Going Wireless: Cutting Cords With Cardo

Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold on a green helmet.
Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold takes communication wireless. Steven Olsewski

Communication is vital in everything, but more importantly, staying in contact is essential when we venture off-road. Today’s world seems to be cutting all types of cords, but one that hasn’t seemed to be cut yet is in off-road communication.

Cardo Systems is known for its communication tools in the motorcycle market, but they are coming to the off-road market looking to cut the cord. With their Packtalk Bold, enthusiasts can communicate with one another in a whole new way.


Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold arranged on a table.
The Packtalk Bold SYSTEM stem is made up of the microphone, speakers, and the main control unit. Steven Olsewski

Today’s off-road communication has been tied to cords. There have only been products that keep passengers connected via a cable when it comes to in-vehicle communication. But what happens when someone new joins the ride?

Going for a trail ride in a Jeep or an enclosed vehicle is one thing, but when it comes to the side-by-side world, cables have been everything. Intercoms, headsets, and wiring have all been needed to communicate while off-road.

Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold arranged on a table.
Everything that is needed to install the Packtalk Bold comes with the kit. Steven Olsewski

Cardo’s Packtalk Bold brings a new look to something unchanged for quite some time. The versatility of the Packtalk Bold allows accessible communication in areas that generally don’t even have cell service.

The Packtalk Bold uses Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) to connect users, and Packtalk devices can be combined with up to 15 riders. It has a working distance of 1 mile in perfect conditions and up to five miles with five or more riders connected with two units.

Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold
We were able to tuck the wires under the pads inside the helmet. Steven Olsewski

“DMC is a wireless intercom/radio technology developed by Cardo with the sole intention of solving the inherent shortcomings of Bluetooth-based intercom systems,” Mike Tole, brand manager for Cardo, explained. “It enables in-car and long-range, multi-party intercom connections that increase in capability and robustness as more users are added. It’s a self-healing (takes milliseconds to optimize connection routing), completely hands-free, wireless technology that adapts to the fluidity of car movement to ensure intercom/radio connection whenever and wherever possible.”

Getting in a friend’s vehicle or having a friend get in yours without the correctly wired communication needs creates headaches—the ability to hop from car to vehicle without worry.

“Having no wires or central hub offers a lot of possibilities,” Tole said. “Packtalk Bold can be installed into any helmet with minimal effort or used independently of a helmet with the Packtalk Headphones accessory, is 100-percent waterproof, provides sound by JBL, allows for complete independence when it comes to listening to music, eradicates outside chatter (you will only hear the people in your group), and is controlled by your voice (no Push To Talk – just talk when you want to talk).”

The unit automatically adjusts your sound volume based on the outside ambient noise. With smart audio mixing, sophisticated algorithms ensure that all your audio sources – FM radio, music, mobile calls, and intercom work together in parallel.

Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold on an American flag helmet
With just a click, the Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold is installed. Steven Olsewski

“Because the complete system resides on your helmet, the connectivity follows you — not the other way around,” Tole said. “Whether you’re in a UTV or on a bike or riding bareback on a horse, you’re good.  You retain full intercom capability and connection to your devices (phone, music, GPS, etc.) regardless of the situation or location.”

Are you tired of the chatter in large groups? The Cardo system allows you to choose just one group member and enjoy an intimate conversation or make fun of the buddy that just got stuck.

Everything sounded great, and we got the chance to test out the Cardo Packtalk Bold on a recent trip to see how it worked.


We recently took our 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 rs Turbo RR out to prerun the MORE PCI 300 racecourse and had the chance to test out the Cardo Packtalk Bold system. The Can-Am did not have any intercom or communication system and was the perfect vehicle to test out the kit.

Two helmets equipped with Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold systems.
The Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold makes wireless communication easy off-road. Steven Olsewski

Prerunning is extremely important when off-road racing and gives the driver and co-driver a chance to see the course, make notes on dangers and pick the right lines. Being able to communicate is critical.

We had prerun other courses at previous races, and we would have to put up a hand and stop to talk. This slowed down prerunning and even stops we did not need.

Getting the race truck took longer than expected, and we did not have a chance to wire the Packtalk Bold to our helmets before heading out. The system was super easy to install and did not take much time, allowing us to install it at camp.

Cardo Systems Packtalk Bold on helmets.
We did not notice the Packtalk Bolds getting in the way while installed on the side of our helmet. Steven Olsewski

One feature that the wireless Cardo system provides over any wired system is the ability for a co-rider to get out and help navigate outside the vehicle. When navigating through tight terrain, a co-rider can stay in contact with the driver and make sure the proper line is taken.

Overall we couldn’t have been more pleased with how the Cardo Packtalk Bold worked and the benefits of not having cords. For more information on Cardo or to find the right product for your application, be sure to visit Cardo’s website.