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We’ve Rounded Up The Best How-To Apps Out There

Sure, survival is possible without a mobile device, but being able to get how-to survival help and guidance anytime and anywhere is handy when it’s available.

We’ve grouped our list into two general categories:

  • Wilderness Survival: Survival apps that focus on camping, foraging, fishing, navigation, back country gear, and similar how-to topics.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Guidance that you need both in the wilderness and in your everyday life should disaster strike.

They’re available for iOS and Android, and many work offline for those survival situations where no WiFi or cell signal is available.

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

1. Offline Survival Manual App

Size: 5.5 MB

Compatibility: Available on Android, and for iPhone

Languages: English

Price: FREE

Get full first-aid information about insect bites, stings, and environmental injuries. The app offers how-to planning guides, survival kits, basic medicine, how to build a shelter, water procurement, and how to start fire. Perfect for emergencies, it allows you to browse through the resources on life-saving plants and learn what to do if a snake bites you. The best thing about this survival app is that it works offline, but the downside is the additional phone-space it requires.

2. ViewRanger

Size: Varies with device

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Languages: English

Price: Both Free and premium content available; cheapest subscription $3.99 for a year/premium $19.99 per year

ViewRanger is a great GPS trail navigation app that offers both free and premium content. The cheapest subscription of this app costs $3.99 for a year and will get you access to the Skyline AR feature, a 3D flyover feature, and unlimited offline maps. The survival app allows you to download free maps and trails for offline navigation.

3. Yonder

Size: 189.6 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

Yonder (Android, iOS) lets you easily share your hiking, biking and camping experiences with a global community of people from all over the world Download this app to get access to a database of more than 200,000 destinations. Follow other hikers to view their activity streams and get access to maps that help you explore nearby locations. It’s a great way to find out nearby trails and routes.

4. BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS

Size: Varies with device

Compatibility: Android 2.2 (minimum OS required)

Languages: English

Price: Android- $11.99

This is an excellent app for off-road back country maps. It can take map data from a variety of free and paid sources for offline use. Users can then add or import GPS waypoints, record a track, and exhibit a variety of map layers and sources.

5. SAS Survival Guide App

Size: 127.3 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: Android, iOS: $5.99

This is the paid SAS Survival Guide app (Android, iOS) based on the bestselling book by John “Lofty” Wiseman. It contains the full text of the book (optimized for mobile formats) and covers a host of basic and advanced survival topics. You will get comprehensive information on first-aid, and photo galleries of edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants. The survival app also offers the author’s instructional videos and quiz to test your knowledge.

6. BUDK (On The Edge Brands, Inc)

Size: 34.8 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish

Price: Free

BUDK offers the largest selections of swords and knives in the world. The survival app displays a broad collection of survival gear, handmade katana swords, pocket knives and military surplus for camping, survival, and outdoor activities. It will also let you receive knife deal alert notifications, shop knives online, track orders, contact customer service and even stay up to date on BUDK’s social media.

7. Falling Fruit App

Size: 17 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: $3.99

This App works as an online map that utilizes imported datasets to guide foragers to the locations of public fruit trees, edible plants and mushrooms. The survival app offers information on thousands of edible plant species across thousands of cities around the world.

8. PlantNet Plant Identification

Size: 35.9 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian

Price: FREE

This application allows you to recognize plants simply by clicking their picture with your smartphone. Presently, the PlantNet app recognizes about 20,000 species. All you need to do is take photos of any plant, tree or shrub and submit them to the app, and it will let you know the name of that plant, flowers they produce, what they are used for and other properties. This is a great way to recognize some useful herbs or medicinal plants.

9. Useful Knots –Tying Guide

Size: 100 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREEThis knot guide app teaches you how to tie a whole slew of useful knots. It offers detailed information about more than 100 knots, divided into 18 categories, including binding, climbing and sailing knots, and fishing knots. You can learn about knots by name or category, and each entry comes with a description of its uses, as well as a visual guide to tying the knot.

10. Fishidy Fishing Maps

Size: 258.2MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

The Fishidy mobile app offers the users with a way to save and record their favorite fishing sites and catches and share them with other users. It provides fishing maps to more than 17,000 waterways, with users able to log catches and favorite sites on the map. To obtain detailed maps and fishing hotspots, fishing tips mapped underwater structures, and offline maps, get a premium subscription.

11. Fishing Knots

Size: 57.1 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

Price: FREE

This is a FREE app which will teach you how to tie fishing knots. The app contains pictorial instructions on how to tie a variety of fishing knots. You will learn about attaching flies, hooks, swivels and other bait. Each knot is given a short description of use, as well as an illustrated guide on tying it.

12. Critter Trax – Wild Animal Track

Size: 23.8 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 12.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: $1.99

Learn how to identify wild animal tracks. This survival app comes with 50 pictures of wild game tracks and scat from turkey, whitetail deer, weasel, mink, moose, coyotes and others. It links to the Wikipedia entry for each animal.

13. Cairn

Size: 109.6 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

This is an outdoor safety and navigation app that crowd-sources information about where you can receive mobile signals. It also logs your location and allows you to leave a trip plan with your friends. In case you are ever overdue, your contacts are alerted, and are provided with a map of location data where you were tracked to. Cairn App also allows you to plan well ahead for areas on the trail with mobile coverage.

APPS FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

14. First Aid: American Red Cross

Size: 66.2 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

This survival app offers life-saving tips and instructions for everyday emergencies. It comes with videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice to survive everyday emergencies and natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. You will also get basic first-aid information for burns, injuries, and other medical emergencies. There is a one-button shortcut to call 911. Check out the “Prepare” category, which helps you plan for emergencies like tornadoes in advance. Tap on the “Quizzes” category to check your knowledge.

15. Medical ID App

Size: 5.7 MB for Android/5.4 MB for iOS

Compatibility: Android 5 and up. iOS 8.0 or later

Languages: English

Price: FREE

Medical ID app comes with an emergency call screen that offers access to Medical ID information without unlocking the device. The app provides instant access to your medical information, like allergies and medical conditions, to the first responders, medical staff, and doctors. It offers an easy-to-use interface that lets you easily navigate, organize, and customize elements. The hospital locator feature contains addresses and GPS coordinates for hospitals closest to your current location. The app allows you to directly call 911. It gives you access to medical information without a cell, internet or Wifi.

16. GasBuddy

Size: 143.4 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

This survival app comes in handy after hurricanes and other disasters, when gas is sometimes scarce. It’s also useful when you’re overlanding in remote areas where gas stations are few and far between. It even lets you track down the cheapest nearby gas stations recommended by the fellow motorists and travelers on the app’s community.

17. AccuWeather

Size: 211.6 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Price: FREE

With its international reach, this is one of the best weather apps in the market. It features 15-day forecast summaries, 5-day forecasts, and the hyper-local AccuWeather MinuteCast. Add this survival app to your list to get minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts out to the next two hours.

18. Kaspersky Battery Life

Size: 13 MB

Languages: English

Price: FREEKaspersky Battery Life app offers a set of some very useful mobile utilities. It works as a battery monitor and a battery life extender because it kills the battery-hogging apps that use battery power even when not used. The app displays your current charge and estimated runtime remaining based on your battery use patterns, as well as expected battery life on sleep or active use.

19. FEMA

Size: 11 MB

Compatibility: iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch; Android 4.0.3

Languages: English and Spanish

Price: Free

This mobile app offers resources in an easy-to-use package. It allows you to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations at a time. You will also get emergency information and tips and ideas on what to do before, during, and after a natural disaster. “Prepare” and “Disaster Resources” sections of the app work without connectivity. The family sharing feature allows up to six family members to use the app. You can call 911 directly from the app.

20. SirenGPS

Size: 26 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

This app helps you share your correct location with 911 dispatchers. With just a touch of one big red button, it alerts first responders with your location and profile—including emergency contacts, allergies, medical conditions, and any existing medical history worth knowing. SirenGPS is a great way to improve your chance of being rescued in time.

21. Zello

Size: 82.8 MB

Compatibility: Compatible with Android and iOS

Languages: English, Afrikaans, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

Price: FREE

This app can turn your phone into a walkie-talkie or two-way radio. Users can join channels and instantly send voice messages or photos. It can come in handy when phone lines are down or jammed. The Zello app does need internet connectivity or a cellular signal.

22. DailyRoads Voyager

Size: 5.8 MB

Compatibility: Compatible from version 2.2 of Android. Any superior OS version will support it.

Languages: Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Price: FREE

This survival app turns your Android phone into a budget dashcam, letting you record video or photos of your trip in the event of an accident. It has settings to allow you to choose the user-defined storage size, video quality, and cyclic storage so your internal memory never fills up. Use this app for time-stamping and geotagging of your recordings. If you don’t want ads, spring for the premium version.

23. Life360 : Find Family & Friends

Size: 176.1 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese

Price: FREE

Life360 app comes with a Family Locator Map that lets all family members share and monitor each other’s location and choose a safe place as a meeting point. The messaging feature of the app provides quick-communication options like ‘Panic Alert’ to send a voicemail, email and notification to everyone in the family at once.

24.Emergency Radio (Police Scanner) App – EdgeRift, Inc

Size: 5.3 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: $0.99This is a great survival app to be used at times of civil unrest or catastrophe, which can bring mass disorder and confusion. The 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 other frequencies.

YOUR ALL-PURPOSE HOW-TO APP FOR ANY SURVIVAL SITUATION

25. American Survival Guide

Size: 31.7 MB

Compatibility: Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Languages: English

Price: FREE

This is a great survival app to keep yourself and your family prepared for worst case scenarios. Learn practical tips for surviving earthquakes, avalanches, hurricanes, tornados, floods, extreme cold, and other natural disasters. The app also equips you to survive during man-made crises, such as physical attacks, mass shootings, cyber crimes and more. The app also teaches you about the fun side of survival skills. With what you learn here, you can head out into the wilderness, build a shelter, start a fire, and feed yourself from what you forage, fish and hunt.