Best Prepper Apps for Your Phone in 2020
Preppers are people with often contradictory reputations. On the one hand, they are frequently viewed as overly conservative people who want to “escape the world”. On the other – preppers are some of the most tech-savvy people on the planet. Good preppers use all the tools at their disposal including some of the most useful 21st century tools we have – phone apps.
Below, we’ll go over the best prepper apps and survival apps free or affordable and available online. There is a wide array of apps useful for prepping and survival on both Android and iOS. Some of them are good, others – great, and some – definitely need to be avoided. Hopefully, we’ll manage to give you some useful pointers for which apps to pick. And maybe give you an idea or two along the way as well?
Your smartphone – the best multi-tool for prepping and survival
This is hardly a scandalous statement these days as almost everyone from toddlers to the elderly has their own smartphone. Yet, we’re not used to thinking of smartphones as survival tools, let alone “multi-tools”. A lot of prepper and survival guides tend to ignore smartphones and apps as they are something most people know and use anyway.
Plus, prepping and survival is about going off the grid, right? About getting by with no internet and connection to the outside world?
Not really. With the internet being available pretty much everywhere, there’s no more “no connection”. And with phone power banks being lightweight and easy to carry, you can even charge your phone whenever you want.
So, with those traditional drawbacks being taken care of by modern technology, what benefits do phone apps bring for prepping and survival?
Prepping and survival will always be about getting as much information as you can beforehand.
It’s in the name – prepping. However, no matter how well-prepared you are, there are always more things you don’t know and need to know at a moment’s notice. And for that, a smartphone and its apps can be invaluable.
Smartphone apps are more than just information dispensers.
Today’s phone apps can go as far as to replace a lot of gear and equipment preppers and survivalists traditionally use. Compass, GPS, even a lot of leveling and measuring tools are now available through phone apps. This is doubly effective as not only are your phone apps helping you out but they are also saving you physical space for these tools.
One of the more widely-accepted uses of smartphone apps, networking is vital for any prepper and survivalist.
Gone are the days when your only option in emergencies were flares or, well, running to other people. Today, there’s a myriad of apps with groups and communities not just for general networking but for prepping and survival.
The best prepper apps for information, references, and guides
One of the most useful things an app can give you is specific and accurate information in a pinch. There are many apps that can give you that for various prepper-related areas. What’s also important is how easily available, organized, and access this information is. Sure, you can find anything on the internet anyway but some things are a nightmare to find without the right app.
1. Apple Books & Google Play Books
To start broad, Apple Books and Google Play Books respectively should be on any prepper’s phone. Both these apps are chock-full with useful books and other pdf documents on various scientific, engineering, and other topics. What’s more, the apps are easy to navigate to and what you need is almost always easy to find. This makes these apps great in a pinch when you’re in a survival situation or you just want something right now.
Even within the documents, Apple Books tends to keep the table of contents intact, making sifting through the content much quicker. Apple Books also allows you to organize your documents into collections, making them even easier to work with.
Google Play Books is a great alternative for Android users too. As with Apple Books, many of the documents and books there are free. Plus, it’s also available on iOS devices. This is great if you have both iOS and Android devices since Google Play Books can synchronize your documents on all devices. The main downside of Google Play Books is its inferior table of contents functionality.
2. The FEMA App
A free app for both iOS and Android, the FEMA app is the app of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A lot of preppers like making fun of FEMA for a lot of things but their app is quite good. We’d say it’s a must for any prepper as it allows you to keep tabs on any ongoing or potential emergency in the U.S.
The app also allows you to set up alerts for specific areas of personal interest. This way, if there is an emergency anywhere you’re interested in, you’ll be one of the first to know about it.
More than just an “alarm app”, however, the FEMA app also contains a lot of useful information. The app offers extensive tips for various types of emergencies, for example. It also includes a well-made emergency kit list which you can use to help with your emergency prepping.
The FEMA app also allows for the set up of emergency meeting places. This can be invaluable if a disaster catches your family spread across significant distances.
Most experiences preppers may view the information on the FEMA app as “basic” but that doesn’t make it any less useful. It’s still a must-have, especially for novice preppers or for the rest of your family.
3. First Aid: American Red Cross
First aid is one of the main things everyone should be familiar with in emergencies but few people actually are. To make matters worse, it’s really easy to forget or miss things under stress.
The American Red Cross’ First Aid app is one of the best tools you can have in such a situation.
Available for free on both Android and iOS this is one of the best survival apps freely available to people. The app also has a lot of information and guides to help you prepare for various emergencies. It goes far and beyond respiratory first aid too. There are sections about first aid on burn victims, car crashes, near-drownings, and more.
There’s also a hospital finder which is extremely useful during emergencies in unknown areas. There are even quizzes to help you test your first aid knowledge. Plus, the American Red Cross has a whole line of other apps regarding tornadoes, earthquakes, and other disasters.
4. CCW App
For preppers who are also gun owners, the CCW app is a must. Many preppers own guns as they are a major part of self-defense prepping. Traveling with a gun in the U.S. can be a challenge, however. Many states have different rules and restrictions, and not all firearm permits are recognized everywhere.
Fortunately, the CCW app is available on both iOS and Android for just $1.99. This user-friendly app contains all sorts of information. Most crucially, it allows you to easily check which states recognize which permits.
There are also prohibited areas, transport laws, preemption rules, and much more. Whether you’re traveling for work or a family vacation, you can always be sure your self-defense firearm won’t be a problem.
As with most firearm-related topics, it’s always wise to check the official state and local websites too, of course. You never know what has changed but so far the CCW app seems very trust-worthy.
Evernote is a cloud-based information app with a note-taking functionality. As a dual-OS app, it can sync on all your devices without a problem. This app is available on both Android and iOS for $4.99 or $7.99 for the premium version. There’s also a free version with all the basic functions – the paid apps just have a ton of extra features.
This may not seem like much, but Evernote’s high ratings are not accidental. The app offers an excellent interface and great readability. It also sync-downloads by default which is great when you’re on the road or in the wild. With Evernote, you can rest assured that your notes will always be safe and accessible.
Available on Android only, Lithium is a simple app. All it does is allow you to read .epub and .mobi files on your phone. Yes, Kindle and other e-reader apps can do that too but they usually specialize in one format or the other. Plus, Lithium reads both with no performance issues, extra baggage, and slow performance. For any prepper or survivalist who wants to access their manuals, guides, and encyclopedias with ease, Lithium is a great choice.
The app is light, user-friendly, easy to use, and has a nice, clean interface. It has several lighting modes highlighting and margin note features. And, best of all – it’s ad-free.
7. ICE App
In the case of the ICE app, its acronym stands for “In case of emergencies’. In essence, this is an informational app not so much for you but about you. The app is meant to include all the must-know details about you and your health in case of an emergency. This way, if you ever get in an ER alone, the nurse, doctor, paramedic can get more information about you. This can help them treat you faster or in many cases – save your life where otherwise they may have missed something.
ICE is available for Android for free but isn’t on iOS. If you’re looking for a good Apple alternative, Medical ID is available on iOS for $3.99.
Best prepper navigation and weather apps
Another important area where information is key is navigation and weather. For one, it’s always useful to know where you’re going and what the conditions look like there. But that’s even more crucial in an emergency or a survival situation. A good prepper always knows what they’re getting into and what they need to bring with them. Knowing how to navigate an area in the best possible way is also vital both to avoid problems and to solve them.
Available for free in both Android and iOS, Waze is one of the best navigation apps you can use. The app relies on user traffic and input to determine traffic patterns which is one of the main drawbacks. In other words, the less its used, the less reliable it’s going to be. As of now, however, it’s great for helping people avoid hazards and other obstacles. This also makes it a useful tool for figuring out where traffic is moving more slowly. It also has the option of switching to miles-per-hour which is great for U.S. users.
A great and free weather app for both iOS and Android, Weatherbug is another must-have. It details current weather conditions accurately and it offers hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts and radar.
Weatherbug also offers a lot of features you might not find in other weather apps. It has lighting info, wind speed per area, and even pollen levels for those with allergies. It’s also great for keeping track of nearby and potentially dangerous forest fires. It even tells you the current UV index. All that, plus the app is very user-friendly, makes it great for both novice and expert preppers.
3. Gas Buddy
Something else that’s essential for any traveling prepper is having a gas station app. The Gas Buddy is available for free on both Android and iOS. It offers accurate and up-to-date information on gas stations in your area. This is great both for helping you in a pinch and for finding the most affordable option in every-day life. Gas Buddy shows the price per gallon for each nearby gas station and displays them on the map itself for easier comparison.
The app even has a navigation feature if you’re having trouble finding the best route to your preferred gas station. All in all, it’s a simple, free, and essential navigation tool for anyone to use.
4. Scanner Radio: Police and Fire
The Scanner Radio: Police and Fire app is great both for traveling and in general. It allows you to always keep track of what emergencies are going on around you. The app does this by scanning for police activity. This can help any prepper avoiding dangerous areas during emergencies or while traveling. It’s also great if you’re stationary and just want to know if everything around you is all right.
The app does this by simply accessing streams of local law enforcement radio dispatch. It allows you to search for “news” both in your local area and in any area of your choice. This is great for researching areas just before visiting or going through them. The app can also access NOAA weather radio and amateur radio signals if you want to follow those as well. The cherry on top is that the app’s audio can be left going on the background while you’re listening to other apps.
5. MotionX GPS
For a more traditional GPS app, MotionX GPS has been named as one of the best outdoor apps by About.com. This is a great way to access any map you need even without cellular connectivity. The app also allows you to track your trekking route, ensuring that you never get lost.
The app is available for only $0.99 on iOS but sadly isn’t available on Android. For Android, the aforementioned Waze would be our best suggestion or you can try Sygic, RunKeeper, MapFactor, or OsmAnd.
Best organizational and logistics apps
A big part of prepping is keeping your stuff and stashes well-organized. Most good preppers will have backups, survival gear, and other preparations in multiple locations. Your home, your summer cabin, your work, a store near your kids’ school, your parents’ home, etc. Keeping track of all these locations and the gear you have there can be tricky without a good organizational app, however. Plus, things can be even more complicated if more than one person or household is accessing those items and gear. Not to mention how tricky storing food is.
So, here are a couple of suggestions for good organization and logistics apps.
The 72-hour app is free on iOS and is reportedly coming to Android soon too. The app is a great tool for helping people preparing their bug-out bags, hence the app’s name. This app allows you to enter all your items manually but it can also kick start your list for you. It even has “add-ons” for feminine or children’s products.
Even if you opt for an app-made list, you’re still allowed to tweak and edit it however you like. The app also has the option for entering item descriptions and expiration dates which is great for medicines, first aid gear, protein bars, and other foods, etc.
Aside from being one of the best survival apps out there, it has other uses for preppers too. Even though the app isn’t meant for that, nothing stops you from making other lists on it as well. Hunting gear? Summer cabin emergency prepping list? You can use the 72-hour app to make all kinds of prepper useful lists and inventories.
2. Prepper Colony
This app was initially developed for iOS but was recently made available for Android as well. It’s free on both systems and it’s great for helping you keep your stuff organized. The app focuses on provisions, gear, and weapons as its main areas. It also easily supports multiple locations if you have several different caches to keep an eye on.
You can add both pre-entered items from the app into your inventory as well as add your own. This is especially good for keeping track of food storage. You can just add your food items to the app and edit their descriptions however you like.
There’s also a neat calculator built-in the app. It’s very useful for calculating estimates about food storage periods. It also calculates the carbs, protein, energy, and fat values of all food items.
Similarly, you can keep track of your gear and weapons as well. The app has a cool user interface and a very large database of essentials. It also offers notifications for expired items and perishables, as well as for weapon maintenance.
3. Google Drive
This really is something anyone should use but it’s especially good for preppers. Naturally, it’s a free app and can be used for almost anything. It’s great for always having a copy of your passport, social security card, and ID with you. But it’s also awesome for having escape routes, personal lists and documents, and other files always at your disposal.
This allows you to not only always having everything you need, but to also keep your hard copies safe and sound. Google Drive is also very useful for sharing stuff with others – from personal lists and guides to photos, videos, etc.
4. Prepper App by Bitvis UG
Another good organizational tool, the Prepper app from Bitvis UG is great for tracking the progress of your preps. Food, storage, weapons, gear, maintenance, and more – you can use this app for anything.
The app also allows you to organize and categorize your stockpiles by amount, location, shelf life, and more. It also has built-in suggestions feature for the nutritional values of your stockpiles. And, as expected, it has an alert function to help you never miss an expiration deadline.
The app is available on both iOS and Android for $2.99.
Best survival apps
There are many good survival apps freely available to anyone but finding the good ones among them can be time-consuming. And since we’re usually strapped for time in most survival situations, here’s our list of the best survival apps to go for:
1. Knots 3D
Anyone who’s read pirate novels as a kid knows that to tie some knots is basically like solving a Chinese puzzle. Knots are important for survival, however. Plus, they are useful for general prepping too. And since we usually don’t have time to try and test new knots on the spot, Knots 3D can be a life-saver.
The app has an extensive list of 131+ knots you can use. Each has its benefits and drawbacks diligently listed inside the app so you know which to use. More importantly, every knot has a neat 3D animation showing how to tie it. You can adjust the animation’s speed and make sure that you learn how to tie the knot as quickly as possible.
Additionally, because the app is relatively small in size, all its information can be stored on your phone. This is usually a downfall with other apps, but for survival, this is great as the app’s accessible even offline.
2. Survival Guide
Free on both iOS and Android, the Survival Guide app is a must for any prepper and survivalist – novice and expert alike. The app is basically a digital variant of the U.S. Army FM 21-76 Survival Manual and that’s great for any survivalist. The app is very easy to navigate too, which is great when you need to find something quickly.
The manual also has colorful images of certain plants and venomous snakes to help you out in the wild. And, like with the Knots 3D app, all the info is stored on your phone and is available offline. Sure, the Army survival manual is something every prepper should have read and know overall. However, we can’t be expected to know it by memory so it’s great to always have it available.
3. SAS Survival Guide
A $5.99 app for both iOS and Android, the SAS Survival Guide app is well worth the money. Like the previous survival guide app, it’s the app-variety of a book. In this case – the SAS Survival Guide book by John “Lofty” Wiseman from 2014. It’s one of the first books any prepper must-read. Similarly, its app form is a great thing to always have on hand.
The SAS guide is a pretty big book too – over 700 pages long. The app is a much more “lightweight” way to carry it. The app also has a “Lite” version but the full version is generally better. And, as with the previous two and any other good survival app, it’s available offline.
There’s a SAS Urban Survival Guide if that’s more up your alley, it’s available as an additional purchase.
4. Toolbox Pro
A more unorthodox suggestion for a survival app, the Toolbox Pro is a great app to have in a pinch. Available for $3.99 on iOS and for $2.49 on Android, it’s the best digital multipurpose measuring tool you can get. This is awesome both for preppers in general and in many survival situations.
The app has everything – a compass, a tesla meter, ruler, spirit level, surface level, barometer, timer & stopwatch, a metronome, a plumb bob, a seismometer, a protractor, and even a flashlight.
Yes, some features like the barometer will need additional hardware, but most work fine on any phone. The flashlight even enables you to use your phone as an auditory and visual telegraph. You can type a message into the app and it will “translate” it into visual flashlights blinking lights and audible beeps.
All this is amazing in survival situations. We talked about building a survival cabin recently – half of this app’s tools would be invaluable in such a situation.
5. MyNature Animal Tracks App
When trekking through the wilderness, it’s crucial to be able to identify tracks. Depending on where you are and what you need this can mean the difference between finding dinner and not becoming someone else’s dinner.
MyNature Animal Tracks is the most comprehensive app for animal tracks we’ve found as of yet. It’s available for both iOS and Android for $4.99 and it’s well worth its price. The app is so detailed you can access data for both front and hind legs of all animals. The app can also help you track or gait patterns, identify animal calls, scat identification, and more. It even offers range maps to help you pinpoint the exact possible range of the animal you’re tracking.
6. Wild Edibles App
The Wild Edibles App can be crucial in many situations. Whether you’re in an SHTF situation and you need to survive in the wild or you’re just hiking, it’s useful. This app provides a ton of information on plants in any specific location. What’s their nutritional value, what they look like, whether they’re dangerous, and much more. The app also has photos in addition to the detailed descriptions.
You can filter the hundreds of plants by region, season, and various other attributes. It even has additional information on how to harvest and cook them. There’s even a cookbook with over 100 different recipes, all doable in the wild with what you’ll have available there.
7. Ultimate Survival Manual App
For another good survival manual option, try the Ultimate Survival app. It comes with Google Maps GPS in it to make sure you’re never lost. It also has a weather lookup feature to keep you up to date with the weather. Most importantly, it’s chock-full of survival guides and information. The tips and guides in it are all-weather and are very extensive and detailed.
Great for all conditions, the Ultimate Survival Manual App is a great tool for anything from the tundra to the desert. It’s available on iOS for $1.99 and on Google Play for $4.09. There’s also an Ultimate Survival Manual 2.0 with even more info and features on it.
As you can see, phone apps can make prepping and survival infinitely easier, more effective, and efficient. With just a couple of phone apps in your pocket, you can save a ton of time, work, and money. Not to mention – your life and safety when SHTF. Information is power and that’s especially evident in the “era of information”.
Learn more about survival and check out our guide for survival tools.
This blog is dedicated to helping you with any survival, off the grid tools and equipment. Whether you are just trying to go camping in nature or looking for a full survival plan I want to be able to help you.