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Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Review

A hearty radio that can handle a river or a snowstorm without breaking a sweat
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Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Review
Credit: Zach Lovell
Price:  $165 List
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Manufacturer:   Rocky Talkie
By Zach Lovell ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 9, 2024
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 9
  • Range and Clarity - 30% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 5.5
  • Weather Resistance and Durability - 15% 9.0
  • Battery Life - 15% 9.5
  • Weight and Size - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt is a GMRS radio that can handle an adventurous life, from being submerged in a river to getting battered by a blizzard. Once you pay for the test-free $35 FCC license, you can enjoy 22 channels, 8 repeater channels, 121 privacy codes, NOAA weather channels, and dual channel monitoring. We greatly appreciated the range of this 5 watt radio, with the additional power allowing for further transmissions than other models in treed or hilly terrain. This isn't the smallest or lightest radio out there and we also discovered it doesn't always have the best clarity, but many won't mind these minor setbacks. If you're looking for a high-powered radio with top-tier durability, this is an option worthy of your consideration. Don't miss our article on the best walkie talkies to see how this model stacks up against the competition.
REASONS TO BUY
Incredible battery life
Excellent range
Top tier durability
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier than some
Expensive
Requires an FCC license

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line A durable and feature-filled radio with a battery that lasts for daysSmall, sturdy, and dependable, these walkies excel at their essential tasksAn FRS radio that is equally packable and capableAside from its larger size, this radio performed with excellence all around, especially in ease of useWhile it has poor range, this inexpensive radio is our top recommendation in its price range
Rating Categories Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Rocky Talkie Mounta... Backcountry Access... Backcountry Access... Midland X-Talker T10
Range and Clarity (30%)
8.0
7.5
7.0
6.5
3.0
Ease of Use (25%)
5.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
5.0
Weather Resistance and Durability (15%)
9.0
7.0
5.5
5.0
6.0
Battery Life (15%)
9.5
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Weight and Size (15%)
4.0
6.0
7.0
2.0
8.0
Specs Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Rocky Talkie Mounta... Backcountry Access... Backcountry Access... Midland X-Talker T10
Measured Weight (Single Radio, with Batteries) 9.5 oz 6.7 oz 6.0 oz 11.0 oz 3.9 oz
Watts 5W 2W 2W 2W Not listed
Dimensions Body Only 4.05" x 2.44" x 3.4" 6.5" x 2.5" x 1.6" 6.25" x 2.5" x 1.25" 6.75" x 2.75" x 1.5" Body;
3.5" x 2.25" x 1.6" Mic; 26" cord
2" x 1" x 3.5"
Battery Capacity 1800 mAh 1550 mAh 1800 mAh 2,300 mAh 1,000 mAh
Battery Type Lithium Ion Lithium Ion Lithium Ion Lithium Ion AAA
Rechargeable Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Charge Via USB Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a
Frequency Range 462 to 467 MHz 462 to 467 MHz 462.55 to 467.71 MHz 462.55 to 467.71 MHz 462.55 to 467.71 MHz
Channels 22 + 8 repeater channels 128 22 22 22
Privacy Codes Yes, 121 available 121 available Yes, 121 available Yes Yes, 38 available
Keypad Lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NOAA Weather Alerts Yes No No Yes Yes
VOX No No No No Yes
Scan Function Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Clips to Pack Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt boasts top scores in multiple metrics, making it a contender for a wide array of shoppers demanding more from their radio. After a week-long ski expedition in Alaska, we didn't have to recharge this radio even once, making it one of the best options for battery life we've ever seen. When considering its IP67 rating, which means it's dustproof and is fully submersible to 1 meter, this durable and highly capable radio is truly an achievement from Rocky Talkie.

Performance Comparison


rocky talkie 5 watt - we spent weeks with the 5 watt, pushing it in several outdoors...
We spent weeks with the 5 watt, pushing it in several outdoors settings.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Range and Clarity


How far and how clear a radio can transmit is one of the most important considerations when choosing a radio, so we gave this metric 30% of the total score. We tested range and clarity by taking a pair of each option out in two types of backcountry settings: minor and major obstructions. Minor obstructions include obstacles like trees; major obstructions would be something far denser, like a hill or ridge. For both types of obstruction, one radio stayed in the same place, while the other radio got further away, transmitting every .1 miles until we lost contact. Every step of the way, clarity was also noted. After this range test, we also simply took each walkie for weeks of real-world field testing, noting any additional range or clarity findings. The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt came in near the top of this metric.


In minor obstructions, this radio offered transmission distances of up to 5.1 miles and a 1.4 mile range in major obstructions. In additional field testing, we found exceptional range when there was a clear line of sight, communicating over 20 miles. The only setback in this metric for the 5 Watt was its clarity, which was diminished fairly quickly once it reached the middle of its range or further.

The range of the 5 watt was excellent, particularly in obstructed scenarios.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Ease of Use


How user-friendly a walkie is to use is crucial, so we gave this metric 25% of the total score. We tested this metric by examining setup effort out of the box and whether features were or weren't easy to utilize. We also simply spent weeks with each radio, noting ease of use along the way. The 5 Watt came in lower in the lineup, though this is mostly due to the licensing process needed to utilize any GMRS radio in the US.


This model is a GMRS radio, so it requires a $35 license from the FCC. Fortunately, this doesn't include a test. This license is good for ten years and is also good for your immediate family. We strongly recommend conducting thorough research and diligence to always make sure your radio use is FCC-compliant. Outside of this licensing process, this radio is incredibly user-friendly, with the included cheat sheet from Rocky Talkie offering a simple and effective way to learn both the simple and more advanced features of the 5 Watt. After a brief orientation to this radio, we were able to utilize this option to its fullest capacity, whether accessing NOAA weather channels or a repeater. The plastic rim protecting the mic button is effective, and accidental mic presses are minimal. The included steel clip was also among the most effective pack/belt attachments we've seen yet.

rocky talkie 5 watt - we greatly appreciated the friendly design of the 5 watt, from the...
We greatly appreciated the friendly design of the 5 Watt, from the protected mic button to the features navigation.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Weather Resistance and Durability


Most walkie talkies must be able to brave the great outdoors, so we gave this metric 15% of the total score. We examined each radio in this metric by first testing the manufacturer's claims, and if there were any claims of waterproofness or water resistance, we made sure they were accurate. We then spent several weeks with each device in several different settings, intentionally using each radio in inclement weather. This is the metric where the Rockie Talkie 5 Watt truly shines, coming in at the top.


With an IP67 rating, the 5 Watt is both dustproof and can be submerged in water up to 1 meter. After confirming the 1-meter submersible claim, we spent weeks with this radio, including some particularly nasty storms in Alaska, and this radio's performance was unwavering. When dragging this radio around in the arid deserts of the western US, it got dropped and drug through the sand dozens of times, operating the same afterward as if nothing happened. The included steel pack/belt clip was rugged, especially when compared to other models with flimsy plastic clips. Our end-of-the-day take — this is one seriously tough walkie talkie that won't let you down when your adventures get rowdy.

rocky talkie 5 watt - this radio was dropped, kicked, dunked in 1 meter of water, and...
This radio was dropped, kicked, dunked in 1 meter of water, and still worked as well as it did out of the box.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Battery Life


Battery life is worth 15% of the total score of the 5 Watt. We tested this metric by examining the total transmit time of the radio and recorded the time needed to charge the radio from 0%-100%. Lastly, we conducted real world field testing, examining each radio's battery life after back-to-back days of use with similar amounts of radio transmissions. Once again, this radio came in at the front of the pack.


Battery life is one of the strongest components of the 5 Watt. Simply put, this radio takes a very long time to drain its battery, and we never even had to recharge it on a week-long expedition in Alaska, though we were turning it off at night. In our more quantitative testing, the 5 Watt had 205 minutes of transit time on a high-powered channel, though this may vary greatly in the future depending on temperatures and whether or not you're leaving your radio on in perpetuity for a trip. With such a large battery, it required a lengthy 6 hours and 1 minute to recharge fully.

rocky talkie 5 watt - we used this radio for several back-to-back days without having to...
We used this radio for several back-to-back days without having to recharge it.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Weight and Size


This metric is worth 15% of the total score since this is a device that you have to carry with you. We simply examined each radio's dimensions and weighed each option ourselves. This radio isn't the lightest or smallest radio, which is to be expected when considering it has more power and features than other options.


At 9.44 oz, this is one of the heavier radios we tested, though this fortunately comes with added durability and features. The profile of this radio is very manageable and easily fits on our pack strap or belts, and for many, the few extra ounces will be worth it to have a higher-powered radio.

rocky talkie 5 watt - this isn't the lightest radio, but it offers performance that's...
This isn't the lightest radio, but it offers performance that's arguably worth its weight.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Should You Buy the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio


The 5 Watt radio is both durable and capable, though the increase in performance also comes at an increase in price. Fortunately, we feel that this Rocky Talkie still offers exceptional value, with a phenomenal battery life and robust construction ensuring your handheld radio is dependable.

What Other Walkie Talkies Should You Consider?


The Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio is the smaller, more packable sibling to the 5 Watt, and it is an FRS radio, so no licensing is required from the FCC. Another durable radio worth looking into is the Motorola T600, which also offers an IP67 rating and even floats in water. Notably, the T600 also comes in at a much lower price than the 5 Watt, offering an excellent, less expensive alternative.

Zach Lovell