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Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio Review

These compact walkies do their job and hold up to wear and tear
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Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio Review (With a shatterproof screen, a bomber attachment point, and a straightforward user interface it's easy to access the...)
With a shatterproof screen, a bomber attachment point, and a straightforward user interface it's easy to access the Rocky Talkie's excellent range and superior clarity.
Credit: Clark Tate
Price:  $110 List
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Manufacturer:   Rocky Talkie
By Zach Lovell and Clark Tate  ⋅  Jul 9, 2024
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 9
  • Range and Clarity - 30% 7.5
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7.0
  • Weather Resistance and Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Battery Life - 15% 9.0
  • Weight and Size - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

The small and sturdy Rocky Talkies slowly and steadily gained on the competition during our tests, posting strong and reliable performances across the board. Their range is solid, comparable to the top-performing Family Radio Service (FRS) options in the test. But their most outstanding feature is their clarity. They delivered clear, easy-to-understand calls every time. On the downside, they don't access weather channels to give you backcountry updates. Still, with their simple, svelte, and rugged design and cold-tolerant lithium batteries, we don't hesitate to toss them in our pack for a wide variety of adventures. To see how it stacks up versus the competition, check out our review of the best walkie talkies.
REASONS TO BUY
Simple
Sturdy
Great battery life
Impressive clarity
Average range
REASONS TO AVOID
Does not include NOAA weather channels
On the quiet side
The Rocky Talkie is sold as a single device. The MSRP we list here is only for one unit, so you'll need to budget for double that price if you're planning on purchasing a set of two.

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Star Rating
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Bottom Line Small, sturdy, and dependable, these walkies excel at their essential tasksAn FRS radio that is equally packable and capableThis radio is made to live around the water, but is a poor value if that is not important to youLicensed ham radio operators will appreciate the amazing range and tons of featuresWhile it has poor range, this inexpensive radio is our top recommendation in its price range
Rating Categories Rocky Talkie Mounta... Backcountry Access... Motorola T600 BaoFeng BF-F8HP Midland X-Talker T10
Range and Clarity (30%)
7.5
7.0
6.5
10.0
3.0
Ease of Use (25%)
7.0
7.5
6.0
1
5.0
Weather Resistance and Durability (15%)
7.0
5.5
9.0
5.0
6.0
Battery Life (15%)
9.0
7.0
3.0
5.0
7.0
Weight and Size (15%)
6.0
7.0
4.0
4.0
8.0
Specs Rocky Talkie Mounta... Backcountry Access... Motorola T600 BaoFeng BF-F8HP Midland X-Talker T10
Measured Weight (Single Radio, with Batteries) 6.7 oz 6.0 oz 8.4 oz 7.8 oz 3.9 oz
Watts 2W 2W .5W, 2W 1W, 4W, 8W Not listed
Dimensions Body Only 6.5 x 2.5 x 1.6" 6.25 x 2.5 x 1.25" 2.4 x 1.5 x 4.9" 2 x 1.2 x 3.7" 2 x 1 x 3.5"
Battery Capacity 1550 mAh 1800 mAh 800 mAh 2,000 mAh 1,000 mAh
Battery Type Lithium Ion Lithium Ion NiMH, Alkaline AA Lithium Ion AAA
Rechargeable Yes Yes Yes, also can use normal AA batteries Yes No
Charge Via USB Yes Yes Not with supplied cable, yes with a different micro USB cable No n/a
Frequency Range 462 to 467 MHz 462.55 to 467.71 MHz 462.55 to 467.71 MHz 65-108MHz (FM Receive only) 136-174MHz and 400-520MHz (TX/RX) 462.55 to 467.71 MHz
Channels 128 22 22 100+ 22
Privacy Codes 121 available Yes, 121 available Yes, 121 available Yes Yes, 38 available
Keypad Lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NOAA Weather Alerts No No Yes No Yes
VOX No No Yes Yes Yes
Scan Function Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Clips to Pack Yes Yes Yes No (mounts sold separately) Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


rocky talkie mountain radio - the rockie talkie is a high-performance model with an integrated...
The Rockie Talkie is a high-performance model with an integrated utility clip.
Credit: Clark Tate

Range and Clarity


Given how important a radio's range and clarity is, we gave this metric 30% of the total score. We tested the Mountain Radio's range and clarity in real world settings, examining its capabilities when transmission scenarios weren't exactly perfect. We scored each radio based off their performance with minor obstructions, such as trees, to major obstructions, like a ridge or hill between the two radios. We also spent weeks field testing this radio across North America, noting range and clarity findings along the way. The Mountain Radio came in near the top of the pack.


The Mountain Radio had a range of 4.7 miles in minor obstructions and 1.0 miles with major obstructions, making for an excellent FRS option in mountainous/varied terrain. When we had a clear line of sight, we found these radios to offer an impressive range of over 10 miles with clear, intelligible clarity, and didn't find the end of their line of sight range. Whether on a remote glaciated expedition in Alaska or in the deserts of southeastern Utah, this pack-friendly radio continually impressed our testing team, offering more than adequate range for hiking, skiing, or climbing. Best of all, the clarity throughout testing was excellent, only experiencing scratchier transmissions in heavily obstructed scenarios towards the end of the radio's range.

rocky talkie mountain radio - when we tested these radios in the field, the rockys were the only...
When we tested these radios in the field, the Rockys were the only ones to consistently receive calls from basecamp when the climbers were clustered together.
Credit: Clark Tate

It's important to note that radios are regulated. Family radio service (FRS) options can only use 2.0 watts of power. In contrast, General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) units can use up to 50 watts. Since they can transmit so much further, you have to obtain a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) license to make sure you use their power responsibly.


Ease of Use


These radios offer very little in the way of bells and whistles, making them relatively easy to use. Frankly, that works for us. While it's nice to have options like setting your walkie talkies to transmit automatically anytime you talk, we don't find ourselves taking advantage of the extra features in the field. Often we ended up confusing our climbing partners every time we muttered out a plan to get to the next hold.


The Rocky Mountain user manual is straightforward and available online since most will inevitably lose theirs. There is a power button, which also lets you check the battery level and which privacy code you are using (more on that in a second). There is a toggle to let you switch between channels, scan them, or lock your settings in place. The lock is a critical feature for anyone planning rough-and-tumble adventures where buttons could be pressed accidentally.

The volume up button also serves to switch between high and low power settings — simply depress it for two seconds. Depressing the volume down button for two seconds allows you to choose a privacy code, which we'll explain below.

rocky talkie mountain radio - there aren't many extras on these radios, so most of the buttons...
There aren't many extras on these radios, so most of the buttons pull double duty. Here you see the push-to-talk (PTT) button, and the volume up and down buttons which also control the high and low power modes and privacy codes.
Credit: Clark Tate

There are 22 channels or radio frequencies available for FRS radios to use. If you've ever tried to use them in a crowded outdoor setting like a festival, you know those are quickly claimed. Thus, privacy codes; most walkie talkies today come with a range of them. They're also known as subchannels and let you use the same channel as someone else without interfering with their conversation and vice versa. The Rocky Talkies come with 106 present channel/privacy code combinations, giving you 128 channels to choose from before you even have to futz with the 121 separate privacy codes.

rocky talkie mountain radio - the black toggle on top of the radio lets you flip though channels...
The black toggle on top of the radio lets you flip though channels, scan them, or lock in your settings.
Credit: Clark Tate

While the streamlined interface is relatively easy to navigate, the Rocky Talkies' simplicity does have some downsides. They don't allow you to access the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) weather channels. When you're in the backcountry for any length of time, having that information can make a big difference in your safety and comfort level.

The microphone on these radios also isn't that loud, so you need to be sure to clip these closer to your ears. There is an optional waterproof hand microphone and speaker that attaches through a mic/sp port available as an additional purchase. We didn't test it, but we think it would probably help.

rocky talkie mountain radio - a port allows you to detach an extendable, waterproof microphone...
A port allows you to detach an extendable, waterproof microphone that's sold separately.
Credit: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance and Durability


The Rocky Talkies are rated as IP56 or as splash and snowproof but not submergible. We used them in snow storms and sprayed them with a shower head for five seconds, and they continued working perfectly. The units are simple, with little moving or isolated parts to break, and we expect them to last.


The only possible entry points for water are the charging and microphone/speaker ports, which both have substantial and fairly secure rubber flaps. These covers limit the amount of moisture that can enter the units. These radios also sport shatterproof LED screens. There's no glass to break. And we agree with Rocky Talkie that using a carabiner to secure the radio to a pack works more consistently than the light-duty plastic clips of many of its competitors. The company also offers a leash to keep it more secure if you need to remove it from your pack to use it, which we often did.

rocky talkie mountain radio - we like using this carabiner instead of the flimsy plastic clips...
We like using this carabiner instead of the flimsy plastic clips that come with many walkie talkies. The small hooks on end of these (a common carabiner feature) can easily snag on your shoulder strap though.
Credit: Clark Tate

Battery Life


Battery life makes up 15% of the total score of each walkie. We tested this metric by sizing up the total transmit time and total time needed to recharge the battery from dead back to 100%. We also used each radio on back-to-back days with similar amounts of communication to compare and contrast our findings. This radio came in near the top of the pack.


The Mountain Radio impressed us with its battery life, and we confirmed the manufacturer's battery claims of four days on a single charge, even using a high powered channel. While actual time needed before recharging will vary wildly depending on temperature and amount of communication, we found these radios to consistently last even longer than four days, especially when turning these radios off at night. While some will prefer a radio that uses replaceable batteries, we appreciated its rechargeable lithium ion battery, which uses a USB-C cord. If you need the maximum amount of battery life possible, simply use the lower powered channels on the Mountain Radio, which increased the battery life as much as 20% in our testing.

To lock in your settings simply hold the channel toggle forward for two seconds.
Credit: Clark Tate

Weight and Size


Weighing 6.7 ounces and measuring 6.5 x 2.5 x 1.6 inches, these radios easily fit in the palm of your hand. These measurements showed that the Rocky Talkies are smaller and lighter than most of the other models in our review.


The Rocky Talkies are compact and light enough that we never feel tempted to leave them behind. The tightly connected carabiner adds to their size but is a secure connection point and provides the antenna with some protection. All told its lightweight and compact build makes it easier to use.

rocky talkie mountain radio - the rocky talky, shown here on the pack's shoulder strap performed...
The Rocky Talky, shown here on the pack's shoulder strap performed well and held a charge in below freezing temperatures.
Credit: Jacob Holmes

Should You Buy the Rocky Talkie?


Due to its solid range, excellent clarity, top-notch battery life, compact size, rough-and-tumble build, and simple setup – this is the best walkie-talkie for most people. The only reasons we wouldn't recommend these radios are if you need a waterproof option for extremely wet climates or on-water operation, if you need access to NOAA weather channels, or if you consistently need a longer range than an FRS radio can provide. In the last case, you'd need to upgrade to a GMRS model and earn the FCC license it requires. These aren't the most cost-effective radios out there, but we believe these offer extremely high value for what you pay for.

rocky talkie mountain radio - it's not flashy, but it gets the job done and tucks away easily as...
It's not flashy, but it gets the job done and tucks away easily as shown here on the climber's left shoulder strap.
Credit: Jacob Holmes

What Other Walkie Talkies Should You Consider?


If you need to save a little space, we recommend checking out the Midland X-Talker T10, which earned the best buy award in our test. While it doesn't offer nearly the range and clarity of the Rocky Talkie, it works well when you're closer to the other members of your group. It also accesses NOAA weather channels, and with the stark price difference, you'll likely be able to afford more of them. If you do need a waterproof option, check out the Motorola T600. If you need a more powerful radio, check out its bigger sibling, the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt.

rocky talkie mountain radio - the rocky talkies are our favorite radio in the test.
The Rocky Talkies are our favorite radio in the test.
Credit: Jacob Holmes

Zach Lovell and Clark Tate