Modern Swiss Army knife: A broken cellphone can save your life in the wild

CLEVELAND - The list of things our cellphones can do these days is long. But when it comes to getting help in an emergency forget about calling 911, instant messaging a friend, or updating your status. Did you know your phone, regardless of how "smart" it is, can save your life in a pinch?

"We're in the woods, we're lost, and we have our cellphone," said survival expert Creek Stewart. However, the one Stewart was carrying took a tumble and the battery was dead.

PHOTOS: Simple ways to use your cell phone for survival

"The cellphone, as it stands, doesn't work. And is never going to work," said Stewart.

So, common sense would tell you the phone is no good in a survival situation, but think again.

"Shelter, water, fire, food and rescue," said Stewart. All of these core survival necessities we can find inside our cellphone.

"Busting up your cellphone is an absolute last resort, worst case scenario," explained Stewart.

Cellphones don't come apart easily, but when they do, you can use the mirror inside as an improvised signal mirror. The reflection may be seen by rescuers.

"Two, three miles, absolutely," said Stewart. "Especially on a bright sunny day."

(Mobile users watch here:

Every cellphone also has a speaker. Inside the speaker is a small magnet you can use to magnetize a small wire to make a compass in a still body of water.

"The [small wire] will slowly rotate on its own until it lines itself with the north-south line," explained Stewart.

Your busted cellphone can help you get dinner, and we're not talking about calling for carryout. You can actually use small metal pieces inside the phone to create fishing lures.

As for the battery? It can be short circuited to make a fire. After you catch your fish and cook it with your fire, sharpened pieces from the circuit board can help you eat it.

Thanks to Creek's survival skills, chances are we'll never look at our cellphones the same way again.
Watch "The List" weekdays at 7 p.m.

Print this article Back to Top