Six Crucial Knots for the Outdoors

Any outdoors person needs to know a few knots and when to use them. Of course you have your Atlas Straps to hang your hammock in most situations, but these knots are still prerequisite wilderness skills that are used in everything from survival to sailing to climbing.

The Bowline – This handy dandy knot works amazingly for anything that will be under a lot of pressure and still be untied. A favorite of sailors, this knot is very secure yet can still be untied after being weighted by thousands of pounds of pressure.



The Figure 8 – A standard knot of all rock climbers, this is probably the most secure knot of all. It is created by simply putting a figure 8 into a rope, then retracing that figure 8 with the loose (known as the bitter end) of the rope. A favorite used by climbers to tie into harnesses, this knot can be untied after holding significant weight. Used in tying a hammock, it will provide a great lasting connection but could get tough to untie over time.



The half-hitch – To tie a half hitch just start with an overhand knot (like you’re beginning to tie your shoe). Then, take one side of the line and begin to make a second overhand knot (like a granny knot). Stop before you pull the line all the way through, leaving a loop in the knot. This one is perfect for hammocks that won’t be up for long as it’s really easy to untie. Security isn’t great on this one though, so probably not the knot for crucial applications. Wonderful for quick untie, just pull the loose end and pull – the loop and knot will come right out.



The water knot – a great knot for joining two pieces of webbing, the water knot is a very secure and used by climbers setting up belays or top-ropes. To tie this knot, put a simple overhand knot (the simplest knot you can tie in a single strand of rope in the webbing. Retrace the overhand knot with the other end of the webbing or rope starting on the loose (shorter, bitter) end of the rope.  You will wind up with a loop that is as strong as your rope.



The Square Knot – Another great knot for tying together two pieces of rope, the square is simple and effective. Start with an overhand knot, then tie another overhand knot (as if you were going to complete a granny knot). However, put the left end under and over the right end to finish with a clean junction.



Clove Hitch – This is an awesome knot for binding a rope to an object and is to untie. It’s great for lashing stuff together and will hold up a hammock in a pinch although it’s not a very permanent knot.  Simply wrap the end of your rope around a solid object like a post. Make a loop then cross the rope over itself to make an X at the junction. Make a second loop and this time cross it under the second loop. Tighten down and watch as the rope grips onto the fixed object.