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Editor Picks For Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival & Camping

Having a ham radio can be more than just a hobby. Many of the top-rated ham radios can be used for survival situations as well. With some models featuring dual-band capabilities, they can be used as walkie-talkie type communicators in addition to HAM functionality.

However, this handheld device is more than just a simple radio. It is an essential communication tool for survival and camping, mainly if you got lost while trekking or you get stuck in an area, and you are unable to get yourself out, a portable HAM radio can be a great life saver!

Ham radios can also be an excellent means of gathering news in survival situations where traditional media outlets may be shut down or incapacitated.

With lots of brands of ham radio available in the market today, it is crucial to find the best ham radio for survival. You cannot just purchase the first product that you come across and expect it to perform with flying colors.

If you are planning to use it as a survival tool or as a  communication device while camping or hiking, doing some research before you purchase is always advisable.

Here is an exclusive look at the best handheld ham radios for survival and camping:

1.    BaoFeng UV-82HP

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Baofeng UV-82 High Power Tri-Power 8/4/1-Watt Dual Band VHF 136-174MHz/UHF 400-520MHz Portable FRS Radio Two-Way Radio

A top choice with users is the BaoFeng UV-82HP ham radio. Unlike most ham radios, this one is a high power multipurpose radio for beginners and experienced users. The ham radio is characterized by unique features that include.

  • It houses 1, 5, and 7/8 watts three-power hubs
  •  It comes with a one-year warranty offered through BaoFeng Tech.
  • The package consists of 80-page in-depth usage instructions for ease of use.
  • It has a High Gain V-85 Antenna for optimized performance.
  •  The ham radio is fully compatible with all UV-82 accessories.
  • Has 128 memory channel and a frequency lock feature that lock on a particular channel.
  • It operates with dual-band for more talk distance.

2. BTECH UV-5X3 5-Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF

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BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF, 1.25M, UHF, Amateur (Ham), Includes Dual Band Antenna, 220 Antenna, Earpiece, Charger, and More

  • You can’t beat the value of the BTECH UV-5X3 model. This powerful handheld ham radio comes with the following unique features;
  •  The radio features a tri-band frequency range
  • It comes with an incoming ani display
  • It has a selectable frequency range scanning on the go
  •  It has two power levels with a 5-watt maximum.
  • It features 128 programmable memory channels in which you can remove or add using computer software.
  • Full backward accessory compatibility will bf-f8hp and UV-5r accessories.


3. Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R 8-Watt) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio

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Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R 8-Watt) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio with 2 Rechargeable 2100mAh Battery Handheld Walkie Talkies Complete Set with Earpiece and Programming Cable

(UV-5R 8-Watt) Ham Walkie Talkie Radio is a cool and perfect accessory for car racing, off-road trip, outdoor operation, survival, and camping. The ham radio comes with the following features;

  • It supports PC or keyboard programming
  • It has wide compatibility with many other radios by covering most of the commonly used frequency range between 65-108.
  •  The package comes with a full set of accessories, and you don’t have to worry about looking for compatible accessories.
  •  You will be given an 18-month warranty plus tech and hardware supported provided.
  •  It comes with a powerful rechargeable   2100mah Li-ion battery that lasts for 12 – 20 hours and an extra battery for non-stop communication.
  • It has three different switchable RF power output (8w/5w/1w)

4. BaoFeng UV-82C Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio 

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BaoFeng UV-82C Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio, Transceiver, HT with Battery, Earpiece, Antenna, Charger
BaoFeng company has lots of excellent ham products, and the BaoFeng UV-82C is one of the best from them. Some of its unique features include;

  • This handheld radio is more powerful with a more compact case and bigger switches. It requires software and a programming cable before initial use.
  • It has a louder 1-watt speaker
  •  The ham radio is FCC Part 90 certified by ensuring it has the VFO locked out and narrowband.
  •  It features a frequency range of 65-108 MHz and a switchable wide/narrow band (25KHz/ 12.5KHz)
  •  Comes with a LED flashlight and FM radio


5. BaoFeng UV-5RE+ 8Watt Ham Radio Handheld 

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BaoFeng UV-5RE+ 8Watt Ham Radio Handheld Rechargeable with Gamtaai NA-771 Telescopic Antenna+Acoustic Tube Earpiece+2800mAh Large Battery,VHF/UHF Two Way Radio Long Range Walkie Talkies (Black)
The BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus is an upgrade from the BaoFeng UV-5RE radio featuring an 8 watts high power, which is double the output power.  It comes with a list of its excellent characteristics including;

  • Has a high, medium and low power settings (8w/5w/1w).
  • It comes with a wide frequency range (65-108 MHz).
  • The included Gamtaai NA-771 high gain retractable antenna, which extends the radio in a vast range.
  • The package includes an Acoustic Tube Earpiece that offers a clearer and louder sound. The soft earplug fits comfortably in the ear that keeps the conversation clear and private.
  • The battery is 30% larger with an increased capacity from 1800 to 2800mAh battery for improved battery life.
  • The manufacturer has a 1-year warranty plus 30 days free return and replacement.

6. BTECH Mini UV-25X4 25-Watt Tri-Band Base Mobile Radio

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BTECH Mini UV-25X4 25 Watt Tri-Band Base, Mobile Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF), 220-230mhz (1.25M), 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham)
Next in our list is the BTECH Mini UV-25X4 model. Some of the things that stands out in this ham radio include;

  • The radio is easily programmable from a computer to set up the radio to function specifically as required.
  • It comes with 200 programmable memory channels.
  •  It has a back-light that is handy even in dim situations for both the LCD and keypad display.
  •  Thanks to its dual watch receiver feature, you can able to monitor two channels simultaneously.
  •  You can toggle between high and low power settings. (25W/ 10W)

7. BaoFeng UV-5R+ Plus UHF VHF Long Range Dual Band Ham Amateur Two-Way Radio

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Baofeng UV-5R+ Plus UHF VHF Long Range Dual Band Ham Amateur Two Way Radio, Black
This is one of the most affordable and feature-rich ham radios available in the market today.  The ham radio has been built solidly with a more enhanced metallic upgrade structure and more features than the preceding UV-5R and UV-5RA. The model is equipped with the following features;

  • It has a two-color LED display that is bright and easy to read.
  • The ham radio is compatible with other 5R series accessories, such as the UV-5R 3800mAh.
  • One can effortlessly program the settings using the keypad or connecting with a PC. More so, it is compatible with CHIRP programming.
  • It has a frequency range of 136—174/ 400-480 MHz and a lot of FM radio channels.
  • It is lightweight and versatile for survival and camping.


8. HYS 25W Dual Band VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver Golden Mobile Ham Radio 

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HYS 25W Dual Band VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver Golden Mobile Ham Radio Amateur Radio Built-in 12000mAh Battery with Programming Cable Antenna SO239 to PL259 Adapter (A Complete Set of)
This is another compact and affordable ham radio in the market. HYS 25W Dual Band features excellent characteristics as follows;

  • It comes with a built-in 12000mah battery that requires to be charged for just six hours and will continuously use for 4 hours or remain standby for more than 12 hours.
  • It has a maximum power output of 25W, which allows a talking distance of 10-15 miles.
  • It comes as a complete set from a programming cable antenna SO239 to PL259 adapter.
  • It has a backlight LCD for dim situations.
Handheld Ham Radio for SurvivalBatteryOutput
BaoFeng UV-82HP
BaoFeng UV-82HP
Check Price
1 Lithium Polymer batteries required. (included)DC10V/500mA
BTECH UV-5X3 5-Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF
BTECH UV-5X3 5-Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF
Check Price
1500mAh BatteryHigh: 5W (VHF)
Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R 8-Watt) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio
 Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R 8-Watt) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio
Check Price
2100 mAh Li-ion Battery(8w/5w/1w) High
BaoFeng UV-82C Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio
BaoFeng UV-82C Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio
Check Price
1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)DC10V/500mA

It is crucial to get the best quality handheld ham radio, you should thus understand what you are purchasing. Which is ideal for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Any of the models listed above will be excellent for your survival and camping needs.

While a handheld HAM survival radio is a great tool for survival situations it’s important to understand that a portable model isn’t going to have the same range as a stationary unit with a large antenna. If you are wanting a high-quality survival radio for communication on the go then the portable variety is a great choice for getting in contact with people on the move.

Frequently Asked Questions About Portable HAM Survival Radios

Question: What is the range of portable HAM survival radios?
Range will depend on many factors including weather and the power output of the radio. Models with rechargeable batteries tend to have more power vs models using AA batteries which are not as robust.

Question: Can portable HAM radios also be used for short-range multiple-channel communication in survival situations?
Yes, some models feature different modes of operation allowing the user to communicate on different radio frequencies. These dual-band radios are ideal for survival situations.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Handheld Ham Radio
Author Rating
Product Name
Best Portable Ham Survival Radio

Written by Kenneth Craig

Kenneth is an avid camper and amateur survivalist who has been passionate about wild places his whole life. Ken loves taking new camping gear out in the woods and putting it through the "Ken Test". Favorite place to be: Glacier National Park in MT.

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