Should I Use a Whistle for Hiking?

Should I Use A Whistle For Hiking?

When preparing a backpack, the hiker obviously thinks of taking the classic equipment: hiking socks, compass, and water bottle. But other equally important objects are often forgotten, such as the headlamp, which we have already mentioned, but also the hiking whistle.

Beginner hikers ask us frequently should I use a whistle for hiking. Well, it is a simple gear object but can make a huge difference when you need it.

Because of its small and light size, it differs slightly from the simple sports whistle and aims above all to improve your safety during long walks. We will see how it is essential for beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Note: the hiking whistle is also called a distress whistle

What is Hiking Whistle?

For a neophyte, the hiking whistle is visually close to any sports whistle. However, it has been designed to never fail during the most difficult hikes! Focus on this singular object.

Hiking Whistle: An Atypical Design

The hiking whistle is sometimes known as a distress whistle because of its usefulness. It is easily recognizable by its fluorescent yellow or orange color. Thanks to this, it can be seen easily when it falls to the ground, whether in tall grass or in snow. But it is above all its operation and internal design that differentiates it from classic sports whistles.

Indeed, it does not contain a ball unlike sports whistles, and is mostly made of plastic.

Sound Peculiarities

The hiking whistle creates an extremely loud sound that is very recognizable. Due to the very high-pitched, the sound of this whistle can be heard more than 100 meters away even by dogs!

Whereas in classic whistles it is the movement of the ball due to exhaled air that causes the whistle, here it is the cells and holes of the whistle themselves that produce a high-pitched sound.

Should I Use a Whistle for Hiking? 4 Reasons to Pack a Whistle on a Hike

4 reasons why the hiking whistle is one of the safe items to always take with you when you go hiking. As such, it is as important as the hiking survival blanket or the anti-tick pliers!

1. It Allows You to Report Your Position in the Event of an Accident

After a fall in a ravine or when we have just twisted our ankle, it is necessary to ask for help around us. The problem is that in the heart of certain forests or at very high altitudes, the telephone network is not always picked up. Our voice does not carry far and the wind can even cover it without any difficulty.

In all these cases, the hiking whistle can be vital because it will allow you to send a distress signal over 100 meters away from your location. Even if you have a broken arm, you will be able to use it with ease.

2. It Allows Executing the Official Distress Signal

Distress signal
Figure: The hiking whistle lets you sound an official SOS signal

As a hiking enthusiast, knowing the international distress signal by heart is a must! Better known as the SOS, it can be executed with a flashlight like your headlamp, but also with an audible signal like your hiking whistle.

You certainly know that the SOS is done using Morse code, this code invented during the 19th century by Samuel Morse. To execute it with your hiking whistle, you will need to communicate the 3 letters of the signal; S, then O and finally S.

To do this, do as the explanations visible in figure 2 above: 3 short blows for the first S, then 3 long signals to signify the O, and finally 3 last short signals for the last S. It is interesting to know that this signal is international, that is to say, it can be recognized in all the countries of the world!

3. It Can’t Break Down

Since it doesn’t run on electricity, the whistle can’t run out of power. But that’s not all! It works even in extreme temperatures because it is ball-free.

In winter, frost does not prevent it from working. In summer, high heat is also not a problem. Humidity is very problematic for a ball whistle but has no effect on the distress whistle.

This is why it is this type of whistle that is automatically present on many lifejackets! Made of plastic, it is also not afraid of sea salt which quickly oxidizes steel or iron whistles.

4. It is Designed for Hiking

Many hiking whistles have options that are very useful for hiking. Like many items to store in a hiking backpack, they are often multi-purpose. As well as being distress whistles, they can also feature a magnifying glass to better see your map or a compass, making it an essential part of a successful hike.

Most of the time, these whistles hang around the neck with an adjustable strap or can be put on a belt or backpack using a carabiner. They are made of plastic materials and weigh only a few grams, which will absolutely not bother you during the journey.

In short, this type of whistle is well intended for hikers looking for a practical, safe and lightweight tool.

5. It is Inexpensive

A whistle is inexpensive – a few dollars. Some whistles are even integrated directly into backpacks – often in the chest strap. Check your backpack(s), many people don’t even know they have one.

How to Choose Your Hiking Whistle?

You need to choose a whistle without a ball, which is functional all the time and in all conditions. It turns out that ball whistles can be ineffective when it’s freezing or when it’s raining. The effectiveness of the whistle would then be limited if you find yourself in these conditions with a ball whistle.

Going on a hike means being confronted with extraordinary situations. Then choose a metal whistle, you will be sure that your whistle will not deteriorate after a fall or following an impact.

Also, remember to choose a whistle whose color is quite bright. Thus, you can easily find it in your belongings if it is not hanging around your neck.

Which Whistles Are Best for Hiking?

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The ToolUSA hiking whistle (2 pcs.) is in the same vein with its 4-in-1 system: compass, thermometer, magnifier glass and of course whistle for only less than $10!

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The manufacturer Franklin Sports also offers some models of high-quality whistles. The most interesting is certainly their All-Sport metal whistle, which weighs only 30 grams for less than $10!

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If you are looking for an item that can produce an extremely loud sound, then the Holdall Emergency Whistle is ideal. With 120 decibels of maximum power, it allows you to launch a distress signal over 200 meters away when the weather conditions are good!

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If you’re interested in more design, made of metal and just as powerful as the previous model, the Ovtai whistle is also a safe bet accessible to small budgets because it only costs $4.

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For trekking lovers in dangerous environments, the stainless steel Viriber whistle offers a maximum power of 150 decibels! With hang buckles and chain belt, you won’t lose it easily.

Final Thoughts

Costing less than $5, the hiking whistle is accessible to everyone! It is very light and offers power exceeding 100 decibels in all cases. The distress whistle is truly one of the items not to forget in your hiking backpack. It will allow you to draw the attention of passers-by to a possibly dangerous situation and to launch the distress sound signal called SOS.

This little tool is often used as a compass or magnifying glass, at the same time. which makes it essential for hiking! It is sold in all sports or specialized stores such as REI. The hiking whistle can also be found on many online sales sites such as Amazon.

Ready to hit the trails safely?

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