Date Published: 2021-05-19

Know Your Knots

Know Your Knots

By Adelia Ladson

Why Are Knots Important?

Knowing how to tie a few basic knots is an essential skill to add to your cache of knowledge. They are used for a million different tasks and you already know and use a couple of knots in your everyday life. By adding a few more, you can really take advantage of what a great tool they are for securing objects and tying things down. In a survival situation, when building a lean-to shelter or tent-like shelter with a poncho or tarp, you need to know some basic knots.

Knot Categories

Knots can, basically, be divided into bends, hitches, loops, binding and stoppers. A bend knot is used to join two pieces of rope together securely. A hitch knot is used to secure a rope to a stationary object like a rail, tree or a fixed line. A loop knot can be used instead of a hitch to quickly secure a rope to an object and if the working end of the rope slides freely, it forms a noose. A binding knot is specifically used to tie off packages, the neck of sacks and, most importantly, bandages. A stopper knot is tied at the end of a rope to keep it from pulling out of a hole or slot in an object that the rope is secured to.

Some Terminology You Need to Know

  • Bight: A bight is a slack section of rope that forms a partial loop or u-shape.
  • Loop: A loop is a bight with a crossing point.
  • Crossing Point: When two parts of a rope overlap each other.
  • Standing End: The standing end is the part of the rope that is not active in tying a knot.
  • Working End: The working end or running end is the end of the rope used to tie a knot.
  • Standing Part: The standing part is the rest of the rope between the working end and the standing end.

Basic Knots

Below you’ll find an example of each category of knot and how to tie it. These are common knots that can be used in your daily life.

Sheet Bend

This is a relatively simple and classic knot to tie and it’s great for joining two ropes that are different sizes and construction. Make a bight in one end of a rope and pass the working end of a second rope through it. Then, wrap the working end of the second rope around both the standing end and working end of the first rope and double it back across the front of the bight but underneath its own standing end. The working ends of both ropes should be on the same side of the knot. Pull tight.

Timber Hitch

Use this hitch knot to secure a line to a tree and keep it under tension when making a tarp shelter or to hoist a log. Make one wrap around the stationary object and then wrap the working end around the standing part of the rope and then wrap the working end around itself several times.

Simple Noose Knot

This knot forms a simple sliding loop that tightens around whatever it is placed around. Basically, this is an overhand knot (the basic knot everyone knows) tied around the standing part of the rope.

Square Knot

Use this knot for securing bandages and packages but not for joining two ropes together securely that will have strain on them. Using two ends of the same piece of twine or cord tie, cross the left working end over the right wrap it around. Then, cross the right working end over the left and bring it through the loop that’s made. Pull tight.

Ashley’s Stopper Knot

Use this stopper knot when there is a large hole or slot that needs to be blocked. Start with tying a simple noose knot (see above), then put the working end of the rope up through the loop and pull tight.

Supplies You Need

Here are some supplies you need to star learning and practicing your knot-tying skills. They are also tools that you need to get the job done. Add these products to your camping gear, bug-out bag, tool box, boat storage box and vehicle emergency kit.

Trailblazer Knots Quick Reference Guide

The Trailblazer Knots Quick Reference Guide is an absolute must-have, giving you valuable instruction on tying some basic knots, including the ones above, that are most commonly used. It’s divided into sections based on the category of knot and gives step-by-step instructions and illustrations. The folding guide is compact so that it fits perfectly in your bug-out gear, vehicle or even in your back pocket and is laminated, making it ideal for field use. The Trailblazer Knots Quick Reference Guide is your go-to source for all the basic knots that you need for most securing and tying tasks.

All-Purpose 550 Paracord

With a proven track record dating back to WWII, paracord has made a well-deserved name for itself as being one of the best cords ever made and is one of the most versatile cords on the planet. The All-Purpose 550 Paracord’s high-tech materials and construction enables it to be lightweight, strong, and compact, plus, UV, rot and mildew-resistant. Made in the USA, with an incredible 550-lb tensile strength, this paracord can easily perform tasks and jobs that other similar cords cannot. One of the most important design features of paracord is the seven inner strands of core. By pulling out the internal strands, you can turn 50 feet into hundreds of feet of usable cordage. All these features make it the perfect rope to have around, whether it’s in your backpack, vehicle, garage, or bug-out bag. How you need it, where you need it and when you need it! It also comes in a variety of colors and there’s 100 feet in this hank.

All-Purpose Micro-Cord

Smaller but just as versatile, the All-Purpose Micro-Cord can be used for any sport or hobby and is especially suitable for jewelry makers and crafters. It’s perfect for making bracelets, lanyards or key chains and using for fishing line, handle wraps or trip lines. Made in the USA, the lightweight and strong cord is made of polyester and nylon and has a tensile strength of 100 lbs. It’s UV, rot and mildew-resistant with a color that will not run or bleed and there are plenty of color options. Drop one of these 125’ spools in your camping gear, bug-out bag, kitchen drawer and vehicle!

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