Being able to tie a variety of knots may not be something that comes to mind when you are preparing to survive in the wilderness (or in an urban environment after an economic collapse) but knowing a few advanced knots can save your life. Knots are useful for building shelters, constructing traps, securing a fishing line, and climbing steep terrain. If you use the wrong knot for any of these situations, you may have to cut the knot when you can’t untie it, or have it slip out and come undone. Here are five advanced knots that amateurs can master – and they each have unique applications in survival situations.
1. Square Knot
The square knot is the one that you’re most likely familiar with already. It’s a very basic not that can be applied to lots of different situation. A square knot attaches two ropes together. It is tied by simply tying two overhand knots using the end of each length of rope. Tie the knot right over left, and then left over right. This type of knot is useful when you don’t have a long enough rope – and many survival kits have several smaller lengths of rope rather than one long one. The main drawback of the square knot is that it will only work with two ropes that are made of the same material and of equal thickness. Otherwise, the knot will slip out.
2. Clove Hitch
The clove hitch is the best knot to use when you are assembling a temporary shelter. A clove hitch is used to lash one pole or support to another. Typically, you will want to tie the clove hitch in the middle of the rope. This is because there will usually be tension applied to both ends of the rope. The clove hitch will hold firm and won’t slip or loosen quickly, although in high winds that are rocking the supports back and forth, you will have to tighten it occasionally. After the bowline and sheet bend knots, the clove hitch is probably one of the most important to know in a survival situation. This is also the knot that is used by climbers to secure an anchor. Not only is the clove hitch simple to tie and untie, it’s also designed so that you can lengthen or shorten the trailing rope without untying it. The main drawback of the clove hitch knot is that it is not as strong as more advanced anchor knots. It can also loosen if it isn’t tightened securely after you tie it. Finally, the clove hitch is not as effective when you’re working with a wet or frozen rope.
3. Bowline Knot
The bowline knot is essentially a combination of the applications of the square knot and the clove hitch. This is truly a multipurpose knot for camping. It can be used as a climbing knot, but because it’s a more advanced knot than the clove hitch, it will never slip when it’s properly tied, even if you have not fully tightened it. A bowline knot is perfect for hanging supplies out of the reach of scavenging animals, and it is also very useful in rescues, since it makes a loop that someone can grab onto or use as a foothold. Finally, a bowline knot is the best option for securing livestock and other animals, as it won’t tighten or slip on the animal’s neck.
4. Taut-line Hitch
The taut-line hitch is a pretty basic camping knot, but it’s very useful for securing tents and other items. You can use a taut-line hitch on a tent by attaching it to the tarp and then anchoring it on a stake or branch. Because the knot is designed to be adjustable, it can be easily tightened whenever the line pulls slack without having to rework the knot itself. This knot is also an excellent choice for attaching different gear to your survival pack. You can use the taut-line knot to hang the gear from your pack, and tighten it if it gets loose with just a single pull on the end of the rope.
5. Sheet Bend Knot
Bend knots are knots that tie two different ropes together, and there are lots of different kinds. While the sheet bend knot – like so many knots – was originally developed for use in sailing, it has many applications in camping,hiking, and wilderness survival. It is often used to make netting by tying many thin lines together, and it can be used for the same application in survival situations, or simply to attach two very thin lines to form a longer one. It is essentially an advanced version of the square not – and its main advantage over the square knot is that it can be used to attach ropes of different thicknesses or material.
What is your favorite go-to knot? We would love to hear your feedback and see any pictures or videos you might have of your favorite knots and what you use them for.
~ Clayton Krebs
Clayton Krebs is a preparedness consultant and team member of The Ready Store. He writes informative articles and information for the ReadyBlog, the Ready Store's blog and educational section pertaining to topics of the economy, resiliency, and preparedness issues.
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