Life is dangerous. There’s no denying that. Though the chances of something catastrophic happening to you or a loved one at any given second isn’t necessarily the highest of chances, the possibility is still there.
You can sit inside all day long, cower under your blankets, lock all the doors and windows, and provide every type of conceivable emergency precaution to your house and there is still a chance that something will go wrong.
But, that’s no way to live and that’s why we go outdoors. Who wants to cower inside when there is a great wonderful world to enjoy? When we go outside we are introduced to a whole new world of possibilities that we would never experience in the comfort of our home.
Then, when we add hiking, camping, bicycling, or any type outdoor activity to the equation we are introduced to a plethora of dangerous scenarios that could occur. Fortunately, there are, just like everything else, a few apps to help keep you safe when you’re out there enjoying the world.
1: Map My Hike
The Under Armour developed app Map My Hike is insanely helpful with a multitude of tasks. Not only does it show you up-to-date maps of your location and surroundings, but also it allows you to share your location and hikes with friends that also have the app.
This allows friends to see your most recent hikes and outdoor activities, where you went, how long it took, and if for some reason you go missing they can use the information from Map My Hikes GPS signal to find out about your last hike and the area that you may have been seen last. Map My Hike is great for hundreds of activities and allows a fun social way to get active.
2: Wild Edibles Forage
When out on a hike or camping trip, especially for multiple days on end, food is very important. Food is fuel and one bite can be the difference between making it out alive or not. Unfortunately, there are a lot of plants out there that humans just shouldn’t eat, refer to Into The Wild as needed.
Fortunately, there are plenty of books that highlight edible foliage. But, books are heavy and you may not have the room in a pack to carry a book. That’s where the app Wild Edibles Forage comes into play. This app is a detailed dictionary, complete with photos of what plants humans can and cannot eat and how to identify them.
This should only be used as a reference or last resort. You should always pack more than enough food and should never eat any foliage if you are not 100 percent sure what it is. However, on the off chance that something tragic happens while out in the wild and you need help identifying edible plants, this app may be the one that saves your neck.
3: Google Maps Share Location Setting
Google recently released an update for their maps software. Now, users will be able to share their geographic location with friends and family simply by sending them a message via the Maps App. This new feature will allow for many different scenarios to unfold safely.
So you are heading out for a multiple day hike, you can share the location of your car, the location of your camp, and if something should go afoul (fall, broken leg, sprained ankle, etc.), you can share your current location along with a message of what happened. This new feature will allow your friends or family to effectively communicate your location to emergency response teams to remove you from danger.
Strava is an awesome app that specifically targets runners and cyclists. The app has a premium feature that allows for detailed second by second location monitoring which is designed to allow runners and cyclists to track their progress on a variety of routes.
However, this tracking feature allows friends with premium to follow your progress along the road or trails. If you suddenly stop moving on the app, without hitting the workout complete button, friends will be able to see that are not moving but your time is still going and they can then proceed to contact you about what happened, visit the location themselves, or (if necessary) contact and direct emergency services to your location.
A crash or fall can occur at any time and with Strava you can keep your friends up to date with what happened via their messaging feature. Additionally, much like Map My Hike, Strava provides a back up of your routes and can be used as a basis to locate your last known location in the case you go missing.
5: First Aid By American Red Cross
Much like number 2, this app should be used as a reference and a last resort if proper medical care is not an option. The American Red Cross released this handy First Aid app, which acts as an electronic textbook of quick to find procedures for various medical conditions.
It won’t teach you brain surgery, but it will provide you with the knowledge to properly clean a wound, apply bandages, rig slings, what to do in case of a head injury, burns, choking, etc.
Step by step instructions will guide the users through scenarios around everyday medical procedures. Additionally, it targets your location and can be used as a reference to find the nearest hospital. This app is a must have for everyone that is not savvy with basic medical aid.
The world is full dangers. Hopefully, with these apps in mind you can stay a little safer when you’re out in the woods, cycling, or just hanging out with friends.
It’s always useful to know some survival and first aid skills if you’re going to be adventuring into the wilds.
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.
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