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Best Walkie Talkie for Bug Out Bags and Disasters

Walkie-talkies are an absolute necessity when you’re putting together a disaster kit. Communication is often the key ingredient to survival, and nothing lasts longer and is more reliable than a handheld radio. Getting the best gear for your setup will provide peace of mind and security when you need it the most. So, what is the best walkie-talkie for bug-out bags and disasters?

The Cobra Rugged Waterproof Walkie-Talkies are as good as you’ll find anywhere for a bug out bag. They can last through 18 hours of continuous use, they’re dustproof and waterproof, and they have over 22 channels.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn answers to the following questions:

  • What should you look for when buying a walkie-talkie?
  • How do you use a walkie-talkie effectively?
  • Do you really need a radio for emergencies?

The Best Walkie Talkie for Emergencies

Man on Mountain Holding a Walkie Talkie

Walkie-talkies need to have three qualities to be worth your investment:

  1. They should be durable (waterproof, scratchproof, and dustproof).
  2. There needs to be several channels to search through for multiple communication lines.
  3. The battery life needs to exceed the competition.

Fortunately, the Cobra Rugged Waterproof Walkie Talkies meet all three qualifications. Not only that, but this pair exceeds expectations by providing a massive 38 channels for you and your crew. By switching through each channel, you’ll increase the chances that you’ll be able to find help. If you want a private connection, you can set password codes.

Related How Much Does a Satellite Phone Cost? (And Plan Details).

Another unique feature of this radio set is that they have voice activation features. You can use code words to activate the talking mechanism, freeing up your hands to deal with other tasks during the disaster. You can also press the ‘Call’ button to signal someone else’s walkie-talkie nearby.

The IP54 rating on this set guarantees the waterproof (for splashes) and dustproof claims. It’s also very shockproof, absorbing the impact from the ground if you accidentally drop it. There’s even a battery gauge at the top that shows you when it’s been through enough and it’s time for another recharge.

Here’s a list of additional features that you’ll get with these walkie-talkies:

  • The scanning button allows you to automatically search for active channels rather than having to manually look through all 38 of them. This feature is convenient when you’re trying to pair up with friends and family, but it’s crucial when you need help from medical services.
  • You can keep an eye on the weather with a single push of a button. Weather updates allow you to see when a storm has passed, which is important if you’re waiting inside of a storm shelter.
  • There’s a vibration option that allows your walkie-talkie to vibrate when there’s an incoming message. This option is great if the noise outside is loud, and you can’t hear the light static produced by the radios.
  • Finally, these walkie-talkies last up to 18 hours of constant usage. This measurement doesn’t include downtime when you’re not actively sending or receiving transmissions to and from other people.

What Should You Look For When Buying a Walkie-Talkie?

There’s no doubt that there are hundreds of walkie-talkies to choose from. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, you’ll run into all sorts of variations. It can be challenging to know which features matter and which are a waste of money and space.

Here are the five features to keep an eye out for:

  1. The first and most important feature of all is the signal strength. Not only do you need a good signal, but you should also look at the range of the set. Most cheap walkie-talkies are only connected up to two or three miles. Fortunately, the Cobra walkie-talkies mentioned above go up to a staggering 38 miles.
  2. Consider how many channels you want to use. The Cobra handset has 38 channels, but you might prefer more or fewer options. More channels allow you to connect to a larger number of people, while fewer channels might be nice if you’re using them for camping or other recreational activities. For emergencies, never settle for less than 25 channels.
  3. Think about the waterproof and dustproof ratings. If your radios can’t withstand a splash of water, then there’s a serious problem. Using walkie-talkies in a storm that aren’t waterproof is completely pointless. You also don’t want dust and dirt clogging the speakers, which is why dust ratings are equally important.
  4. How long does the battery last? Long-lasting batteries are an obvious advantage, especially when you’re using them for a disaster scenario. Never settle for anything less than five to ten hours. For reference, the Cobra walkie-talkies last up to 18 hours per charge.
  5. Consider push-to-talk vs. voice activation features. Most walkie-talkies only have one or the other, while a few of them have both. Either way, you should think about which mode you’ll likely use more often. There’s nothing worse than not hearing someone on the other line because you’re accidentally pressing the talk button.

As you can see, there are plenty of features to run through when you’re searching for a new set of walkie-talkies. You might also want to think about what additional options are at your disposal, such as weather indicators, size, and volume adjustments.

Do You Need a Walkie-Talkie for Your Bug Out Bag?

Communication is often the line between healthy survival and injury. If you’re able to send out a signal searching for help, you’ll be able to stay alive long enough for them to arrive. Walkie-talkies are held by most truckers, law enforcement officers, and emergency personnel. You should always have one in your bug-out bag.

Even if you’re alone, you can get excellent usage out of a single walkie-talkie. Leave one in your house and one in your car’s emergency kit, so you’ll always be able to contact other people whenever you need to. If you don’t need help from the outside world, walkie-talkies are still a great investment for families and friends.

Whyever you want it; walkie-talkies should be one of if not the first gear you purchase when creating a bug-out bag. Communication, weather checks, GPS signals, and a variety of other useful features can make your chances of survival go through the roof. For such a budget-friendly price, there’s no reason that every kit shouldn’t have a set.

How to Use Walkie Talkies

Walkie-talkies are relatively simple in nature, but some of the modern models can be a bit complicated. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to use the average walkie-talkie for communication purposes:

  1. Find the channel that you want to use. If you’re using it with friends or family, just head to the same channel together. On the other hand, use the ‘Scan’ feature to find emergency services or other people with walkie-talkies.
  2. Press the side ‘Talk’ button to start talking. If you hear an incoming message, don’t press the button. Pushing the talk button cuts out the signal from the other side. You won’t be able to hear anything unless you have the button untouched.

Walkie-talkies often work on a turn-based system. Wait for a message, say your part, wait again, and repeat.


The Cobra Rugged Waterproof Walkie-Talkies are, in my opinion, the best handheld radios for bug-out bags and disaster kits. They come with every feature you need to survive and thrive in an otherwise dangerous situation. By following radio communication etiquette and optimizing your message settings, you can greatly increase your chances of getting assistance.

For more, check out 7 Best Ways for a Man To Carry a Cell Phone.