6 Essential Knots You Need To Know

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I know you can tie your own shoe laces. But I am sure many people do not know how to tie other types of knots. If you once did then you definitely need some reminder because such skills are easily forgotten and we all know that tying a knot is one of the most important survival skills anyone can learn.

This skill may not be necessary in normal cases but during an emergency, it can make a big difference when it comes to life and death. Knots can help you in many practical ways. For instance, you may need it to build a shelter, hang food away from camp and out of a bears reach and even for first aid.

There are tens of knots you need to know how to tie. However, we have only pieced together 6 of these essential knots. We will discuss briefly on how to tie each of them. We will also mention the common uses of such knots. You can read more about survival skills such as these at thesurvivalcorps.com.

  1. Square Knots (Also Known As Reef Knots)

Definition and Use

The square knot, or reef knot, is possibly the most used knot. It is also the easiest to learn. If you can only know one type of knot then square knot would be the best one to learn how to tie. We use reef knots to combine similar ropes together. You can also use it to tie off a knot on a single rope. Use it to tie bundles of wood together or to tie your shoe laces.

How to Tie It

All you need to do is loop the rope in your right hand over the one in your left hand and then left over right. It is that simple. However, you will need to remember the order in which you did them. You will need the knowledge when you need to untie the knot.

  1. Clove Hitch

Definition and Use

Clove hitch is also as easy to tie as square knots. It is also ties fast and is effective. This is the knot you will need to secure a rope to a solid structure. There is high probability that it will slip if you tie it around smooth structures. Even on rough structures, you will need to keep it tense to prevent slippage. Use it to tie a tarp when making a shelter. It has many other uses.

How to Tie It

Make a loop around the target structure with the rope. With the loop in place, make another loop. Now, pass the end of the rope under the previous loop and then tighten. Be sure not to release the tension as the knot can become undone. A good idea to tighten it further and make it more secure is to add a square knot.

  1. Sheet Bend Knot

Definition and Use

You will need this knot to connect two ropes of different sizes. In the camp, use it to lengthen a guy line by adding an unused bit of a string or rope to the end. You can also use it to fix snapped boot/shoe laces by connecting any cord or string you can get your hands on.

How to Tie It

Start by making a ‘J’ shape out of the larger sized rope. You can then pass the small sized rope through the mid portion from behind. Loop the small sized rope all around the sides of the ‘j’. Pass the smaller rope further back under itself. The difficulty of tying this one is rated medium.

  1. The Figure 8 Knot

Definition and Use

Survivalists refer to the figure 8 as a stopper knot. This is because you tie it at the end of a rope. The aim of the knot is to prevent the rope from passing further than you want it. Figure 8 also forms part of more complex knots. Therefore, knowing it is a key to learning to tie other difficult to tie knots.

This knot is great for beginner climbers. If you can remember just one knot, forget about others and concentrate on being good with figure 8 knot. Its strength and reliability has been tested by mountain climbers and ardent survivalists.

How to Tie It

This knot is not as hard to tie as a sheet bend knot. Take one end of your rope or cordage. Pass it over itself. This will form a loop. Return under the leading line and into the previous loop. Fasten and you will have your figure 8 knot.

  1. Two Half Hitches

Definition and use

This knot is an improved version of clove hitch. Many consider them all-purpose knots. This is because you can use it for a variety of applications. You can use the knot to tie your rope to any solid structure around. You can use it to tie a rope to a tree or a post. It is also a great knot if you want to tie two ropes together.

How to Tie It

Two half hitches is one of the easier knots to tie. Wrap the end of your rope around your target structure and make a half hitch. Wrap the rope in the same direction to make the second half hitch. Tense the knot by pulling and you will have your two half hitches.

  1. The Bowline Knot

Definition and Use

A bowline knot is one of the easiest knots to tie. It is also one of the most basic. You can tie it fast and easily. Unlike most knots that can easily become undone, the bowline knot is extremely tight. It will not slip even when relaxed. It offers a good way to make a loop. Use it to connect two lines. Another good use for it is attaching jib sheets to jib’s clew.

How to Tie It

To understand how to tie this knot, we’ll use the analogy of a rabbit hole. Start by making a loop towards the end of your rope. The analogy of rabbit hole comes here. The loop represents the rabbit hole and the rope is the tree. The rabbit runs out of its hole, plays around the back of the tree. The rabbit then returns to its hole. Follow this analogy and you will find bowline knot very easy to tie.

There are many more knots to know and understand; basic seamanship has it’s own set, including the favorite, the sheep shank. However if you can master these six then the others are just an extension to their basic principals.

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The weakness of many knots is that they weaken the tensile strength of the rope or line once tied. Everyone should know how to tie a bowline, but the figure eight is a much better choice since the figure eight retains 90% of the rope’s strength once tied, more than does the bowline. Weakening the tensile strength of a rope may not seem such a big deal until you understand that ‘shocking’ the rope (rapidly taking up any slack in the rope by the load dropping even a few inches) multiplies the load weight exponentially.