Top Survival Apps

| August 27, 2013 |

survival apps

Survival today looks very different than it did 50 years ago, 10 years ago, 6 years ago (when the first iPhone launched) and even just 3-4 years ago (when the app market really began to take off).  While you may be dubious how often you’ll be using your iPhone in a survival or emergency situation, consider that many solar, crank, or even pre-charged chargers for common smart phone models are coming onto the market every day.  These devices make carrying some of your survival knowledge around digitally a highly viable option – it’s quite the paradigm shift, I know.

The following are the apps I would consider essential for any 21st century survivalist.  For specific apps, I have included prices and other information when it is known.  For more generic ones (for example, those whose purpose could be served by any number of published apps), I have left this information out.

The Basics 

Compass App:  There are many available, but this is simply an easy item to store digitally rather than having to carry it around in your pack.  Functionality is essentially the same, some apps even use GPS to help you locate other nearby landmarks or cities.  Test whatever app you choose for accuracy against a physical compass before venturing out. 

Flashlight App:  The flashlight app is essential: What better way to make use of that ridiculously bright iPhone camera flash than to light up a dark trail (or lack thereof) ahead of you.  Speaking of “camera flash,” make sure you get a flashlight app that uses the actual flash – some just turn the LED screen white instead, resulting in a rather useless and battery intensive “flashlight.” 

News App:  Choose a network with whatever political slant or bias you like, just make sure you have one.  Digital news can be delivered extremely quickly and you can always keep up to date with goings on via your phone.  You won’t have service everywhere, but pre-loading headlines from time to time until you are out of range should give you some idea of what’s going on in the civilized world. 

The Cool Stuff 

Alright, we’ve got an essential trifecta of (relatively boring) apps out of the way, now let’s take a look at some unique and great ideas that survival-minded individuals have turned into app reality. 

Bear Essentials:  Yes, “Bare” is spelled wrong, but that’s because this app comes from none other than survival guru Bear Grylls.  Love him or hate him, the guy knows his stuff and can draw from years of experience in both the British Special Forces and the French Foreign Legion.  This app is a bit on the pricier end at $6.99, but it has a lot going for it; it includes a packing list, navigation methods for the wilderness, a guide to observing and snaring wild animals, and instructions on setting up shelter, making a fire, and finding water.  Also included are a built-in compass tool, a weather predictor, and Bear’s top ten survival knots. 

GoToAid:  This handy app focuses on the medical end of the spectrum, ensuring you’re ready for any health-related emergency that could arise.  The app includes step-by-step instructions for over 400 topics (with audio narration included) ranging from a simple bee sting to severe injuries.  The app offers first aid and CPR tips, and has a built in incident reporting feature that allows you to store information that might be relevant to professional medical personnel later on.  The app also has an emergency broadcasting feature which allows you to designate up to 3 people that can be automatically sent a message along with your GPS coordinates.  As if that’s not enough, you will also find emergency number listings for nearly every country in the world as well. 

Survival Pocket Reference:  This app serves as a jack of all trades to the survivalist, and it does it well. Based on survival instructions from the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, the app is a guide to anything survival related.  Need to build a shelter in an extreme environment?  No problem.  Need to build a fire, find food, find water, or apply first aid?  That won’t be a problem either.  To top it all off, the app also provides tips for surviving nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks on U.S. soil.  

iSOS:  An interesting but useful concept, this app allows you to pre-save information (such as your age, health condition, gender, etc.) and broadcast it if trapped or caught in some sort of emergency.  Combined with one of several police, coast guard, fire department, and EMS emergency “police scanner” apps, you can quickly request help and know when it’s on the way. 

If you’re going to be braving the great outdoors on your own, and don’t mind polluting mother nature with just a tiny bit of technology, these are the apps I recom

Category: Equipment

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