Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
A key part of any trip planning routine is preparing your smartphone. That means installing travel apps, getting offline entertainment ready for the flight, and keeping everything backed up.
But what if you’re headed to a place where there’s no connectivity at all, like an outdoor excursion? Can your smartphone play the role of a dependable companion even there?
As it turns out, yes. With the right apps, you can turn your smartphone into a survival kit. Here are the Android apps you need for your next outdoor adventure.
1. Offline Survival Manual
This app’s name speaks for itself. Offline Survival Manual brings an elaborate outdoor surviving guide to your phone. It houses handbooks and articles on a multitude of topics, all available without an internet connection.
You can learn how to start a fire without any modern tools, which plants to avoid eating, what essential items to carry, and much more. Of course, if you come across another troubling situation, you can simply search; chances are the app has something for you.
Offline Survival Manual also displays infographics and images for a few sections to make it easier for you to follow. Plus, if you don’t want to risk your phone’s battery running out, the app has an option to print info. Speaking of which, you might consider a rugged outdoor phone if you plan to adventure regularly.
Download: Offline Survival Manual (Free)
For people who often embark on hiking and biking trips, ViewRanger is a must-have. The app lets you explore hundreds of routes curated by its users and experts. And once you’ve decided which trail to follow, you can simply download it for offline use.
In addition, ViewRanger has a nifty augmented reality mode through which you can identify sights like mountains and their peaks. Along with coordinates, ViewRanger offers route guides for understanding a particular listing’s intricate details.
On top of that, it’s compatible with Wear OS smartwatches and even specially optimized for some like the Casio PRO TREK. ViewRanger is available in several countries including the U.K., Canada, and New Zealand.
If you want to make sure you don’t run out of power for your phone in the wild, check out the best battery backup units.
Download: ViewRanger (Free, premium version available)
3. Locus Map
Locus Map is another handy app you should consider taking along to outdoor activities. It comes with an extensive catalog of offline maps which are designed primarily for hiking, cycling, and other similar excursions.
Locus allows you to plan your routes beforehand and record them later with a bunch of statistics like the distance traveled, your pace, and altitude. In supported regions, voice and sound navigation can be enabled.
The app brings a slew of other utilities you might useful. There’s a parking assistant, a built-in field notes manager, and graphical tools. Locus Map is available in a wide range of regions throughout the globe.
If Locus Map feels a bit too much, you can take a look at AlpineQuest which mainly focuses on letting you access detailed offline maps.
4. First Aid
Emergencies can take place anywhere at any time. So it’s imperative that you’re equipped with the skills to handle them. American Red Cross’s First Aid app is a great starting point for this.
It features a number of references for tackling unexpected health issues while you’re in the middle of nowhere. You can turn to it in the event of an injury, asthma attack, and more.
These pages, of course, are viewable without an internet connection. First Aid also has a hospital tab which shows you medical centers nearby.
Download: First Aid (Free)
5. Digital Compass
Your Android phone probably came with a preloaded compass app. But if it didn’t, you should download one from the Play Store.
Paired with offline navigation apps like the aforementioned Locus Maps, digital compasses can be a great help. They can lead you in the right direction even if your phone has no service. The app we’ve highlighted here has a minimalist aesthetic—ideal for situations when you’re desperately trying to navigate around.
Digital Compass displays a handful of other details including the degree, level, and the status of your phone’s sensors. It’s worth keeping in mind that compass apps don’t work effectively if your phone doesn’t have a gyroscope (most modern devices should).
Download: Digital Compass (Free, premium version available)
OpenSignal might seem like an odd choice here, since it’s primarily known for speed tests. But there are two features of the app that are appropriate for outdoor use.
The OpenSignal app lets you pinpoint the nearest location where you can find a network. It can render cell tower maps which you can then follow to acquire a decent signal. What’s more, OpenSignal even has the ability to locate the closest Wi-Fi hotspots.
If you’re caught without a signal while adventuring and need to get connected as soon as possible, OpenSignal will prove valuable.
Download: OpenSignal (Free)
7. Scanner Radio
Scanner Radio is one of the most unique apps on this list; it can significantly augment your planning process. The app allows you to tune into fire and police scanners in the United States.
You can listen to those near your destination’s proximity to gain precise insights into aspects like the weather or any major events. Scanner Radio has a library of over 7,000 stations. The app can even send you a notification when a specific scanner has unusually high traffic.
Get to Know the Nature Surrounding You
Outdoor activities, especially if you’re new to them, can be dangerous. Therefore, it’s best to stay prepared for every sort of situation and these apps will enable you to do just that.
Once you’re all set for an adventure, soak in and get to know the nature surrounding you with these Android apps.