Best Kayaking Whistle (Fox 40 Sonic Blast)


Best Kayaking Whistle

If you’ve ever gone overboard while kayaking and lost your breath, maybe panicked, you already know why you might want to have a kayaking whistle. If not, trust me, a kayaking whistle might save your life one day.

No matter how experienced a kayaker you are, whenever you go out on the water, there’s a chance you might run into trouble and need help. And if you do, a strong and resonant kayak whistle could mean the difference between life and death.

So what’s the best kayaking whistle? The best kayaking whistle is the Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG emergency kayak whistle. Made of solid thermoplastic material and capable of producing 120 decibels of loud, clear sound, the Fox 40 Sonik Blast will even blow when it’s wet.

There’s a lot more to the Fox 40 Sonik, of course. More performance features that make it the perfect whistle for kayaking.

So what makes the Fox 40 better than other whistles? To explain that, we need to look at the bare basics that a kayaking whistle should have. Once we’ve done that, I’m sure you’ll agree that the Fox 40 Sonik is the best kayaking whistle to keep you and your family safe while kayaking.

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What is a Fox 40 Sonik Whistle?

Okay, clearly we love the Fox 40 whistle. And if you’re just looking for the best kayaking whistle, just get this Fox 40 Sonik Blast and never look back.

But if you’re wondering what exactly makes this whistle so rave-worthy as a kayaking whistle, read on.

But first…

Does the Fox 40 Sonik whistle work? The Fox 40 whistle works well because it’s pea-less, injection-molded plastic design, has the ability to blast over 120 decibels even while wet.

Traditional whistles are designed with a cork “pea” inside, which causes a shrill whistling sound. The trouble with that, though, is the pea can get stuck and the whistle will fail to sound. Not what you want to happen if you’re out on the water and need help NOW.

The Fox 40 is “Pea”-less

Fox 40 whistles, on the other hand, have a “pealess” design. With no pea (the small, round ball inside most consumer whistles) to get stuck, or to be rendered useless by water or debris, the Fox 40 whistle sounds loud and clear, in hot, cold or even wet weather. 

The whistle itself is made of injection-molded plastic that’s been ultrasonically welded together. This means it’s lightweight, floats and extremely resistant to structural failure.

Most importantly, the design of a Fox 40 whistle means it will still work even when it’s wet. Since kayaking involves a whole lot of water, chances are your equipment is going to get at least a little wet while you’re out paddling. 

Traditional whistles typically won’t sound if they get wet. You need a whistle that works even after it’s gone for a swim. This means the failsafe and “waterproof” design of the Fox 40 Sonik whistle makes it the perfect choice for every kayaker.

Fox 40 Whistle Decibels

The Fox 40 whistle will sound even in the most extreme conditions. But is that sound loud enough to be heard?

How far can you hear a Fox 40 whistle? You can hear the Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG whistle up to a mile away. This makes the Fox 40 Sonik whistle loud. This whistle puts out over 120 decibels of sound with very little air flow. For comparison, a freight train puts out only 90 decibels of sound.

Here’s some other things we like about the Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG as a kayaking whistle:

  • There are no moving parts to freeze, jam or deteriorate
  • The Cushioned Mouth Grip (CMG) models make the whistle easy to grip while protecting your teeth
  • The air chambers are engineered to self-clear if they become submerged in water
  • Fox 40 whistles are easy to blow and cannot be overblown

The Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG includes a breakaway lanyard. 

Fox 40 Whistle Comparison

Fox 40 Kayak Whistle Comparison

But the Fox 40 Sonik CMG is just one whistle in an assortment of patented pealess whistles that Fox offers. Let’s take a quick look at how they compare below. 

WHISTLEFEATURESDECIBELS
Fox 40 ClassicThe company’s original three-chambered whistle115
Fox 40 Eclipse CMGThe Classic, in a sleeker design with the CMG mouthpiece115
Fox 40 EPIK CMGFeatures the CMG mouthpiece and an ergonomic design115
Fox 40 FUZIUNHas high and low frequencies to carry sound farther118
Fox 40 SHARXTwo-chambered design that’s LOUD!120

This makes the two loudest whistles in Fox 40’s arsenal the Sonik and the Sharx.

So why do I recommend one over the other?

Well, the Sharx makes for an excellent kayaking whistle. It features a sleek oval design made from polycarbonate, it works well even when wet, and yes, it’s very loud. If you choose this one, it won’t let you down.

But I still prefer the Sonik, and it comes down to the sound. To me, the Sonik has a more distinct lower tone than the Sharx. And for my ears anyway, the sound seems to carry better and can be noticed over a lot of other noise.

After buying, testing, and blowing each of the Fox 40 whistles above, the Fox 40 Sonic is my favorite.

Kayak Whistle Basics

Just like the rest of your kayaking gear, your Fox 40 Sonik needs to be used properly for it to work. You’re going to want to use it with the right lanyard for you (more on that in a moment). And, of course, you’re going to need to properly maintain and care for your Fox 40 Sonik so that it’s ready when you need it.

But first, do you really need a kayaking whistle?

Do you need a whistle for kayaking? You should have a whistle on every kayaking trip you take. In fact, in many states, and on some waterways, you legally must have a whistle on your kayak. For a kayak whistle, the louder the better.

Kayak Whistle Law

The USCG has rules about when you have to have a whistle on a kayak. Basically, any vessel less than 12 meters in length (39.4 ft.) is required to carry a horn or whistle to signal its intentions or position.

For more detailed kayaking laws information, you can also check our articles on kayaking laws for your state.

Here’s what to look for in a kayaking whistle:

  • Small – Your kayak whistle needs to be small enough to stay out of the way but readily available in an emergency.
  • Plastic – It needs to blow even when it gets wet.
  • “Pealess” safety whistle – This means no floating ball, or “pea”, in the mechanism. Pea-type whistles have trouble blowing/making sound once they get wet.
  • Easy to blow – By the time you need a whistle, you may not have full breath power to blow it. You need a whistle that takes minimum air flow to make a lot of noise.
  • LOUD – This seems self explanatory, but you’d be surprised how much a headwind can reduce the distance sound will travel. When it comes to a whistle, the louder the better.

How to Properly Blow a Fox 40 Whistle

Yes, Virginia, there is a correct way to blow a Fox 40 whistle. Since the Fox 40 Sonik is more like an instrument than a whistle, there’s a certain technique to maximize its sound.

Here’s how to blow a Fox 40 whistle

  1. Start from your gut. This way, you’ll avoid becoming lightheaded.
  2. “Spit without the saliva”. Yes, it might sound a little off-putting, but it’s the best way to describe it. Work up the air in your lungs and blow it into the air chambers of the whistle.

It’s as easy as that.

Each air chamber in a Fox 40 whistle produces a different frequency. When all three are combined, they produce a distinct, shrill and resonating sound that should be able to be heard by anyone.

Need to see all those steps in action? Here’s Fox 40 president Dave Foxcroft breaking it down for you in this short video.

How to Clean a Fox 40 Whistle

An added bonus of the Fox 40 Sonik is that it’s pretty low-maintenance. No moving parts means there’s nothing in it that can get gummed up, sticky or frozen shut. So you’re not going to have to clean it fifty times a day just to make sure it works.

Still, you do want to clean it occasionally. After all, whistles go in your mouth. And as magnificent as nature is, it contains all kinds of charming bacteria and debris that can build up on your gear, safely whistle included. 

Here’s how to clean a Fox 40 whistle:

  • Make a simple solution of half water and half vinegar
  • Then use it to wash and rinse the whistle’s mouthpiece and chambers
  • When you’re done, rinse it thoroughly with clean water
  • This should keep your Fox 40 whistle sterilized until your next kayak trip

Using the Fox 40 Whistle for Kayaking

Attaching a kayak whistle to a PFD (Personal Flotation Device/Life Jacket)

So where should you attach your Fox 40 Sonik whistle while you’re kayaking? You want your Fox 40 Whistle attached within easy reach of your mouth, but in a location where it won’t obstruct your ability to paddle. The best place to attach your whistle is by the lanyard attached to your life vest adjustment strap, d-ring or lash tab (square, plastic equipment mount point).

That being said, never attach your whistle to your PFD’s zipper. If you ever need to grab your whistle in a hurry (as you’ll likely need to do in an emergency) you could inadvertently unzip your PDF. If you don’t notice (and you won’t), it could fall off of you.

In addition, strong currents in a river can also pull on your whistle and in turn unzip your PFD.

The weight of your whistle could also undo your PDF zipper without you noticing. Until you get dumped and realize you’re no longer wearing it, of course.

If your PFD has front pockets, you could attach the lanyard to your PFD then store your whistle in a pocket. When you need your whistle, pull on the lanyard to get it out of your pocket. You want your kayak whistle readily available but not in the way as you kayak and paddle.

Kayak Whistle Lanyard Basics

Sure, you want a kayak whistle lanyard to keep your whistle safe, secure and attached to you. But what if it gets wrapped around or stuck on something underwater? 

To make sure your kayak whistle lanyard never drowns you, you’ll want to get a lanyard that’s a “breakaway” lanyard.

A breakaway lanyard is a lanyard that unfastens itself (or “breaks away”) if it’s put under enough tension. So if your kayak flips and your lanyard gets stuck on an underwater log, it will break open and allow you to get to the surface.

Here are some key components of a breakaway lanyard. These are must-haves in order to ensure your safety:

  • Safety tension clasp: The tension clasp needs to be made of heavy-duty plastic or other lightweight material, and it should be designed to break open when enough pressure is applied to the lanyard.
  • Reinforced fabric-wrapped cord: The lanyard itself should be made of strong materials that will withstand wear and tear. Look for a lanyard made of woven nylon or polyester. 
  • Adjustable cord lock: You’ll want to be able to adjust your lanyard so you can wear it around your neck or wrist, or so it has enough give without flipping around loosely while you’re trying to paddle.

Fox 40 makes the ideal breakaway safety lanyard that will be a nice addition to your Sonik whistle. And it comes in all kinds of cool colors.

Other Good Kayak Whistles

We’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of the other great kayaking whistles out there. So here’s three more pealess, kayaking-friendly whistles. Let’s take a better look at them.

Storm Whistle for Kayaking

Pros

The Storm whistle is designed with an asymmetrical shape that helps amplify sound. And it works: the Storm packs in 130 decibels of sound. Not only does it work when it’s wet, it even works underwater. Its sound can carry up to 50 feet under the surface.

Cons 

It’s big. It’s almost twice the size of any Fox 40 whistle. That makes it bulky and a bit awkward to have to carry on your PFD.

Heimdall Whistle for Kayaking

Pros

The Heimdall whistle is lightweight, brightly colored, and produces a strong, resonant sound of 120 decibels. Like the Fox 40 and the Storm, it also has a multi-chambered design, so it will work in all weather conditions without jamming.

Cons

The Heimdall’s lanyard is too short to be worn around the neck. While this has its merits for safety reasons, it makes it difficult to carry the Heimdall around.

LuxoGear Emergency Whistle For Kayaking

LuxoGear Kayak Whistle

Pros

The LuxoGear has a dual-tube design that produces a piercing 120 decibels of sound. It’s also designed with practicality in mind: not only does it have an adjustable lanyard, it features a clip on the back as well.

Cons

Some report that they found the LuxoGear to be made of less durable material than other whistles.

Kayak Whistle Wrap Up

A kayak emergency whistle could mean the difference between life and death while you’re out in your kayak. This can’t be said enough. Even if you’re in an area that doesn’t legally require a whistle, get one and make sure you wear it every time.

When you do get yourself an emergency whistle, make sure you get the best. The Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG combines a failsafe design with a three-toned sound that can be heard over any noise. If you want to be safe, if you want to protect yourself, make the Fox 40 Sonik part of your kayaking gear every time.

Steve W

I'm Steve, the research and technology workhorse behind Paddle Camp. I do tons of research on all our family's paddling gear before I buy or recommend anything. I grew up canoeing with my dad and brother. A few years ago I bought paddle boards for my daughters, myself, and my wife. Ever since then, we plan most of our vacations around kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding.

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