Call them walkie-talkies if you want, but the GXT1000VP4 (GXT’s) are our picks for some of the best outdoorsmen radios for a small budget. Not much smaller than the average household landline phone, the Midland GXT1000VP4’s are a popular set of outdoor radios.
At just under 2lbs, you’ll hardly notice you’re carrying the GXTs until a call comes through. They have a splash-proof rating of JIS4, which is resistant water from the occasional splash. In any case, it’s best to keep them as far from water as possible. Ideal spots to carry them include breast pockets, backpack straps, the shoulder, or waist.
On a fully charged battery, you’ll get about 11 hours of operation out of the GXTs. The charger must be plugged in to work, so be aware of that if you plan on taking them on trips away from any sort of outlet. This kind of limits their use to just day trips and maybe short journeys over multiple days.
The GXTs have 50 different channels and a maximum range of 36 miles in the best conditions. The signal gets weaker as you approach the maximum distance or when the weather is tumultuous, so best be aware of that before you embark on your trip.
For channel security, the radios have 142 privacy codes that cement that two-way frequency. In the case of an emergency, the radios emit distress signals. One key ability of the GXTs is that they have call alert tones, so you can know what type of call is coming in.
At first glance, the GXTs look like simple hand-held radios, but underneath they have an array of channels to make sure your time in the outdoors is safe and secure. One notable feature is a connection to the NOAA (National Oceanica and Atmospheric Administration). This function will give you updates on the surrounding area’s weather.
For such a small set of radios, the GTXs are really diverse in their abilities. While there are longer-lasting radios on the market, there are few that you can acquire for this price.
As we mentioned before, the 11-hour battery life of the GTXs limits their usefulness to about a day depending on how often you use them. However, a 36-mile range is still pretty incredible range for so small a device. Fog or rain will affect that range, but that’s why you have the connection to the NOAA so you can maneuver your adventure around the inclement weather.
National parks with high mountain ranges and unpredictable weather will be tricky. Remember that the GTXs are not waterproof and if the rain or snow gets bad, you can seriously or permanently damage them if they’re not covered.
That being said, you’ll get the most of the GTXs if you say away from the fringes of their range and regularly check the NOAA for updates. The best way to beat the weather is to be ahead of it.
For the price, the GXTs are reliable radios. They’re not too big nor too small and pack enough channels and functions to make your calls strong and secure. There are definitely more advanced radios with all sorts of abilities, but like we mentioned earlier, the GTX’s cost is its real advantage.