Must-Have Technology for Outdoor Adventures

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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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Jesica H

When she isn’t drowning in a pile of never-ending laundry or picking up Legos, Jesica is busy helping other parents make their lives a little less stressful with homemaking hacks, easy recipes, fun DIY projects, and more. On her successful blog, The Mommy Bunch, her Cricut crafting tutorials are the most popular articles and are what sparked her passion for helping others build a business of their own. Jesica started where you can find loads more craft tutorials and business advice. In her FREE Facebook group, Rock Your Craft Business, Jesica teaches other entrepreneurs how to take their craft business to the next level by building their brand, targeting the right customers, and utilizing smart social media strategies. Join us!

jesicaj1 has 1733 posts and counting.See all posts by jesicaj1

44 thoughts on “Must-Have Technology for Outdoor Adventures

  • August 25, 2015 at 11:49 am
    These are great tips! We used a few of these this past summer when we went to Yellowstone. I love the apps there are now t help identify stuff and learn how to do certain things! Reply
    • August 26, 2015 at 9:01 am
      Yellowstone is on my bucket list! I will def be utilizing some of these apps if and when we go. :) Reply
      • September 2, 2015 at 9:11 am
        Take me with you! Otherwise all these apps I just downloaded from your list are pointless lol. Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 11:50 am
    This is all great info for those of us that like to be outside. We camp a lot and always carry these items. Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 2:49 pm
    I'm not much of an outdoorsy person so I would definitely get use from all of these!! There are some great tips in this post! Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm
    One of the reasons phone is a must-have is for emergency purposes. If you travel a lot, it's the best thing you can have because it's true, it works as a GPS too (we use it on the road sometimes and it's even better than the stand-along GPS). You also don't know what's going to happen so having a phone with signal when you are outdoors can be a life-saver! Reply
    • August 26, 2015 at 9:02 am
      I agree, the smartphone GPS updates in real time, whereas the other ones are more difficult to get updated information to right away. Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 5:09 pm
    I'm not much of a camper, but I love hiking and the outdoors. These are all great survival essentials. Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm
    I love discovering new apps. That trail app will be really helpful for my daughter's daily routine. Reply
    • August 26, 2015 at 9:02 am
      Is she a hiker? I bet it would work great for her in that case. :) Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 5:33 pm
    A knife and a first aid kit is always needed. A lot of people get severe infection when hurt in the woods. Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 9:01 pm
    I love these tips! I can't wait to check some of the apps you mentioned. My family likes to go camping and hiking, well anything outdoors really so this is great info. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 5:56 am
    We love doing outdoor stuff, this year though we were not able to go to the woods and explore. The mosquitos here are thick and my daughter is allergic to mosquito bites. We will try again next year and maybe use an Off or soething. I love families who does outdoor actities, kudos to you! Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 8:06 am
    These are great suggestions. We do this at least once a year and your tips will be very helpful. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 9:00 am
    Those are great suggestions. We haven't been on a outdoors adventure in a long time. It is something that we like to do. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm
    What a cools app. I need this and am going to add this app to my phone. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm
    What cools apps! I need the hiking trail app and will be adding it to my phone. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm
    I love that spot wildlife app! That would be so much fun for my kid to call out animals he sees. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm
    What a super cool post! I just bookmarked it because I know I'll need to refer back when we do our camping trip this fall. (And I'm not a natural camper, so can use all the help I can get.) lol Thanks for all the great info. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm
    There are so many great apps available now for traveling. I will have to try the Spot the Wildlife app. Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm
    These are some great apps. I'll have to download some of these the next time we are traveling to the state park. Reply
    • September 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm
      I'm definitely trying to see more state parks this year. We do go to a lot of parks and nature trails in the area. Hopefully that helps us prepare. Reply
  • August 27, 2015 at 12:47 am
    I remember going hiking in the mountains way before cell phones were popular. If you ran into trouble, it could be days before someone might find you. Thankfully cell phones are great now for hiking trips. Of course, you would need someway to charge it. Maybe a solar portable charger. :) Reply
  • August 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm
    I think I am going to have to practice some survival hacks, like starting a fire. Knowing that you can actually do the things listed in survival books before the need arises makes me feel better. Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 8:13 am
    We are not all that outdoorsy, but we do spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer. A portable phone charger is my one MUST HAVE item. Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 8:28 am
    I have never been camping over night. I love being outside but I'm too OCD to sleep outside. I love to take a sketch book, blanket, and picnic and picnic in the woods but come evening I am ready to go home. :) Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm
    Although I'm more of a glamper, having a complete survival guide on my phone, might make me feel a little better about roughing it. Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 4:49 pm
    I still need 5 from the 10 survival essentials. LOL. I agree that phones have impacted our lives, it's not always a bad thing because it saved millions of lives already (that's just my guess) as long as it has great signal, then it's useful. LOL. Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 6:02 pm
    I do think a flashlight is pretty important. Obviously you can use it to see, but I never thought about how you could use it for signaling. Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 6:38 pm
    Great tips! I think we all take for granted that our electronics don't work the same in the wilderness as they do in the city! I would have never thought of using it that way! Very handy for learning the lay of the land and the dangerous parts! Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 10:57 am
    These are all great tips. Love the list of outdoor-adventure technologies. Thanks for sharing this! Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 11:24 am
    That's a great list. I am adding paracord to my list cos I have never thou0ght of that before. Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 11:34 am
    These are such great tips. I've never heard of those apps, but without a doubt, they are going to be helpful. Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm
    These are great tips for being outdoors. I need to make a survival bag for my car. You never know when you will need it. Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm
    I am going to have to check some of these out. We go Geocaching when the weather is nice, so these would be very useful for our outdoor adventure. Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm
    We don't really go camping that much but we do enjoy road trips. These apps are very cool, makes camping and hiking easy. Very handy! Reply
  • September 3, 2015 at 7:50 am
    That Coast Guard app would have been so useful when I lived close to my grandfather. He was an avid boater and would have loved it! Reply
  • September 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm
    Great apps. The one thing I'd add to the list is a power pack for your cell phone. They are incredibly powerful tools, but useless if they go dead. You can also get solar rechargers or hand crank radios with USB ports. Reply
  • September 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm
    Great post - I just pinned this! I'm always looking for cool tech things to bring on my adventures and these tips are great. Reply
  • September 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm
    These are great tips! I love to go camping and be outdoors! Thanks for sharing! Reply

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