…and two you should never use
My husband grew up in the country where hard work was expected. He worked alongside his father and brother wrangling animals, fixing fences, and hauling supplies from one point to another. He learned to tie down tarps and attach a come-along to a winch.
There are 5 essential knots that he regularly uses and that have served us well on our little homestead over the years. He seems to be a natural when it comes to knot tying.
I am not a natural at tying knots. In fact, the one I tie the most often is called the Granny Knot, which should never be used under a load or in any type of life safety situation. Growing up in the city didn’t give me a lot of practice to learn how to make a knot that is secure. Even Girl Scouts did not teach me these skills.
It’s about time to learn to do it right, don’t you think?
Why these 5 essential knots?
Even if you have no intention of sailing the ocean blue or climbing a mountain, having a repertoire of knots at your disposal is a smart, prepared thing to do. These 5 essential knots should be added to the arsenal of knots that you know by heart. You know, recognize them, and can use them without thinking. When you need a knot for a specific reason, there is nothing quite like being able to tie it.
1. Two Half Hitches
Two half hitches are the simplest way to tie a rope to an object. It resembles a clove hitch if tied correctly.
- Use it to tie a rope to a tree, boat or any object.
- Use it in a supporting role to increase the security of a primary knot.
- The Two half-hitches knot is only secure when it is tight against the post.
2. Strop Bend
The Strop Bend is used as a simple way to tie two ropes together. It will remain secure indefinitely, unless of one of the ropes breaks. It is strong enough for hard labor and can be used for any type of cord.
- For connecting ropes to cable eye holes or hooks.
- To connect long chains of loop and slings together.
- It’s easy to take apart.
Whatever the purpose may be – tying something down, hoisting something up, or any of a thousand other random reasons – watching a skilled person take a length of rope and manipulate it is not dissimilar to watching an artist paint – Scott Finnazio, Prepper’s Guide to Knots
3. The Constrictor Knot
The constrictor knot is the most useful and functional of the binding knots and can be used in a variety of setting.
- To temporarily keep the end of a rope from unraveling.
- As a clamp to hold things down.
- As a grip around a group of objects.
4. Anchor Bend
The Anchor Bend is used to tie a rope to a ring. It is actually a hitch and was named at a time when the term “bend” was used to mean “to tie to.”
- It holds well even when the tension on a line is changing.
- The Anchor Bend can be made additionally secure by adding two half hitches at the end.
- It’s not easy to take apart an Anchor Bend knot when the rope is wet.
5. Bowline (boh-linn)
The Bowline Knot is useful for nearly every loop application you need. It does not slip, loosen, or jam. This is the knot every non-knot tye’r knows. The rabbit comes up out of the hole, around the tree, and back down the hole.
- Secure animals without slipping against their skin or tightening too much.
- Use a Bowline Knot to secure a hammock to tree limbs
- The Bowline Knot is great for tying through tent grommets.
Make a plan to learn these 5 essential knots
In addition to tying your own knots, being able to recognize one is very useful. Use the new book – Prepper’s Guide to Knots: The 100 Most Useful Tying Techniques for Surviving any Disaster by Scott Finazzo for detailed tying instructions and discussion about each knot’s usefulness.
His instructions, for tying these 5 essential knots and 95 more, cover how they should be tied and how they should be used. That is a piece that is often overlooked in quick reference guides. This resource will be excellent for my 72-hour kit and reference library, because while I’m planning on practicing knots now, it’s easy to forget how to ties them if you don’t do it regularly.
You never know when you’ll need to be prepared and when the need for a knot will arise. A quality knot tying books with pictures can be just the thing to get you started.
In addition, you can purchase a knot tying game for the whole family. Really, they have games for knot tying skills! The ThinkFun Knot So Fast Game looks very fun and would be a great way to keep up the skills you’ve earned from the Prepper’s Guide to Knots.
You can find detailed directions to tie the 5 essential knots at our previous post called Basic Knot Tying Instructions and pick up a few tips.
The two knots you should never tie?
- The Granny Knot – never to be used under a load of any kind or in a life safety situation. Unlike your real granny, this knot is unreliable.
- The Square Knot – dangerously comes apart under a load, it is weak and subject to slip. Often used to tie two ropes together, it is also unreliable. Use a Strop Bend instead.
Other books by Scott Finazzo – read my review of the Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook. I received a copy of the Prepper’s Guide to Knots from the publisher Ulysses Press, who is helping me bring my knot tying game up a few notches! There are affiliate links in this post.