Knot Knowledge

Last year a friend was getting ready to move cross-country and asked for my help. Having loaded my share of U-haul trucks, I knew that securing a load for a long journey would be tricky. You typically can’t effectively use ratchet straps or bungee cords in a U-haul truck because of the way the rails on the walls are designed. The best solution, and something I’d been meaning to learn anyway, was to learn how to tie a proper knot. I did a lot of reading and through my studies came up with a list of five knots that anyone who ever touches a piece of rope should know.

  1. Bowline: If you’re going to learn how to tie one knot, make it a bowline. A bowline is an easy way to make a loop in the end of the rope. Unlike the loops most of us tie, this one will not tighten up on whatever you’re tying it around. I’ve used it for tying a rope to a sled, securing a load in a truck, etc.
  2. Taut-line hitch: It’s a nice adjustable knot that you can use to change the tension of a line. For me, it’s most useful for tent poles, running a line from the top of the pole to a stake in the ground. You can slide the knot up and down the line to add or reduce the tension without moving the stake or re-tying the knot.
  3. Trucker’s hitch: If you have to tie something down, like cargo in a truck, this is the knot to use. It works like a pulley system, multiplying the force of your pull. A similar knot is the Versatackle, which simulates a block and tackle.
  4. Butterfly loop: Also called a lineman’s loop, it’s a quick way to tie a loop in the middle of a rope.
  5. Sheet bend: If you need to tie two ropes together to make a longer line, give this knot a try – you’ll find it won’t come apart like what you’re probably used to tying.

Here are some more knot-related links in case you want to learn more:

Here are a couple more fun knots:

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