When you’re packing your bags for a weekend ski trip, what’s on your essentials list? We all carry our cellphones around with us when we go to the mountains, but you don’t get great reception in the hills away from camp.
If you want to stay in contact on the slopes, then a set of walkie talkies is essential to keep in touch. Walkie talkies come in plenty of designs, but they all serve the same function – Safety and communication. If you find yourself in a sudden snowstorm or trapped by an avalanche, you need an emergency communications system you can rely on.
A walkie talkie helps you stay in touch with your group. Let someone hit the first pass and check it for hazards. When they hit the bottom of the run, they can radio to the top and let you know what to look for on your turn.
In this review, we’ll look at the best ski walkie talkie models available for your next trip.
Our Top Picks
If you can’t wait to hit the slopes and cut to the chase, we put together our choices for the top models in this review.
Best Pick: Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Pair
- Included Components: 2 Radios, 2 Micro-USB Wall Charging Cables, 2 Rechargeable Batteries, 2 Belt Clips, User Guide and Accessory Sheet (English and French)
- This radio has a built-in LED light which offers emergency lighting when needed.
- You will have 24/7 access to alerts ranging from flash floods to tornado warnings to national emergencies.
If you’re heading to the mountains for the weekend, take along the Motorola Talkabout. This set of walkie talkies has plenty of functionality, compact size, great reception, and extended range capability.
Premium Pick: DEWALT DXFRS800 2W Walkie Talkies Heavy Duty
- LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY: Warranty only valid by authorized resellers.
- LONGER RANGE COMMUNICATION: Two watts of power provide up to 300,000 sq. ft. / 25 floors of long distance signal range with 2,662 channel combinations.
- 22 PRESET CHANNELS: Channels are preset with privacy codes to minimize unwanted interference from others.
- WATERPROOF & DUSTPROOF - IP67 STANDARD: Complete protection from dust and withstand water immersion for 30-minutes in 1-meter deep water.
- SHOCK RESISTANT: Can withstand 2-meter drop plus rugged anti-slip design.
If you want the best equipment, then DEWALT has the best option in this review. These walkies are weather and water-resistant and compact. Carry them around in your jacket or pants or use the convenient belt clip. The casing’s fluorescent yellow color makes the walkie stand out if you drop it in the snow.
Budget Pick: Midland – LXT630VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio
- LICENSE FREE DUAL POWER OPTIONS 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 36 FRS (Family Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. Dual Power Options uses rechargeable battery pack (included) or 3 “AAA” batteries (not included)
- UP TO 30-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction
- 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES - The Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System gives you up to 2,662 channel options to help block other conversations. Use silent operation to turn off all tones
- NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT - NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area
- INCLUDED IN THE BOX - Radios (x2), Belt clips (x2), rechargeable battery packs (x2), Desktop charger, AC Adapter, Owner's Manual
The Midland ski walkie talkie setup is for the snowboarder or skier with a budget in mind. These walkies are affordable, and they have excellent functionality and features, with good range and clarity. This model is your top choice if you want an affordable and practical pair of ski walkie talkies.
Ski Walkie Talkie Reviews
Now that you know our top picks let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at an outlier that we feel deserves mention in this review.
Motorola Talkabout T460 – The Best Overall Ski Walkie Talkie
There was a time when everyone wanted the Razer flip-phone from Motorola. This brand has a trusted reputation as one of the best communications companies in the world. Motorola doesn’t let us down with its ski walkie talkie offer either.These walkie talkies win our top award for the best overall model. With an extended range up to 35-miles and an excellent battery life, the Motorola will sort you out with communications for a day on the mountain.
The built-in LED flashlight is a nice touch for coming home at dark. This model has a user-friendly design with the control buttons all visible on the front of the unit, with an LCD screen. You get plenty of functionality in these walkies, with 10 NOAA weather channels included.
These walkies feature micro-USB charging, and come with two belt clips, along with a convenient carry case and PTT earbuds included. The Motorola Talkabout walkies feature an IPX-54 rating, meaning they have excellent water resistance. If you drop it in the snow, and some of it melts on the walkie, it won’t ruin the unit.
You get 22-channels with each of them featuring 121-privacy codes, keeping your channel secure. There are over 2,662-combinations, ensuring you always have protection against people dropping in on your conversations.
The iVOX/VOX hands-free kit allows you to keep your hands free to work the ski poles or handle your gear while you stay in contact. The Motorola comes with an emergency alert button. If you find yourself trapped or injured on the mountain, press the button and help is on the way.
The Motorola Talkabout is an excellent value for money and the best overall performer in this review.
- Weatherproof and splash-proof
- Excellent range
- Emergency light
- Affordable pricing
- Housing is a bit bulky
DEWALT DXFRS800 – The Best Premium Ski Walkie Talkie
If you’re heading to the mountain for a weekend of skiing, take along the best walkie talkie system to keep in touch. The DEWALT heavy-duty walkie talkie comes with an attractive molded cover and vibrant fluorescent colors for high-visibility in snowy conditions.
DEWALT is another brand with a solid reputation for producing high-quality power tools and electrical products. These walkies are another example of marvelous tech coming from this subsidiary of Black & Decker.
This model promises the user a range of up to 300,000-square feet, covering 25-floors. That’s plenty of distance through threes and boulders, allowing you to have crystal-clear communication with your team’s other members. There are 22-preset channels to select and a bold LCD screen giving you your settings readings.
This walkie comes with over 2,500-channel privacy combinations to keep all your conversations secure. This device comes with a handy swivel holster that allows you to position it to your liking, and a belt clip to secure the device on your waist. There’s a handsfree operation featuring VOX (Voice Activated Transmission) to help you stay in touch while you are busy handling other things.
With this walkie set, you get a fast-charging dock that charges the lithium-ion battery to capacity in a few hours. DEWALT knows what they are doing when they build electronics, and from the multimeters to the walkie talkies, every product they produce is reliable.
You get a limited lifetime warranty with this DEWALT setup, and we doubt you’ll ever use it. With NOAA weather channels included and a rugged casing that survives 6-foot drops, the DEWALT is our top choice for the best premium model in this review.
- Excellent brand reputation
- Hi-visibility fluorescent yellow color
- Multi-channel with privacy modes
- Compact and stylish design
- The belt clip feels a bit loose on the belt
Midland – LXT630VP3 – The Best Budget Ski Walkie TalkieWith the Midlands set, you get three walkies instead of two with the others in this review. The extra device makes this model the best budget buy in this review. You also get a bevy of accessories included with this kit. It comes with chargers, belt clips, and several batteries.
With the Midlands, you get access to 36-channels, with more than 100-privacy codes each, and thousands of possible combinations. Smooth, secure chats are where it’s at with the Midlands model. This model walkie talkie comes with a manufacturer claim of a maximum range of 35-miles.
With an IPX water-resistant rating, they are an excellent choice for use in the snow. You get built-in VOX technology for handsfree operation of the walkies on your run. We like the battery extender feature for those long days on the mountain, keeping you in contact until the sun goes down.
With the Midlands, you can power them off rechargeable AAA-batteries, or the rechargeable battery back included with your devices.
You get all the same features like the big, expensive name-brand models, including access to NOAA weather channels during your trip. If there’s a weather alert, you receive notification through your walkie talkie to get ahead of the front before it arrives.
The only gripe we have with this model is the bulky housing and the heavy feel of the walkie in your hand. Still, you get a belt clip included for secure storage on your hip.
- Three walkie talkies included in the set
- 2,662 channels with secure combinations
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- The best value in this review
- Slow battery recharging
- Bulky and heavy housing
Motorola T605 Talkabout
Motorola have produced a great pair of walkie talkies which are waterproof and come with a range of accessories including a bag, chargers, built-in flashlights and 11 weather alert channels.
The walkie talkies are well designed and are a bright yellow color so you will never lose them.They each 23 channels with 121 privacy codes to keep your communications secure. Mountain and valley range is up to 35 miles.
- Built-In Flashlight
- Bright Yellow Color
- 23 Channels
- 121 Privacy Codes
- 35 Mile Range
- Only 6 mile range if used at sea
Cobra ACXT645 Walkie-Talkie
Cobra Electronics is an under-appreciated brand in the world of communications electronics. This walkie talkie combo set is an excellent budget choice for the skier. We would have given this model the best budget model if it weren’t for the fact you get three walkies with the Midlands.
With the rugged-and-ready Cobras, you get a molded casing providing chock resistance. There’s a large LCD screen displaying all your settings data and function buttons for your controls built right into the dashboard of the walkie.
These devices come with an IPX rating for water resistance, and a built-in LED flashlight. With 2,662 channel combinations across 22-channels, your conversations are always secure.
- Another good value option in this review
- Plenty of functionality, including NOAA weather channels
- Built-in LED flashlight
- Voice-activated use
- Bulky design
- Slow charging
Other Best Selling Options
- The two way radio is extremely compact and slim for business use; featured with 16 channels and rich features; ensure you use license free radio
- 0-9 level voice activated transmit function allows real hands free operation; adjusting the level according to the environment allows you to get the best audio quality
- Emergency alarm helps you be prepared for any danger and alert team member; channel lock avoids accidental button changes;working out of the box with each others
- Includes six way multi gang charger with multiple charging protections; overcharge; over voltage and short circuit protection; more safer for charging the 6 pack 2 way radios or batteries at the same time
- Fits in your palm;easy to carry and simple to operate;provides adequate coverage in many environments and the size and weight can be a huge advantage
- With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, totaling 2,662 combinations, it’s easy to find an available channel
- Up to 35-mile communication range, depending on terrain and conditions
- Keep updated with real-time weather conditions via 11 weather channels with alert feature (including 7 NOAA channels)
- Weatherproof IP54 rated with built-in flashlight gives you peace of mind during evening adventures, unexpected emergencies, or power outages
- iVOX/VOX feature permits use of an audio accessory headset for easy hands-free operation
- Suitable for motorcycle helmet bluetooth intercom and other helmet communication systems that use mini 8P USB port
- Designed for any full face helmet
- Hi-Fi music/audio functions
- DSP noise echo cancellation
- Thin, flat and comfortable
- 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 50 GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. The JIS4 Waterproof Protection prevents splashing water from having any harmful effect on it (splash resistant).
- 36-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction. Easy Voice and Sound Activation Transmission (eVOX) with 9 sensitivity levels for hands-free operation.
- 142 CTCSS/DCS PRIVACY CODES - The privacy codes give you up to 3,124 channel options to block other conversations.
- NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT - NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area.
- INCLUDED IN THE BOX: Radios (x2), rechargeable battery packs (x2), boom mic headsets (x2), belt clips (x2), 120V dual desktop charger, AC adapter, DC adapter, and an owner’s manual.
- IP67 Waterproof: Count on the T605 H2O two-way waterproof radio to keep you connected whether on land or at sea. With its IP67 standard, the T605 H2O withstands constant submersion of up to 1m for 30 minutes and repels the heaviest rain.
- Advanced Built-in Flashlight with White and Red LEDs: Select the white LED setting on the built-in flashlight to light your way during evening activities, unexpected emergencies or power outages.
- Know the Weather In Advance: Keep updated with real-time weather conditions by turning on one of 11 weather channels or initiating weather alerts. NOAA radio service may not be available in all areas.
- 23 Channels Each with 121 Privacy Codes: With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, totaling 2,662 combinations, it’s easy to find an available channel.
- Compatible with Any Radio: You can communicate with other FRS/GMRS radios regardless of brand by being on the same channel and privacy codes.
- Included Components: 2 Radios, 2 Belt Clips, 1 User Guide
Ski Walkie Talkie Buyer’s Guide
Staying in touch with other members of your group while on your ski trip is critical to your safety. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re out on the mountain passes, and the last thing you need is to lose team members.
Extreme weather conditions, sudden avalanche, and accidents are a few examples of a situation where things can go wrong on the mountain. With a ski walkie talkie, you have a tool that keeps you in constant contact with your team.
Mobile phones won’t work on the mountain; there’s no 4G or 5G towers anywhere in sight. To communicate, you’re going to have to go back to traditional methods tried and tested in these conditions.
Fortunately, walkie talkies are available in a compact size. The lightweight design makes them easy to carry, and some models like the DEWALT have a slimline design that fits in your pocket or clips on your belt without getting in the way.
If you’re planning a ski trip soon, you’re going to need the best set of walkie talkies you can afford. In this section, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about choosing the best pair of ski walkie talkies for your trip.
What are the Different Kinds of Ski Walkie Talkies?
There are dozens of different models of walkie talkies available. However, they fall into two broad categories of General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FSR) walkie talkies.
The FSR models don’t require any type of licensing. They’re the more affordable option and suitable for your kids or a recreational outing to the park or amusement fair. These walkies feature a legal broadcast limitation of 500 milli-watts. The FSR walkie talkie will cover around two miles in the distance between users.
The GMRS walkie talkies require a license to operate from the Federal Communication Commission. These walkies come with a higher price tag that the FSR versions, but they have much more functionality, more channels, and more extended range, with some models getting up to 35-miles.
We can also classify walkie talkies on the intended purpose of the device.
Walkies for Kids
These walkies come with design and functionality for light use. Kids can have plenty of fun with these toys, but they are not suitable for reliable communications.
These walkie talkies usually feature operation with AAA-batteries, and they have a light, plastic frame that’s rather flimsy when dropped. You’ll find them in bright colors to make them appeal to kids.
Long-Range Walkie Talkies
Long-range walkie talkies are an upgrade to a kid’s walkie talkie. They’re suitable for light communications, such as keeping in touch with cars while driving in convoy on the highway. They typically have a range of up to 10miles.
Hunting and Adventure Walkie Talkies
Hunting walkies can attach to headsets for handsfree communications control. You get boom microphones, as well as fast car chargers for easy use.
Ski and Sports Walkie Talkies
Finally, you have skiing and sports walkie talkies. These models typically feature IPX water-resistant rating, as well as rubberized covers for impact resistance. The
They can be used in all weather conditions and guaranteed to last long. The radios come with multiple channels, plenty of functionality, and emergency capabilities.
What are the Features I Need to Consider When Purchasing a Ski Walkie Talkie?
Now that you understand the difference in the different models of walkies, it’s time to take a look at these devices’ features. Walkie talkies can vary widely on the functionality they offer, depending on the price of the device.
All the walkie talkie sets in this review come with all the functionality you need to communicate effectively during your ski trip. Let’s unpack what you need to look for in a good ski walkie talkie.
UHF versus VHF
The primary feature you need to pay attention to when purchasing your ski walkie talkies is the frequency rating. There are Very High Frequency (VHR) radio or Ultra High Frequency (UHR) walkie talkies.
The VHF walkies operate at frequencies of between 126 to 174 MHz, depending on the model and the range. The VHF frequency is suitable for communications over large, flat areas, where there are few buildings – or mountains, in the way of the signal.
UHF walkie talkies have a shorter range, but they can penetrate through trees and boulders on the mountain.
UHF walkie talkies operate at frequencies of between 400 to 512 MHz. Therefore, when you’re going for a good ski walkie talkie, UHF frequencies are the preferred option—however, many of the models in this review feature dual-frequency functionality.
It’s important to note that UHF and VHF walkie talkies are not compatible. If you’re buying more than one set to extend your current setup, make sure you’re buying a model that has the same frequency.
Most manufacturers will mention the range of the walkie talkie in the marketing material for the products. Some manufacturers claim up to a 35-mile range or more for the product. However, the reality is that these walkies will only achieve that kind of distance if they are on a flat surface with no objects in the way. Most walkies that claim a 35-mile operating range are only likely to be effective up to 25-miles or so.
What are the Top Features of a Ski Walkie Talkie?
When looking at buying your ski walkie talkies, look at the additional features the set offers. Some models have unique features that might benefit your specific ski trip circumstances. Headsets and handsfree gear for operating on the slopes and noise-canceling functionality and privacy codes keep your conversation personal.
Some of the other essential features of the best ski walkie talkie are the following.
- A backlit LCD screen for use in the dark
- Screen functionality like battery life, alarms, a compass, and trip timers will come in handy
- Microphone jacks or headset jacks for handsfree operation
- Incoming alerts with vibrating function
- Talk confirmation to secure your conversations without getting cut-off
- Auto-save for your preferred channels
- NOAA weather reporting systems
- Durable covers with Hi-Viz colors
- Belt clips and other carry accessories
Ski walkie talkies will feature different types of batteries. The best batteries to look for are lithium-ion types. These batteries have the longest service life between charges and the fastest recharge times. The cells can handle faster recharge, and they take longer to wear down, giving you years of service life without the need for replacement.
Some kids walkies run on triple-A batteries, but these are not suitable for your ski trip, and the batteries fade fast. Other notable options for battery types are the Nickel-Cadmium battery or the nickel-metal hydride battery types.
It’s important to note that the battery life estimated by the manufacturer does not equal what you can expect for total talk time. The total battery length accounts for 90% of use on standby, with a small amount of talk time.
This feature is important for keeping your channel private and avoiding crossing channels with other users in the area. Most models also feature a privacy code that you can activate to secure your channel. Choose a model that offers multi-channel use and keep your conversations private.
Ski Walkie Talkie FAQs
Will my walkie talkies work in the mountains on ski trips?
Ski walkie talkies have a specific design to work on mountains and passes. These walkies act as microphones when pressing the Push-To-Talk button on the device. The enhanced bandwidth and powerful signal boost let you stay in touch on the run.
What’s the average range for ski walkie talkies?
The ski walkie talkies in this review all have a range of over 30-miles. Some claim distances of up to 35-miles, but we imagine that’s in optimal conditions.
Can someone trace my ski walkie talkie?
Two-way radios are challenging to trace, and they are certainly more private means of communication than a cellphone. However, it is possible to locate a ski walkie talkie with the right technology approved by the FAA.
Will my walkie talkie work through a wall?
All UHF walkies operate at a frequency range of between 400 to 512 MHz. They’re more versatile compared to VHF radios, and the longer wavelengths can penetrate walls and hard surfaces.
The Best Ski Walkie Talkie – The Verdict
By now, you probably have your eye on your preferred set of ski walkie talkies. However, if you’re still on the fence with your decision, let us give you some help. You can rely on the models in our top picks for your upcoming ski trip.
Our choice for the best overall walkie talkie is the Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Pair, and we like the balance of performance, reliability, and price in this set. If you’re looking for equipment that lasts for years, then this set is an excellent option.
The DEWALT DXFRS800 2W Walkie Talkies are a step up in the right direction from the Motorola. While the functionality is similar, the design in this package is more compact and stylish than with the other models in this review.
The Midland – LXT630VP3, 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio is our best budget buy in this review. You get top performance with extended range and three walkies included in the set. This is a great choice for skiers and snowboarders on a budget that want an affordable and effective set.