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Backpacker Magazine – October 2012

Saved by...Cell Phone

Dead battery? No reception? No problem. Find plenty of survival gear inside your phone.

by: Kristin Hostetter

Spear Made From a Cell Phone (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)
Spear Made From a Cell Phone (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)

  • Signal for help. All phones have metallic, mirror-like layers behind the screens, perfect for flashing a distress signal that can be seen for miles.
  • Navigate. Most phone speakers contain magnets, and all phones contain many little wires that can be magnetized to serve as an emergency compass. Only ferrous (iron- or steel-containing) wires will work; ferrous wires are stiffer than copper or aluminum, and are attracted to the magnet. Sweep the magnet across one end of the wire 10 or so times in the same direction (you can also magnetize wire by rubbing it across your hair). Then float the wire in a small pool of completely still water on a leaf or shaving of wood. The wire will align itself on a north-south axis, with the end that you magnetized pointing north.
  • Make a knife or spear. Abrade the circuit board against a rock to create a cutting edge sharp enough to make natural cordage or scrape tinder. Shape the circuit board into a spear point and lash it to a stick for hunting small game or fish.
  • Start a fire. Use a thin wire scavenged from the phone to short circuit the battery—just touch the wire to the positive and negative battery terminals simultaneously­—and produce a red-hot poker that will ignite dry tinder. Check out the video.
  • Fish. Use some of the remaining parts to create fishing hooks, lures, and gorges (rather than hooking a fish, a gorge gets lodged in its throat).
  • Snare small game. Headphone wires can be fashioned into a small game snare.


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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Sthomas
Sep 29, 2013

Lot of hate on this one. If it's all you got...
With all your other great material. I'll give you a pass on this one!

Star Star Star
BERT not Ernie
Jun 17, 2013

Jayson, the people who listen to Justin Bieber are just the type of people to go out there completely unprepared, but at least we have one less Bieber fan.

Star
Please......
Jun 14, 2013

Sounds like the next installment we should expect from the Backpacker Editorial Staff is how they use their bong for wilderness survival.

Star Star
Jayson
May 20, 2013

So I brought my phone, I just didn't bring matches, a pocket knife, or watch where the hell I was going on my hike. Luckily I have Justin Bieber's complete albums on my SD CARD, which, when played, cause everything within a mile radius to die. And I'm sure I could snare game with my headphones if I could ever figure out how to get the ^&#(!*&# things untangled!

Baffled
Oct 20, 2012

But how am i giung to remember all these steps if I tear up my phone? :-)

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