Getting lost outdoors has never been this fun. Attention hikers, hunters, fishermen and outdoor extremists: you can expect an adrenaline rush with Garmin’s latest set of handheld rugged two-way radios with built-in GPS. These new devices will have you hoping for detours and trekking down roads less traveled.

CB Radios vs. Two-Way Radios

If you’ve been a CB radio user for a long time, you know the major benefits it brings: easy communication with another cb device, no hassle in acquiring license unlike ham radios, and a very handy gadget for emergency applications.

CB radios for vehicles or home use antennas that extend their range, giving way to more connectivity and ease of transmission, whether to a moving car or a stationary CB radio device at home. Two way radios, on the other hand, are often handheld, portable, and small in size. They work without an external antenna, but they offer more privacy through private code transmissions, compared to CB radios where channels are open to the public.

While CB radio users don’t need a license to operate, certain models of two-way radios need a permit. FRS (Family Radio Service) two way radios don’t need FCC licensing, but GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios do.

While preference can be the major factor in deciding whether to choose a cb radio or a two-way radio, both companies manufacturing these devices have added major features on their products to entice more users. Garmin, for instance, has released an advanced two-way radio with GPS.

Garmin’s Advanced Two-Way Radios

It doesn’t matter if you’re skiing, 4-wheeling, or conquering the highest peaks in your hometown, the key to safety is communication and Garmin knows it.

The Rino 520 and the more robust Rino 530 both offer an impressive 12-mile communication range (using 5 watts of transmit power) but the 530 version also includes an electronic compass, barometric altimeter (for accurate elevation checks) and a NOAA weather receiver to keep informed of critical weather changes.

Both the Rino 520 and 530 are enabled with the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) which boasts position accuracy of better than three meters 95 percent of the time and BlueChart Compatible, Garmin’s exclusive marine cartography, providing interactive viewing of detailed nautical chart data.

So what does all of this mean to you? For starters, the built-in basemap of North America and optional City Select software can combine to create automatic route generation, off-route recalculation, turn-by-turn directions and even a customized map data. The Contact TracBack feature allows you to retrace the path of up to 20 contacts while the Proximity Alarm alerts you if a contact moves out of a specified distance radius, a must-have feature for families with young children.

Juiced up with a high capacity 8.4v 2400 mAh Li-ion Battery Pack and with a 16 to 18 hour typical battery life, Garmin is peace-of-mind you can hold in your hands. For those who like to push the limits, these waterproof casings can also withstand temperatures between -4 to 140 f. Both devices come standard with PC/USB interface cables, wrist straps, belt clips, A/C adapter cables and Quick Start Manuals.

The Rino 520 is listed at $482 and the Rino 530 for $535. Please note: The use of GMRS frequencies in the US requires a license from the FCC. Applicable regulatory agencies must be consulted prior to using the Rino radio outside of the US.