Which Icom?

Yes, there is a lot of archived discussion about handheld vhf radios. It appears that the Icom products get the most consistent support and recommendation. So…which one? M88 or M72 or M34? Anyone have a definitive argument for one or the other?

and any with a AA battery option?

I like the M88
It may not be the top of the line any more, but the M88 is truely a small unit with a BIG heart. The best part about it is the humongous battery life from the LIon battery. I just spent a week in the San Juans Islands paddling and listening to weather, and scanning while paddling and the meter still shows as full.

It is rugged and waterproof without a bag. I wear it in my pfd all the time, even when rolling, without additional protection.

Size, ability, reputation and battery life are my main reasons for buying this important lifesaving device.

second the M88
I like the size and battery life. I have had no problems with immersion in salt water, but I do rinse it thoroughly in freshwater when I return home after each trip.

M1V or M88
or the new model one with the even higher waterproof rating! The lithium battery is incredible. I think I used my Icom for a full season (~4 multiday trips) before having to recharge it.

M72 - fits hand/pocket better
Thinner than M88 and only slightly longer, with better shape. Highest waterproof rating too.

I have both and they’re great radios
Highly recommended! However, the M72 and the M34 also seem like good radios for kayakers, though I have no direct experience with either.

AA battery caveat
None of the radios on the market that accept AA batteries as an option are rated as submersible with the AA battery pack installed. That limits the utility of the AA pack considerably. You can’t count on it in an on-water emergency, since the radio will likely die if it gets dunked.

Small Clarification
The AA tray is not rated a submersible and thus the radio section combined with it cannot not be rated as submersible when AA tray is used. However, the electronics section is rated submersible without any battery attached so in theory even if water gets in the AA battery tray, the main section containing the electronics should be fine. Thats the theory based on the ratings of the individual sections.

I see the AA trays as an option if the Li battery fails as opposed to an everyday option unless it stays in a dry bag and you don’t expect to use it while swimming.