FRS radio advice wanted

Greetings all,

I need to purchase a few FRS radios for some youngsters that I cannot seem to shake loose.

I don’t want to break the bank but I also want to avoid low end poor performing equipment.

Range isn’t as much an issue as durability. I don’t need a bunch of bells and whistles but I would like to have a decent degree of water resistance and impact resistance.

The units I’ve looked at locally do not offer any water resistance.

I’d like to stay around the $75 mark per radio, if possible.

All comments are welcomed.

Thank you.

FRS Radio
I jsut bougth the Motorola Talkabout T5950. came as a set of two for about $100 at EMS. NOt usre about the water resistance but they do work very well. I have used them skiing with no problem (a few falls). Nice feature is being able to listen to NOAA weather radio.

Let me make afew points for ya…

– Last Updated: Feb-05-04 7:57 AM EST –

You say "radios for youngsters". How young?

In "our camping group" we have 10 kids ranging from 1-11. We let them run around and stray within 100 or so yards from camp. We camp in woods and there is a lake near by on one site. The youngest obviously "stick around" but the rest are...... after all..... KIDS!!!! Let em' run!

The kids all have FRS radios, and for night time they get "glow sticks". And since they are getting older, which means more "running area" they will be getting whistles this year to go hand-in-hand with the FRS's......

We all have FRS radios & as do all of the kids have their own.

We purchase "Wal-Mart cheapies" (about $10-$20 A SET!!!) for the kids. They have served well for the past 5 years, which includes being dropped & an occasional dip in puddles & such. Our kids use their "noodles" if they drop them in water & quickly "shake dry" them off.

Heck the adults in the group, who at times, use the radios with a more aggressive & rugged manor even only have the $20-$30 FRS radios. Mine personally survived 10 years of "over rugged" use before it quit! BUT, by then I already bought another set (just

Point # 2 is: The same reason I ALWAYS give on such meanial equipment.

You said you "don't want to break the bank".

If it is for kids or not gonna be used to "save your life" why pay alot? If your "Wal-Mart cheapies" break..... what is another $10 a pair? Especially if you get atleast 2 years out of it.........

And 3rd: You say, you can't find any with "water & impact resistance".

You aren't gonna find may with that feature, unless you want to pay the "big bucks". Sorry :(

PLUS!!! With the "Wal-Mart cheapies", the kids can PICK THEIR OWN!!!! They have necklace style radios, watch style radios & regular style radios.....

Paddle easy,


NIce one Coffee!
You could consider buying Krill extreme lanps for the kids. (one stop knife shop is the cheapses source I have found.) downside is cost, about 25 bucks, and they will break if sat on against a rock or stepped on on hard ground, upside is very low running cost /hour if they are not lost or stepped on. I ue mine wiht rechargeables unless it’s cold. MOre conplex but…

Another point…
Are these kids yours or neighbor kids? If they are NOT yours & you are willing to spend $75 (a radio) on them…

Want to adopt a 32 year old male interested in paddling, hiking & camping that would like more equipment?

LMAO :wink: !!!

Paddle easy,


a vote for the cheap ones
Coffee is right. The cheap ones from Wal-Mart

are durable enough for active kids. I go camping

a lot at resort style campgrounds. I got stuck

manning the slip and slide last year. A kid came

up bailed off his bike and slid, then remembered

the radio and called his dad. The dad answered

with “What do you want now?” and the kid said

“nothing” threw the radio at the bike and kept

sliding!!I wish ours would go on and quit. The

belt clip is broken on mine and the super glue

won’t hold any more. They are 4 years old now.

Good advice
Get cheap radios and keep a couple of cheap spares incase one of them takes a dip. Besides, if they are your kids, it won’t be long before you will be accused of damaging their social developement because you refuse to by them their very own cellphones, with text messaging and camera capability, of course. Save your cash for then, or do as I did, and buy $200.00 in paddleing accessories, and tell’em “Oops, just blew your cellphone money on me again…really sorry about stunting you social development…”

cheap is good
use mine for the kids. Camping and also around the neighborhod. Have had em for 3 yrs. and still work.

I bought a pair for $49
Work great paddling if you have people who get lost. Make sure you get the ones that come with rechargable batterys and charger. Mine have a five mile range, which is a lot of bull, unless you on top of a mountain. I used mine in disney world to keep tabs on our group, worked great. Rich

Range suggestion. 5, not 2…

– Last Updated: Feb-05-04 4:53 PM EST –

One thing I noticed about the ranges offered. It is so easy for the adults and the kids to get beyond the two mile range. My son and I found out on our first paddle with some cheapos that two miles on a small lake is simply not enough range. If he goes one way and I the other then the radios are useless in about 10 minutes. How do you talk to each other if you want to change your meeting place or tell your partners about a neat place to check out "down your way" so to speak? Go for the 5 mile range since you are willing to spend up to 75 bucks apiece. You won't spend near that. 5 miles give us plenty of room for paddling away from each other, or crossing each other's paths on a lake with him on one side and me on another... For adults watching the kids in seperate groups, the 5 mile range would give you more room to explore and still keep in touch too. REI has a good motorola 5 mile range that is "moisture-proof". I have the older model of this and they work great. Splashed on. Rained on. Dew. Frost. Dropped, banged about, the dashboard slide... They keep working. Mine were $89.00 for the pair. Now are $100.00 per pair so you are only paying $50.00 bucks per unit. At the very least, consider these for the adults and get some cheapo's for the kids. That way the adults are in touch when the kids go out of range.
Good luck!

Thanks everybody…
good advice, especially since many of you are parents with hands-on experience.

Coffee, ya crack me up! I can always count on a colourful post from you!

Here’s a quick overview of the situation:

Small pond (.75 mile diametre, 30’ deep), on the outskirts of town. It’s an unimproved city park that sees little traffic. Great place for paddling practice, workouts, etc.

I work my kayak routines there early in the mornings. Sometimes, there are youngsters there of the Huck Finn mindset. As the pond is located near the less affluent part of town, these are usually kids with little parental interaction. Mostly the kind of kids that slip through the cracks of our society. Blank slates with no artist around. Know what I mean?

Anyway, said crumb snatchers decide they’d like to try a kayak. I acquiesced, however, I required them to demonstrate swimming skills and the ability to wet exit. I had extra swim vests. Unfortunately, they had a good time.

The next week I’m workin’ out and the little creeps show up again… with reinforcements. They all want a turn in a kayak. I had to run home to get more boats and gear to accomodate the juvenile delinquents.

This evolves over the summer into impromtu kayak/canoe lessons, first aid lessons, water rescue techniques, and so on. I’m up to 8 or 9 young monsters now. Saturday mornings are the regular gig.

Paddlin’ season ends, the waters are iced. I regularly spend time at another natural area on the other end of town running my dogs, snowshoeing, practicing land nav, etc. And the little shits found me there! Now they’re learning to 'shoe and use the compass & map. Competition losers have to groom my dogs.

Since I cannot seem to get rid of these societal rejects, I find myself needing more gear to keep the little turds out of trouble. The radios are something all the “real” kids have and use so I figure it’ll give these kids a boost as well as increase my ability to keep track of the beasts.

I don’t know how the hell this happened but there it is. My very own Baker Street Irregulars. Lucky me!

BTW, all of them have realised improvements of varying degrees in their academic reports which I require them to present me.

And now you know the rest of the story!

Thanks again for the advice, folks, you saved me some money so I can perhaps pay my bills on time for once!

Regards to all.


Yo Holmes
I am an old FRS user and new father with friends that also have kids etc. I have the expensive Motorolas. My wife gave them to me as a birthday gift when they just came out and she paid top dollar.

If I had invest again I would consider getting the cheaper Motorolas that are rechargeable. These things really eat the batteries and that turns into another hefty recurring expense. I am good If I get a whole wekend of use out of a set of batteries. I have seen a pair of rechargeable Motorolas (and Charger) for about 45 bucks.

I am not sold on Motorola but I have had good luck with mine. We just went to CO skiing and a friend had a pair of really small cheapies that worked great.

These radios are also good for multi-car road trips and shopping at the local big box retailer.

Waterproof pouches
I’m surprised that nobody mentioned getting a couple of those small waterproof bags/pouches that are made for cellphones and the like. I’ve been using one by Voyager for a couple of years now with good results. Relatively cheap, provides some floatation, and plenty of protection from water. Downside is that they add bulk.

By the way, I applaud those efforts on behalf of the kids. Good luck to you.

good advice
My nephew has the walmart cheapos, and although much abused he’s only on his second set. But you can buy 8 sets of these for the same price as the talkabouts so we figure it’s a great value even if you go thru a few.