Best Waterproof Walkie Talkies: 8 Top Walkie Talkies For Kayakers

Have you ever thought about what the actual communication between a group of paddlers looks like to a bystander? A bunch of people sitting in tiny plastic boats and yelling at each other while trying to regroup. That’s how. 

Let me ask you something: 

Was that really the look you were going for? 

Yeah, I didn’t think so. I’d say it’s about time you added a pair of walkie-talkies to your kayaking gear checklist – and luckily for you, I have quite a few suggestions. 

So, keep scrolling for more info on the best waterproof walkie-talkies!

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In A Rush? The Winner After 39 Hours Of Research: 

Motorola T605 Talkabout Radio

Motorola T605 Talkabout Radio

Our Rating: ★★★★★

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Why is it better?

  • UHF marine radio with IP67 waterproof rating 
  • Designed to float in the water for easier retrieval
  • Features a range of up to 36 miles in ideal conditions 
  • Provides access to 22 standard channels with 121 privacy codes
  • 11 weather channels with NOAA weather alerts 
  • Two PTT buttons (one acts as Power Boost) 
  • Can monitor two channels at once 
  • Built-in flashlight with white and red LEDs 
  • Dedicated emergency alert button 
  • Supports VOX for hands-free use 
  • Can be powered by NiMH rechargeable batteries or 3 AA alkaline batteries
  • It comes with a USB charging cable, batteries, and an instructions manual

Choosing A Waterproof Walkie Talkie: Features To Consider

Man using walkie talkie on the boat

As with any other gear you’d consider bringing on a paddling trip, it’s vital to ask a few questions first. My point is, knowing what you need from that equipment is the single most important factor here. 

So, what do you need your walkie-talkie for? 

If you’re going on a group fishing trip and want to stay in touch with other anglers, you probably don’t need all the bells and whistles. Sure, you want it to be durable – but it’s not like you’ll need a military-grade walkie-talkie to get around. 

But if you’re going kayak touring or multi-day camping and know that you may need to communicate with motorboats, local authorities, and the like, you have to be a lot more deliberate about your choices.

So, before we go down into the rabbit hole that is the walkie-talkie market, let’s talk about some basics first! 

What’s The Difference Between UHF And VHF? 

Let’s get the acronyms out of the way so that I can explain the differences between the two the best I can: 

UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency – while VHF stands for Very High Frequency. 

And that already gives you a few clues. 

You see, the UHF two-way radios (a.k.a. walkie-talkies) broadcast their signal between 300 MHz to 3 GHz. This range implies they can broadcast through obstacles like walls, buildings, and the like. And because of this, they’re usually used indoors, rather than out in nature. 

The VHF radios broadcast between 30 MHz and 300 MHz – and, as such, are the better option for outdoor usage. If you and your paddling group won’t have any man-made obstacles in your way, the VHF walkie-talkies will do the job just fine. 

So, which is better, UHF or VHF walkie-talkies?

Well, that depends. For the sake of providing a straight answer – there’s no straight answer. Sorry about that, but there are just too many factors involved! 

How many people do you need on a single channel? How long of a paddling trip are you taking? How much battery power do you think you’ll need? 

You get where I’m going with this. 

I know, I know – “no straight answer” is a bit of a bummer. But I’m here to show you how to look for the right equipment, not tell you exactly what to buy.  

UHF talkies can come at a higher price, though, so stick with VHF radios – unless you need the ultra-high frequency, that is.

Range: What’s The Longest Range For A Walkie Talkie?

That right here is an important thing to discuss when talking about walkie-talkies. 

The term “long-range” is often used for marketing the product. And range – just like everything else we’re talking about here – depends on several different factors. 

For starters, when you say “range,” are you counting obstacles? 

A specialized UHFwalkie-talkie that’s made to send signals through a 20 story building might not have the same range as a similarly priced VHF talkie. But does that mean that the higher-range models are better?

Well, no, obviously not. Again, it all depends on what you’re looking for here! 

Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a radio with a good range/quality ratio, you’ll be able to cover between 30 to 60-mile distances. 

Does VHF or UHF have a longer range?

When I give people all the information about the differences between the two types, they’ll often assume that VHF radios have a better range – but that’s not how it works. 

Yes, VHF walkie-talkies are often used for outdoor activities – but they’re not great if you have a lot of obstacles between you and your partner, though. 

On the flip side, UHF radio signals can travel through buildings – but also do great with threes, hills, and anything else you might encounter.

So, even though the two categories may cover the same ranges, the resulting signal they would produce when you start testing those lengths will be very different. 

Channels & Privacy Codes 

Once you buy the walkie-talkies, you might run into some complications when setting the entire group up on the same channel. The whole mystery of choosing a privacy code to go along with the channel can be pretty frustrating – if you don’t know what you’re doing, that is.

Don’t worry, though; it’s all pretty straightforward. 

Here’s how it works:

There’s a limited number of channels that you can use on your walkie-talkie – and it’s a number that the FCC sets. So, you and your friends can set your radios on channel 2, for example, and you’ll have no problems communicating. 

The problem arises if you run into another group on the same channel, though. 

That’s what privacy codes are for: 

If a signal’s sent on channel 2, for instance, without a privacy code to go along with it, anyone who’s tuned to the same channel would pick up on the signal. 

But, if you set your talkies to channel 3 with a privacy code 4, you’re isolating yourselves from the other signals found on the channel. 

Don’t confuse the privacy code with actual privacy, though. Anyone could still tune their radios to whatever channel and code they like. So, any walkie-talkie set on the same channel will pick up the transmission. 

NOAA Weather Alerts 

Speaking of your walkie-talkies picking up random transmissions while you’re out and about, the NOAA weather alerts are the only ones that you want to get picked up here.

NOAA’s weather alerts work together with the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Alert System to give you 24/7 access to weather-related information that could potentially save your life. 

Sure, smartphones can give you a good weather update – but what if you’re in a remote area, as sea kayakers often are, and don’t have cell service? You can see where I’m going with this. 

So, be sure to check if the walkie-talkies have access to different NOAA weather channels and include alerts. 

What About Emergency Features? 

Whether you’re going on a relaxing paddle or a dangerous whitewater kayaking adventure – and especially if you’re going sea kayaking – having the proper emergency features could save your or someone else’s life. 

Even if the situation isn’t that extreme, it sure helps to know that you have these options on your radio. So, yes, your walkie-talkie should come with an alarm feature.

What are your options? 

Let’s take a look at some basics:

  • The Man Down feature is one of the most common additions. It automatically turns on the alarm if the radio is turned a certain way (after a short period, of course, your radio shouldn’t alert everyone every time you turn it the wrong way).
  • The Lone Walker feature is meant to send out a warning if one of your group members has been inactive for an extended period. It comes in handy to know where everyone is, or at least that everyone is available on the channel. 
  • All walkie-talkies must have an emergency button. It’s usually an orange button that you can press to send an emergency signal to all radio receivers within range.
  • Having GPS is another standard feature that’s incredibly helpful in emergencies, and it’s usually paired with the Man Down and Lone Worker features. 

Those are merely the basics, though. However, once you start going up in the price ranges, the number of features can get a little crazy. 

But hey, you can never be too safe, right? 

Check The Radio’s Weight & Size 

My last piece of advice is not to get carried away with your walkie-talkie’s available features. Its size and weight should be a factor in your choice. 

Sure, it’s nice to have a bunch of buttons on your radio, and it might look cool – but simplicity is your friend in an emergency! Plus, you have to think about how and where you plan to fit in that kayak of yours – especially if you’re lugging around camping gear

Sometimes the most basic, compact, hand-held marine radios work the best – as long as they’re waterproof, of course. 

Do I Need A License For A Walkie Talkie?

walkie talkie laying on grass

If you want to buy a simple walkie-talkie so that you and your friends can stay in touch while out on the water, the chances are that you won’t need a license. But it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as a licensed two-way radio. 

These are usually higher-powered talkies that cover a wide range of frequencies and channels – GMRS waterproof radios, for example, which use the General Mobile Radio Service, a licensed radio service that uses frequencies between 462 and 467 MHz

License-free radios have a limited range of channels they can access, which proved to be more than enough for most users. The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) – operating in the 151 – 154 MHz spectrum range – and Family Radio Service (FRS) are examples of these.

Because of this, my suggestion is to stick to the license-free walkie-talkies. But hey, if you feel you need to step up your game, most manufacturers will provide you with the information you’ll need to get your radio license. 

Best Waterproof Walkie Talkies – Reviewed & Rated 

1. Midland GXT100VP4 – 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio

Midland GXT100VP4 - 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio
  • Best Walkie-Talkies For General Use
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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To be quite honest, Midland’s GXT100VP4 two-way radio is one of my personal favorites – even if it doesn’t boast a 100% waterproof design. It’s rugged, with rubberized buttons, convenient to use, and loaded with unique features. 

Unfortunately, as I mentioned already, Midland’s walkie-talkies are only rated at X, so they’re technically not waterproof. They can handle splashing water and light rain – but full submersion or harsh weather conditions are a no-go.

That minor complaint aside, it’s still a fantastic two-way radio – and chock-full of features, too. It includes the SOS Siren, Whisper Mode, alerts, and vibrations for up to 10 different calls, along with VOX support for hands-free use. 

Oh, and did I mention Midland’s Xtreme Range Technology? The GXT100VP4 has an amazing 36-mile range in open areas! 

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • JIS4 waterproof rating 
  • 36-mile range 
  • NiMH rechargeable battery 
  • 7.9 x 2.5 x 1.8 inches 
  • 0.3 pounds 

Pros

  • Comes in a pack of three walkie-talkies 
  • 50 channels and 142 privacy codes 
  • Ten weather channels with NOAA weather alerts
  • Supports eVOX with nine sensitivity levels 
  • Extra features, including SOS Siren and Whisper Mode
  • Call alert for up to 10 calls 
  • Channel scan feature

Cons

  • It isn’t waterproof; only splash resistant 
  • Charging takes slightly longer compared to others

While it’s not 100% waterproof, Midland GXT100VP4 is still a highly recommended option for any outdoor enthusiasts. When it comes to general-use walkie-talkies, this one is king!

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2. Motorola T605 Talkabout Radio

Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio
  • Overall Best Waterproof Walkie-Talkies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Next, I have the Motorola T605 Talkabout two-way radios – a pair of waterproof and lightweight walkie-talkies that could be ideal for a range of situations. I’ll start with the T605’s construction – because this walkie-talkie is built to be tough: 

It comes with an IP67 waterproof rating, meaning its rugged construction won’t break – even if it falls in the water. And the best part is that it’s bright-colored and floats, so it will be easy to spot.

Now, for the performance: 

The T605’s powered by three AAA batteries and provides access to 22 standard channels. Plus, these Motorola waterproof walkie talkies support 121 privacy codes for each channel – which should help you find a dedicated communication group even in high traffic areas. And while it does include the NOAA emergency weather alerts, they might not work in all areas.

Furthermore, it features Auto Squelch, a keypad lock, and 20 customizable call tones. Also, did I mention that it features a water-activated flashlight? How cool is that? 

I have to add that the range is excellent – up to 36 miles, to be precise. Of course, this depends on a lot of factors, but it’s still impressive.

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • IP67 waterproof rating 
  • 36-mile range 
  • NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • 7.78 x 2.4 x 1.5 inches
  • 0.54 pounds 

Pros

  • Waterproof and floats 
  • 11 NOAA weather channels with emergency alerts
  • Monitors up to two channels 
  • Has a water-activated flashlight 
  • Supports VOX hands-free use 
  • A dedicated emergency button  

Cons

  • Battery life could be better 
  • Some might find it a bit bulky

Whether you’re in it for the paddling or catching fish, Motorola’s T600 Talkabout two-way radio is an excellent all-around pick. Simple to use, waterproof and tough, and floats – what more could you want? 

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3. Cobra RX680 2 Watt Rugged Walkie Talkies

Cobra RX680 2 Watt Rugged Walkie Talkies
  • Best Water-Resistant Walkie-Talkies
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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Cobra RX680 is another sturdy, reliable, built-to-handle-extreme-conditions type of walkie-talkie for kayakers. And while the rubber exterior gives off the impression that it’s waterproof, I have to disappoint you: 

With an IP54 rating, the RX680 is only partially resistant to dust and water splashes – but drop it in the water, and it probably wouldn’t survive. 

On the upside, it boasts a range of up to 38 miles, 60 channels with 12 privacy codes, a built-in NOAA receiver with ten weather channels, and supports VOX for hands-free communication. It’s also equipped with an emergency button and an LED flashlight. 

All in all, this Cobra walkie talkie is a pretty solid choice.

I should warn you that most of its basic features are easy to access, but you’ll need a bit of time to figure out how to access and use all of its functions.

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • IP54 water-resistance rating
  • 38-mile range 
  • Two Lithium-Polymer batteries
  • 15 x 2.4 x 3.2 inches
  • 0.76 pounds 

Pros

  • Access to 60 channels with 12 privacy codes 
  • Excellent range and clear transmission
  • NOAA receiver with ten weather channels 
  • Supports VOX for hands-free use 
  • Built-in LED flashlight 
  • A dedicated emergency button

Cons

  • It’s not waterproof; only resistant to splashes 
  • Some features are more complicated to access

If it weren’t for the fact that it’s merely resistant to splashes rather than completely waterproof, Cobra’s RX680 would’ve been perfect. But it’s a highly recommended option, nonetheless.

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4. TopSung Long Range WaterProof Walkie Talkies

TopSung Long Range WaterProof Walkie Talkies
  • Best Walkie-Talkies For Kids And Younger Paddlers
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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If you’d like for your kids to join you on a paddling adventure, but you need a way to keep an eye – or an ear – on them while you’re out on the water, TopSung’s walkie-talkies might be your best bet.

It’s simple enough for younger users but still sturdy enough to avoid feeling like a toy. So, don’t worry; you’re still getting all the necessary features: 

Access to 22 channels – with 38 CTCSS and 97 DCS privacy codes – 24 weather channels with NOAA weather alerts, and eVOX support with 17 sensitivity levels. 

That’s not all, of course. 

TopSung’s UHF two-way radio also features a keypad lock that prevents channel changes and has a squelch system for removing weak transmissions and unwanted noises.

I would’ve drooled over walkie-talkies like these when I was a kid. And although I feel old saying this, we didn’t have these kinds of gadgets back in the day, but we do now – and I am absolutely certain your kids will love it! 

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • Three 1000MAh NI-MH AA batteries 
  • Up to 16 miles 
  • 6.1 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches 
  • 0.19 pounds 

Pros

  • Walkie-talkies come in a pack of three 
  • Drop protection for additional durability 
  • 22 channels and 38 CTCSS privacy codes 
  • NOAA weather alerts 
  • Keypad lock to prevent channel changes 
  • eVOX with 17 sensitivity levels 
  • An excellent budget-friendly option

Cons

  • The range on open waters limited to roughly 4 miles
  • Not designed to handle daily use 
  • It’s not completely waterproof 

If you’re planning a family kayaking trip, do yourself a favor and get this set of three TopSung walkie-talkies. Your kids will love it – and you’ll have that additional peace of mind. 

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5. DEWALT DXFRS300 1 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies

DEWALT DXFRS300 1 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies
  • Best Walkie Talkies For Camping And Kayaking
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Right off the bat, I have to say that DEWALT’s DXFRS300 earned bonus points for the incredibly rugged design. The radio comes with an IP67 rating, meaning it’s fully protected against dust and sand – and can handle submersion in three feet of water. 

To add to it, it’s also shock-resistant, meaning it will survive drops from heights of up to 6.5 feet – but given the non-slip grips, I’m sure you won’t be dropping it any time soon. That, by the way, is what makes it a great choice for kayak anglers and campers.

Now, moving on from the rugged construction and onto the DXFRS300’s performance: 

For starters, it boasts long-distance reception, offering coverage of up to 250,000 square feet – and, impressively enough, ensures reliable transmission across varying terrain features. 

Furthermore, it has 22 preset channels with privacy codes, VOX support for hands-free usage, a power-saving mode that kicks in after 10 seconds, and additional features, including “Key Lock,” which prevents accidental channel changes, and Auto Squelch. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t include an NOAA receiver – meaning you won’t have access to weather alerts. 

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • IP67 waterproof rating 
  • 250,000-square-foot range 
  • 1000 mAH Lithium Polymer battery
  • 2.15 x 2.37 x 6.22 inches
  • 0.66 pounds 

Pros

  • Shock-resistant design 
  • Non-slip grips ensure safer handling 
  • Long-distance reception 
  • VOX support for hands-free use 
  • Power-saving mode 
  • Key Lock prevents channel changes  
  • Volume control knob

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide access to NOAA weather channels
  • Audio quality could be better

DEWALT’s UHF radio is shock-resistant, protected against water, sand, and dust, and capable of long-distance transmission. What more could you possibly want?

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6. GOCOM G600 FRS Two Way Radio

[amGOCOM G600 FRS Two Way Radio
  • Best Budget-Friendly Walkie-Talkies
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Now, here’s another relatively cheap option you might want to consider – GOCOM’s G600 FRS walkie-talkies. Much like the TopSung that I reviewed earlier, this two-way radio comes in at a much lower price point compared to other units featured here. 

And I’m sure that, for someone on a budget, that’s a good enough reason to consider it. 

Granted, it’s not 100% waterproof – but the unit’s IPX4 rating still promises water resistance. As for the performance, it covers all the basics: 

These walkie-talkies feature 22 channels and 121 CTCSS privacy codes, along with dual watch functionality. In addition to that, it comes with 11 NOAA weather channels and offers VOX support with three different sensitivity levels for hands-free operation.

The unit automatically switches to the power-saving mode if there are no transmissions for more than five seconds so that you can expect up to 15 hours of battery life.

I’d say that’s pretty impressive for a walkie-talkie at this price point. 

Technical Specs 

  • UHF marine radio 
  • IPX4 water-resistance rating 
  • 32-mile range 
  • Three 1200mAh AA NiMH batteries
  • 2.17 x 1.57 x 7.09 inches
  • 0.22 pounds 

Pros

  • Includes 22 channels and 121 privacy codes
  • NOAA weather channels and alerts 
  • Dual watch functionality
  • VOX support with three sensitivity levels 
  • Has a power-saving mode 
  • Built-in flashlight 

Cons

  • The walkie-talkies aren’t completely waterproof 
  • It becomes hard to hear over the static at longer distances

It’s pretty impressive what GOCOM managed to squeeze into the G600 at a price point that’s as reasonable as this – it’s hard to find room for complaints. It’s one of the best in its range.

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7. Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio

Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio
  • Best Floating Walkie Talkies For Kayaking
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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Rugged construction and simple features – that’s how I would describe this Cobra MR HH350W VHF radio. So, if you’d like to keep things simple and want a user-friendly, entry-level unit, then these Cobra waterproof walkie talkies might be the VHF radio for you. 

“Entry-level,” in this case, doesn’t mean “basic.”

For starters, this unit has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it’s submersible. And to add to it, it also floats, which makes it easy to retrieve when dropped in the water – especially thanks to the orange-colored band that ensures visibility. 

Cobra’s radio comes with all USA, Canadian, and International maritime channels, meaning you can count on it to work regardless of your destination. On top of that, it grants you access to Channel 16 and Channel 9 for emergencies and all the NOAA weather channels – along with emergency weather alerts.

My one complaint here is that it doesn’t feature a USB charging port – so it doesn’t allow using a power bank for recharging during longer trips. But I guess you can always pack some additional AAA batteries. 

Technical Specs 

  • VHF marine radio 
  • IPX7 waterproof rating 
  • Rechargeable AAA batteries
  • 2.09 x 2.66 x 4.75 inches
  • 0.6 pounds

Pros

  • Waterproof and floats 
  • User-friendly, easy-to-access features  
  • Selectable power settings 
  • Includes all maritime channels and NOAA weather channels
  • Access to Channels 16 and Channel 9 for emergencies 
  • Monitors three channels at once

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a USB charging port 
  • Can’t be used for on-land communication

Honestly, if you value simplicity – without compromising efficiency, of course – I can’t recommend the Cobra MR HH350W FLT VHF radio enough – it’s truly an excellent floating walkie talkie.

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8. Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio

Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio
  • Best Walkie Talkies For Sea Kayaking
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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Lastly, I’d like to talk about the Uniden Atlantis 275 – a compact, handheld VHF marine radio that is designed to survive anything a day on the water might throw its way. No, seriously, this model has an IPX8 waterproof rating – meaning it can handle submersion – and it floats! 

Speaking of dropping it in the water, the best part about this design is the vibrating speaker tone – it helps remove water from the speaker and ensures the radio’s ready to use when you need it the most. 

The Atlantis 275 packs 6 watts of power – transmitting power is selectable, by the way – with a built-in LiON battery pack, which offers 10 hours of reliable performance. But, as you can see, battery life isn’t excellent. 

As for the functionalities, you’ll get all USA, Canadian, and International marine communication channels and the NOAA emergency weather channels. 

That’s not all, though. It also features a large LCD screen – the largest in its class, by the way – a built-in flashlight and an emergency strobe light. 

Technical Specs 

  • VHF marine radio 
  • IPX8 waterproof rating 
  • Built-in LiON battery
  • 9.6 x 6.6 x 2.9 inches
  • 1.5 pounds

Pros

  • Includes all marine channels 
  • NOAA weather channels and alerts
  • Switchable transmitting power 
  • Designed to float
  • Monitors up to three different channels 
  • Built-in flashlight and emergency strobe light

Cons

  • Battery life could be better 
  • Uses a proprietary charging cradle; can’t be charged on the go
  • The price might not fit everyone’s budget

I’m beyond impressed with Uniden’s Atlantis 275, its general functionality, features, and, above all, the ruggedness of its design. It’s a highly recommended waterproof radio option for sea kayakers!

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Conclusion – What Is The Best Waterproof Walkie Talkie?

A good set of walkie-talkies is an essential piece of gear for anyone planning an extended trip to the wilderness – be it on foot or, in your case, in a kayak. When you’re out there, effective group communication becomes a crucial element of safety. 

As for the best waterproof walkie-talkies, you already know which one is my favorite – Motorola’s T600 Talkabout Radio. It’s capable of withstanding the rigors of harsh environments you will find yourself in as a paddler and features all the essentials for effective communication. 

That said, any of these waterproof radios will do the job – as long as you remember to consider the crucial factors, such as waterproof rating, range, battery life, channels, and privacy codes.

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Sam OBrien

Hi there, I'm Sam. As the founder of WaterSportsWhiz.com, I've dedicated myself to educating people on all things water-based – kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, surfing, kite-boarding and diving. I love nothing more than spending my days on the water with friends and family. And when I'm not out enjoying the waves, you can find me playing with my son or nerding out over the latest gadgets and games.