Tested in the Cairngorms

Used on the multiple treks throughout late summer and autumn. Mostly around the Cairngorm plateau and surrounding areas.

The Rescue Howler Whistle is a simple 3-chamber design with no moving parts and can produce an audible sound of around 110 decibels. Injection molded plastic means it should be pretty robust and will not decay over time.

We added a piece of 2mm paracord to the metal loop which then attached to our rucksack above our shoulder.This is our preferred choice for easy access and also can be used with gloves or mittens. It would have been a nice feature to include a clip to further secure to a rucksack or jacket. Some people like to attach a whistle onto their compass but we find this can often get in the way when navigating. To use simply put the whistle in mouth and blow. In the UK the distress signal is six long blasts, rest a minute and repeat.

The whistle is very loud, even in winds of 40mph with hats and jacket hoods covering ears we could hear each other clearly from 40-50m away fading off around 150m. This may not sound like much but in these conditions it’s often hard to hear each other talking when stood closely together. A whistle of this rating can usually be heard from around 1/2 a mile away, the Rescue Howler claims to be able to push this to 1 mile and in the right conditions we believe it is quite possible it can achieve this. Obviously many factors can dampen the flow of sound but for a whistle of this size, it is LOUD!

A whistle is more to prevent an accident rather than it is a rescue tool. When a group is out in conditions of poor visibility and has started to drift away from each other a quick blow of the whistle can alert the attention of the group and quickly bring everyone closer together. A very simple solution to what could result in a much bigger issue. Anyone who has been with a group on the Cairngorm plateau can understand how quickly weather conditions can change. Combine that with an almost featureless environment and navigating can be tough resulting in disorientation. A whistle is a quick simple solution to being heard.

The most important and reliant uses of the whistle are on our multi-day treks. The all important midnight pee cannot be underestimated. Even the most experienced outdoors person can switch off when in search of a suitable toilet spot. We insist a toilet bag to be made up before going to sleep, with a torch and whistle included. This way when your stumbling around half asleep, if you do get disorientated, alerting a member of the group can stop an otherwise potentially life threatening situation.

Our Verdict

This is an essential piece of kit. The Rescue Howler Whistle is small and lightweight at only 14g, and there are also 2 in a pack! It is an item that will stay permanently attached to your bag with a spare to place in your first aid kit. Anyone who ventures into the wilderness must carry a whistle; it’s as essential as carrying a survival bag, torch, compass and map.

Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...