Surviving in Tough Times: How to Tie Knots

Learn to tie ten basic knots useful for survival, hobbies and a number of other frequent tasks.

| January 2014

  • The simplest knot to tie is probably the overhand knot.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The bowline is perhaps one of the most important knots a person could ever learn to tie.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • There are subtle differences between a good square knot and inferior knots such as thief and granny knots.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The sheet bend is a very secure knot used for joining two ropes.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The clove hitch is certainly one of the most popular hitches.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The Prusik knot is an interesting device that has been in use for more than 70 years.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The figure-eight loop has to be one of the easiest loops to tie, and probably one of the strongest.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The fisherman's knot (sometimes called a water knot) is a very good device for joining two small diameter lines.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The improved clinch knot is a popular knot for attaching fishhooks to line.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The sheepshank is a common device used for quickly shortening a section of rope.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The timber hitch can be used to attach a bowstring to the nocks of a bow. It's as simple as they get, but quite strong.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • “Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age” by James Ballou is more than a blueprint for bad times — this informative guide may inspire you to a new level of self-sufficiency.
    Cover courtesy Paladin Press

Would you be prepared to survive in the event of a complete breakdown of modern civilization? In Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age (Paladin Press, 2007), author Jim Ballou introduces you to the essential skills and mind-set you will need to survive a complete, long-term shift in the way the world operates. Learn how to build a fire, recycle and salvage everything, develop survival bartering skills, prepare and store caches, and much more. In the following excerpt, learn to tie ten knots to complete common tasks.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age.

Using cord of any kind demands some knowledge about how to tie knots. Certain knots will be used in sewing, others in fishing, and still others in climbing, sailing, camping, horse handling, and numerous other activities.

Knots can be categorized by their function. Stopper knots are used to prevent rope from slipping through an eye. Bends are used to join two ropes together. Hitches are used for securing ropes directly to other objects like posts, hooks, rings, and rails. Loops are useful to hold the line fast when dropping one end of a line over an object. Shortenings are used to make rope shorter without cutting it, and fishing knots are most often used for attaching line to hooks. Learning how to tie at least 10 of the most common knots is a worthy short-term goal, in my view. One’s repertoire of useful knots can be increased over a period of time. The best way to remember how to tie and use certain knots is to practice them over and over again.



How to Tie Knots

Overhand Knot
The simplest knot is probably the overhand knot, which is frequently used as a stopper knot. It is easily constructed by looping the working end over the standing part and then passing the working end, or running end, back under and through the loop.

Bowline
The bowline is perhaps one of the most important knots a person could ever learn to tie, as it has numerous possible applications. For example, it is a good knot to use for hoisting someone out of a deep hole with a strong rope.





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