Decathlon Forclaz WT100 review

Communication in the hills can be as difficult as it is essential. If you need to stay connected to a mountain buddy, Decathlon might just offer the perfect solution.

Decathlon Forclaz WT100 on a rock

by Ben Weeks |

A quick story. A friend and I were exploring a remote area of crag. It was above a big drop, so we were roped together for safety. There was a point when I was low down on one end of the rope while he was high up on the other and we needed to communicate. The problem was that due to the wind, the layout of the crags, and our relative positions, neither of us could hear a thing the other was yelling. We even tried texting, but guess what? No phone signal. It all worked out in the end, but it could have been very different, and for the sake of just £30 we could have avoided the situation altogether.

You see, £30 will buy you a pair of these Forclaz WT100 walkie talkies from Decathlon. Now, it’s fair to say that this gadget isn’t exactly essential hillwalking gear. Maybe it’s because we are all fired up by the new Top Gun film, or hooked on the latest developments in Stranger Things, but chatting via radio suddenly feels cool again. And in all seriousness, there are plenty of times when simple, mobile network-free communication could be a godsend.

Whether it’s managing a group between a leader and a back-marker, sending your kids off to play on a family campsite, or staying in touch with a fellow adventurer as you explore different parts of a peak, reliable radio communication can increase safety, add reassurance, and introduce an element of fun. Do they need to be used all the time? Absolutely not. But on the odd occasion where they could provide genuine benefits, here’s what the WT100s have to offer…

Five things you need to know about the Decathlon Forclaz WT100 walkie talkies

Decathlon Forclaz WT100 carrying options

Impressive range

Despite their compact size, these petite walkie talkies have a range of up to 5km. This relies on a clear line of sight, and does decrease in more complicated terrain, but even then two people should still be able to remain in clear communication up to 300m apart.

Easy to use

With minimal buttons and intuitive operation, you don’t need to memorise a complicated instruction manual in order to use these. Once set to matching channels, a simple ‘push to talk’ button is the main control.

Light but tough

Each device weighs just 145g – even if you’re carrying both in your pack you’ll barely notice them. They’re fairly small too, only marginally larger than a pack of playing cards due to their antenna. But they’re not fragile, featuring shock and fall-resistant cases and screens. Unfortunately, they’re not waterproof though.

Carrying options

The pair come with adaptable carrying options including a belt clip (which could also be attached to a rucksack strap) and a neck lanyard. Both are removable, and stripped of appendages the walkie talkies will slip easily into a pocket.

Conventionally powered

The WT100s come with USB rechargeable 600mAh NiMH AAA batteries (each takes 3), which will provide around 10 hours of use (assuming 90% on stand-by, 5% in transmission, 5% in reception). In an emergency, regular AAA batteries could be used.

Specs

Size 150 x 50 x 37mm (incl antenna and clip | Weight 145g | Channels 9 | Sub-channels 121

Trail verdict:

A mountain essential? Probably not. But if you need to stay in contact with your hiking mates when out and about, these are perfect for the job.

Other mountain comms kit

Fox 40 Sharx Whistle

Whet your whistle
Fox 40 Sharx Whistle
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The Fox 40 Sharx whistle is one of the loudest (initiate Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world. More importantly, it has no moving parts so can’t freeze or seize up. In the UK six short blasts followed by a minute pause is the standard signal for ‘help’. If you hear someone else signalling, you should respond with three short blasts and continue until you find each other.

Zoleo Global Satellite Communicator

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Zoleo Global Satellite Communicator
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The Zoleo Global Satellite Communicator provides a subscription service and takes phone signal availability out of the equation, allowing you to use the Iridium satellite network to send messages, share GPS location, and fire off an SOS alert from anywhere in the world. It’s rugged, tough, and pairs with an app on your smartphone for easy operation.

Shokz OpenMove Headphones

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Shokz OpenMove Headphones

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The Shokz OpenMove headphones aren’t headphones in the typical sense. Rather than sitting over your ear, they use bone conducting technology to transmit sound through the cheekbones, leaving your ears free to hear traffic as well as your drum and base soundtrack, greetings from fellow walkers in addition to your kids phoning to ask you where you’ve hidden the biscuits, and the sound of a wolf creeping up on your tent as you listen to your audiobooks at night.

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