The 5 Knots You Need to Know
The five knots we are going to cover are: the bowline hitch, the marlin spike hitch with a truckers hitch variation, a half hitch, a prusik knot and a figure of eight loop.
Let’s start with the bowline hitch, which is used by bowyers to tie loops onto bowstrings and it’s been used by many others as an anchoring point for ridge-lines. The knot is simple to tie; form a loop with the working part on top, then feed the working end around an object then underneath and through the loop, now wrap it under and around the standing part and back through the loop, I tuck a bight instead of feeding the line completely through making it quick and easy to untie this hitch later.
Marlin Spike & Truckers Hitch
The next knot is a marlin spike hitch, simplicity at it’s finest. To tie, basically form a loop and feed in a bight of the line next to it, then tighten. If the line is already attached to an object and you use the standing part of the line as the bight in this hitch, you can lock items into place such as tent stakes that can be used to pull out tent or tarp guy-lines. But, if you use the working part of the line, tightening it up, but still leaving a loop, you can feed the rest of your working line around an object, then through the loop and now you have created a 3 to 1 pulley known as a truckers hitch, great for tightening the slack in any line.
To finish off this truckers hitch and many other hitches, I use a either a half hitch, or two half hitches. The purpose of this hitch is to lock other hitches into place. To tie you simply tie an overhand knot and then tighten it into place at the base of whatever hitch it originated from. Like the bowline hitch I tuck a bight instead so that I can easily untie this knot later. Occasionally I’ll add another hitch for a little extra security.
Sometimes you need a knot that is completely adjustable. Something that will slide along another line and lock into place where ever you need it. That is where the prusik knot comes in handy. Tying this knot is easy; cut a piece of line about 8” long, tie it into a loop using a double or triple fisherman’s knot or just do a simple overhand knot, then wrap the line 2 or 3 times inside of itself and pull down on the inner looping part while making sure everything stays neat. This knot works best if the line used to make the prusik is thinner in diameter than the line you’re attaching it to, but i’ve used the same line before with minimum slippage. To adjust the line, grab it by the knot and slide, pull tight and lock whatever you need into place.
Figure of Eight Loop
Finally the Figure of Eight Loop, a climber’s favorite and one of the strongest knots out there. It’s perfect for when you need a strong, non-slip, loop at the end of a line. There are two ways we can tie this. The first is by doubling the line into an extended bight, then form a loop, and twist the bight behind and around the standing part then over and through the loop. Before completing this knot it should look like the number eight. The other way to tie this knot is to tie a normal, figure of eight knot, then wrap the excess working end around an object and retrace the path of the knot. I’ve found this knot handy for a lot of uses and I’m sure you can to.
Now that I have covered these five knots there is one last thing you should know. Excluding the Figure of eight loop, all of the other knots are simple to untie.
Keep Your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!