It's become an important part of our EDC (Every Day Carry) over recent years: the whistle. The classic use of the safety whistle is, of course, signaling you're in distress and need help: three sharp blasts in succession, followed by a pause of at least one minute, and repeated until a response is received. The shrill sound of a whistle is likely to carry much further than the human voice and requires much less energy. Remember, the number three is key in distress situations: a distress signal can be three fires or piles of rocks in a triangle, three blasts on a whistle, or three flashes of a light.
Our Whistle Sternum Strap Half ($5; available for order now and ships within one business day) features a nearly impossible-to-lose whistle integrated into the male (usually the left) half of the sternum strap buckle used on our Brain Bag, Smart Alec, and Synapse backpacks, as well as all three of our convertible travel bags -- the Tri-Star, Aeronaut, and Western Flyer with backpack straps. The Whistle Sternum Strap Half is available as an optional upgrade on all these bags: select one at the time of buying one of the above mentioned bags and you'll receive it along with the standard sternum strap, allowing you to swap or carry a backup strap. The Whistle Sternum Strap replaces one half of the standard sternum strap and is also available for purchase on its own for anyone with any of the above bags made after 2005 (TOM BIHN packs made before about 2005 will have a 1" wide sternum strap and this new whistle strap won't work with those): simply remove the standard male half of the sternum strap half you've been using all these years and replace it with the Whistle Sternum Strap Half.
The Whistle Sternum Strap Half is available in Steel Grey if you want your whistle be obvious and easy to see, or Bright Orange if you want it to be really obvious and really easy to see.
Worldwide travel expert Jodi Ettenberg wrote a great post on safety whistles. You might be surprised to read about the situations in which her whistle came in handy. (Jodi's whistle is different than ours, but you get the idea).
Have a dog (or two or four) that hike with you? You can train them to come to the sound of your whistle. It'll likely take constant practice, patience, and lots of high value treats to train your dog to
come to the sound of a whistle, but it can be very useful in situations when your dogs are off leash and you need them to return immediately. Note: if you're whistling for your dog, or just testing out your new whistle, try one sharp blast or two, and make sure to give enough time between blasts so that no one thinks you're really in trouble.
P.S. We're working on a whistle that can be added to just about any TOM BIHN bag. Stay tuned.