Happy Groundhog Day! (~25MB Video Download on that link, you have been warned. Worth it if you have kids!)
If you’re not carrying one when you hit the trail… why not? An emergency whistle is an essential piece of signaling equipment which you should bring with you on every hike.
Why might you ask? There are many reasons… you may be injured, to weak or frail to shout, you might not be seen, you may be miles away from the next person, if you are injured near a waterfall – no one will hear you over that. Getting the picture?
An emergency whistle is much louder than the human voice, and is easily distinguishable from ambient sounds, due to its high pitched shrill sound.
Also, they are good to bring when camping with kids. Kids often run off and go play by themselves in the woods when camping, they could easily get lost, or get hurt. Have your kids carry a whistle, if nothing else when they go off to play!
There is also proper procedure for using a whistle… if you are in trouble, remember this, while you do not need to know Morse code, three of anything is recognized as a call for help. Blow three long and loud bursts, wait a few minutes (three is a good timeframe!), and repeat.
Also keep the whistle close to you, within reach. If you break your back after a fall, there is no way you are taking off your pack, and reaching for it.
Everyone in your group should have one.
There are many types of whistles available for purchase. Here are a few options I have used and recommend…
Adventure Medical Kits SOL Howler Whistle
This whistle is bright, so it is easy to find, and it is loud at 100+ decibels. This is a pea-less whistle, which means there is no vibrating free-floating object inside the whistle. (Remember the old school metal whistle your gym teacher had? Those have peas.) AMK has a few versions of the Howler whistle, so find one you like.
I love this knife. I carried it as my go-to pocket knife for many years, up until it was recently lost. Not only is it a great knife, with partial serration, it also has a magnesium fire starter in the handle, and, an emergency whistle. With all of that in one bundle, this makes a great option for an emergency whistle. And knife. And firestarter.