OK, if there’s a second, more important thing we learned, it’s that cell phone coverage will inevitably crap out when you need it most.
Fact: Cell phone coverage will inevitably crap out when you need it most.
We often found ourselves running separate errands, taking separate bathroom breaks, and practicing our riverfront yoga at different times. All of which is to say: we weren’t always physically together and, often, when we were apart, we couldn’t get in touch with each other. While that’s often just part of living life circa 1998, it’s nice to know that we might have a backup plan in case of an emergency (i.e. bear attack, meteor strike, what have you …).
Enter Motorola’s Talkabout T605 H20 Two-Way Radios (and don’t you dare call them “walkie-talkies”). The company sent us a pair to check out. We’ll be doing a full review on our upcoming road trip. But, for now, here’s a first look …
Motorola’s elevator pitch for the T600 two-way radios goes like so:
With a rugged, fully waterproof* design, emergency features and a 35-mile range, the Talkabout™ T600 H2O Series keeps you connected and protected during your extreme outdoor activities.
The T600 H2O Series is packed with top-of-the-line radio features, including the ability to float* and a water-activated flashlight. The flashlight also includes a red LED to preserve night vision.
With these exceptional capabilities, you can count on the T600 H2O Series to deliver reliable communications during your wildest adventures – whether by land or by sea.
The Traveler’s Take
In short, these aren’t your grandpappy’s “walkie-talkies”. If, like me, you haven’t toyed with a pair of walkies since you were a kid, you might be surprised to learn that a lot has changed. Modern models like Motorola’s offer massive range and a ton of bells and whistles.
While the actual range depends on a lot of factors — geography, topography, and electronic interference — users can expect around two miles (in a typical residential neighborhood), up to 35 miles from a mountaintop to a valley. Obviously, this is all under ideal conditions. But, for our purposes — and for the average road-tripping couple — this should be more than enough.
The list of additional survival features is excellent. The construction is extremely rugged and designed to take a beating. The T600 H20 (like their name applies) are built to IP67 standards meaning they repel the heaviest rain and can withstand full submersion in one meter (approximately three feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. What’s more: they float with a water-activated flashlight so you’re virtually guaranteed to never lose ’em. The flashlight also features a strong white or soft red beam (the latter is designed to preserve your night vision which is especially useful by the campsite).
The units also include a host of other features that are probably way more than most road-trippers like us will ever need. Nevertheless, they’re still a blast to play with: hands-free operation (with the ability to tack on other accessories like a lapel microphone), 22 channels with more than 120 privacy codes, 20 call tones, VibraCall (to eliminate the ringtone altogether), and a keypad lock.
The entry-level T600 pack includes everything you need to get started: two radios, two whistle belt clips, two NiMH rechargeable batteries, one Y cable charging adaptor with dual micro-USB connectors and one user guide. The T605 kit ups the ante with all of the above, plus a car charger and carrying case.
Pricing + Availability
Buy now from $99 (USD) on Amazon — add $20 for the full T605 kit.