Your cell phone isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into your head when you think of tracking your way out of the wilderness, foraging and hunting in the wild or surviving TEOTWAWKI.
Think again. Even an experienced prepper or outdoor adventurer can use a smartphone to close the gap between catastrophe and survival. What used to cost you hard-earned money i.e. GPS, compass, etc. now can be added to your smartphone in less than a minute and in many cases, for free.
After exploring many of the app options out there for the outdoors and surviving different SHTF situations, these apps were most useful to me and therefore am going to pass them on to you with my top 15 favorite survival apps for your smartphone.
1. SAS Survival Guide
The SAS Survival Guide app very well could be the best and only app you would ever need while it covers everything from making fires and camps to foraging and surviving even in the most extreme of conditions with thoroughly written and detailed instructions and tutorials.
It includes a number of tools such as the text-to-morse encoder and a sun compass. Practice makes perfect.
The SAS Survival Guide app includes video, photo galleries and a 100+ question quiz to keep you on your toes with your survival skills.
One of the best things about the SAS app is that it requires no internet connection to be used which means I can use this for when I really need it in SHTF situations.
2. Smart Compass
An excellent and easy-to-use compass for any survivalist, camper or hiker that doesn’t want to constantly gaze down at his compass.
The Smart Compass app allows you to intuitively follow with easy with its augmented reality display.
All you have to do is hold your smart phone up to the horizon while the real-time video from your camera is overlaid with a compass heading to give you a landmark to walk to without having to constantly re-check your orientation.
3. PictureThis Plant Identifier
For that time with SHTF, the zombies arrive and you have no food or resources.
Wild Edibles app will provide information on plants you locate in your area and their capability to provide for you as a source of food with over 1 million wild plants’ descriptions, photos, and more.
You can filter by region, season and plant attributes. It is also compiled with an interface designed to show you how to harvest and cook the plants while foraging with instructions.
4. First Aid by American Red Cross App
Still certified in first aid? Need to brush up or to learn some of the basic skills? The First Aid by American Red Cross app is perfectly structured in a manner that your first aid skills can be easily learned and executed if an emergency situation were to ever arise.
It includes example videos as well as step-by-step instructions for many emergencies (pool drownings, choking, heart attacks) and survival situations. Check out the prepper beta by clicking the ‘prepare’ icon in the app.
- Get First Aid by American Red Cross for iOS here
- Get First Aid by American Red Cross for Android here
5. Knots 3D
If you haven’t already started learning your basic survival knots, you can begin now or refine and practice your skills with the Knots 3D app.
This app will teach you how to make any kind of knot with step-by-step 3D instructions. Learn about which knots are good for alternate situations as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
6. Google Drive
What are you without a copy of your passport, ID, social security card, escape routes and important documents?
Keep everything backed up and safe with a document safekeeping app like Google Drive. You can keep the hard copies safe and tucked away, but as well have access to everything safely and securely to use at any point in time with Google Drive.
This app will keep you up to date in real-time for your local weather.
Weatherbug an essential app for power outages due to natural disasters and more. It’s complete with push notification alerts, real-time data and interactive maps.
8. Emergency Radio (Police Scanner) App – EdgeRift, Inc
A perfect app for civil unrest or catastrophe with mass disorder and confusion.
The Emergency Radio app is an award-winning police scanner app which offers the most extensive database of live police, EMS, fire, air traffic, train, NOAA weather, coast guard, HAM radio and even more frequencies.
The ‘Nearby’ button on the app is used to find frequencies near your current location using GPS. Tune in to anything from local frequencies to the LAPD or FDNY and more.
- Get Emergency Radio (Police Scanner) for iOS here
- You can get a similar Scanner Radio by Gordon Edwards here for Android
9. MotionX GPS
Named by about.com to be one of the best outdoor apps, MotionX GPS allows you to save offline topographical maps worldwide.
This is an excellent tool which saves you from having to rely on cell connectivity and service to access a map, especially when you need it most.
MotionX also allows you to track your trek so that if you were to ever get lost in the woods or outdoors, you’ll be able to see on the app where you came from and re-route back to your basecamp or previous location.
10. BootPrint Pocket Survival
This handy app will record the exact location your last signal was picked up with your phone. Perfect for any kind of situation where you might need service, the BootPrint Pocket Survival app will provide you the capability to call home or help.
It uses your phone’s built-in compass to guide you the way back so that you don’t have to mess with maps.
11. Army Survival Guide
This app comes straight out of the army’s manuals which include things like avoiding enemy captivity and fighting off rabid animals.
However, the Army Survival Guide app is also extremely useful for other situations as it shows you survival techniques such as constructing a makeshift shelter in terrible conditions, killing and dressing your next game kill, making your own soap and more.
12. MyNature Animal Tracks
There are a number of tracking apps that can be extremely helpful when trying to identify tracks and types of animals that are in your current area of location.
MyNature Animal Tracks app is by far the most comprehensive animal tracking app out there. It’s compiled with a database for front and hind animal feet, track/gait patterns, scat identification, animal calls, range maps, and more.
13. Ultimate Survival Manual App
This app not only comes with Google Maps GPS built into it, but as well holds a weather lookup feature as well as a ton of beta throughout its survival guide for any survival situation you could possibly think of.
Its all-weather conditions survival guide gives you the info and skills on how to survive in any environment whether it be a desert, heavy-forested area, wintery conditions, and more.
14. FEMA’s App
This free app comes from FEMA itself and has lots of useful features. You can even use your phone to “report a disaster” as they call it.
The only worry I have is whether or not they will track you post-collapse. Being found after it hits may or may not be what you want, depending on the circumstances.
15. The ICE (In Case of Emergency) App
If you ever end up in the ER or in some other kind of emergency, there’re these very useful apps that the nurse or paramedic can access to know more about you. This will help them treat you faster.
Things like your date of birth, blood type, and many more options that may one day save your life.
16. Flashlight+, Android
Many phones have the ability to turn on the camera’s LED constantly to use as a flashlight, but a fair few still don’t. Enter the Flashlight+ app.
This app does exactly what it says it does and nothing else. It also does not run a bunch of garbage code in the background that will suck power down even more.
While not the most efficient use of your precious battery life, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and a backup light source is never, ever a bad thing.
17. Offline Survival Manual, Android
Open source, no cost, and ad-free, OSM is one of the best basic survival apps on any platform and, as its name suggests, totally useable offline in its entirety.
OFM covers subjects from shelter construction and first aid to survival psychology, and it is laid out in an intuitive and user-friendly fashion making it very simple to pull up what you need in a hurry.
Perfect for getting a fire and shelter going in a hurry! While not super comprehensive or complete, this is a lean app that will take care of 90% of your needs in most environments.
18. Evernote, iOS and Android
Evernote is not a survival-centric app, but it does not have to be. Evernote is just a cloud-based information and note taking program that will sync with all of the devices you have connected with it.
While that is nothing special in this day and time, Evernote is praiseworthy for its excellent interface and high reliability.
By syncing your notebooks to your device for offline reading, you can perform all of your writing, planning, and scanning with the ease and comfort of your PC or laptop and then grab your phone or tablet and go without worrying about logging in, transferring, and other chores.
Some of the nicer functions require a paid subscription, but the base app is free and excellent. Evernote is a great app for saving your own files in for easy retrieval.
19. Litium, Android
Litium is a 3rd party app that allows you to read .epub and .mobi files on your phone seamlessly without all the baggage and performance-hogging bulk of Kindle and similar big-name e-reader apps.
Litium is light and easy to use with a clean interface that still allows you to choose between daylight and dusk/night viewing modes, offers highlighting and margin notes and is ad-free. This is a great choice for keeping your phone ebook capable without the baggage.
These apps will guarantee that your bug out bag, knots, skills, and more are prepared, up-to-date, and ready to fully sustain you during a major catastrophe or TEOTWAWKI.
You’ll now be able to have all these necessary tools and resources all at the touch of your fingertips.
Stevie grew up in the woods of Oregon eventually ending up in the heart of the Alaska wilderness. An avid adventurer, she spends her time traveling the states and beyond to explore and understand other cultures and documenting through journalism.