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Backpacker Magazine – August 2012

Survival Lab: Vital Signs

When you’re lost or injured, you need a foolproof way to get your rescuers’ attention. Ted’s testing team tried more than 25 devices—here are their ratings of 9 top tools.

by: Ted Alvarez

PAGE 1 2 3 4
Safety Wistle (Courtesy Photo)
Safety Wistle (Courtesy Photo)
Refective Wrapper (Courtest Photo)
Refective Wrapper (Courtest Photo)
Laser Light (Courtesy Photo)
Laser Light (Courtesy Photo)

SOUND
Purpose-Built
LOUDEST The Storm Safety Whistle ($6; .7 oz.; stormwhistles.com) lives up to its billing as the “world’s loudest.” Our testing fave registered 107 decibels (comparable to a car horn) and the tone carried a third of a mile on a blustery day. Bonus: Weak puffs produce shrieks—a plus for injured hikers.

Survival Stand-in
BEST BUY Cheap and light whistles like Fox 40’s Classic Safety ($4; .5 oz.; fox40world.com) are as loud as a power mower up close (103 dbs) and audible up to a quarter-mile. The pea-less design works when waterlogged. Warning: Loud alerts require full lung capacity.

DIY
HANDS ON A practiced talent can easily reach the upper-90-db range with a two-fingered wolf whistle. (The record is an air-horn-like 125 dbs.) Practice it: Tuck your lips over your teeth, insert two fingers into your mouth (angled inwards), position your tongue behind your lower teeth, and exhale sharply.


PAGE 1 2 3 4

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READERS COMMENTS

dsadas
Oct 06, 2012


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meanolddog
Aug 13, 2012

I use a 50 year old Boy Scout whistle which on real life tests has been heard at 1/2 mile from unsuspecting or expecting subjects.. I found a small ladies "Compact" mirror with hairbrush at Walmart which flashes as far as any other mirror. I also carry another ladies Make mirror on occasion which has two mirrors, one normal and one magnifying.. I carry Aluminum foil, A Petzel Tikka Plus 2 Headlamp with Red lens which has a strobe feature with 150 hours of blink time..and the real life saver..a Spot II unit...Which conincedentally worked in my old stomping grounds in the Laguna Mountains in eastern San Diego County for a SAR situation on the PCT a couple of years ago and the reason why I bought it since Cellphones do not work in that area to well.

Laguna Hiker
Aug 10, 2012

Nothing beats a 406 MHz PLB radio beacon. Direct connection to the SARSAT network; the only piece of dead weight that I would not consider removing from my backpack.

Lewis
Aug 10, 2012

Don't forget the mirror inside your compass!

AZ Hiker
Aug 09, 2012

Read Felix! the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart (Amazon) before you hit the trail! Learn what survival items to keep in your vehicle, how to navigate your way with and without a map or compass, and how to get rescued. A fast, easy read that could save your life and will definitely make your adventure more safe and enjoyable!

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