There is no arguing that during emergencies such as natural disasters, having a means of communication can make a huge difference as you try to survive. That simple walkie talkie could just be the only item that must be top on the list of things to include in your bug out bag.
But to really get the benefit of awesome communication in extreme emergencies, you need the best walkie talkie for bug out bag. It would surely be a personal disaster if you whip out your 2-way when you need it most only to find out it is unreliable in so many ways.
Essentially, reliability at all times is what you are looking for in the best walkie talkies for bug out bag. This can easily be determined by the functionality which in turn is related to the features integrated into the device.
In this guide are 5 walkie talkies that you can’t ignore for your bug out bag. The products all have the right mix of features and functionality to make them the best portable 2-way radios for bug out bag.
Features of the Best Walkie Talkies for Bug Out Bag: Buyer’s Guide
The major reason you have a bug out bag ready already packed is that you don’t want to be caught unawares when shit hits the fan. Naturally, the 2-way radio you include as part of the items in the bag must be able to respond to all types of emergencies.
For the bug out bag, you want your walkie talkie to have the following features :
Dual Band UHF/VHF radios – Many walkie talkies are either UHF or VHF radios, or dual-band UHF/VHF devices.
For Emergencies, your communication device must be able to and use non-licensed bands like the ubiquitous GMRS, MURS, FRS, and Marine bands.
Only a dual-band UHF/VHF device would be able to do this. Besides, dual-band UHF/VHF radios combine the ability of UHF radios to penetrate all kinds of physical obstacles with the long-range capability of VHF radios in clear open spaces.
Also, you would need both bands so you can easily monitor emergency channels, marine bands, weather stations, security agencies, fire service and other frequencies you might need to stay informed during disasters.
Auto-scan – Any decent emergency handheld two-way radio must have this feature. The best, like the 5 in this guide, can easily monitor the airwaves for active RF activities.
This is important because fiddling with the radio looking for active frequencies can be quite time-consuming. And since you might be busy with other things, there is simply no time to do it. The auto scan does the job automatically and efficiently.
Design – Space is always at a premium in all bug out bags. The choice of the best 2-way radio must consider this.
The gadget should not be too bulky. Preferably, it should be small enough to fit into one of the pockets of your bag so you can get access to it easily.
Also, make sure it is not too heavy. You surely don’t need something that slows you down or you get tired of holding after a while.
However, with accessories like the belt clip and straps, you can simply clip the radio to your belt or any part of your body you are comfortable with.
Battery life – Along with the range and number of channels, how long the battery can power your device is easily one of the most important features to consider.
The battery life of between 8 and 12 hours should be the least expected from the best walkie talkies for such situations. But, it is recommended that you also purchase at least two extra batteries to act as a backup.
Range – You won’t know how far help or the nearest radio signal is during emergencies. So the radio you choose must be a long-range transceiver able to link up with nearby repeaters to extend the range.
The ability to program important frequencies (marine, security services, emergencies, first responders, fire service, etc) is also an important consideration of bug out bag walkie talkies.
With the frequencies already programmed, using them to tune to or monitor important frequencies is a matter of pressing a few buttons.
Basically, there would be no need to write the frequencies down on a piece of paper that is likely to get lost or damaged.
Top 5 Best Walkie Talkies For Bug Out bag: Review
1. Tidradio TD-F9GP Handheld 2 Way Radio
Coming with a full complement of accessories such as the belt clip, earpiece, hand strap, and hand microphone, the easy-to-use and programmable Tidradio TD-F9GP would be perfect for a hug out bag as it is built to last and withstand hard knocks.
It is a dual-band UHF/VHF unit that also doubles as a handheld ham radio. You can easily transmit and messages with a transmission power of up to 8W. And with the auto scan and channel monitor feature, getting transmissions from emergency, security, marine, and aviation channels would not be a problem.
It uses a 2100 mAh battery that can power the device for up to 8 hours on the highest transmission power. You even get an extra battery as a backup so you don’t have to purchase too many extra batteries.
The TD-F9GP comes with 128 channels with thousand more channels options available via the 154 privacy codes. Other features include a flashlight, hands-free VOX function, LCD with backlight, battery saver, emergency alert and much more.
- Upgrades from BaoFeng UV-5R radio: High/ Mid/Low power settings (8w/5w/1w) Programmable Amateur Radio, Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz (Only FM radios receive) VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-480 MHz (Rx/Tx).
- A full set of accessories are ready for you, no need to find another suitable accessory. One more standby battery, make it more convenient to use outdoors for a long time.
- The TD-F9GP 8watt ham radio also can use with other radio models,such as the UV- 82, and UV-5R.
2. Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
The Yaesu FT-60R walkie talkie is a compact and lightweight device that would fit comfortably in your bug out bag without taking up too much space.
With this device, you would be able to monitor aircraft, weather, marine, and other important channels all the way to 999 MHz. The 1400 mAh battery combined with the fantastic power-saving feature ensures that you can monitor and transmit for as long as 10 hours continuously on a full battery.
The dual-power device can transmit on 5 and 2 watts of power. You would be amazed by the range you can get at even 2 watts transmitting power. And since it is repeater-capable, the range can be further extended if a repeater is within primary the range.
It is easy to program either manually or with a computer. You have access to 1000 memory channels: more than enough room for as many frequencies as you want.
Each unit comes with very useful features like the lighted LCD and keypad, weather alert, CTCSS/DCS privacy codes, auto scan, keypad lock, and accessories such as charger and belt clip.
- Dual Band VHF/UHF 2 Meter & 70cm Amateur Radio.
- CTCSS/DCS (PL & DPL), DTMF, AlphaNumeric Display, Lighted Keypad, Scan modes.
- Receives 108-520Mhz and 700-999.99Mhz (less cell), Transmits 144-148Mhz & 430-470Mhz, Locking mode prevents accidental changes of frequency.
3. BaoFeng BF-8+ 2nd Gen Two-way Radio Transceiver
BaoFeng are famous for making some of the best walkie talkies. For your bug out bag, the reliable BF-8+ by BaoFeng is just the communication gadget you must get for emergencies.
The UHF/VHF handheld transceiver is packed with the all the features you would ever need including adjustable 1/5 Watt transmission power, clear audio, decent range, FM radio, ability to monitor all VHF and UHF frequencies, and so much more.
It comes equipped with a large LCD with a backlight, 154 privacy channel to complement the 128 memory channels, 1800 mAh rechargeable battery that delivers up to 10 hours of battery life, and VOX function for hands-free operations.
You also get the full complement of accessories such as a belt clip, hand strap, earphone/headset, and desktop charger when you purchase the product.
- Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz(Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx)
- Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow), High power / low (5W/1W), selectable.
- Selectable Frequency Step/2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25 kHz, Function "VOX" (Voice Operated Transmission), "OFFSET" (frequency offset for repeater access).
4. TYT UV8000E Dual Band Walkie Talkie
The TYT UV8000E, like all the products in this review, is a PC-programmable device with features that makes it one of the very best for communication when things go very wrong.
The repeater-capable device comes equipped with an awesome 3000 mAh battery capable of delivering over 12 hours of usage on low power settings. But even at low power, the range is decent enough for your needs.
The lightweight device features a selectable tri-color LCD backlight, high-gain antenna, weather channels, keypad lock, emergency alert, auto-scan, privacy codes, etc.
Though it is not compatible with the CHIRP software, it is easy to program with a Windows PC using software provides by the manufacturers.
- [Frequency Range] UHF 420-450 MHz(Rx/Tx), VHF 144-148 MHz(Rx/Tx), 76-108 MHz(Only commercial FM radio reception). Please download the programming software (in-depth guidebook included).
- [Comes with 2 High Gain Antennas] You would gain an excellent audio/signal during transmission and reception, it would be a great choice for any ham. NOTE: To fully utilize all the features you have to use Windows PC to program this radio. Not Compatible with CHIRP.
- [Cross-band Repeater plus 10W High Power] You can gain a further and impressive communication range.(❗Note: Please do not operate the cross band on 10 watts for more than 10-15 mins as it will get hot and will destroy your radio.)
5. Luiton LT-F9H Walkie Talkie
Coming at just the right size and weight for a bug out bag, the Luiton LT-F9H packs the optimal combination of features and functionalities making it one of the most reliable and flexible handheld transceivers.
The low price has very little to do with its popularity among users.
With three selectable power levels with a maximum of 8 watts, you are covered for transmission range and extended battery life when you purchase this product.
The UHF/VHF radio also comes with an FM radio receiver; a V-85 high-gain antenna that delivers 2x the normal antenna performance; 2000 mAh battery for over 9 hours of usage; large LCD with backlight; auto scan and channel monitor; privacy codes; and many more usable features.
With the 2-pin programming cable, you can easily customize the frequencies with letters and numbers just the way you want it. The unit looks very high end, but it is one of the easiest walkie talkies to master. And very important too, it is very durable.
- High Power Radios 8 Watts with LCD Display and Hardened Durable Radio Shell, Larger 2000mAh Battery can Support You All Day Working, V-85 High Gain Antenna (Twice the Antenna Performance)
- HI/MI/LOW (8W/4W/1W) Power Selectable: Long Distance Communication with High Power Output up to 8W, UP to 10 Miles Communication
- Dual Band (Wide/Narrow) Selectable Walkie Talkies, VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx) and UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx) with FM Radio(65-108MHz)
Packing a bug out bag: Things you don’t really need and the best alternatives
Folks with bug out bag usually face the problem of having too many things that can’t fit in. And in many instances, the bag becomes too heavy when too many items are packed.
Deciding what is essential and what is not is the issue at stake. And remember, you have to keep the bag as light as possible.
Listed below are some of the things you don’t need in your bug out bag:
- Foam mats – It is understandable if you think you need closed-end foam mats to keep warm at night while sleeping. But these are very bulky and take up too much space. Consider paddle inflatable pads instead that do a similar job just as well.
But you could always do without both and simply fill a trash bag with dead grass, leaves, moss, to sleep on and keep warm.
- Snare wire – Using this to catch game for food might look easy in documentary programs. In real life though, you can only be good at it after years of experience. Only professional hunters do it effortlessly.
You are well-served using baited rat trap or bringing extra rations and enough survivalist fishing gear.
- Wool blanket – Wool blankets are excellent for keeping warm. But they are unsuitable for bug out bag because they also take too much space. Consider using Mylar that offers the same benefits at a fraction of the size and weight.
- Hatchet – In most situations, hatchets are too heavy and are not flexible enough. Besides, working with them tend to use up too much energy.
Get a good survival knife, and together with a rock you can easily find, you would be able to accomplish most of the things a hatchet can do.
For firewood, you can always find broken pieces that are easier to gather than hacking away at a tree with a hatchet.
- Pepper spray – In survival mode, using a pepper spray would be one of your least priorities. It is best to learn escape and evade strategies than having to confront dangers head-on when you don’t have to.
- GPS – You won’t need this when it is likely that a functioning satellite is not within reach. Besides, relying on too much technology can be counterproductive.
Take the time to learn how to navigate with a simple compass and maps.
A survivalist bug out bag is incomplete without a communication device. Due to space constraints, the ideal device must thread the fine line between optimal functionality/reliability and size.
This guide reviews 5 products considered by many as the best walkie talkies for bug out bag. The combination of features easily stand them out from hundreds of other handheld transceivers as the most suitable for your bug out bag.
The guide also provides you with all the important things you need to consider while shopping for the right handheld 2-way. This could come in handy if for some reason, none of the 5 reviewed products suits your preferences.