Survival apps can be life changers.
Natural disasters are part of Mother Nature’s routine. They have been around before man. One of the best ways we have learned to adapt is by developing means of predicting natural disasters. However, before we get too excited, predicting disasters is still beyond most of our current tech – but helping us react to them is not.
In January 2010 Haiti suffered one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history. The earthquake claimed an estimates 230,000 lives and injured 300,000 others. It did not just shake Haiti – it rocked the world.
On that same day, as fate would have it, Dan Woolley was filming a documentary in Haiti. All was going well at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince until the earthquake struck. The man from Colorado quickly found himself in a horrendous situation when the building came down on top of him.
It was while trapped under this rubble that his iPhone came to the rescue. The story of Dan Woolley is crucial because it goes to show that help can sometimes manifest itself in the form of technology at the most critical of moments. The other thing it proves is that you can never predict how dire a situation may turn out to be.
Dan Woolley’s iPhone had its defining moment. He remembered that he had downloaded a first aid app. Now, Dan had multiple life-threatening injuries. One of them included a compound fracture in his leg. Anybody who has experienced or seen one of those knows precisely what I am talking about. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
The other major injury was a knock to his head, where blood was oozing like there was no tomorrow. Both these injuries are typically quite disorienting – to say the least.
Dan later admitted whole-heartedly that were it not for his phone app, he would have just given up on his chances.
The app just happened to contain careful details on how to handle the exact situation that Dan found himself in. It helped him know how to take care of both injuries. He stated that he carefully followed the instructions because it was a matter of life and death.
Once that was done, the app instructed him how to dress the wounds – which he did.
With his immediate concerns all but addressed, Dan knew that he faced another nudging issue – shock. He could not allow himself to go into shock while trapped under that rubble. Guess who came through again? That’s right – his iPhone.
Dan was able to set his alarm to go off after every 20 minutes, which effectively kept him awake. He was eventually rescued a cool 65 hours after the incident started. It is safe to say that he would not have survived that long without the apps on his phone.
The iPhone helped him dress his wounds, keep track of time, stay awake, and, most importantly, stay alive.
Our Recommended Survival Apps
Although your mobile phone might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of how you can potentially wiggle your way out of a tricky situation, this article may go a ways to change that.
We’ll look at fifteen of the best apps that the market has to offer with regard to survival.
The best thing about survival apps is that you get what you would have otherwise paid for with your hard-earned money at relatively low prices. Think compasses, GPS, medical guides, etc. These items can be costly and of course take up valuable space. The same items are almost free on the internet.
The downside with these apps is that they ultimately depend on your battery life. Losing your life because your phone died can be quite frustrating. Hence, it is advisable to always carry a power bank and make sure to leave home with your phone fully charged.
Without further ado, let us get down to our list. If it helps to further the urgency and magnitude of the matter, you can read it in Nick Fury’s voice.
1. Google Drive – FREE
Google drive is available on both Android and iOS. You probably have this app on your phone by default. You can find it in the Google folder. What it does is safely back up your documents. There are a number of documents that are very risky to have only a hard copy of. These include:
- Social security cards
- Credit card details
- Bank credentials, among others.
With Google Drive, you can safely store these documents and access them at any time including when offline. Check the details from Google about how to access files on your phone if you have no network connection.
2. Kindle – FREE
Or your preferred digital books app. We use Kindle but here are plenty others to choose from. The important thing is that you have at least one of them and start to build a library of useful books. By storing books digitally you have the obvious advantage of being able to carry around hundreds of books on your phone or tablet. You can also use a service like Kindle Unlimited where you can borrow up to 10 books at a time for just $9.99 per month.
As a terrific bonus check out this site that has over 6000 free survival digital downloads that you can download and keep on your kindle app that will get you well on your way to building that ultimate survival library!
Also check out Amazon’s extensive list of FREE SURVIVAL BOOKS.
3. First Aid by the American Red Cross – FREE
When it comes to emergency first aid this app is it. Trusted, well-researched and up to date information on current first aid practices. In addition the service links directly with 911 emergency services so you can call for help.
When the app first stepped into the scene, it changed everything. It did not just turn the game on its head; it revolutionized the whole survival app industry.
The baseline of this app is providing its users with easy to follow step-to-step instructions on how to best deal with emergencies. The most promising thing about the First Aid app is that all the information included is completely credible as it’s from Red Cross of America.
The Red Cross is a foundation that has spear-headed humanitarian efforts across the globe for many years now. Red Cross is widely recognized as one of the planet’s leading authorities in the field of medical aid. You can rest assured that you are employing well-researched information when using the app.
It tackles emergencies and accidents such as:
- Pool drownings
- Heart attacks
- Cuts and bruises, among many others.
The methods laid out in the app are comprehensive and include videos which go to show how exhaustive the app is. Furthermore, the app can be accessed offline.
4. SAS Survival Guide – $5.99
This app is a must-have for preppers! A fantastic learning tool, it includes a depth of information that may prove crucial to you in times of disaster. You can get through anything with the SAS survival guide and it even works offline.
- Identifying water sources
- Purifying water that you have collected
- Building shelters where you can reside
- How to defend yourself
- How to respond to danger or disasters
- How to react in case of extreme weather
5. 3D Compass Plus – FREE
There are a plenitude of really good compass apps available on IOS and Android but we picked this one to highlight as it’s by far the best educational compass we found. Perfect for teaching your family how to navigate.
It does a plenitude of tasks all at once – show augmented reality view, 3D compass, map, coordinates, address, speed and time in the same view. You can even point the camera in a particular direction to get a compass bearing. It also has the capacity to make route videos and share them.
6. Knots 3D – $4.99
Knot tying is perhaps one of the most underestimated survival skills and knots 3D makes it super easy to learn the basics and take it from there.
Few people know how to tie a strong and reliable knot correctly. Even fewer people are willing to admit it. Luckily for us, the developers of this app took into account our ignorance and carefully detailed how even the simplest knots are tied. You will be surprised how versatile a good knot can be. It can be used as a makeshift tool, which further unlocks a host of other uses.
There are lots of knots to learn in this app and are all unique and require time to master. However, they can also be learned in the spur of a moment and get you out of a bind. The illustrations are easy to follow and also tells you which ones to use in certain situations and which ones to avoid.
7. Edible Plant Guide – $2.99
Edible Plant Guide provides you with everything you need to know about plants that are located in your area, helping you decide which plants may be a good food source in troubled times. You can sort by region, season and plant attributes.
In addition to providing you with wild plants’ descriptions and photos, it also has an emphasis on using plants for healing and the historical use of different plants for specific health conditions. That combined with information on nutritional values and preparation make this well worth the $2.99.
We’ve got a couple of articles on edible food sources that you might find interesting:
8. onX Hunt – FREE (with paid options)
OnX Hunt has been featured in a variety of publications as the best hunting app and we can see why. It has super accurate maps private and public land ownership maps, Hunting Units, roads and all trails and even US topographic maps. You can access offline maps, location tracking GPS for hunting and even track the distance, coordinates, duration and speed of your outings.
9. BootPrint Pocket Survival
Lost in the wilderness without a cell signal? This app will guide you back to the nearest poin where your phone was receiving network signals. As simple as that.
The app works with a compass that directs you so you don’t have to fiddle with other maps and compass apps in the process. It can come in very handy when you need to make a call in an emergency, and you are not getting network coverage. As a matter of fact, it has been recorded saving tens of marooned lives. Bootprint Pocket Survival is unfortunately only available for iOS.
‘You can think of this app like a car spare tire, you hope you don’t need to use it, but if you have a flat tire, you are so glad you have one! This app is one you can start and then forget about, but will be so glad you have it in the case of an emergency.’ – apple.com
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a similar app that has this function on Android – if you know of one, leave us a comment!
10. Weather by Weather Bug – FREE
The Weather Bug offers an impressive combo of accuracy, detail and personalization. It has 18 animated weather maps, including precipitation, Doppler radar, wind chill and pollen. Also has lightning alerts that will notify you when it’s on the way. More than earns it’s ‘Editors Choice’ on Google.
The push-notification alerts ensure nothing gets past you.
11. Emergency Radio Free – FREE
EdgeRift Inc. really outdid themselves with this one. The company developed an app that allows you to tune in to live emergency service frequencies near your location. The options are extensive and include live police radio, fire department, NOAA weather, coast guard, HAM radio among other frequencies. The app operates using GPS.
When life descends into chaos, you need to stay in the loop on what is going on. You have seen situations where there is massive unrest or disorder. Tuning in to the police frequencies available on the database, for example, may allow you to hear vital information about emerging circumstances and help you make informed decisions.
Police Scanner is an alternative on Android.
12. iTrack Wildlife Pro – $14.99
iTrack Wildlife Pro is an innovative app that enables you to identify and correspond tracks you find to the animal that made them.
It has a comprehensive database that comes with everything one can learn from a simple set of tracks. It incorporates gait patterns, animal calls, maps, and the difference between the front and hind tracks, among other features. The ultimate hunting companion on your outdoor adventures. An excellent way to learn about animal tracks before you really have to!
As you’d expect for this price is really is a comprehensive digital field guide to mammal tracks.
13. The ICE App – FREE
The In Case of Emergency app was developed to help paramedics, or other people trying to help, when you have an emergency and may be unconscious. It’s icon sits on your lock screen and is immediately apparent.
The app hosts medical details of its user, such as date of birth, blood type, known allergies, and so forth. This information can prove to be crucial in saving your life.
Medical ID Record is an alternative on IOS.
14. Leafsnap – FREE
You take a picture of a leaf using your camera, and the app tells you what exactly you are looking at. I honestly find it quite neat. It also employs GPS to narrow down the possibilities by region. It claims it can currently recognize 90% of all known species of plants and trees.
This is an awesome learning tool to improve your knowledge of plants and growing and caring for them.
15. SirenGPS – FREE
Last but not least, on our list of survival apps is this excellent app. The SirenGPS brings to the fore a very scary fact. Did you know that emergency services usually cannot pinpoint your exact location when you call 911? What they do is track the location of the nearest cell tower. Sends shivers down your spine, right?
With just a touch of a button you can dial 911 and the SirenGPS app gives dispatchers access to your EXACT location. What’s more, it allows for communication even when the cell phone network is down and lets you create a profile that’s immediately shared with 1st responders in your area to save precious time in an emergency. This is one app you don’t want to miss on your phone. In fact, all of them are.
What do you think about our suggested best survival apps? Are there any we missed that you’d like to see on the list? Let us know in the comments. This article took a long time to put together to make sure the information is as current as possible – if you liked it we’d really appreciate a share as it helps us out so much. Thanks!