This is the best knot for tying together two ropes of slightly unequal size—like when you need 10 feet of line but have only two 5-foot lengths of parachute cord and clothes line. It was named by sailors who “bent the sheets” (attached the ropes used to rig ships).
How to Tie: Form a bight in the thicker line; hold it firmly in your left hand. Pass the running end of the thinner line up through the bight, then over, around and under the bight, and slip it beneath itself where it enters the bight. Hold the bight with one hand and tighten the knot by pulling the other rope’s standing part. Both short ends should finish on the same side.
This is used for tying guy lines. It can be tied on a line that’s taut—thus the name—or tied and placed over a peg.
How to Tie: Pass the rope around the peg and bring the end over, then under, the standing part, and twice through the loop you just formed. Bring the rope over, under and through the loop to make another turn around the standing part. Slide it upward to tighten the line.
It’s best for tying together two thin ropes of equal size and for tying bandages.
How to Tie: Left over right, right over left. Put two line ends together left over right, then twist the left-hand side behind the right-hand side, then around the front of the right-hand side, to make a simple overhand knot. Bring up the ends even with one another. Twist the right-hand end behind and down through the bight. Grasp both ends and pull to tighten.
Originally used to secure the bow of ships, the bowline is called the “king of all knots” because it’s favored by climbers, cowhands and sailors alike. It’s a “rescue” knot: Use it to secure a loop around yourself or anyone else being plucked from the water or the side of a mountain.
How to Tie: Form a loop in the standing part; pass the running end up through the loop, around back of the standing part and back down through the loop. Place the end on the standing part; with a twist of your hand, carry around the end to form a loop in the standing part. Bring the end around the standing part and down through the small loop formed alongside its own continuation. Hold onto the bight and pull hard to tighten.