As survivalists, we value independence. After all, in a SHTF situation, you'd better be able to look out for yourself because it's likely that most other people will be doing the same. However, as we've said in the past, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be ready and able to ask for help when you need it. If you become trapped or injured in a remote location, having a means of signaling for rescue is an invaluable asset.

Winter shelter mountains

Ideally, your kit will contain multiple methods of signaling. These could include visible signals such as a mirror or brightly-colored tarp, electronic devices such as a GPS beacon or radio, and audible signals. In the last category, one method reigns supreme: whistling. Unlike other signaling tools, whistling doesn't use consumable ammunition or batteries, and its effectiveness doesn't rely on daylight or clear conditions. It produces a piercing, distinct noise that can carry for miles.

This VARGO whistle is made from lightweight and strong titanium and produces a 100-decibel sound.

This VARGO whistle is made from lightweight and strong titanium and produces a sound in excess of 100 decibels.

Whistle signaling can be performed without tools, using either your lips, one hand, or two hands (as seen in the video below from The Art of Manliness). These techniques require some practice, but can be very loud if done correctly. In case you've never learned, give it a shot.

For an easier and more reliable method, you can use a wide variety of off-the-shelf whistles to send a signal. These may be standalone items, or integrated into other gear such as your knife handle or backpack sternum strap.

Rescue knife buyers guide 10

The Spyderco Assist series includes a whistle cut into its fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle.

Although we've heard some survivalists mock the rescue whistle as a tool that's only carried by the weak or the afraid, one thing's for sure: if the situation gets bad enough that you need to call for help, it'll become one of your most valuable tools.

So, what's your choice of whistle for survival situations? Let us know in the poll below.


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