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5 Knots You Need to Know How to Tie at All Times

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Editors Note: I came across this post from ITS Tactical and it does an extremely excellent job of showcasing 5 knots that every prepper needs to know. This is something I have personally wanted to master because there are no end to the situations where you will need to tie something off. Standard granny knots are not going to be the best option in 99% of the cases and you ideally have a knot suited for the purpose that doesn’t require you to cut your cordage and can be easily undone. The trick is practice and committing these knots to memory. I have a couple books of knots but only feel comfortable with 2 or 3 and even those require a little thought.

The article below has amazing detail and even movies to show you the proper technique. All images courtesy of ITS Tactical.

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We’re doing something different today with our  Knot of the Week  series and taking a look at five knots that you should know how to tie at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with friends and had to tie something or someone down and everyone just looks at me.

No matter how often I remind them they need to read our KOTW articles and watch the videos here on ITS, I thought I’d put together an article on what I consider to be the knots I use the most on a regular basis and why you should have them at your disposal. Below you’ll find links to our original articles on ITS with tying instructions, as well as embedded videos that take you step-by-step through each of them.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to remember all the knots we teach here on ITS and knot tying is a depreciable skill that needs to be practiced. So let’s look at five, in no particular order, that you should know how to tie with your eyes closed or even underwater.

Bowline / One-Handed Bowline

Bowline Knot

A Bowline is one of those knots that useful for many applications, putting a loop into a knot that won’t seize up on you, or more importantly a One-Handed Bowline that could save your life one of these days.

It seems like I’m always tying a bowline to secure a line to a fixed point. It’s a great all-around knot and one you should definitely know both on its own and one-handed.

Bowline 01Bowline 02Bowline 03Bowline 04Bowline 05Bowline 06Bowline 07Bowline 08Bowline 09Bowline 10

Click Here to View Bowline Steps on Flickr

One Handed Bowline 01One Handed Bowline 02One Handed Bowline 03One Handed Bowline 04One Handed Bowline 05One Handed Bowline 06One Handed Bowline 07One Handed Bowline 08

Click Here to View One Handed Bowline Steps on Flickr

Taut-Line Hitch

Taut Line Hitch

I feel like the Taut-Line Hitch is one of the most underrated knots out there, it’s extremely versatile and great for applications where you can have varying tension, such as securing a load. It’s most common application is providing adjustable tension for guy lines on a tent or tarp.

Some interesting sliders and devices now appear on tents’ guy lines to adjust tension. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer a Taut-Line Hitch.

Taut-Line Hitch 01Taut-Line Hitch 02Taut-Line Hitch 03Taut-Line Hitch 04Taut-Line Hitch 05Taut-Line Hitch 06Taut-Line Hitch 07

Click Here to View Taut Line Hitch Steps on Flickr

Threaded Figure-Eight

Figure Eight Knot

Another knot that’s underrated in it’s ability to get you out of a jam is the Threaded Figure 8.

While the application I’m mentioning almost needs to be paired with a Swiss Seat at the least, nothing beats the Threaded Figure 8 to safely get you down from heights, whether on purpose or in an emergency situation.

Figure-Eight 01Figure-Eight 02Figure-Eight 03Figure-Eight 04Figure-Eight 05Figure-Eight 06Figure-Eight 07Figure-Eight 08Figure-Eight 09Figure-Eight 10Figure-Eight 11Figure-Eight 12Figure-Eight 13Figure-Eight 14Figure-Eight 15Figure-Eight 16Figure-Eight 17

Click Here to View Threaded Figure Eight Steps on Flickr

Double Fisherman’s Knot

Double Fisherman Knot

For joining rope together or making an adjustable loop out of two of these knots, the Double Fisherman’s Knot can’t be beat. Preferably the rope you’re joining together should be around the same diameter, as there’s better knots to join sections of different diameter rope such as a Beckett’s Bend or as it’s commonly known, a Sheet Bend.

Double Fisherman's Knot 01Double Fisherman's Knot 02Double Fisherman's Knot 03Double Fisherman's Knot 04Double Fisherman's Knot 05Double Fisherman's Knot 06Double Fisherman's Knot 07Double Fisherman's Knot 08Double Fisherman's Knot 09

Click Here to View Double Fisherman’s Knot Steps on Flickr

Power Cinch Knot

Power Cinch Knot

Another little known and underrated knot is the Power Cinch. Another great way to add tension to a line without the possibility of it slipping loose like I’ve seen Taut-Line Hitches do, yet very easy to pull down in a hurry. This is what I use for any kind of trunk line while I’m camping or putting up a shelter. Tensioning knots are something you should know and the reason I’ve included two of them in these five. I always see people over-tying objects in the back of a truck or in many situations where all they’re doing is trying to secure a load. Regular half hitches work fine, but that extra effort both in tying and removing all those knots simply isn’t necessary if you know the right knots to use in the first place.

Rigging a Tarp Shelter 01Rigging a Tarp Shelter 02Rigging a Tarp Shelter 03Rigging a Tarp Shelter 04Rigging a Tarp Shelter 05Rigging a Tarp Shelter 06Rigging a Tarp Shelter 07Rigging a Tarp Shelter 08Rigging a Tarp Shelter 09Rigging a Tarp Shelter 10Rigging a Tarp Shelter 11Rigging a Tarp Shelter 12Rigging a Tarp Shelter 13Rigging a Tarp Shelter 14Rigging a Tarp Shelter 15Rigging a Tarp Shelter 16Rigging a Tarp Shelter 17Rigging a Tarp Shelter Part 2 01Rigging a Tarp Shelter 001Rigging a Tarp Shelter 002Rigging a Tarp Shelter 003

Click Here to View Power Cinch Knot Steps on Flickr

Honorable Mention – Chain Sinnet

Chain Sinnet

One last knot I’d like to mention is the Chain Sinnet, I literally tie this multiple times a week into all my extension cords and I can’t tell you how much time and aggravation it’s saved me over the years. I was first taught this by an old employer who wanted their extension cords tied this way and I’ve always remembered it because of it’s efficiency. Mark this down as one to take a look at too if you’ve got the time for a bonus knot.

Chain Sinnet 14Chain Sinnet 13Chain Sinnet 12Chain Sinnet 11Chain Sinnet 10Chain Sinnet 09Chain Sinnet 08Chain Sinnet 07Chain Sinnet 06Chain Sinnet 05Chain Sinnet 04Chain Sinnet 03Chain Sinnet 02Chain Sinnet 01

Click Here to View Chain Sinnet Steps on Flickr


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  • Dawn Bogle

    What kind of rope/line(?) are u using?! Id like to pick some up and start practicing these knots. I attempted with some stuff I have lying around but I think the feel really matters. Maybe if I practice with what Ill b using, when the time comes I wont freeze up lol

    • prepperjournal

      Dawn,

      The great thing about practicing knots is that you can use almost any type of rope. In the examples above you see Paracord, climbing line and cheap nylon braided rope. Paracord is probably the cheapest with the most utility and you can find hundreds of feet online for a few dollars. This is a great addition to your bug out bag too.

      I have a friend who carries about two feet of simple nylon braided line you can give virtually anywhere (lowes, home depot, walmart) and that is easy to use for practicing knots.

      Pat.

      • Dawn Bogle

        Hi Pat! I ended up with some grey 550 50ft paracord. In the case of an emergency, how many of these should i have and should they range in length or that doesnt matter, i can cut if I need to or no, never cut ur cords?!

        • prepperjournal

          Dawn,

          One great thing about 550 cord is its cost. I wouldn’t worry too much about cutting it but you don’t want to waste cordage if you don’t have to. As much as possible, if you can make use of some cordage without cutting, the better off you will be. That doesn’t apply to every scenario, but in this link it certainly does : http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/07/03/simple-tarp-rigging-system-quickly-shed-pounds-off-your-bug-out-bag/

          The tarp rigging system is a great example where you can use your cordage again and again without cutting it. Fixing equipment or using this for other needs might make cutting necessary.

          As for how much to carry… When I started, I thought the more the better, so I had 500 feet. I took this with me on a camping trip and didn’t use it at all. I think something more decent like 50 feet would be more than you would need in a bug out bag.

          Others might have a different opinion.

          Pat