Survival Friday: Every Prepper Needs a Whistle or Two

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Survival Friday: Every Prepper Needs a Whistle or Two

In recent months, I have been adding a number of small, inexpensive items to my existing cache of survival gear.  I have added flashlights (Blocklite’s in particular), paracord, mini-tools, and pocket knives as well as other handy items to my stash of portable survival kits.

One item that I have purchased in bulk and stowed everywhere I can think of is a whistle.  As with everything, I have my favorites including the WindStorm (nicely made in the USA) and the dirt-cheap SE 5 in 1 whistle.

5 in 1 whistle 320

An inexpensive SE 5-in-1 whistle

My personal preference notwithstanding, today my friend Above Average Joe shares his thoughts on survival whistles.  You will probably be surprised at this recommendation; I know that I was.

Incredibly Loud, Obnoxious, And Absolutely Necessary

A lot of times we get hung up on what’s the biggest, newest, “sexiest” gear that we can get our hands on it.

But when it comes down to it you need something that is going to work and do the job it was intended for without fail.

I wanted to take a moment and talk to you a little about a piece of equipment that is so small and inexpensive that it is forgotten about more often than not.

With school being out and summer camping season hitting full swing, it is more important now than ever to have a good whistle in your gear.

When you’re stuck in the sticks and the cell phone doesn’t work, the batteries on your walkie-talkie run out, and you’re otherwise SOL, the only communication you have goes about as far as you can throw your voice.

With all the technology that we have available to us, a good whistle has become a relic to many a hikers gear. But I have to tell you, in my opinion, not having a whistle in your kit is about one of the dumbest things you can do…

They are cheap, take minimal (read as no) energy to use, and massively increase the range at which you can be heard when you need to be found. These are an absolute imperative to string around your kids necks when you take them out for a family camping trip or even just a day hike.

So many people grab those little 5 in one or 7 in one  “survival whistles” and think that they are set.  You know the ones. They are orange, have a “fire starter” that falls off the first time you strike it. They have a “signal mirror” not much bigger than a dime. Maybe a compass on one end and a waterproof storage compartment inside them.

Now I’m not knocking them, because they will work if need be. But I think something a little more dedicated is in order.Flat Safety Whistle

I told you they were cheap!

A lot of times this style of whistle is even given away as a freebie when you buy something, or as a hand out at trade shows.

I have found that if you take away all the bells and whistles ( no pun intended) that some of the other, more expensive options have, this flat piece of plastic blows them out of the water.

They fit just about anywhere and are extremely loud.

Do yourself a favor, get one of these, either from the link I posted above or anywhere else, and keep them on you at all times when you’re out in the sticks.

One downfall with these is that many of them don’t float, I would recommend hooking them to something that isn’t going to sink if it falls off of you while you happen to be in the water.

And remember the universal audible for SOS is three short bursts, 3 long bursts, and 3 short bursts again.

Using a whistle will save your voice from going hoarse and could just save your life

About ‘Above Average’ Joe:  I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Thank you, Gaye, for inviting me to share the Survival Life with your readers!


I have not tried one of those flat-style whistles yet but think it might be a good idea to put one to the test.  Rothco is a good brand so it will be interesting to see how it stands up against my favorite WindStorm whistle which I keep on a paracord lanyard.  (I actually have two).

Whistle for Survival

There are other options as well and personal preference plays a huge role in which whistle will be right for you.  And so I ask, do you have a favorite?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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Bargain Bin:  I always feel like I am on a treasure hunt when seeking out inexpensive survival gear that does what I need it to do at a very low price.  Here are some whistles and other items that can be the starting point for your own treasure hunt.

Attwood Flat Safety Whistle: What can I say?  It does what it is supposed to do and is dirt cheap.

rothco safety whistleRothco Safety Orange Flat Whistle – 2 Pack   These flat-style whistles are made by Rothco, a respected brand in outdoor gear.

SE 5 in 1 Survival Whistle:  I have a few of these.  They are a cheap but they do the job surprisingly well.

Windstorm Safety Whistle:  This one is my personal favorite although it is a bit more expansive.

Gerber Shard Keychain Tool: The Shard has seven useful functions: small flat driver, medium flat driver, cross driver, pry bar, wire stripper, lanyard hole, and bottle opener.  It is light weight and is perfect for your pocket survival kit.

Blocklite 9V Flashlight:  I now have four of these.  They just go and go plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.

Business Card Survival Tool:  This tiny little survival tool is no bigger than a business card and fits right in your wallet, so you’ll always have it on you.  It includes a Can Opener, Knife Edge, Slotted/Flathead Screwdriver, Ruler, Bottle Cap Opener, 4 Position Wrench, Wing-nut Wrench, Direction Ancillary Indicator, 2 Position Wrench and Keychain Hole.

SE 7-Inch Hunting Knife with Fire Starter:  Another inexpensive option for a highly rated knife. It has a full-tang stainless-steel tanto blade and  includes a green cord-wrapped handle a belt sheath with a Velcro securing strap, and a magnesium alloy fire starter.



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4 Responses to “Survival Friday: Every Prepper Needs a Whistle or Two”

  1. Walmart was selling the SE 5-in-1 whistle for $1.98. I teach 3-5 graders in Royal Rangers at my church . We are learning Fire Craft and these are an excellent gift/tool to introduce youth into survival and prepping.

  2. I have purchased the good old metal whistles as well as the flat ones. I buy the flat whistles whenever I see them, because I always end up giving some away. The flat whistles are pea-less, so I don’t have to worry about my whistle freezing and not working in the winter.

  3. I ordered and LOVED the Rothco flat whistles, liked them so much I sent for more and gave one to everyone for Christmas. HOWEVER, every one of them split apart so the whistle still worked but the part that attaches to the lanyard disengaged. Everyone liked the whistle, but wanted a replacement to be able to keep track of it. Maybe a bit of super glue could prevent loss?

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