As we suggest in our book on building your own minivan camper and being safe in it, a radio that does not reach out far enough to get you help is worthless. Therefore ALL the radios that we recommend will have at least a 30 mile range on them. You NEED dependable communications to be safe in any kind of emergency, so we always believe in providing products to do the job right.
There are many brands of walkie-talkies available, some from well known manufacturers like Motorola, and some from places that you may have never heard of. Most of them vary only slightly in features, as they all do the same job… to let you to talk to a second person at a distance.
Here are some things to consider. If you must have the walkie-talkie on constantly, for important up to the minute information, then you should get one with replaceable batteries or a changeable battery pack. That way, you can keep them running while the second set of batteries or the battery pack is on the charger.
If you need to have constant communication, but don’t want to broadcast it to everyone around you, then having at least an earphone jack and ear bud might be nice. Some even have a microphone jack combined with the earphone jack, just as many cell phones have, so that you can clip the radio to your belt and just have an ear piece with a small microphone to wear.
If you need to have hands free operation, then voice activated transmission is a good feature. Also, to be hands free, they should have a belt clip attached, so you don’t have to stuff them in your pocket.
If you need maximum range as well as privacy, the new eXRS (Extreme Radio Service) technology in the 900 Mhz range is the ultimate in communications at this time. The new Tri-Square TSX300-2VP radios would be a good choice. Rather than just one frequency, it randomly chooses from many channels not being used at the time to maintain the strongest signals and clear communication. Because it is never locked onto one frequency, the signal cannot be eaves-dropped, even by other radios of the same type. It has to communicate with its own “partner” radio. These are the “ultimate” in modern two-way communications.
Let’s face it, if you’re out hiking or mountain climbing in a remote area, and get lost or trapped by inclement weather, are you going to trust your life to anything less?
But if you are going to be out for short distances, but out for longer times, where you may not be able to charge batteries when you need to, then a battery radio may not be the the best choice. In this case, a self-powered crank type radio like Midland’s XT511 22-channel FRS/GMRS crank radio may be a better choice. It has many features including private channel, NOAA weather radio alerts, AM/FM clock radio with alarm, a 3-LED flashlight, voice-activated transmitting and much more!
So, in other words, these aren’t “kid’s toys”. These are high quality radios that you can bet your life on in an emergency. If the kids want walkie-talkies to play with, there are plenty of others available for a lot less money. After you get to the Amazon site through any of our links, if you don’t like our recommendation simply search there for what you want.