What in the hell is Whistlemania? Well, it is the Battle Royal of 30 of the world’s toughest whistles. Back in 1986 at Wrestlemania II, twenty of the world’s strongest, fake wrestlers and NFL players fought it out in a ring to a scripted battle leaving Andre the Giant as winner.
Unlike professional wrestling, Whistlemania pulls no punches, has no script, and no Pay Per View fee!!
Before you sound off the nerd alert, let me give you the two-fold back story. First I was looking for a good whistle for my future online store and kids classes, and only the best will do.
Second, my good friend was looking for an emergency whistle for his kids, so he said..
“What be-eth the best whistle good sir?”
I replied.. “I do not knoweth Sir Coop, but I will find out in short order”
Spurred by noble goals and “Over-The-Top” syndrome, I tapped into my twelve year old, Wrestlemania-watching forebrain to create a 7 part whistle torture test. That’s right, tune into to future posts to watch the drama, and truth, unfold.
Yeah, maybe whistles aren’t as cool as AR’s, flashlights, and knives, but one of the most rewarding moments in my career was watching a family be reunited after Rambo Ricky and I found the lost grandparents using whistle blasts in dense vegetation. Whistles work when your voice gives out. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and essential. Whistles save lives.
Want to spend a lifetime wallowing in anguish and regret? Don’t spend $5 on a whistle for your kids and you may get to if they wander off in the woods.
Whistles aren’t just for kids though. Try yelling for help repeatedly and you will soon find out that your voice will give out and you will wish you had a whistle. I carry one every time I hit the woods and usually have a backup version on my sternum strap or neck lanyard.
So what is the best whistle? If you said the one you have on you, you are right. Carrying any whistle is better than not, but hopefully this series will sort through the myriad of choices if you are hunting for a new one.
“Whistlemania 1″ will focus on the size, weight, cost, ruggedness, and my general impressions. I only measure length and width on whistles that were slimmer than 1/4” and did not test the expensive titanium whistles because they cost too much for your average woods trekker. There are some other good whistle reviews, and I will link them at the end of the series for inquiring minds.
I figured the worst thing that could happen to a whistle in the woods is get stepped on, so the “ruggedness” test consisted of my boot crushing the whistle with all 200 pounds of pressure on a hard surface. 28 out of 30 survived this test and I will showcase those failures at end of this post.
Enough talk, time for the show. The contestants are ready for weigh ins, so let’s see the divisions and meet the gladiators..
When I think of “Lightweights”, I think of whistles that I wouldn’t mind having hang around my neck. These would also be the class for smaller PSK’s, Personal Survival Kits., that you carry in a cargo pocket. Weight wise, they all weighed in under .30 ounces.
Jetscream Micro – Ultimate Survival Technologies. Around $3. Really small. Pealess.
ACME Thunderer 660 – About $6. Has a pea. Has been on my SAR chest pouch for years.
Fox 40 Classic – $6. Pealess. Keels on bottom can be shaved off to give a flatter profile.
ACME Tornado 635 – $7. Pealess. Non-traditional design.
Hammerhead – $4. Has a pea. Unique design projects sound forward. Specialized pea claims to prevent freezing.
Tin Whistle – Free. I was first shown how to make these by Mors Kochanski using aluminum flashing. This one was from a can of Rotel and you can also make it from a coke can. I will blog how to do it at the end of this series. I included this one because I have seen people use it for their primary whistle.
Fox 40 Mini – $6. Pealess. Smaller than the Classic. I shaved the keels off years ago and I don’t know what the melted goo on it is, maybe pine pitch. At least I hope so.
AMK or SOL or Fox 40 Micro – Several names and costing about $8 for a 2-pack. Nice slim whistle.
ACME Tornado 636 – $5. Pealess. Nice size and well built. S.O.L.A.S. approved
SOL Slim Rescue Howler – $6 for 2. SOL rebrand of the ACR whistle, but tone is a little different. Flat and pealess. No tooth ridge.
ACR – $5. Pealess. Dual tone. No tooth ridge. Flat. USCG/SOLAS approved
Next up is the “Multi-purpose” division that boasts whistles as a side benefit or in conjunction with other tools.
Coghlan’s 5 in 1 Survival Aid – $5. Has a pea. Whistle, compass, mirror, match case, and a ferro rod. I wouldn’t want to count on the ferro rod for a fire, but I did light a cotton ball with it.
Zipper Pull Whistle – $5. Pealess. Replaces the zipper pull on your jacket.
Coghlan’s 4 in 1 Whistle – $5. Pealess. Whistle, compass, magnifying glass, and thermometer. The magnifying glass is convex on one side and flat on the other. I am no physics geek, but I think that reduces performance. I did manage to light a fire with a piece of punk wood transferred to a tinder bundle.
Sternum Strap Whistle – $5. Pealess. Replaces sternum strap buckle on your backpack. May require sewing to switch out.
LMF Swedish Firesteel Army 2.0 – $19. Pealess. Scraper has a built in whistle. I carry this rod on my knife and the scraper on the neck lanyard. The whistle works, but has a sweet spot.
The big boys are ready to rumble…
Windstorm – $5. Smaller version of the famous Storm whistle. Has a pea.
Hammerhead Mighty – $5. Larger version of Hammerhead. Has a “non-freezing” pea and unique design to project sound forward.
Lifejacket Whistle – $3. Belt clip on back. Pealess
FOX 40 Eclipse – $9. Updated version of the classic.
Storm – $6. Has a pea. Claimed to be the world’s loudest and to work underwater. Largest of the heavyweights. USCG/SOLAS approved
Scotty Lifesaver – $8. Two peas and an anti-choking collar.
ACME Tornado 2000 – $6. Pealess. Another claimed to be the world’s most powerful whistle.
FOX 40 Sonic Blast – $9. Pealess
UST Jetscream – $6. Pealess.
Whistles for Life – $5. Has a pea. Official whistle of NASAR. Very wide mouth piece. USCG/SOLAS approved
Promo whistle – $5. Get your logo printed on this one. Bass Pro, TOPS Knives, etc. Pealess
FOX 40 Sharx – $6. Pealess
ACME Cyclone 888 – $7. Pealess
ACME 649 – $8. Pealess. SOLAS & NATO approved.
The 2 whistles that failed the crush test were the ACME Tornado 635 and the Tin Whistle, no surprises there. The Tornado still worked after bending it back, but the plastic is obviously stressed and the tone may have changed. The Tin whistle worked after bending it back into shape as well.
Place your bets ladies and gentlemen and tune in next week for Whistlemania II.
Too funny not to post – http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3tvrp_20-man-battle-royal-nfl-vs-wwf_sport