When it comes time to upgrade your cooler to something that will actually keep your ice, well, ice, for more than a few hours, you’ll find that a good cooler is actually a pretty big investment. While Yeti is often known to be the best when it comes to coolers, our research has found that there are some comparable and even better brands at all different price points.
You might know Motorola as the eccentric phone maker. They also manufacture the MS355R two-way radio. These radios are rugged and waterproof, making them an ideal choice for the average outdoorsmen and woman.
In this review, we’ll explore why the MS355R should be on your list of gadgets for your next adventure.
There’s nothing too outlandish about the MS355R’s design. It’s not too bulky and fits in the palm of your hand. There are buttons on the front and the side to help out no matter where the radio is positioned on your body.
One thing we really like is the headset jack. Motorola has designed earphones specifically for this radio that have a built-in microphone. With the earphones connected, you can keep the MS355R dry and still operate it hands-free. Furthermore, the earphones are included with your purchase of the MS355R.
That 35-mile range is what entices many people to purchase the MS355R. When approaching that 35-mile limit, the MS355R works in tangent with repeater stations that might be in the area to boost the radio’s signal. However, you will need a unique GMRS license and a repeater station in order to utilize this function. Repeater stations aren’t common in every park or area of the wilderness, so make sure you check before you embark on a trip with this radio.
The MS355R comes equipped with 11 weather channels, 7 of which are connected to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association). Eleven channels diversify your ability to accurately predict the weather and plan your journey around rain, snow, or high winds.
Don’t think that the MS355R is limited to just backpacking or hiking trips. If you to take it out on the open water, the signal is good for up to six miles. Since its easier to close distance in the water with kayaks and boats, staying within that six-mile circumference should be easier.
The big advantage that the MS355R has over radios is its waterproof rating of IP-67. This means it can withstand submersion for up to a minute and half and repel heavy rain. You should do everything in your power to keep it out of water but still keep it within arms reach.
We like that the MS355R is small and to the point. There’s no extra bells and whistles that might raise the price or add to its weight. The belt clips that come with the radios mean you can place them wherever is convenient for you.
Despite the MS355R impressive abilities for the price, it’s not without its criticisms. Most complaints have to do with inconsistency with the MS355R’s range, which is pretty common among most two-way radios. For the best quality voice transmission, you’ll want to stay below half the maximum range and stand at the highest altitude with little terrain between you and the approximate position of the accompanying radio. While the quality of voice transmission is absolutely critical, you shouldn’t expect to get crystal clear reception at the bottom of a valley or ravine.
Ready to purchase the MS355R? Click the link below to see the current price.
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.