Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review

This two-way radio redefines rugged, reliable communication with extended battery life, making it our top choice for outdoor adventurers.

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Communication is key while running, hiking, or exploring in remote areas, and Rocky Talkie has once again stepped up to offer a solution for those seeking long-range, long battery life, and durable radio communication in challenging terrains where cell signal isn’t an option.

Enter the 5 Watt Radio by Rocky Talkie, the brand’s latest walkie talkie. It’s an enhanced two-way radio engineered to keep you connected in the most demanding environments. But does this new model live up to the elevated expectations set by its predecessor, the Mountain Radio?

In this Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio review I’m going to first go over the key specification that you need to know before buying, how it performs in the real world (I’ve been testing them in mountain environments with Helen, during trail runs and hikes).

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

After all that, I’ll let you know whether it really is a dream gadget for outdoor enthusiasts looking to keep a line of communications while adventuring outdoors, and ultimately if it’s worth you buying.

A quick look at the specifications

  • Price: $165 at rockytalkie.com
  • Usage: Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts including hikers, skiers, and climbers who need robust, long-lasting communication tools that can withstand harsh environments.
  • Key Features: Privacy Codes, Channel Lock, High/Low Power Modes, Scan Mode, TX Beep, NOAA Weather Mode, Emergency Alert Monitoring, Dual Channel Watch.
  • Channels: 22 + 8 repeater channels
  • Range: Line-of-sight: 35+ miles, Mountains: up to 8 miles, Forest/Hills: up to 5 miles, Rivers: up to 3 miles, City: up to 1.5 miles.
  • Battery Life and Type: 4-6 days of continuous use with a rechargeable 1800 mAh Li-ion.
  • Size and Dimensions: 10.3 x 6.2 x 3.4 cm.
  • Weight: 9.1 oz.
  • Power: 5 Watts.
  • Waterproofing: IP67 (Waterproof and submergible up to 1 meter).
  • Closest Competitors: Backcountry Access BC Link 2.0, Midland X-Talker, Motorola Talkabout.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio target audience and some key features

The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio is crafted for those who push the limits of their adventures into areas where traditional communication devices fail. It is particularly well suited for professional guides, serious adventurers, and safety-conscious outdoor enthusiasts. That said, it’s also really for anyone who wants a continuous line of communication with other radio users.

Even when we are not adventuring, we enjoy using our radios at home to communicate without having to shout across the house, or send each other text messages, it’s surprisingly useful for this purpose too, for us anyway.

Some key features of this radio include a significantly increased range, with up to 35+ miles line-of-sight and enhanced usability in mountainous and forested terrain. The waterproofing upgrade to IP67 makes this radio suitable for all weather conditions and water-related activities, ensuring that neither rain nor river crossings will compromise your communication.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio VS Mountain Radio

The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio represents a significant upgrade from the Mountain Radio, particularly appealing to those who venture deeper into remote or challenging environments.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 2 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

While the Mountain Radio offers robust communication with a 2-watt power output and a respectable range, the 5 Watt Radio amplifies these capabilities quite a bit.

With its 5-watt output, the new model increases communication range of up to 35+ miles line-of-sight and up to 8 miles in mountainous terrain, compared to the Mountain Radio’s 25+ miles and 1-5 miles respectively. Additionally, the 5 Watt Radio enhances durability with its IP67 waterproof rating, capable of withstanding submersion up to one meter, an upgrade from the IP56 splash-proof rating of the Mountain Radio.

The press to talk button, volume up and down buttons, and also the NOAA weather scanner and CT button to change privacy codes, and the A/B button for dual channel monitoring.
The press to talk button, volume up and down buttons, and also the NOAA weather scanner and CT button to change privacy codes, and the A/B button for dual channel monitoring.

It also comes equipped with the ability to scan 11 NOAA weather channels simply by holding the Volume Up (+) button on the side of your radio for 2 seconds. Your radio then scans the 11 regional NOAA weather channels, and once your radio picks up a signal, it stops scanning and you’ll hear the NOAA weather updates.

I have yet to need to use this service in a remote location but tested it at home and it works as expected, with both nautical and traditional weather reports on loop that get relayed over the radio – it’s pretty cool to hear. The weather information depends on the local stations you have.

These enhancements make the 5 Watt Radio a better choice for the more serious adventurers, professional guides, and anyone involved in extensive outdoor activities where extra range and reliability are critical in mountain environments.

These extra features do come at a cost however, in retail price but also size and weight. The 5 Watt Radio costs $55 more, and the Mountain Radio weighs 5.8oz whereas the 5 Watt Radio weighs 9.4oz.

Getting Started with the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio

Unpacking and setting up the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio is as straightforward as it gets. The device comes with a comprehensive Quick Start guide that walks you through the setup, from turning it on to connecting with other radios.

The added features like NOAA Weather Channels and Emergency Alert Monitoring are essential tools that offer peace of mind when venturing into unpredictable environments.

Aesthetics, Ergonomics, and Build Quality

The Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio retains the sleek, functional design of its predecessor but with added heft that reassures you of its durability, and of course allows for the extra power it delivers.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 3 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

The thermoplastic case is rugged yet lightweight, and the shatter-proof screen is bright and easy to read under any condition. Ergonomically, the radio feels secure in your grip, and the button placement is intuitive, even with gloves on.

User Interface and Experience

The user interface of the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio is designed for efficiency and ease of use.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 4 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

It has glove-friendly buttons, a clear and bright display, and a straightforward menu system that makes using the radio simple, no matter your technical expertise, or environment you’re operating it in. Just be sure to learn how to operate it with the quick start guide before venturing out.

Features like the dual channel watch increase functionality without complicating the user experience, allowing you to monitor two frequencies at once.

Practicality on the Go

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 5 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

It clips securely to your gear with either the fixed steel gator clip on the rear, or the removable bungee leash with a carabiner attachment that comes with the radio when you buy it, pictured below.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 6 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

Its compact size means it doesn’t weigh you down or get in the way as you move; this thoughtful design extends to its real-world application, where the extended battery life and powerful output mean you stay connected longer and clearer.

Here’s a photo of the robust steel crocodile clip on the rear:

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio Review 7 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

Real World Communication Tests

In field tests across varying landscapes, the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio consistently outperformed expectations, Its extended range was particularly noticeable in mountainous regions, providing clear communication – this is the environment I have been using them mostly, including forested areas here in Northern California. The battery endurance is very good too, handling multiple days on a single charge.

Longevity and Battery Life

The upgrade to a 1800 mAh battery in the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio not extends the usable time and also enhances the overall lifespan of the device.

The ability to withstand extreme temperatures without a drop in performance is a significant plus for adventurers who find themselves in cold environments.

Is the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio worth buying?

Given its list of features and robust build, the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio offers excellent value for its price – I really like how it looks too, much nicer than the traditional bulky black plastic units you may be used to seeing.

It’s a solid investment for those who need dependable communication in tough, unpredictable outdoor conditions. At $165, and with all the additional safety features like NOAA weather alerts and emergency monitoring make it even better value for money in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed reading this Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio review; if you still have questions, please feel free to ask me me anything in the comments below – I’m still using these radios on a regular basis, and happy to help you out.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

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