Knot Tying

Knots and how to use them!

A knot not knotted neatly is a knot not knotted!

Knots, Hitches, and Bends

Not all “knots” are true knots. Technically, a true knot does not need to be tied around anything; it can hold its form on its own without another object such as a post, eye-bolt, or another rope to give it structure. A hitch, by contrast, must be tied around something to hold together; remove the thing it’s tied to, and a hitch falls apart. A bend is a knot used to join two rope ends.

In practice, we often use “knot” as an umbrella term to cover all these types, but the distinction is useful to know.

See also Apps for Outdoors: Knots

Featuring this month …

The Girth Hitch //www.youtube.com/embed/FhFmIKxW4lw

Also known as a Lark’s Foot Knot, a Cow Hitch and a Lanyard Knot.

The Girth Hitch is an easy way to connect a loop of webbing or cord to a fixed point like a tree, or a climbing harness’s tie-in points. Here we show the hitch around a carabiner but the process is the same on any object.

When completed, the Cow Hitch is identical in structure to the Lanyard or Girth Hitch. The difference is in how they are tied; the Cow Hitch is more practical with long rope where only one end is available, e.g. when the other end is tied to an animal. The Lanyard Hitch, on the other hand, requires threading the entire rope through the formed bight which makes it impractical for use with long rope.

When to Tie a Knot on a Boat (Dangar Marine)

The Cleat Hitch

A Perfect Cleat Hitch (Maryland School of Sailing)

Cleat Hitch (US Powerboating)

The Sheet Bend

The sheet bend (also known as becket bendweaver’s knot and weaver’s hitch) is a bend, that is, a knot that joins two ropes together. Doubled, it is effective in binding lines of different diameter or rigidity securely together, although it has a tendency to work loose when not under load.

Basic Boating Knots (Boating Ed)

The Truckies Knot

‘The truckies knot or trucker’s hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. Using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, it has long been used to tension lines.

Trucker's Hitch versus Truckie Hitch

The Girth Hitch

Also known as a Lark’s Foot Knot, a Cow Hitch and a Lanyard Knot.

The Girth Hitch is an easy way to connect a loop of webbing or cord to a fixed point like a tree, or a climbing harness’s tie-in points. Here we show the hitch around a carabiner but the process is the same on any object.

When completed, the Cow Hitch is identical in structure to the Lanyard or Girth Hitch. The difference is in how they are tied; the Cow Hitch is more practical with long rope where only one end is available, e.g. when the other end is tied to an animal. The Lanyard Hitch, on the other hand, requires threading the entire rope through the formed bight which makes it impractical for use with long rope.

The Double Fisherman’s Knot

The Double Fisherman’s Knot is a very secure way to join two ropes or form a cord into a loop. It’s very difficult to untie after it gets weighted, so it’s a good choice for making Prussik loops.

The Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch allows you to secure a rope in place on a carabiner. It’s easy to untie after taking a heavy load, and quickly unravels when you unclip it from the carabiner. Many climbers use it to connect directly to an anchor. You can tie a clove hitch with two hands or with one.

  • Hold the rope in both hands, and form a loop by crossing the rope over itself.
  • Then form a second loop in the same way.
  • Now move the second loop behind the first, and clip both loops with a carabiner. Dress the hitch by pulling both strands tight.

If you’re at the anchor, you can also tie the clove while you hold onto the anchor carabiner with one hand.

  • Grab the rope in your fist with your finger pointing down the rope.
  • Bring your hand up so that your finger points up and toward you.
  • Then clip the rope into the carabiner.
  • Now grab the rope below the carabiner and do the same thing again. Grab it with your finger pointing down, bring it up so that your finger points up and toward you, and clip it into the carabiner.
  • Dress the hitch by pulling both strands tight.
The Alpine Butterfly

The Alpine Butterfly knot forms a loop in the middle of a rope and is especially useful for the middle member of a rope team because it won’t deform after a pull in either direction.

See also for an alternate tying method: https://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/butterfly-knot

Share your favourite knot

Have an interesting knot or useful knotting resource to share?
Let us know by Sharing a Knot

Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.

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