Next to the essential gear- beacon, probe, shovel- radios are pretty key in backcountry missions. Communication is paramount in the backcountry, and if you can’t talk to the rest of your crew, you might as well be alone. Don’t rely on your cell phone. Not only can they be unreliable in the backcountry, but they can also interfere with your beacon. As far as radios go, there are a lot of options but I prefer the T9650 Motorola radios for my backcountry exploits. They are a little bulkier, but I’ve found them a little more reliable than the smaller models. In my experience, the smaller units have less signal strength. So, anytime you’re working in terrain that’s not conducive to line-of-sight communication (like the backcountry) the smaller units end up cutting out. Also, always pack an extra set of batteries. Even if the radio appears to be charged in the morning, cold can do strange things to batteries. When these radios start to die you end up in the frustrating situation of being able to hear, but not being able to talk back.
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