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Hook & Barrel
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Real-World Mountain Radio Communications Test

Do you know where the best places are in the world? Places with no cell phone reception. Do you know where the best place in the world to get bitten by a snake is? Somewhere with cell phone reception.

Ok, an extreme example but a valid one. As outdoorsmen, we loathe being bothered by telemarketers while in our sacred hunting grounds, but let’s face it, having a safety net to call for help, report back to basecamp, announce a kill, a stuck quad, or simply call for a refill, is always good.

Hook & Barrel Magazine’s proving grounds are in a remote section of mountains with little to no service but ample danger. Swiftly dropping elevations to acutely rising slopes are common with dense foliage throughout. It is not prime radio territory, so when we were contacted by Rocky Talkie, we were amused but not enthusiastic—most others failed the test.

rocky talkie

Backcountry Radio Backstory

In late 2019, Bryce Jones and Alex Page, both longtime friends and adventurers based in Denver, Colorado, embarked on a mission. Dissatisfied with the existing options for reliable, backcountry-friendly radios, they decided to design one themselves. This endeavor led them through numerous iterations and intensive testing phases, culminating in the creation of the Mountain Radio—a device engineered to endure harsh environments and maintain communication among explorers.

Deer Scouting Mission

With our hands on their Mountain Radio, we set out to camp. It was that time of year just after deer season when bumping bucks didn’t matter, and finding sheds was probable. Late January and February are the best time of year for scouting because deer are still in their late fall and winter ranges, thus where they will be next season. It’s always been fun to scout in the mountains, but often, we get separated, and with no paths being followed, getting lost is likely. Also, with the wives and kids back at the camp, there is that whole “checking in” thing that we had to consider.

Here’s hoping these things work or she will be pissed… and they did.

rocky talkie

Rocky Talkie Performance

Do they work (well)? In terms of performance, the Rocky Talkie didn’t disappoint.

They claim, it offers clear communication with a range that can extend up to 35 miles under optimal conditions (but unless you are a Nebraskan corn farmer, who plays around in a field with 35 miles of flat terrain and uninterrupted line of sight? I digress.)

In our situation, peaks and valleys that only Bigfoot can appreciate, I can report with confidence that the radios worked flawlessly within most of our 2,300-acre section. There were a few far-reaching areas 3 valleys away from camp that we lost reception, but that falls firmly under Rocky Talkie’s Forest & Hills: 0.5 to 3 miles, claim. But again, as I first began, most other companies failed at half this distance, so we were more than impressed.

The units also support a wide range of channels and include privacy codes to minimize interference from other users—again, not a factor for us, but if you are ever in the mountains of southeastern Oklahoma on channel 69, disregard our banter, unless you are bringing refills.

Are they all looks? The Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio is built with rugged construction, designed to endure the harsh conditions of outdoor environments. Its protective rubber casing and ergonomic design ensure it can withstand drops, impacts, and exposure to water and snow. The inclusion of a shatterproof screen adds to its durability, ensuring that critical information remains visible and intact.

How long do they last? This is a big one for us as we are off-grid and have very limited power sources for recharging. The battery performance exceeded expectations, especially considering the compact size and lightweight nature of the radio. They claim four days without a charge and we maxed that out with some to go.

User-Friendly Radio Features

So easy a caveman can use them? With glove-friendly buttons and a clear, bright display, the Rocky Talkie is designed for ease of use in challenging conditions. The intuitive interface allows for quick access to features and settings, ensuring that users can communicate effectively without unnecessary complexity. One pro tip is turning off the sounds when pressing the push-to-talk button (PTT). In a hunting situation, you certainly don’t need any beeping—just hold in the PTT when turning on the radio and you’re good to go… quietly.

Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio

Beyond its core functions, the Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio includes several thoughtful features that enhance its usability. The high-quality leash and carabiner attachment system ensures that the radio stays secure during adventures in deer lease navigation and shenanigans up to and including, high-speed pursuits of feral hogs on the quad, usage of questionable tree stands, firewood gathering expeditions, and even the liveliest of campsite wrestling matches.

Furthermore, its IP56 rating provides peace of mind by protecting against water and dust, making it suitable for use in a wide range of weather conditions. Also, what kind of a stress test would it be if we didn’t “accidentally” drop one in the creek? Yes, it still worked—can’t say the same for Ryan’s iPhone.

Worth the Money?

Bottom line? Priced competitively, Rocky Talkie offers excellent value considering its features, durability, and performance. They also come with a two-year warranty. We will say they aren’t the cheapest, but that’s not what you want. You want the one that works as promised. And as we promised Rocky Talkie: “Listen, if they work, we will publish a review, but we make no promises, our land is tough.” And thus, you’re reading this.

So, if you are in the market for radios for the backcountry or an expensive birthday gift for your kids, these puppies deliver.

Over and out.

For more information, check out rockytalkie.com.

Editor’s Note: For those who might be a tad slow on the uptake regarding the teaser imagery used for this post, you might want to look into watching Rocky Balboa train in the “zero cell service” mountains somewhere deep in the Soviet Union. No question, Rocky from Rocky IV could’ve used a pair of Rocky Talkies so Adrian could’ve kept tabs on his whereabouts.

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