only works when you turn off the unit
Uniden Bearcat BC125AT is a fantastic radio for fishing – said by our testers and many other customers.
It can scan through 500+ alpha-tagged channels and listen to 40k+ frequencies – both military and civilian bands. They are conveniently preset for 10 most popular searches to help easily find your channels.
Besides, the Alpha Tagging function allows you to name each of your channels to manage better who you’re listening to.
Like other walkie talkies, this allows you to make or receive calls, highlighting with the Close Call RF capture technology to quickly tune to signals. There’s also an additional function called “Do Not Disturb Mode” to refuse close call checks while transmitting.
All packed in lightweight, portable design of just 4.33 x 2.17 x 7.28 inches.
|Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Specifications|
(25-54 MHz) (108-174 MHz) (225-380 MHz) (400-512 MHz)
500 alpha-tagged channels in a conveniently compact design with loads of features
Uniden Bearcat BC125AT features everything we need for a successful fishing trip, from the multiple channels provided, the Alpha tagging functions to many other practical additions.
How To Choose The Best Walkie Talkies For Long Distance?
There are two common options of frequency when it comes to long-distance walkie talkie:
- Ultra-High Frequency (UHR)
- Very-High Frequency (VHR)
Frequency Range (MHz)
400 – 512
126 – 174
More versatile than the VHR radios
Can penetrate through interference, like walls and buildings
Work well over longer distances
Good for penetrating through trees and foliage
Feature longer antennas
Can’t penetrate through big interference
Note: UHR and VHR Radios can’t be compatible with each other so if you intend to buy more than one pair of walkie talkie, remember to pick the same kind.
Another thing to consider is the channel options that a walkie talkie provides.
There are averagely 20 channels.
The more channels the radio provides, the more privacy you can enjoy and meanwhile, the higher the price.
If your budget is on the table, go for a radio with more channels will make it easier for you to communicate. Conversely, for budget-minded people, considering how you’ll use the device for and know what they are before making a purchase will help you find out the most bang-for-bucks model.
Bonus: If you want to secure discreet conversations, consider choosing a radio with privacy settings.
Walkie talkies are powered by multiple types of batteries:
- Nickel-metal hydride
- AA or AAA
To figure out which to choose, you should know the estimated usage time on the walkie talkie you’re about to buy. Bringing some spare batteries is another thing worth considering.
Remember, battery life is commonly estimated to be 5% transmission time, 5% reception time, and 90% standby time.
Which Brands Make The Best Walkie Talkies For Long Distance?
- Being the OG in the walkie talkie industry with over 50 years’ experience, it’s no strange when Cobra leads the market by pursuing its unbeatable high-quality, innovative products at a very cost-effective price point.
- Founded in 1966 in Japan, Uniden is another reliable brand specializing in wireless communication products. People love them mostly because of their vast product lines specifically designed to meet specific needs and budgets. In short, anyone can find their best radio here.
- Like the two above, Standard Horizon features a long-standing history with rich experience in manufacturing the finest marine electronics, including walkie talkies to ensure meeting the needs of any boaters.
How far can walkie talkies go?
25 – 30 miles.
But take note that this factor is dependent on the terrain (the more the inferences, the shorter range).
And the distance range provided by the manufacturer of most walkie talkies are mostly measured in perfect conditions – a large area with little inference, for example – while it’s hard to find such that place in reality.
How do you use the walkie talkie in the forest?
To stay in touch with your partners in a forest, you should choose a walkie talkie featuring a sweet spot between working in long ranges and penetrating the inferences.
Besides, it should be equipped with emergency communication capability which helps you send an auto alert if needed.
Do I need a license to operate my radio?
There are two types of walkie talkie:
- General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
- Family Radio Service (FSR)
Only the GMRS requires a license from the Federal Communication Commission.
What is the average range of a walkie talkie?
3 to 50 miles.
Above are all essential pieces of information you should know to choose the best walkie talkie for long distance.
For beginners, this device might take a bit time to get used to but trust us, it would be your best pals when outings, especially in remote areas or mountainous places.
Thanks for reading!