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Essential Knots: How to Tie the 20 Knots You Need to Know

Essential Knots: How to Tie the 20 Knots You Need to Know

OL's survival expert Tim MacWelch highlights 20 essential knots and how to tie them.
knot_intro

Comments (20)

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from joiner wrote 43 weeks 5 days ago

I've never used more than the 1/2 dozen that I know. Really learning to use 20 different knots is a huge misuse of your time.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Horehound wrote 50 weeks 6 days ago

Great collection of knots. Really appreciate the useful illustrations and descriptions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Timothy Hartle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Man Harness?? Why not show how to tie an Alpine Butterfly Loop instead. It's simple, very strong in all directions, and won't slip. It also has myriad other uses.

I have to agree with some of the others. Before posting knots, do a little more homework. In a critical situation, tying a knot properly can mean the difference between life and death. You used a square knot to secure the loop on your Prusik knot. That could definitely kill someone. It should be a figure 8 bend (ABoK # 1411, p 258) or a double fisherman's bend. (ABoK # 294, p 50.)

I recommend you remove the links on your website and have an expert review the knots before you put them back up on the site.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from afigueiredo2 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I used to be a pipe welder on the Keystone Pipeline throughout PA and the most common knot that I used while welding was the clove hitch. We used it to lift and lower and bring piping into the right position. I used to be in the Boy Scouts and we learned a lot of these knots as well.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from land_cruiser_73 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Great article. I learned a few knots as a Combat Engineer in the Army and the knot I have used more than any other is the Timber Hitch. When you have to move something heavy and are using nylon line, the timber hitch will still allow you to untie the knot.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

There are some knots that you use so often you do not have to think to tie them. This is not necessarily a good thing! As a climber I have had a few scary moments on steep,high rock faces where forgitting some of your knot tying skills was a recipe for disaster. Oddly enough, things that were done without thinking can escape your recall when you are scared and stressed. Sometimes it does not take much pressure to have your brain go bankrupt. A trucker may shift that 18 speed transmission a million times flawlessly without a moment's thought until a passenger asked him "how" he is shifting those gears. Prepare to grind some gears or just forget where they are!! The point is that it is important to think though and visualize such things no matter how matter of fact you have become. So, the beginner has some lessons to review and the pro can also benefit from an occasional review.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Hi...

After reviewing the knots in the first photo...the top "knot" is not a knot...!! Looking at it closely you will see that the visible ends are secured to NOTHING...!! Actually, it appears to be incomplete.

The majority of the other knots shown can be very useful, though.

It will pull apart with the slightest tug...!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Marrero wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

as a boy scout leader I teach each and every one of these knots and every time we are camping or hikeing I make my boys find a use for every one as well so the become familear with and used to tying each one, by fa rhte best is the boline knot it has so many uses and they are so great to teach , all the knots here are a great tool to have and call on when needed thanks for the article

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Thanks for the post "T-Mac," I think it is a great gallery. I learned to tie a timber hitch the same way(Never knew it wasnt the "proper" way either) and it has always worked, so I do not understand why people were so quick to complain. Maybe if they tried it real quick at home they would of seen that these knots are perfectly fine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from T-Mac wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Ok, there is an updated timber hitch picture now. And Ram 1500 is right, this simple photo gallery is being taken way too seriously.

Enjoy your visit to our site, and best of luck to you all - even to the naysayers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ram1500 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Sounds like some of you are taking things pretty serious

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from T-Mac wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Yes, I tie my timber hitches backwards. I have been doing it that way for 30+ years. We have an updated photo on the way.

My apologies, that's just how my grampa taught me to tie it shortly before he passed. I thought it was "right".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Way too many clear errors.
My granddaughters, all under 14, can see you have it wrong.
People who try to use these can get hurt.
Apologize, and then start over with somebody who at least learned the basic Boy Scout knots.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rik Tice wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

From teaching my boy scouts most of these knots, I can agree that the timber hitch is incorrect. The wraps need to be around the short end of the rope so that when you pull the long end, the loop snugs up against the wraps, keeping it from pulling loose. The taut line hitch and the two half hitches are correct.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Starr wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Looks like you don't know your knots

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Hi...

Regarding your timber hitch:

I prefer to add an additional half hitch on the foreward (towing) end of the object.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from J.r. Weiss wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Timber Hitch - Unfortunately, what is pictured is not correct. You need to go around the other line to make it slide up and down before you twist it around three times - Great knot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

The tautline hitch starts with two half-hitches.
The one pictured didn't.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

This isn't two half hitches.
It's a granny making a bight.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TJ Norman wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Boy Scouts...

Teach a child first, to love God.

Teach them second to love their family.

Teach them third, to hunt and fish,

and by the time they reach their teens, no dope

peddler under the sun, will ever have a chance

to teach them anything.

Cotton Cordell

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from T-Mac wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Yes, I tie my timber hitches backwards. I have been doing it that way for 30+ years. We have an updated photo on the way.

My apologies, that's just how my grampa taught me to tie it shortly before he passed. I thought it was "right".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from J.r. Weiss wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Timber Hitch - Unfortunately, what is pictured is not correct. You need to go around the other line to make it slide up and down before you twist it around three times - Great knot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Hi...

Regarding your timber hitch:

I prefer to add an additional half hitch on the foreward (towing) end of the object.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ram1500 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Sounds like some of you are taking things pretty serious

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Hi...

After reviewing the knots in the first photo...the top "knot" is not a knot...!! Looking at it closely you will see that the visible ends are secured to NOTHING...!! Actually, it appears to be incomplete.

The majority of the other knots shown can be very useful, though.

It will pull apart with the slightest tug...!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from afigueiredo2 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I used to be a pipe welder on the Keystone Pipeline throughout PA and the most common knot that I used while welding was the clove hitch. We used it to lift and lower and bring piping into the right position. I used to be in the Boy Scouts and we learned a lot of these knots as well.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from TJ Norman wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Boy Scouts...

Teach a child first, to love God.

Teach them second to love their family.

Teach them third, to hunt and fish,

and by the time they reach their teens, no dope

peddler under the sun, will ever have a chance

to teach them anything.

Cotton Cordell

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Starr wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Looks like you don't know your knots

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from T-Mac wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Ok, there is an updated timber hitch picture now. And Ram 1500 is right, this simple photo gallery is being taken way too seriously.

Enjoy your visit to our site, and best of luck to you all - even to the naysayers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Marrero wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

as a boy scout leader I teach each and every one of these knots and every time we are camping or hikeing I make my boys find a use for every one as well so the become familear with and used to tying each one, by fa rhte best is the boline knot it has so many uses and they are so great to teach , all the knots here are a great tool to have and call on when needed thanks for the article

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rik Tice wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

From teaching my boy scouts most of these knots, I can agree that the timber hitch is incorrect. The wraps need to be around the short end of the rope so that when you pull the long end, the loop snugs up against the wraps, keeping it from pulling loose. The taut line hitch and the two half hitches are correct.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Way too many clear errors.
My granddaughters, all under 14, can see you have it wrong.
People who try to use these can get hurt.
Apologize, and then start over with somebody who at least learned the basic Boy Scout knots.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Thanks for the post "T-Mac," I think it is a great gallery. I learned to tie a timber hitch the same way(Never knew it wasnt the "proper" way either) and it has always worked, so I do not understand why people were so quick to complain. Maybe if they tried it real quick at home they would of seen that these knots are perfectly fine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

There are some knots that you use so often you do not have to think to tie them. This is not necessarily a good thing! As a climber I have had a few scary moments on steep,high rock faces where forgitting some of your knot tying skills was a recipe for disaster. Oddly enough, things that were done without thinking can escape your recall when you are scared and stressed. Sometimes it does not take much pressure to have your brain go bankrupt. A trucker may shift that 18 speed transmission a million times flawlessly without a moment's thought until a passenger asked him "how" he is shifting those gears. Prepare to grind some gears or just forget where they are!! The point is that it is important to think though and visualize such things no matter how matter of fact you have become. So, the beginner has some lessons to review and the pro can also benefit from an occasional review.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Timothy Hartle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Man Harness?? Why not show how to tie an Alpine Butterfly Loop instead. It's simple, very strong in all directions, and won't slip. It also has myriad other uses.

I have to agree with some of the others. Before posting knots, do a little more homework. In a critical situation, tying a knot properly can mean the difference between life and death. You used a square knot to secure the loop on your Prusik knot. That could definitely kill someone. It should be a figure 8 bend (ABoK # 1411, p 258) or a double fisherman's bend. (ABoK # 294, p 50.)

I recommend you remove the links on your website and have an expert review the knots before you put them back up on the site.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Horehound wrote 50 weeks 6 days ago

Great collection of knots. Really appreciate the useful illustrations and descriptions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

This isn't two half hitches.
It's a granny making a bight.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GRINCH64 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

The tautline hitch starts with two half-hitches.
The one pictured didn't.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from land_cruiser_73 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Great article. I learned a few knots as a Combat Engineer in the Army and the knot I have used more than any other is the Timber Hitch. When you have to move something heavy and are using nylon line, the timber hitch will still allow you to untie the knot.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from joiner wrote 43 weeks 5 days ago

I've never used more than the 1/2 dozen that I know. Really learning to use 20 different knots is a huge misuse of your time.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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