Knots For Bushcraft

Blake

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There has got to be thousands and thousands of knots all with another handful of variations on top of that. Approaching the topic can make ones eyes water. At the end of the day I find you can cover most tasks with a good handful of knots. So here are my top 6 knots to master for Bushcraft. As I said for every knot their is another 100 variations but if you can tie these 6 knots you are well on your way to having a tool for most any situation.

Illustrations are by Blake

First a Key with some rope tying terminology:



Bowline
Used for: Creating a fixed loop at the end of a rope. This knot is ideal for the eyelets of tarps, hammocks or throw-lines when on the water. This knot could literally save a life as the loop will not constrict and is easy to undo. If you are going to learn only one knot, make it this one.

1. Make a small loop in the rope.
2. Pass the working end back through the loop you just created and around the standing end of rope.
3. Continue to bring the working end back though the loop again and tighten by pulling on the standing end.



Round Turn & Two Half Hitches
Used for: A fast and simple knot for tying off a rope at tension or as a start for lashing. It is useful where you need to adjust or move the free end of a rope as once tightened it will stay in place. With certain types of cord the common clove hitch can slip somewhat before holding so this is a good alternative

1. Wrap the working end of rope around your anchored object twice.
2. Bring the working end around the standing end of rope and pass it over itself creating a half hitch.
3. Repeat step 2 by creating a second half hitch and pull tight.



Sheet Bend
Used For: Joining two lengths of rope together. This is much more reliable than a common reef knot. If the ropes are uneven thickness the thicker rope is the bend rope. A double sheet bend for extra security or for wet ropes can be made by repeating step 2.

1. Form a bend in the rope you would like to join to and pass the connecting rope under the opening of the loop.
2. Bring the rope around both ends of the bend
3. Pass the rope back under itself and pull all four ends to tighten. A double wrap, repeating step 2 forms a double sheet bend.



Blake's Modified Taughtline Hitch
Used For: Adjusting the tension of tie-out lines or ridge-lines. The knot will grip a rope when lateral force is applied but slides when released. I find this is a good easy to learn alternative to a taught-line hitch.

1. Bring your line around a fixed object such as a tree or tent peg.
2. Bring the free end under the main line and wrap it around four times inside the loop this created. (more wraps make a more stable knot)
3. Finish the knot by bringing the working end over both lines and through the loop which now runs parallel to the wraps. Pull Tight. The knot can now be slid up and down the rope by gripping the knot with one hand and the standing end with the other.



And here is a standard taughtline hitch/rolling hitch, also a great knot



Timber Hitch
Used For: Attaching rope to a cylindrical object like a branch or tree trunk. Great for clotheslines, bundling firewood or dragging large fallen logs off tracks.

1. Bring the rope under and over your object and pass the working end around the standing end.
2. Wrap the working end around the loop on your object three times.
3. If you intend on using the knot for dragging a log along its length add two half hitches on the towing end to prevent twisting.



Truckie's Hitch
Used For: Tying down loads on your vehicle or trailer. It is also great for tarpaulin ridge-lines or any situation where a very taught line is required. The truckie's hitch creates a rudimentary pulley system which gives a mechanical advantage over standard knots. The Mechanical advantage is 3 to 1 on pager but because of the friction of the rope its less than that. Regardless the assistance it provides is great.

There seems to be more versions of this knot than there are truck drivers. In fact the majority of the versions you see aren't really correct and will tighten when the rope is wet and be hard to undo. This version is a good one because it will not tighten if the rope gets wet and is easy to undo when the load is released. Its the most complicated of the knots here but master this one and you will never have loose gear on the road.

1. With one side tied off bring the working end of the rope underneath your anchor point and back over itself. Reach over and bring up a bight of rope so that the working end is being cradled by the bight. This will create two bights in the rope, one in your hand and one with the working end running through.

2. With one hand holding the bight use your free hand to create a loop in the standing end by twisting the rope and pass the bight through. Repeat this process further up the rope so you have two loops holding the bight. This is part is essentially a sheepshank.

3. Still holding the bight, pull down on the free end of rope until the bight is held. You can now pull down with both hands to sinch down the load. Finish by tying of with a clove hitch and another half hitch. If you are feeling particularly clever you can repeat steps 2-3 to create another pulley, creating a double truckie's hitch.

*A good quick alternative to this knot I have also seen is to stop after the first loop and lock it off with a half hitch.

 
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Bezerker Viking

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Nice for your #3,000th post :D
I use four of these all the time, Bowline, Clove Hitch, Timber Hitch, Truckie's Hitch though I haven't used the Prusik Knot yet, will have to give that a whirl :D
 

asemery

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Here is the Prusik knot as taught to me

I believe that what you present as the Prusik knot is a modified tautline hitch

The presentation of the other knots is very clear and they should be in every bushcrafter's knowledge base. Tony
 

Greatbloke

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I'm with you ,asmery. That's what I know as. Prusik knot, but I'm keen to try Blakes version of the taught line/prusik.

I might be alone on this, but I'll always use a round turn and two half hitches in preference to a clove hitch.
 

asemery

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I an with you Greatbloke. The round turn with 2 half hitches is preferable to the clove hitch especially when tied around slippery material. Tony
 

Blake

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Yeah I tried to think back to where I learned that modified knot but cant remember for the life of me. It's not a true Prusik your correct its a bit of a mutt of a knot.

I've seen a few different takes on creating the Prusik with an open line. I've seen the schwabich prusik used and other variations. I find this is easy to remember for people.
 
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Blake

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Edited the prusik so not to confuse. I dont have a name for it sorry :_s: So for now its Blake's Modified Taughtline Hitch until I know what its called or someone has a better name :_risata:

For those using this knot I finish it with a slippery half hitch but that's not shown in the illustration.

Greatbloke & asemery. I have a illustration for the round turn and two half hitch also Ill find that and post it up for anyone that wants it.
 

Blake

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Just a question I've had for some time...While I have the attention of knot enthusiasts :linguino:

A bloke told me once that the truckies hitch I showed here isn't good because its based on a sheepshank of sorts which is a very unstable knot. I know the sheepshank is a very poor knot on its own and more or less should never be trusted with weight as it pulls apart with tension. Truckies all over the world use this hitch and I was under the impression that the load on the pulley created the force that made the knot safe. Is that right?
 

Bezerker Viking

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yes, if a double is tied like illustrated, it's a pretty safe knot, the sheep shank is a shortening knot.
 

AussiePreppers

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My preference is for a rolling hitch which is tied slightly different to a taut line hitch, resulting in a bit more friction to stop it developing slack over time. Historically, the taut-line hitch is used on poles (like your timber hitch) and the rolling hitch is used on rope (tie-outs, ridgelines, etc). I'm not sure if this is what Blake is doing that image is a bit tough to tell.. if you look up the rolling hitch on animatedknots.com it shows the difference between all variants.
 

Blake

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Hey guys. Here is that Round Turn & Two Half Hitches with the illustration for those that would like it, added to the post.

Round Turn & Two Half Hitches
Used for: A fast and simple knot for tying off a rope at tension or as a start for lashing. It is useful where you need to adjust or move the free end of a rope as once tightened it will stay in place. With certain types of cord the common clove hitch can slip somewhat before holding so this is a good alternative

1. Wrap the working end of rope around your anchored object twice.
2. Bring the working end around the standing end of rope and pass it over itself creating a half hitch.
3. Repeat step 2 by creating a second half hitch and pull tight.

 

Greatbloke

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Just a question I've had for some time...While I have the attention of knot enthusiasts :linguino:

A bloke told me once that the truckies hitch I showed here isn't good because its based on a sheepshank of sorts which is a very unstable knot. I know the sheepshank is a very poor knot on its own and more or less should never be trusted with weight as it pulls apart with tension. Truckies all over the world use this hitch and I was under the impression that the load on the pulley created the force that made the knot safe. Is that right?
Blake, I usually tie it with just the single twist and as BV mentioned, yes it can flip out while I'm applying the final tension. In that case I might add the extra twist as your example shows.
Once tied I don't recall having it slip out. It's important to pull the top loop in your example in line with rope as shown, or even bending the loop further back away from yourself while applying the final tension. The final tie off can be on the trucks tie off rail or go around or against the knot itself.
 

pap11y

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The Tautline hitch is an absolute ripper for campers especially tarp users.

The bowline is a knot I remember well from my sailing days and the reef knot will be with me forever thanks to cubs (cub scouts)...
 

AussiePreppers

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Nice one Blake - I use a variation of the "Round Turn & Two Half Hitches" all the time, called the backhand hitch. I only go around once though, so I might test going around twice and see if that helps or hinders it. Basically, I go around my anchor and when I reach the main line again I go around it then back in the other direction around my anchor. This can help with getting a little more tension on the line. When I reach the main line again I do two half hitches to finish.
 

Bezerker Viking

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Quick Release Bowline

On the weekend when I set up my hootchie, I tied a bowline with a bend in the working end to make it a quick one pull release in case the wind came up too strong,
the knot held in wind for over two days and one tug on the working end and it slipped undone nicely.




 
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Bezerker Viking

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I added a few photos to my above post :D
I'm in the process of relearning all my knots atm after not tying anything for a few years due to ill health. (no fishing either)
Reckon we should make this thread a sticky Blake :D
 
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Greatbloke

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Nice one Blake - I use a variation of the "Round Turn & Two Half Hitches" all the time, called the backhand hitch. I only go around once though, so I might test going around twice and see if that helps or hinders it. Basically, I go around my anchor and when I reach the main line again I go around it then back in the other direction around my anchor. This can help with getting a little more tension on the line. When I reach the main line again I do two half hitches to finish.

I have wondered what the name of the second knot in this video was called AP. "Backhand hitch", Thanks for that...assuming I've understood you correctly?

[video=youtube;Mw3lL-ofBcE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw3lL-ofBcE[/video]
 

AussiePreppers

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That's it Greatbloke, you can turn it into a quick release like he did. Looking online for that name brings up something similar but not quite what I do... what you see Ray do is how I do mine.

 
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