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Are you an outdoor enthusiast? I love getting out and experience nature any chance I can get, and taking the kids is the best part. I want my kids to grow up experiencing many of the same things I got to do as a kid – camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and more!

Family Hiking Camping

Did you know that with today’s technology you can take advantage of your smartphone and mobile apps to make your next adventure safer and more enjoyable?

U.S. Cellular provides a high-quality network and national coverage that keeps you connected in big and small cities and rural communities. So when you’re traveling in the great outdoors, devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge can serve as versatile and invaluable tools – whether you’re a hardcore outdoors person or a weekend warrior.

emergency preparedness equipment outdoors survival2

10 Survival Essentials 

If you are heading out into the great outdoors, there are some simple tools you can take with you to ensure that you will have what you need should you be caught in a survival situation. If you are more experienced, you will know what items work best for your specific needs and can adjust accordingly.

  1. Knife – great for cutting rope, creating weapons, opening packages, creating fire starters, cutting bandages, and more.
  2. Paracord – great for hoisting food away from the ground/wildlife, building an emergency shelter, making a splint for broken bones, climbing, tent repair, fishing line, attaching gear, and more.
  3. A warm hat – nights get cold, keeping your head warm is ideal.
  4. Water bottle or hydration system – get something sturdy, not a water sack that can be punctured. Without water you die, so this is essential.
  5. A flashlight – great for signaling as well as seeing in the dark. 
  6. Shelter builidng material – as simple as a garbage bag or a tarp and branches. 
  7. First-aid kit – a small one is easiest to carry around and will have the minor first aid pieces you need.
  8. A change of clothing – if you get wet you will want a dry change of clothing as soon as possible to avoid getting too cold and expending energy on warming your body. You could also get blisters with wet feet.
  9. A sturdy camping pack – large enough to store all your needed items, yet sized right for you so as not to impede your movement.
  10. Smartphone with some great outdoors apps (listed below).

Useful Technology Available on your Smartphone

Standard Technology

Most smartphones come equipped with useful tools for the outdoors, such as a compass and flashlight function. The compass can especially come in handy if you have a rough idea the direction you should be headed. Rugged phone cases can protect your device against the elements, and long-life lithium battery can give you hours of power. You can even pick up a military spec 4G LTE Duraforce Smartphone that’s built to last in extreme elements.

U.S. Cellular recommends the following tips and free or low-cost apps:

Safety first: Put the entire Army survival guide on your phone and access it anytime, online or offline, with the Army Survival Guide. This Android and iPhone compatible app offers information about survival planning and kits, shelters, water and food procurement, fire craft and much more.

army survival app  army survival guide
Find your way: Recent U.S. Cellular research found that 22 percent of smartphone owners use GPS to get directions. Take advantage of your device’s GPS functionality with Gaia GPS, a free app offering the full functionality of a handheld, backcountry GPS unit. Record tracks and waypoints, take geo-tagged photos and more. Plus, you can search for nearby waypoints and read reports about places.

gaia gps

Be your own guide: Use the AllTrails app to browse through guides for 50,000 trails across North America. The app provides photos, reviews and tracks for outdoor activities – from hiking and mountain biking to fly-fishing and snowshoeing. Track your activities with your phone’s GPS and easily share your adventures with friends.


Spot wildlife: Identify birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, native trees and wildflowers with National Parks Field Guide, an interactive field guide to the wildlife and plants of 100 U.S. National Parks. The guide is also full of useful information about each park such as major sites within it, directions, hours and fees, links, and phone numbers to make reservations or get more information.

national parks field guide

Boat safely: If your adventure involves boating, check out the official United States Coast Guard app. This free app provides state boating information, a safety equipment checklist, navigation rules, float plans and more. It also offers tools to check weather reports, report pollution and call for help.

united states coast guard

Other tips: While a mobile device is not meant to replace good planning and adequate safety precautions, it may serve as a valuable lifeline. If you are lost or in trouble, in an ideal situation, you can call or send a text message for help. If you don’t have a signal, search and rescue might be able to find you based on your device’s location. Outdoor safety experts recommend bringing your mobile phone and leaving your phone number and service provider with family or friends. Even if you keep your device off, experts recommend powering it up occasionally to drop some digital breadcrumbs that may help search and rescue teams locate you if needed.


Do you have any tips to share? 
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