Intro To Survival

Tying Knots : 16 Best All-Purpose Knots For Impressing Your Friends…and Staying Alive

Knowing how to tie knots could save your life or someone else’s. Whether you need to catch a fish, snare a rabbit or climb a rock face – learning common knots is an essential skill…plus your buddies will think you’re cool.

How To Tie Basic Knots and When To Use Them

Knowing how to tie knots is a fundamental way to increase your manliness. It’s used in climbing, sailing, trekking, camping, hunting and even day-to-day life. So, if you’re looking to make a few guys jealous by showing them your survival skills with a rope, even as simple as a paracord bracelet, we’ve got your back.

Here are 16 knots guaranteed to impress the ladies, make other guys jealous, and turn you into a rugged mountain man.

1. Square Knot

One of the most common knots, the square knot gives you a relatively secure knot when binding two ends of the same rope. It’s most effective when load is put on both ends of the rope. Otherwise it has a tendency to slip. Regardless it’s one of the first knots most people learn because of it’s simplicity and history. If you’ve ever been in the Boy Scouts this shouldn’t be a surprise.

How To

Take the two ends of a single rope or the ends of separate ropes and place them like an “x”, putting the right rope over the left rope. Next, you’re going to wrap the right rope under the left – creating a twist and bringing it back to its original position. Now, bring the two ropes back to an “x”directly above the twist, with the left rope on top of the right. Tuck the left rope under the right, creating a twist the same as before. Pull on both ends tightly to secure the knot.

2. Clove Hitch

During any camping or trekking trip, you’ll find the clove hitch to be a handy knot for securing your ropes to a tree or post to hang food or kills on. Plus, sailors can use it as a temporary way to hold items on board, so it’s a multi-purpose knot that guarantees to impress the girls and make the guys jealous.

How To

Wrap the rope around the tree or post and cross the rope over, creating an “X”. Pull it so it’s tight around the object. Wrap it over again to the right of the first and pull the string under the rope and pull it upwards to tie the knot. Your string should fit between the two wraps securely.

3. Standard Bowline

First, this knot is pronounced like, “Bowl-in” and not “bow-line” and it’s used primarily in the boating industry. But, even if you aren’t a sailor, you could find this secure knot to come in handy. It’s easy to untie and can hold large loads down. So, it’s flexible with situations like survival.

How To

Practice this with a rope first.

Make an overhand loop with your right hand in the middle of your rope to represent the object (like a tree stump). Take the string in your right hand and loop it under and through the hole to form a pretzel. Bring the string under and over the strand in your left hand, then loop it through the initial hole and pull it through the second hole you made as part of your pretzel. Pull each end of the string to tighten the knot.

4. Figure 8

If you’re looking for the most secure knots out there, you’ll want to know the Figure 8 knot, also referred to as the Flemish Bend. Used as a main knot for mountain climbers and travelers, it’s a survivalist’s must know to survive.

How To

Use your right hand to hold the end of the rope. Make an underhand loop several inches away from the end of your rope. Wrap it over the long end of the rope, making and overhand loop. Bring the end of the rope down and through the initial loop. Bring the rope back through the other side of the initial hole, leaving a large loop between it. Retrace the “figure 8” shape you made. After, pull the rope through the top loop of the figure 8, closest to the longer end of the rope. Take the end of the rope and the other end of the rope next to it in one hand. Then, take the loop you left with the other hand and pull to tighten the knot.

5. Sheet Bend

If you have two ropes with unequal thickness, most knots, including the square knot, won’t work well for heavier tasks. A sheet bend knot works well when tying any two thickness ropes together securely. It’s known for holding better under tension than other knots and doesn’t jam, making it easy to untie.

How To

Form a bight (loop) with the rope that has the larger thickness. Pull the end of the other rope through the bight. Then, wrap the rope underneath both ends of the bight. Continue to wrap it around the bight and under the rope itself. (Never wrap the rope through the bight again, simply follow the rope above the bight and under the part that began to wrap around the bight.) Pull on all four strands of rope to tighten it.

6. Two Half Hitches

Interchangeably known as the double half hitch or the two-half hitch knot, it’s a useful knot for survival, camping, trekking, mountain climbing or even lodging. Its main purpose is to move large objects, making it an effective, must-know knot that guarantees to make other guys jealous.

How To

Pass the rope around the object you’re trying to pull. Bring the end of the rope under the other rope to form an “X”. Pull the end and pull it through the loop in the “X”. Pull it tight to create a “half hitch”. Wrap the end of the rope around the object again make an underhanded “X” again with the other end of the rope. Pull the rope through the loop to create a second half hitch. Pull tight to finish it.

7. Taut Line Hitch

If you’re the kind of guy who prefers ultralight backpacking, then you probably don’t have room for tent stakes in your bag. Learning the taut line hitch will help you with securing your tent with just a rope to keep things lightweight and essential.

How To

Wrap your piece of rope around the wooden stake or tree you’re using. Make an underhanded loop that’s several inches wide and pull the free end of the string through it. Hold the knot you formed in one hand and wrap the free end through the loop again (up to four times). On the last loop, bring the free end around to the other side of the rope and wrap it around it. Pull the end through the loop you just formed. Tighten the knot so it’s neat. Add or reduce tension by sliding the knot up or down the rope.

8. Fisherman’s Knot

Any fisherman needs to know and understand the fisherman knot. But, it can come in handy if you’re looking for a simple knot for two equal thickness ropes. Having just another knot under your belt to show off your survival skills is only a plus.

How To

Take the end of one rope and form an overhanded loop. Run the string through the loop to make an overhand knot. Take one end of the other rope and run it through the overhand knot loop on the first rope. Wrap it under and over the first rope to make a loop. The pass is over and under itself to create a second overhanded knot. Pull the ends together to tighten the knot.

9. Water knot

Whether you’re creating a fish net or a sling shot, the water knot is the “go-to” knot. This helps with tying together two straps or strings tightly together.

How To

Take the first strap and loop it over and under to create an underhand knot. Keep it loose for right now. Take the other strap and loop it around the first strap in the opposite direction. The strap should follow along with the end of the first strap and wrapped in the same path, yet opposite direction. When you get to the knot in the first strap, pull the second strap under and through the loop. Pull together all four straps to tighten it.

10. Rolling Hitch

The rolling hitch takes the classic clove hitch and improvises on it to create a slightly more durable and sturdier knot. Anyone looking to enhance their survival skills by using rope and paracord bracelets to keep their load minimalistic should consider the rolling hitch.

How To

Wrap the rope around a tree or pole. Wrap the free end over the standing end of the rope and wrap it around the object again, going under the standing piece of rope when wrapping. Make another loop, going above the standing piece of rope and above the other loops. Pull the free end of the rope under and through the newly formed loop and pull to tighten the knot.

11. Prusik Knot

During rope rescues, climbing, caving or even mountaineering, you’ll want to know how to perform the Prusik knot. It’s built to attach a loop of cord around another rope to secure. Survivalists who need to pull a mate out of a hole or quicksand will be thankful for learning this knot.

How To

Tie a piece of rope together to form a cordage that’s smaller than the main rope. Place the main rope over the center of the tied string. Pass the end with the tied part of the rope over the main rope and through the loop of the other end of the rope itself to make a “Girth Hitch”. Do this several more times, looping inside the girth hitch to create a new one. After the last pass, pull on the loop to tighten the knot. Check if it’s secure before trying a rescue.

12. Timber Hitch

Whether you have a piece of timber or a post you must secure a rope around, the timber hitch knot guarantees to help you out. When it comes time to show your skills, this knot gives you a non-slip and non-jam knot, no matter the load size. We recommend using two half hitches near the end you’re hauling it from to keep the load secure and from twisting.

How To

Wrap the rope around the post or timber, making the right end shorter to be the free end of the rope. Wrap the free end around and over the standing end piece to make a loop. Cross the free end over to close the loop. Begin looping the free end downwards on the standing end (the strand on the timber) three times. Pull and secure tight. Use the other end of the rope to make two half hitch knots.

13. Blood Knot

If you’re looking for some quick fisherman knots, the blood knot is one of the most common and trusted knots. It’s used to tie two ropes of equal length together and secure them tightly. This is sure to make all the guys jealous anytime you step onto a boat.

How To

Take one end from each rope and wrap them around each other five times on each end. Bring the free end of the rope in your right hand and bring it under and through the middle loop. Take the free end in your left hand and bring it over and through the middle loop. Pull on the free ends slowly to tighten the wrap and seal the knot. Cut the ends if needed.

14. Man Harness or Artillery Loop

Referred to as a man harness, it was once used to capture people in the 1800s. Now, it’s used more for securing people to hauls when injured, bondage or sailing. It’s a great survival knot in case you must consider hauling someone back to town after being injured.

How To

Make an upside-down loop with your rope, with the right piece overlapping the left. Pass your left end over the right end and over the other side, creating a second loop. Take the bottom of the first loop and bring it over the crossed piece of rope and pass it through the loop created earlier. Pull the ends to secure it.

15. Carrick Bend

If you’re in need of a secure knot that you know will secure a load and you’re not worried about having to untie it later, the Carrick Bend knot is a great option for you. It’s perfect for securing two ropes with different diameters as well.

How to

First, form an underhanded loop with the free end of your larger rope. Take the smaller rope and pass it through the loop, around and over the standing end of the larger rope. Then, pass it under the free end of the larger rope, back around through the loop. Next, go under the first pass of rope and out through the loop. Pull on all four ends to tighten.

16. Coil Unattached Rope

This is a must-know for everyday outdoor chores, camping, hiking, sailing, climbing or for just about anything involving a rope. Knowing how to quickly a rope will save you time and space.

How To

Begin coiling the rope in your hand, making sure that you alternate overhand and underhand looping each time for several loops. Now, begin wrapping the loops together tightly, doing between 5 to 10 passes around. On the last wrap, pass the string inside the loop and make a bight (loop) through it, passing the end of the string back through the initial loop. Loosen the bight until it can pass over the rope. Pull over to the last wrap and pull tight on the free end to secure.

Knot Fundamentals You Can Learn in a Day

If you take a few hours, you can learn how to tie all these knots within no time. Getting yourself out of that unkempt lifestyle means putting your time to use and gaining useful skills. Even if it isn’t now, these knots could come in handy for survival, pulling a date or making a few bros jealous.

Tim Seidler

Tim's not your typical outdoor guy. He's the guy that buys all the gear and then rarely uses it. But that's all changing now. He moved to the Pacific Northwest and has dedicated himself to learning everything there is to know about survival and the outdoors. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in natural curiosity, enthusiasm, and good looks.

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