As thrilling an activity kayaking may be, you need to stay safe too, whether you’re out kayaking solo or you’re with a group of people. And, the key to staying safe when you’re out kayaking on rivers, lakes, and the ocean is excellent communication. If you’re kayaking solo, then you need to be able to communicate if you’re stranded somewhere. If you’re kayaking in a group, then you need to be able to make sure that no one is struggling with the pace of becoming overtired and lagging behind. This is where the best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking come in, as a walkie talkie lets you do all of the above, and more. To begin with, it also lets you point out potential hazards or obstacles ahead, such as unusually fast-moving sections of whitewater or low head dams.
What’s more, they allow for constant and reliable two-way communication without having to worry about getting a cellphone signal, thus fostering a good level of contact amongst the group. Just like the Best Safety Flags For Kayaks or the Best Life Vests For Kayaking, walkie talkies provide a sense of protection and safety out there. That said, buying waterproof walkie talkies can be a daunting task, especially if you’re buying them for the first time. So, we’ve laid out a handy guide to buying them, along with listing the best in the business. To that end, here are the best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking.
How To Choose The Best Waterproof Walkie-Talkies For Kayaking and Fishing?
Buying electronic kayaking accessories such as the Best Kayaking GPS Units, the Best Kayaking Fish Finders, or walkie talkies requires a good amount of consideration. So, what do you need to consider before buying waterproof walkie talkies? Read on.
Walkie talkie jargons
- GMRS: Abbreviated from General Mobile Radio Service, GMRS is a two-way ultra-high-frequency radio service for shorter distances. For use in the United States, you require a license.
- FRS: An improved personal walkie-talkie radio system in the United States, abbreviated from the Family Radio Service. It employs a frequency range of 462-467 MHz in the UHF (ultra-high frequency) band.
- NOAA: An American Scientific agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study the conditions of the atmosphere and oceans. It offers many radio channels that deploy warnings of local hazardous weather conditions.
- VOX: Also known as Voice-Activated Transmit functions, this allows for hands-free use of walkie-talkie. However, you’ll require a headset with a microphone connected via wire or Bluetooth for best use.
- NiMH Battery: Nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are preferred over Nickel-cadmium ones due to their higher capacity, are usually found in rechargeable electronic devices. Plus, they’re also environmentally friendly.
If you’re looking for the best water-proof walkie talkie, then waterproofing is obviously something you need to consider. Whether you accidentally trip overboard, or water splashing from paddles, or the rain, your walkie talkie is definitely going to come in contact with water. Thus, it’s best to invest in one that’s designed to survive water. Generally, waterproofing is specified on devices in IP ratings, so best go for one marked IPX7. IPX7-rated devices can withstand not just being submerged, but that too as long as half an hour and as deep as a meter down. So, your brand-new walkie talkie won’t be going on a one-way trip on your very first kayaking expedition.
Another thing to look for as you look for waterproofing is buoyancy, which is useful for the walkie talkie to float if it goes overboard. Also, if possible, then go for bright-colored walkie talkies as they’re much easier to spot and retrieve if they go overboard.
Range and channels
Most of the manufacturers claim impressive ranges going often as high as 30-50 miles. However, practically speaking, the use is never going to be anywhere near that range. Hence, consider the realistic range of most good waterproof walkie talkie options to be either line of sight or limited to 2-3 miles. While there’s a good chance that your device can do better, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Another thing to consider is the channels that are going to be available. Walkie talkies being used without licenses will likely work on FRS or GMRS bands. Moreover, most devices on these bands offer as many as 22 channels for communication. Meanwhile, there are also some that come with privacy codes/keys for allowing greater chances of private communication. This is particularly handy and useful if you’re in a crowded area where many other boats are using walkie talkies too.
Size and weight
Just like any piece of gear you’re planning to take with you while kayaking, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the best water-proof walkie talkie you’re planning on getting. While it’s true that many walkie talkies aren’t bulky, you need to go for those that offer resistance to damaging and crushing. And since resistance to damage is quite important when it comes to kayaking, you’ll need to consider this point while looking for one.
Other features to consider include battery consumption, GPS functions, and NOAA weather alerts. Additionally, many devices also offer VOX transmission that allows you to use your walkie talkie hands-free. Another desirable feature is squelching for better audio quality.
Which is the best water-proof walkie-talkie for kayaking and fishing?
Our vote goes to the Motorola T260TP, which is one of the most popular and most-bought walkie talkies in the market today. Not only does it boast a ton of features, but it also has a range of 25 miles. The product can run on a battery charge continuously for 12 hours, has a no-slip grip, comes with a rubber coating for preventing damage, and has 22 channels, all with privacy codes. The best part? It even features VOX for hands-free operation and NOAA channels.
If you’re kayaking in a group, then there’s no better walkie talkie than the Midland GXT1000VP4. Available as a package of six amazing splash-resistant products, it’s one of the waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking in a group. Boasting an inexpensive price tag of $200 for a pack of six products, this modest two-way radio features NOAA weather alerts, 50 GMRS channels, and is splash-resistant too. What’s more, the brand offers great customer service as well as excellent warranty support. Not only is the range of this device some 5-10 miles, but also the battery lasts as long as 10 hours, which is great for an entire day of kayaking. Even though it’s slightly bulky and doesn’t come with GMRS transmissions, the fact that it’s resistant to splashes is a great feature.
- Great warranty and customer care.
- Durable and stable.
- Jis4 splash-resistant waterproof protection.
- Slightly heavy.
- Not IPX7-rated.
Designed to IP54 dustproof and waterproof standards, the Cobra RX680 walkie talkie is an amazing choice for kayaking and fishing. There’s a lot to like about this walkie talkie, starting with its 18-hour long battery life. What’s more, it has a whopping range of 38 miles, making this an intrepid adventure lover’s dream. The sleek-designed walkie talkie also comes with 2662 channel combinations and even voice-activated transmission. With this Cobra walkie talkie, you can be prepared for climate emergencies thanks to the in-built 10 NOAA weather channels and alerts. If you’re new to walkie talkies, then just keep the user guide close-by since most buttons perform multiple functions. All-in-all, the Cobra RX680 is an exceptional FRS walkie talkie with water-resistance.
- IP54 splash-proof.
- Rugged design.
- Slightly tricky to figure out to use.
Are you looking for the most powerful waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking? Then look no further than the Retevis RT29, which even comes with an IP55 waterproof speaker, making it easy for you t use it even in the worst of weather. One of the most lightweight yet versatile walkie talkies, this pack of four of these walkie talkies comes with high-power units with high-gain antennas. They can successfully penetrate metal obstacles, which makes them ideal to be used even for communicating with cruise ships! Furthermore, the durable and rugged body of the Retevis RT29 is both drop-proof and dust-proof, making it suitable even for the harshest of environments. However, most important of all, the waterproof shoulder microphone delivers stable audio, no matter the kind of weather conditions.
- Exceptionally durable.
- Can work in all weathers.
- The handheld speaker is easy to use.
- Crystal-clear audio.
- The antenna whip is too long and could feel obstructive.
- The range is less than a mile.
A reliable brand name? Check. Comfortable and innovative design? Check. Excellent used during kayaking? Check! Behold the Motorola T260TP, which is the most bought and best waterproof walkie talkie out there. Boasting a range of 25 miles, the product packs in a lot of features for such a small size. For starters, the walkie talkie works continuously for about 12 hours on a single battery charge, which is perfect for an entire day of kayaking. Secondly, it boasts rock-solid durability and can even withstand falls thanks to the non-slip grip. Moreover, the rubber coating along the edges protects the device against all kinds of damage when it’s dropped. The walkie talkie even has 22 channels, every one of them with 121 privacy codes, as well as 11 weather channels, including 7 NOAA channels! Plus, it even features VOX for hands-free operation and a quick-scan feature too.
- The charge lasts an entire day.
- The rubber coating ensures a non-slip grip.
- Issues with the charging cord.
With an IPX7 waterproof rating and an impressive 37-mile range, this floating product is one of the best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking for intrepid adventures. The Cobra ACXT1035R offers everything that its peers and competitors do – and then some. Apart from being waterproof, it also boasts of a floating feature, which many other well-known walkie talkies don’t. The walkie talkie also features an in-built LED and SOS alert to keep you going in the darkness when the sun goes down. What’s more, it even features a rewind-say-again process that allows you to even playback missed radio calls. If that wasn’t enough, the airtight seals ensure that it stays waterproof and the rubberized grip allows for easy carrying even in dusty and wet environments. If you’re a true tech-geek, then this is what you should have.
- 100 percent waterproof.
- Excellent battery life.
- Floating feature.
- The belt-clips are easily breakable.
Yet another great water-proof walkie talkie comes from the able stable from Motorola. This time it’s the Motorola MU350R, which boasts an impressive long-distance range of 35 miles. The best part? It does so with a waterproof rating of IP54! This smart walkie talkie boasts a water-resistant build that survives downpours and even completely dips into the water. Plus, it can even withstand everything from abrasions and scratches to falls and dents. Furthermore, the battery runs continuously on high use for as long as 8 hours, and even longer when the usage is less. Available in a two-pack package, this one even comes with a PTT power boost feature, 22 channels, and 8 repeater channels, all of them with their own 121 privacy codes. Add to that its GMRS/FRS functioning, and you get one solid walkie talkie.
- Easy to operate.
- Long battery life.
- Definitely waterproof.
- On the bulkier side.
- Slightly heavy.
Yet another of the good waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking is the Dewalt DXFRS800, which boasts superior levels of IP67 ingress protection. Not only is it a great water-proof and dustproof walkie talkie, but it’s also stylish to look at. The superior build quality of this walkie talkie features rubberized edges that make it drop-proof from as high as two meters as well. Besides being easy to operate and use, the walkie talkie also has a long-lasting battery that can run as long as 8 hours during one use. So, it’s enough for an entire day of kayaking. The walkie talkie is also available in packs of 2, 4, 6, and even 8, making it perfect for those kayaking solo, tandem, and even in a large group. Rounding up its litany of good qualities is the 22 preset channels, 2662 channel combinations, and long-range communication of at least 25 floors.
- Long-lasting batteries.
- Incredible range.
- One year warranty.
- Durable and ergonomic build.
- The belt-clips break easily
Costing exactly $200, the Ailunce HD1 is the perfect walkie talkie for professional kayakers and serious water adventurers. Despite being slightly costlier, this one comes with a whole lot of features including VFO mode, DTMF, GPS, and what-not. Armed with an IP67 waterproof rating, this standard two-way radio is built durably and ruggedly for withstanding harsh harsh weather conditions such as snow and rain. Aside from the above, the walkie talkie also comes with an extended battery life of more than 15 hours and has both GPS and non-GPS versions, which costs about $20 less than the GPS version. Rounding up the features are its digital-analog compatibility, its dustproof rating, SMS function, and DW and FW function.
- Comes in both GPS and non-GPS versions.
- Lots of features.
- IP67 waterproof rating.
- Slightly on the expensive side.
Motorola Talkabout Radio T631
Do you famously suffer from a case of ‘butterfingers’? Then you need the Motorola Talkabout Radio T631, which is one of the best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking. The rubberized and ruggedly-designed walkie talkie is extremely resistant to being tossed around in your kayak or even from damage against rocks. Thanks to the IPX7 waterproofing, you don’t even have to worry about the walkie talkie getting wet. Plus, the fact that it floats also makes the walkie talkie easy to recover as well, in case it takes a dive into the water. What’s more, the T631 even has a light-activated flashlight that makes it easy to see if you’re kayaking in the dark. It even has NOAA weather alerts and 22 channels, each with 121 privacy codes. Rounding up the features is the micro-USB charging capabilities.
- Micro-USB charging capabilities.
- NOAA weather alerts.
- IPX7 waterproof.
- Durable and rugged.
- No Bluetooth option.
- Not compatible with other batteries.
Cobra CXT1045R-FLT Waterproof Floating Walkie Talkie
Yet another excellent waterproof walkie talkie is the Cobra CXT1045R-FLT Waterproof Floating Walkie Talkie. There’s a lot to like about this walkie talkie, starting with the fact that its rugged build can withstand the hardest of shocks, bumps, and knocks out on the water. The CXT1045R features a powerful GMRS radio with a range of 37 miles, allowing you to easily stay in contact with your group. What’s more, it can use both AA alkaline and NiMH rechargeable batteries. Going further, the walkie talkie even comes with an in-built NOAA emergency radio and weather receiver that pinpoints your location and sends you local weather reports automatically.
Furthermore, the walkie talkie comes with 2,662 channel combinations, 22 of which feature 121 privacy codes each. Rounding up the features is the ‘Rewind-Say-Again’ function for replaying the last 20 seconds of any incoming call, an IPX7 waterproof rating, an in-built LED flashlight, and a visible hi-vision orange core design.
- IPX& waterproof rating.
- Rewind-Say-Again function.
- NOAA weather and emergency radio receiver.
- No Bluetooth connectivity.
One of the best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking is the Uniden MHS75. Designed originally as a marine radio, the MHS75 boasts a waterproof rating of IPX8, which means it’s not only fully submersible but also dustproof. The walkie talkie even comes pre-programmed with a weather alert system and NOAA weather channels that’ll immediately warn you of hazardous local weather. What’s more, in case things go awry, the MHS75 allows you to simultaneously monitor one regular marine channel, one NOAA weather channel, as well as up to two Coast Guard Distress/Hailing channels. Plus, the MHS75 even floats in the water, comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, and even a clip-on “rapid charger” that works in any standard 12V DC outlet. Rounding up the package is the 3-year warranty against manufacturing faults.
- Coast Guard Distress/Hailing channels.
- Four rod holders.
- IPX8 waterproof rating.
- Weather alert systems.
- Only available in black.
- No Bluetooth.
TYT Tytera Upgraded MD-390 DMR
Are you looking for a slick waterproof walkie talkie? Then we present to you the TYT Tytera Upgraded MD-390 DMR, which combines GPS with DMR to fashion a two-way radio that’s ideal for kayaking in any water body. Since the MD-390 has both digital and analog capabilities, you can switch between them, thus capturing communication over a longer distance and range – as much as 36 miles! What’s more, the walkie talkie is even able to send text messages, apart from the usual radio communication, and is even compatible with VOX for hands-free usage. Thanks to the IPX7 waterproof rating, you don’t have to worry about the walkie talkie getting wet or even submerged. While it doesn’t come with batteries and neither does it float, the walkie talkie does feature over 1000 channels, and that too a privacy code feature.
- VOX compatible.
- can send text messages.
- IPX7 waterproof.
- GPS function.
- Doesn’t float.
- No NOAA station tracker.
Midland Consumer Radio GXT1030VP4
Sitting atop the list of best waterproof walkie talkies for kayaking is the Midland Consumer Radio GXT1030VP4, whose compact and space-saving design is perfect for paddlers who have lesser space in their kayaks. Featuring both Bluetooth compatibility and VOX operation for hands-free communication, this one is perfect for when you can’t take your hands off the paddle but need to communicate. The walkie talkie even features the direct calling feature, allowing you to directly communicate with a group member sans changing channels. Plus, it even automatically scans for the local NOAA weather station. The damage-resistant and rugged product come with rubberized buttons for more comfortable and non-slip use in wet conditions. Despite being only JIS4 waterproof, the walkie talkie can withstand heavy rain for up to 30 minutes.
- Bluetooth and VOX compatible.
- Direct calling feature.
- Local NOAA station finder.
- Long-range communication.
- Doesn’t float.
- Only JIS4 waterproof.