Knot making is an essential survival skill that is worth practising regularly. You should be able to reliably tie a range of knots, even under stressful circumstances. If a knot fails, you could be stranded as your life raft floats away. It could even mean your climbing safety harness not functioning as it should. Never has the motto “Right over left and left over right, makes a knot both tidy and tight,” been more important. Here are five knots that are essential to any prepper, for a variety of circumstances.
When a bowline is perfectly tied, it will not slip when pulled. This knot is traditionally used for tying up sailing boats, kayaks and canoes, so will be perfectly good for a life raft or flotation device. The bowline is also great for securing shelter covers such as tarpaulin. Even in a strong wind, the knot will still be able to withstand high tension without breaking. A large bowline is also the perfect knot to secure a rope at the waist if you’re climbing. It won’t slip and will hold your weight – this knot could literally be a lifesaver.
Power Cinch Knot
The power cinch is used to put tension on a rope when you are certain that it won’t need to be adjusted at a later time. The power cinch is not an easy knot to undo if you are in a hurry though, so think carefully before you opt for this one. It is often nicknamed The Truckers Knot because it is often used to secure extremely heavy loads on trailers and trucks. It is essentially a rope version of a block and tackle.
The Threaded Figure Eight Knot
This is your go-to knot for absolute emergencies. It is often used by firefighters because it is extremely strong and can hold your body weight when tied with a thick rope. It is also extremely easy to master – young children will be able to grasp the technique of tying this easily and quickly. The knot itself will not slip and has an extremely secure loop at one end. It is favoured by mountain climbers to help secure them on vertical surfaces and sharp ledges. One of the great uses for this the threaded figure eight is for lowering heavy goods up and down. Good if you have to hoist supplies to high shelters.
The Taut-Line Hitch Knot
This knot is perfect if you need to adjust the tension on the rope, once the knot has been tied. This is why it is good for raising or hauling heavy objects, or even a person up and down. To make the knot you will need to put a hitch around the stationary part of the rope, but only once you’ve secured the other end to a completely firm anchor. This knot is also good for adjusting the tension on tents or tarpaulin, particularly in the case of weather difficulties and extreme cold.
The Clove Hitch
Finally, the clove hitch is a true survivalist’s knot. It can be tied quickly and easily with one hand. It is made up of two half hitches that have been tied around an object. The knot can be used to lash together wooden posts to make a shelter and is also good for securing your possessions to something solid like a tree in order to keep them safe. One of the most useful ways to use a clove hitch is for tying up your food provisions bag up, in order to keep it away from wildlife. The rope can also be doubled up for extra strength if necessary. It is worth stressing however that this knot is not suitable for climbing – it simply isn’t strong enough.
Learning to tie your knots
Focus on one knot at a time. Once you have mastered the basic knot, try doing it with your eyes closed. You should also try tying the knot with just one hand, including your non-dominant hand. It is important that you feel confident in mastering your survival knots under any circumstances.
Knot making is an invaluable skill useful in such a wide variety of unexpected situations. Learning these knots will take a little practice, however, they can help you to survive in the most drastic emergencies.