These are the most useful knots that everyone should know, that you can use in everyday life whether you’re camping or hiking or just mucking around the house.
The chain sinnet/The monkey braid
The first one I want to tell you about it’s a knot that I find very useful for shortening a rope or other cable while in use or for storage. I think it’s also great because it reduces tangling! It’s very simple:
- Make a loop in the rope
- Reach through the loop and pull out a bight of the working part through the loop
- Pull out another bight of the working part through the loop of the previous stitch
- Tighten the stitch to the desired degree by pulling on the both sides of the loop. Adjust the loop by pulling on the working end to keep it a reasonable size.
- Repeat these steps until the rope has been shortened as you wish.
It is like crocheting for men and it shortens rope down to about a third of its length. To restore the rope to its original length, pull on the free end. The sinnet will quickly unravel.
The taut-line hitch
If you’re in a situation where you need an adjustable length of rope, like you’re stringing up a tarp, putting up a tent or climbing trees you can use the taut-line hitch. It is useful when the length of a line will need to be periodically adjusted in order to maintain tension.
- Pass the working end around the anchor object. Bring it back alongside of the standing part and make a half-hitch around the standing part.
- Continue with another wrap inside the loop, making a round turn around the anchor object.
- Complete with a half-hitch outside the loop, made in the same direction as the first two wraps
- Dress by snugging the hitch firmly around the standing part. Load slowly and adjust as needed.
The biggest disadvantage of this knot is that you can only adjust them when they’re not under load. If you want to be able to really tighten down something, you’re going to use the knot number 3.
The trucker’s hitch
This is a great knot for tightening down loads, for putting your knot under tension.
- Tie one end of rope to fixed object such as car bumper.
- About mid-way on the rope tie a slippery half hitch to form a loop in the middle of the line. Be sure the loop part is formed with the slack part of the rope or it will tighten down on itself under pressure.
- Make a wrap around another fixed point opposite the tie-in point and feed free end through the loop.
- Using the loop as a pulley, pull down with the free end as tight as you can and secure the knot with two half hitches around one or both lines.
This is basically a series of lose slip knots. This is a fabulous knot to learn if you need to tie something down or string a hammock.
This knot is used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It’s a strong knot, it’s easy to tie, it’s easy to untie and you can even tie it one handed.
The bowline is sometimes referred as the King of the knots because of its importance.
- Imagine the end of the rope as a rabbit and where the knot will begin on the standing part, a tree trunk
- Make a loop near the end of the rope, which will act as the rabbit’s hole
- Then the “rabbit” comes up the hole, goes round the tree right to left and then back down the hole.
Even if it’s the most reliable knot, it has also some disadvantages. It has a tendency to work loose when not under load and slip when pulled sideways.
The constrictor knot
The constrictor knot is simple, versatile and especially useful for holding things in place. It has the ability to tighten itself around an object without becoming loose.
I want to tell you here about the standard method, which involves wrapping rope around an object and crossing the two rope ends in a manner that cinches the knot closed.
- Pull a rope around the back of the object you will be tying a knot around
- Pull each end of the rope towards the center
- Cross the right-hand end of the rope over the left-hand end
- Hold the end of the rope that is crossed underneath taut
- With your other hand, pull the end of the rope that is crossed overhand behind the object
- Pull it around to the other side to meet the opposite rope end
- Secure the knot by pulling the overhand side of the rope under the opposite rope and between the object and the rope
- Thread it under the X formed by the crossed rope in the middle
- Pull it through to the other side.
I know it’s hard to fully understand how to tie these knots just by reading the instructions. So go get yourself some rope and practice at home. If you like it, there are numerous knot learning websites and lots of other types of knots. You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to be an expert with knots!
John Stuart works on behalf of ropesdirect.co.uk in outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.