How to Tie 5 Essential Knots

The five knots here are a few of the great knots used in the outdoors. They aren’t the most basic knots, but are useful none-the-less. My hope is that you’ll develop your skills with other knots as you continue.


The trucker’s hitch can be used to tighten down a load. It’s made with a slip knot (a bite in the rope), looped around something, looped back through the slip knot and then pulled tight. It’s finished off with two half hitches.


The self-tie bowline is just a bowline that is tied with one hand. Start with it around your waist with the leading edge in your right hand. With your right hand grab the rope on your left. Make a loop and run the leading edge around the rope and back through the loop you just created. This bowline, now around you, can be used to haul you up a cliff.


The Tautline knot can be used to tighten tent ropes or other lines. It’s not intended to have a ton of load put on them, but is good for quick and dirty rope-work. The knot is made with too half hitches made back onto the rope.


The prussik is a type of friction knot that when applied in a belay or climbing situation, can act as a safety knot in case of free-fall.


The chain sinnet isn’t actually a knot, but a way to make your rope shorter while you’re climbing. Start by making a simple slipknot. Then, continue to go through the opening with more loops until you’re done.

About The Author
Rob Nelson

Rob Nelson

Rob has worked as a biologist and wildlife educator since 2001 with the goal of reconnecting people with nature. While in grad school in Hawaii he studied ecology and as a side job he spent years working part time leading nature tours – teaching about the wildlife, the land, and the natural history that made the islands so unique. These were the first sparks that would lead to what is now StoneAgeMan.