How would you rather survive for 7 days: without a knife, or without fire? That’s our hypothetical question of the day, and we want to hear your decision in the poll below.

Before you answer, we’ll provide some more information on the circumstances. In either case, you’ll need to survive for 7 days, and you’ll be alone. Your location will be a desolate forest in Alaska, in early Spring. It will be raining off and on all week, and temperatures will range from about 30°F/-1°C during the day to about 0°F/-18°C at night.

Survival scenarios knife or fire Alaska forest

There’s little to no hope of rescue in either scenario, and you’ll have the same gear in both situations, listed below:

  • A 1/4-pound bag of beef jerky and a few handfuls of trail mix
  • A stainless steel water bottle containing 2 liters of clean water
  • The clothes on your back (long-sleeved shirt, long pants, a light jacket, and hiking boots)
  • EITHER a fixed-blade knife OR a plastic butane lighter and some char cloth tinder material
  • No other tools or resources except what you can find in the wilderness
Tools for Survival - Knife

A good fixed-blade knife will make most aspects of survival much easier.

If you choose the knife, you'll be able to use it to hunt, spearfish, build a shelter, and collect wood—but it'll be virtually impossible to get a fire started in the damp conditions without any ignition source.

If you miraculously manage to start a fire by making a fire plow or bow drill work in the rain, it could easily be extinguished during the week, leaving you to spend hours trying to light it again. If you can't get a fire started, you'll have to find another way to stay warm, or hypothermia may set in during the cold night hours.


With light clothing and temperatures dipping below zero, staying warm means staying alive.

If you choose the fire, you'll be able to use the lighter and combustible char cloth to get a crackling campfire going in minutes. This will allow you to cook food, boil drinking water, and—most importantly—stay warm. However, you won't have any sort of cutting tool, which will make collecting more wood to sustain the fire difficult. It'll also make building an A-frame shelter tricky, as you'll have to break off and gather all the wood for it by hand.

Make your choice of either knife or fire below, and feel free to justify your decision in the comments section.

Survival Scenarios will be a recurring feature on, and will ask you to make a difficult choice between two or more hypothetical situations.

We don't just want you to read our posts silently—we want to hear what you have to say. That's why we're working hard to provide more interactive content like quizzes, polls, and giveaways. Got any suggestions? Post them in the comments below, or head over to our Facebook page.

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