Knots go back thousands of years, well before rope was invented, and now we use them for at work, camping, practice them for survival skills and even around the home. Here are 11 knots, I challenge you to learn, find uses for and use every day.

Knot Terminology

Knots are intentional complications or fastenings made using a single rope or multiple ropes tied together. Knots are used day-to-day for various applications stemming across many domains such as camping, gardening, domestically, and even decoratively. Here is a basic explanation of vocabulary relating to knots.

Knot

A knot consists of tying a rope to itself using loops and interweaving. The resulting knot can be used to tie the rope to something or to prevent the line from sliding or shifting. There is a wide variety of knots.

Hitch

You would use a hitch to fasten a rope to another object such as a rig, stand, or pole.

Lashing

A lashing consists of tying two separate objects together with the use of a rope.

Bend

You use a bend to tie two separate ropes together.

Coiling

Coiling is a means of storing rope neatly and compactly by forming a series of intermixed loops or helices.

While ropes are usually associated with camping, they can also be of use while gardening or around the house. Here is a list of some examples of knots, hitches, bends, and how they can be helpful.

Knots used around the house

Two Half Hitches

It is rare to see a single half hitch as they do not hold very well and considered unreliable, just like the first bit of tying your shoelaces. Two half hitches, on the other hand, tied one after another are generally considered worlds more stable and will hold longer. Half hitches usually occupy a supportive role and are tied to increase the security of a primary not. Often used in macramé (art made out of knots), these simple knots can also serve a decorative purpose around the house.

Sheet Bend

Otherwise known as the weaver’s knot, the sheet bend is used to tie two ropes of different sizes together. This knot is perfect for creating indoor or outdoor washing lines. Take one end of a rope and pass it through the loop of the other rope and twisted back over before being passed through its own loop.

Bottle Sling

This knot can be used to create a handle for a bottle or container. It’s tied around the neck of the bottle.

Camping Knots

Prusik Knot

The prusik not can essentially be considered a type of friction hitch that is used to attach a loop of rope or chord to a rigid line. The Prusik knot can slide along the rope, or whatever it is tied to, when there is no pressure applied to it. However, if any force such as a tug or pull is applied, the knot will immediately jam in place.
It is this property that makes Prusik knots essential for mountaineers or rock climbers.

Figure of Eight Knot

The figure-eight knot is a firm non-slip knot that is commonly used by sailors and rock climbers alike. It generally functions as a stopper knot which prevents the rope from slipping away.

Trucker’s Hitch

The trucker’s hitch is a compound hitch that is often used to tie loads such as kayaks or canoes to cars or trucks. This knot is achieved by a series of loops and turns within the rope that makes it one of the most secure knots there is.

Fisherman’s Knot

The fisherman’s knot is the most popular knot for attaching a rope to a hook which can then be used as a fishing rod.

Garden Knots

Barrel Hitch

The barrel hitch is used to keep a barrel or bucket in an upright position. The barrel hitch can also function as a handle to carry the container with making it a great not for carrying potted plants without disturbing their soil.

General use knots

Bowline

The bowline could easily be considered the most popular knot due to its many and varied uses. The loop created at the end of the rope can be used to hitch onto another object or post. Once tied, the bowline can be easily reinforced or untied even when under pressure. The bowline does not slip or glide once tied. Bowlines can also be used to tie two ropes together. All of these properties make the bowline one of the most diverse knots that can be used in camping, gardening, or around the house.

Square Knot

The square knot, otherwise known as the reef knot, is primarily used to tie two different ropes together. The square knot could be used to tie a sail cover over a sailor securing bandages. The square knot will slip if not kept under tension, so it is not recommended to be used under circumstances where security is of importance.

Taut Line Hitch

The taut-line hitch allows for adjustments to be made to its line due to its propensity to slip or loosen when no pressure is applied. When pressure is applied to a taut-line hitch, its loop tightens in a firm grip around whatever object it is tied to. Taut line hitches are often used secure tent or tarp lines.

One of the most important things to consider before tying a knot is the sturdiness and strength of the knot. However, the makeup of the rope can also play a key role in whether a knot, hitch, or bend will be reliable or not. Take rope made out of synthetic material as an example. Nylon ropes may be robust within themselves and mostly immune to shearing, but they are prone to slipping and thus not recommended to be used for knots or when tying two ropes together. Polyester fibres are similar to nylon in that they can withhold pressure. However, they are prone to stretching, which can cause a knot to slip.
Natural rope fibres are made from plant materials such as hemp or cotton.

Though ropes made out of synthetic fibres are generally more durable, they tend to melt when subjected to high heats. Natural fibre ropes can withstand being subjected to high temperatures but shrink if wetted. This propensity of natural fibres to shrink means that they will need regular upkeep if used outdoors, unlike synthetic material ropes. The lightweight nature of synthetic ropes and their ability to withstand pressure make them the ideal choice for carrying on a camping trip or while gardening.

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