[DEEP DIVE] Cardo Systems Packtalk Outdoor review

[DEEP DIVE] Cardo Systems Packtalk Outdoor review

When it comes to skiing with friends, communication is key—no matter if you’re in the backcountry or ripping laps at your favorite resort. Whether your group got separated on the way down to the chair or you’re trying to tell your backcountry partner you’re ready to drop, the use of a phone or a radio are basically the only two ways to get in touch. And you’re usually not using these devices while you’re moving. That is, until now. 

Cardo Systems has been changing the communication game since 2003 when the brand developed one of the first bluetooth headphones to connect to cell phones using a unique wind-suppressing technology to create crystal clear sound for the user on either end. Shortly after this invention, the founder of Cardo had an epiphany while riding his motorcycle: why not use this technology in a water-proof device made to go on helmets? In 2004, for the first time ever, motorists could safely and clearly communicate with friends and family via the Scala Rider. By 2005, the Scala Rider was equipped with FM radio capabilities and that drive for innovation has never waned since. 

In 2022, Cardo introduced the Packtalk Outdoor to skiers and riders. Utilizing Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC), the Packtalk Outdoor sends and receives signals between devices up to a distance of 3.1 miles. With the ability to connect up to 15 people and automatic reconnection should you venture out of range, the Packtalk Outdoor makes it so simple to stay connected with all of your ski buddies while out on the mountain.  

“Think of it as communication in motion,” says Meteorite PR’s Eric Henderson. “When it comes to skiing, I see it as a benefit for three things. The first is safety. If you and your partners are in the backcountry, there’s no more yelling to talk to each other. The second is instruction. It’s a great gateway for coaches and instructors to give live feedback to students while they are actually skiing. And the third and coolest, I think, is for filming. You can literally have a live countdown between athletes and filmers.”

The Packtalk Outdoor is a small device that connects to the outside of your ski helmet with a mic that sits below the chin strap, or you can simply connect the device to your phone and use your headphones. The Packtalk plays music, sends and receives text messages and can be paused at any time—essentially combining all of the benefits of a phone and a radio into one easy-to-use package. Simply connect all of your group’s devices before heading out in the morning and you’re good to go with a rechargeable, 10-hour battery. And don’t think skiing is the only sport where you can use the Packtalk Outdoor. 

“You can definitely use [the Packtalk for] mountain biking or kayaking,” Henderson explains. “Paragliders are really into it because you can be traveling at X amount of feet above the deck and be talking to your partner in the air.” 

A hands-free, constant communication device that can be used while you’re in the midst of pillaging your favorite stash, bombing a new bike trail or soaring into the air, Cardo Systems is revolutionizing the sports industry with the Packtalk Outdoor. There’s no need for cell reception and diligent testing has been done to ensure it doesn’t interfere with an avalanche transceiver, making it the ideal choice to stay in constant contact in and out of bounds. To learn more and get your group set up, click here.