Experienced campers know the value of using certain types of knots to secure ropes, strings and lines. Those who haven’t yet gained this knowledge struggle with unsecured tents, shelters and tie downs. They also have more difficulty untying the knots when it’s time to break down the camp. Learning this practical skill can save a lot of time, work and frustration. There are five major knots that come in very handy for making your camping experience go more smoothly.
1. Square Knot
The square knot is also known as the reef knot. This is an essential knot for camping. It is the best knot to use when you need to tie two rope or string ends together. You’ll find it to be handy for bundling wood, or for making a clothesline to hang your clothes on when the pieces of rope that you use are a little two short. The square knot will hold up strongly under tension so your line won’t slip or sag. It’s an easy knot to tie.
- Hold an end of each rope in each hand.
- Loop the left piece of rope over the right piece of rope. This will form a union and bring both ends into a position that is facing upwards.
- Loop the left piece over the right piece in the same way that you did in step one.
- Pull both ends of the rope (they will be at the top of the knots), and tighten. You have just completed a square knot.
2. Backpacker Hitch
The backpacker hitch is one of the best knots for securing things to trees or other stable objects with a rope or twine. It is one of the most highly recommended knots to use when securing a hammock or clothesline to a tree. It’s good for use on tree bark because it holds up against the friction that is caused by the movement of the bark under tight pressure.
- Wrap the rope around the tree very tightly a minimum of three times.
- Make two more wraps around the tree, but a little looser.
- Make a bend at the end of the rope that you’re working with, then tuck it under the two loose wraps.
- Pull the loop you’ve just pulled through the loose rope upwards and tighten.
- To release the knot, just pull on the end of the rope and it will come loose.
3. Taut Line Hitch Knot
This is another important knot for campers and backpackers to know. It is used for hanging tarps, guy lines on tents or clothes lines. It’s a good choice for light duty jobs, but not recommended for heavier weight loads. This knot allows you to adjust the tension on a line that is taut. The Taut line hitch knot is not difficult to tie with a little practice.
- Wrap the rope or string around a sturdy and fixed object.
- Leaving enough rope to work with, cross the short end over the long end.
- Pull the rope end through the loop in an upwards and over motion three times.
- Next, pull the short end parallel to the long strand.
- Pass the short end under the longer strand.
- Feed the rope end through the lower loop that was created and tighten it.
- The loop at the top should slide up and down easily, allowing you to adjust the tension.
4. The Girth Hitch
The girth hitch is also known as the cow hitch. It is one of the least difficult knots to tie and it is also one of the strongest. Ropes and strings have been known to break before this knot will give way. It’s one of the best knots for hanging things and the uses are practically limitless. It’s one of the most highly recommended for securing ropes to the carabiner for hammock suspension.
- Put the end of the rope over the anchor object and pull down so you have enough length to work with.
- Cross the end of the rope over the front of the long piece of rope and make an overhand loop.
- Bring the piece of rope with the end over the anchor one more time, but bring it down to the left, from behind.
- Bring the rope end down and through the loop, parallel to the other piece of rope.
- Tighten against the anchor object and you’re done.
5. Sheet Bend Knot
The sheet bend knot is perfect for when you need to make a rope or string longer with a strong knot that will tie them together without failing you. This is the perfect knot for two pieces of rope that are of unequal thicknesses.
- Fold the end of the thicker rope together and form a bend.
- From the backside, pass the thinner rope through the bend.
- From the top, pull the thin rope over and behind the bend of the thicker rope.
- From the front, loop the thin rope back through the bend.
- Tug on the end of the thin rope to tighten and the knot is completed.