Today’s tech market is flooded with numerous brands of smartphones that are designed to keep us entertained and make our life easier. However, if you are preparedness minded, you should probably look to the smartphone survival uses of your gadget as it can become a reliable companion in emergency situations.
We are accustomed to use on our smartphones for completing even the most basic tasks and although modern technology is said to dim the survival spirit of humans, it is wise to turn our smartphones into a survival tool. Since you can’t escape cell phones even in the great outdoors, you might as well make the most of it and learn how it can save your life during a wilderness emergency.
When you are lost in the wilderness or if you get separated from your party, a compass becomes an invaluable survival tool that will help you get back on the right track. Many of the smartphones you can buy today come equipped with a compass functionality, which can help you find the right route and avoid walking in circles. If you plan to install an app that provides compass functionality, make sure you are able to test that app and go for a trial run, before relying on it as your backup compass. This will help you familiarize yourself with the application and discover if there aren’t any trial traps (like having to buy a pro version after a certain number of uses or a predetermined time trial) that would make it useless in an emergency situation.
When it comes to smartphone survival uses, having a GPS and using it to communicate your exact location is a life saver. If you aren’t an experienced hiker or survivalist and you get lost or injured while exploring the great outdoors, you will have a hard time signaling your location. Every smartphone comes with a global positioning satellite (GPS) system and the information it provides can help you exploit the maps and identify the location you’re in. It will enable search parties to find you as long as your smartphone has juice. You can even take photos of the surrounding areas and geotag them using the GPS coordinates before uploading them to social media as this action will help rescue parties to pinpoint your general vicinity if you are unable to communicate.
Suggested reading: Know your region before disaster strikes
In the recent years, the app market has been flooded by lantern apps and you can find something suited for the type of phone you have, regardless if it’s an Apple or an Android phone. Lighting your way using the screen of your smartphone or the flash led light is another one of the smartphone survival uses that can help you get out of trouble. I’ve been hiking for years and I’ve seen a lot of hikers using their cellphones to light their way when nothing else was available. Even the home screen or the lock screen of your phone can provide enough light to assist when navigating safe terrain in the dark.
There are now smartphones being built with an incorporated night vision camera, but that’s not all. It seems that there are also aftermarket parts, like the Snooperscope which successfully turn your smartphone into a reliable night vision device. This feature is one of the best when it comes to smartphone survival uses and I think is worth mentioning what great advantage it provides. Being able to see in the dark in a wilderness emergency situation or in a bug out scenario will help you stay safe and keep your cool (identifying noise sources when camping provides a great peace of mind for beginners).
Recommended article: How to develop night vision for survival
While identifying wild plants is no easy task and every aspiring forager should read a book or two about foraging and plant identification, your smartphone can make things easier. Besides helping you carry your edible plant encyclopedia with you out in the wild, there are all sorts of apps that can help you identify wild edibles. In a wilderness emergency situation, after securing shelter and locating water you will quickly turn to food in order to survive. While there are many books on how to identify, harvest and use the best wild edible and medicinal plants in North America, app developers took things even further. There are now apps like Leafsnap, Plantifier and iPflanzen that help us identify plants on the fly. You can snap a picture of a plant’s leaf or flower against a neutral background and submit it instantly for analysis. This is one of the smartphone survival uses that should come in handy for those that have no experience in plant identification and it should help them stay away from dangerous plants.
There are voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) apps that can help you even when you are in a location where signals are weak and you can use the Internet to make calls rather than a voice line. With the help of popular applications such as Skype, you can make calls over 3G and 4G cellular networks and reach out for help. You can even send pictures or video of your surroundings or share visuals of possible injuries in order to get help faster.
This is probably one of the most obvious smartphone survival uses and with the current memory capacities of the average phones you can store a great number of survival books on a single cell phone. You can bring with you all sorts of books that will help you get out of a nasty situation. You should have books covering all the information regarding the area you are exploring (plant and fauna, topology and weather conditions), but you should also have books that can teach you how to build a shelter, start a fire or even hunt and fish using rudimentary or primitive skills.
Recommended article: How to build your own survival library
While some think that a broken smartphone is just a piece of junk, the survivalist in you should know better because even a broken phone can come in handy. If you managed to bust your phone while exploring the great outdoors, don’t despair just yet. You can completely dismantle your phone and find various pieces that can be turned into survival tools. You can use parts from your phone to facilitate a rescue since most phones gave reflective parts that can be used as signal mirrors. The sharp edges of the phone’s board can be used to cut rope, foraged food or any other items. I’ve seen an expert survivalist improvise a spear point from the circuit board of a phone after sharpening it on a rock. Even smartphone batteries can be used to start a fire under certain conditions. Every part of a broken cell phone can be used one way or the other and it’s all up to your imagination and the survival needs you have.
When you decide to go on an outdoor adventure and you plan to use your smartphone as a survival tool make sure you cover all the basics. You should make sure you have enough juice for it and the proper tools to charge it. I wrote an article about portable electric generators and it was greatly appreciated by the readers. I recommend reading it in order to cover your energy supply needs while traveling. Make sure you also have a good case for your smartphone, one that can protect it from shocks, but also a way to waterproof it (even a basic Ziploc bag can work). You should also check the app store for any wilderness or emergency solutions that could make your adventure easily and most importantly, be sure to tell someone where you are going and how long you will be there.
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