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Bugle – iPhone App That Might Save Your Life

Do you follow the golden rule of safety for outdoor adventure? Or are you now asking “What’s the ‘golden rule of safety’ for outdoor adventure?!”

If the name Aron Ralston rings a bell, you might know where this is going. He’s the guy who had to cut his own arm off with a dull multi-tool/knife after having it pinned by a falling boulder in a Utah slot canyon. He was hiking alone, and he hadn’t shared his trip plans with anyone. Nobody even knew he was overdue, much less where to look for him.

Automatically Alert Your Contacts
Sharing your trip plans and expected return time is fundamental to outdoor trip planning. If you were to get lost or hurt, this is the information that is critical to ensuring that someone will know when and where to look for you. Seattle-based Inti, Inc. has recently released Bugle™, a free iPhone app that makes this fool-proof.

Before you leave on any outing, simply enter your activity details, select your emergency contacts, and choose a check-in time.

  1. Create an Activity
  2. Go out and enjoy yourself
  3. Check in when you get back
  4. If you don’t check in on time, Bugle will send alerts

As long as you check in on time, nothing happens. But if you don’t, Bugle automatically alerts your emergency contacts by email and text message, and provides them with all the information they’ll need to look for you.

If you think about it, Bugle is somewhere between leaving a note on the fridge, and carrying an expensive satellite-based beacon like a Spot. It’s much more reliable and effective than a note, and it’s not expensive like a dedicated device. The idea is to minimize the chances that people will forget the information you gave them before you left, and to make sure they know exactly what to do and when to do it should you ever need help. Since the service manages all alerts on their servers, you don’t have to have your phone with you (or even powered on) for it to work.

SAR Design Input
The developers at Inti built Bugle with input from Search and Rescue professionals, outdoor instructors, guides, and outdoor enthusiasts. Steve Grind, one of the Co-founders, said this:

“Bugle is designed to make active people safer. That’s our mission and our primary goal. It is a free service and it’s useful whether you are going for a twenty-minute jog around the neighborhood or a multi-day off-trail traverse in the Sierras.”

If you’re an iPhone user, you can get the free app on the Apple App Store and put it through its paces. It only takes a minute to get started, and it just might save your life!

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  • Brilliant. One that makes me think, as a developer, “man o man, why didn’t I think of that!”

    • Exactly! The best sort of ideas and the ones I like to share with all of you.

  • Kristal

    Awesome app! There are times I hike in places that don’t have cell service… making it difficult to check in at my designated time (some shelters are nestled into the side of some mountains making it hard to get reception). I suppose I would have to make my check-in time when I get to my car / civilization a few days into the hike. Still a great app. Thanks for sharing, Brian. You ALWAYS have the sweetest hiking tips on your site. <3

  • Matthew Pittman

    I wonder if they’re working on a version for the GooglePlay store?

  • Bugle

    Hi all–Steve here from Bugle,

    Thanks for checking it out and for sharing all the great feedback.
    Please keep it coming! We have an Android version in the plan for later
    this year, and a mobile web site in the works already. If you’d like to
    stay posted on our news and progress, you can check out our FB page at Or always feel free to drop us a line at We’d love to hear more from you.

    Happy trails!