Survival walkie talkies are reliable accessories for serious grid-down situations or fun backyard adventures. They are durable and effective communication solutions when you need to be accessible during hiking trips, camping trips, or emergency rescue.
However, choosing the best survival walkie talkie from the variety of options available on the market can be daunting.
To help you out, we’ve narrowed down the top 10 walkie talkies for when SHTF. We break down all the relevant features to help you find the best one for your needs.
Best Survival Walkie Talkies
1. Motorola T460 Two-Way Radio
Our top pick is this set of two-way radio walkie talkies from Motorola. They are sure to make any group adventure a walk in the park.
Our favorite features are its IP 54 weatherproofing and reliable built-in LED torch. Its NiMH batteries have an average battery life, but you can get a power boost with three AA batteries. Thankfully, these walkie talkies for survival come with a low-battery alert.
You also get 24/7 access to weather alerts, warnings, and national emergency alerts. Other features like the belt clip and hands-free kit make this survival mode long range walkie talkie much more attractive.
- Rechargeable batteries with 10 hours of battery life
- 35-mile coverage
- IP 54 standards
- 22 channels
- Built-in LED torch
- Set of two
- Short battery time
2. BTECH DMR-6×2 Dual Band Two-Way Radio
The BTECH is our favorite pick of the best survival walkie talkies for the true adventurists who need reliable communication—it has US-based support and warranty.
It is powered for 37+ hours by its two rechargeable batteries. We also love that it operates on VHF and UHF frequencies, providing a much better transmission range than other walkie talkies.
Better yet, it has an integrated GPS so you can send your location to the other end of the line and even edit in analog and share with your team.
- Two rechargeable batteries, each with 18.5+ hours of battery life
- 4000 channels
- GPS integrated
- 5 to 35-mile coverage
- 37+ hours of battery life
- GPS support
- Reliable comms support in rescue situations
- Relatively pricey compared to the other best survival walkie talkies on this list
- Single-piece only
3. Motorola T800 Walkie Talkies
This T800 walkie talkie from Motorola is the best survival walkie talkies for group off-the-grid activities. It has a sleek, lightweight design for everyday carry and a durable body with an IPX4 rating that’ll keep your comms up even in the rain.
The best feature? Its offline location sharing, tracking, and emergency location, along with a Bluetooth connectivity feature that keeps you connected with your friends.
You can also track all incoming weather with the help of 11 weather channels and alert features.
- 35-mile range
- Bluetooth connectivity
- IPX4 water-resistant
- 22 channels
- Rechargeable NiMH batteries with 14 to 25 hours of battery life
- Lightweight radio
- Limited range in certain terrains
4. BaoFeng BF888s Plus Walkie Talkies
Adventuring with effective communication doesn’t have to be an expensive weight on your wallet. And the BaoFeng BF-888s handheld walkie talkie proves it with an unmatched 72 hours of battery life.
While it does have a low mile range, it is still one of the best survival walkie talkies and makes up for it with a power-saving mode and low-battery alert. It also has earphones, an LED torch, a hand strap, and a belt clip for convenient hands-free use.
- 72 hours of battery life
- 3-mile coverage
- 16 channels
- Built-in flashlight
- Low coverage
5. DeWalt DXFRS800
The DeWalt’s build perfectly suits commercial on-site comms usage, making it that much better in the wild.
With IP 67 weatherproofing, it has one of the sturdiest builds among the best survival walkie talkies on this list. This means your walkie talkie will still work perfectly even after a 30-minute swim in a 1-meter deep lake.
It has an anti-slip design that provides long-distance reception with minimal interference. Add that to a 37-mile coverage and 18 hours of battery life, and there is no question that this is where you should invest your money.
- 37-mile coverage
- IP 67 standard
- 18 hours of battery life
- Great shock resistance
- Long-lasting battery life
- Solid range
- Flimsy belt clip
7. Motorola Talkabout T402 Two-Way Radios
This two-way radio walkie talkie is a dream for adventurers who prefer hands-free comms. It has a range of 35 miles and an iVOX feature that easily connects to your audio accessory.
These best survival walkie talkies survival radios resist light water damage and deliver updates about weather conditions via 11 weather channels and alert features. There’s also an in-built flashlight that’s perfect for nighttime adventures.
All these features and a set of two devices for this price range make this talkabout radio worth considering.
- Dual battery systems
- 35-mile range
- IP 54 weatherproofing
- 11 weather channels
- 22 channels
- Comes as a pair
- Radius range diminishes depending on terrain
8. Midland GXT1000VP4
Whether you want to contact only one member on your team or talk without alerting anyone else, this best survival walkie talkies will do it.
It has a long-range active transmission feature that can cover up to 36 miles in good weather within an unobstructed line of sight.
We also like its hands-free feature and its JIS4 waterproofing that holds up against 30 minutes of water exposure. Other features that deserve your attention include the high, medium, and low power settings—you can easily control battery usage in emergencies.
- 36-mile range
- Works on rechargeable/ four AA batteries
- 22 channels
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather channel alerts
- Automatic channel scan to lock onto a radio signal fast
- Emergency distress/locator signal enabled
- Reliable sound quality
- Great durability
- Affordable price
- Set of two
- Range varies depending on the terrain
9. Midland X-Talker T51VP3 Walkie Talkie
If you want the best survival walkie talkies that block unwanted conversations when transmitting to friends, this is a must-have partner for your adventures.
It enables a mess-free and hands-free operation with its eVOX feature. Its range of All Hazard Alerts includes Amber Alerts, biohazards, fire alert siren, landslide alert tones, and nuclear warnings, so you’re always up to date on all goings-on while on the move.
The only drawback is its battery life. It only lasts 10 hours, which is not enough if you need emergency services.
- 28-mile range
- Rechargeable battery/ three AAA batteries
- 10-hour battery life
- 22 channels
- NOAA severe weather updates
- Great price
- Set of two
- Short battery life
10. DeWalt DXFRS300 Walkie Talkie
This set of two best survival walkie talkies from DeWalt is the only high-performance device you need for your off-grid adventures. Made for on-site business applications, they’re effective communication tools with three miles of range in woody terrains.
It has extra features like Viber alerts for incoming transmissions and a roger beep tone to indicate complete transmission.
With 2662 channel combinations, an anti-slip design, and IP67 standards, you’ve got an all-purpose walkie talkie that will stay strong no matter where you use it.
- IP67 standards
- Rechargeable battery support of 12 to 18 hours
- 22 channels
- VOX enabled
- Shock resistant
- Easy to operate
- Not as good as the DeWalt DXFRS800
11. Cobra MR HH450
The Cobra MR HH450 is as sturdy as it looks. It is certainly not a comms tool you’ll see every day. It’s categorized as the best all-terrain radio, and for good reason!
It is perfect for use on boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, road trips, and every kind of adventure. This is further facilitated by its unlimited memory channels programming and a 10 to 100-mile range. It also comes with Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.) enabled, so all your weather alerts are localized.
Our favorite feature is its floating design that keeps your talkie afloat and your comms always on.
What’s more? It is one of the best survival walkie talkies because it records the last 20 seconds of your VHF calls. It is a savior when you’re too occupied on your trails and have little to no reception.
- Rechargeable batteries
- 15 pre-programmed channels
- VHF and GMRS
- NOAA weather alerts
- IPX7 waterproof
- S.A.M.E alerts
- Wide range
- Location-focused weather alerts
- Highly-durable build
Things to Consider Before Buying a Survival Walkie Talkie
Size And Weight
While the finest walkie talkies are generally easy to handle, you should consider their weight if you’re already going out on an adventure with a heavy backpack. It may be wise to avoid a heavy talkie when you’ve got to move quickly.
If you’re going for a hands-free talkie, choose one with a sturdy belt clip that you can attach to tactical belts.
Prices of the best survival walkie talkies vary, with significant differences between single heavy-duty devices and two-set devices. We suggest prioritizing your choice based on your non-negotiable features and making a list of options within your budget price range.
Six miles is the maximum range you will find on any basic non-licensed walkie talkies. While some of the products on our list boast longer ranges, it is only achievable in ideal settings. In rugged and obstructive terrains, you can expect a device with a 35-mile theoretical range to give you a one or two-miles range.
Licensed walkie talkies might provide a better range, but they’re more expensive, and not everybody wants to spend time and money getting a radio license.
Channels And Weather Stations
The best survival walkie talkies provide a combination of UHF and VHF bands to ensure the best accessibility.
You should also receive relevant weather alerts.
Prepare yourself by learning how to signal for help before your trip.
Durability And Versatility
The best walkie talkies when SHTF must be more durable than your regular-use accessories. Go for an impact-proof, waterproof, and weatherproof build with a minimum IP 54 rating. Anything higher, such as IP 68, is ideal.
Battery Capacity And Type
Any good radio for preppers should last on your explorations of even the most extensive national parks.
The best survival walkie talkies have a combination of rechargeable and regular alkaline batteries for long-term coverage.
Number of Handsets
A solo adventurer might benefit from buying one heavy-duty walkie talkie, while groups need sets to keep them connected. Purchasing multiple budget radio sets for your adventure group may also reduce the price if you can find a wholesale supplier.
Here are some optional best survival walkie talkies range of features that some adventurers and preppers might find more valuable than others:
- Heavy-duty, shockproof build
- Weatherproofing standards
- Weather channel alerts
- Built-in LED flashlight
- And more.
Can kids use a walkie talkie?
Kids can use a survival walkie talkie but not without proper training. While there are many kids walkie talkies, there is always the risk of someone using the devices to lure kids into danger.
Does a bigger battery mean a better frequency range?
A bigger battery means you can use the device for longer, whereas a quality battery means you will get a better signal.
Wrapping up the Best Survival Walkie Talkie for When SHTF
Walkie talkies are one of the best prepper accessories to have with you when SHTF. We hope our guide to the best survival walkie talkie can help you find your perfect match on any such journey.
Check out our guide on hiking safety for more survivalist tips.