When preparing for a camping trip, you know that you can’t forget to bring your backpack, shelter, sleeping bag, food, and water. But what else do you need? One piece of gear often left at home, but extremely useful, is a good rope. Rope is useful, but if you don’t know some good knots to tie, it won’t do you much good. Tying a knot can be the difference between waking up in the morning and cooking a hot breakfast or finding that a bear has taken off with your food in the middle of the night! Knots can be used for various applications while camping and learning some basic ones is a great idea before you head out.
If you’re looking to set up a tent or hammock with a guy line between two trees, the taut-line hitch knot is a great choice. It is mostly used when the length of the rope will need to be adjusted to maintain tension after you’ve strung out your line. In cases like hanging a shelter, the weight it will constantly pull downwards. The taut-line hitch allows you to periodically adjust the tension, ensuring that your shelter won’t collapse around you during the middle of the night. Additionally, it’s an easy knot to learn, having only four steps.
Another important knot while out camping is the bowline knot. It is often used for climbing, but for camping is used to tie down equipment at the end of the day. The bowline knot has a reputation for being tight and not slipping, but it’s still an extremely simple knot to learn. It even has a mnemonic device about a rabbit leaving his hole, running around a tree, and going back into the hole that makes it easy to memorize. If you’re looking to teach a knot to a younger camper, this would be a great choice.
A less used knot, but still important while out camping, is the monkey’s fist. It is a unique knot in that it isn’t used in ways other knots traditionally are. Instead of stringing up gear or bear bags, the monkey’s fist is used as a weight. Find a heavy object, usually a rock, and tie the monkey’s fist around it. Once the object is secure inside of the knot, simply throw your knot wherever you need. It’s usually used as a counterweight for bear bags, but can also be used to throw across a river to another person to provide a safe crossing.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the luxury of time to secure your gear, the simple backpacker hitch knot is a great choice. Simply wrap the end of a rope around an object three times tightly, then twice loosely, and then pull the end of the rope through the loose loops before tightening. It holds great but is still easy to untie.
The square knot is another great knot that you shouldn’t overlook before heading outdoors. The last thing you want while outdoors is finding your rope isn’t long enough. The square knot can remedy this situation, provided you have two shorter ropes on you instead of one long one. In short, the square knot (or sometimes called the reef knot) is used to tie two ropes together. It is easy to tie and untie, yet remains very secure. Other uses include tying the ends of a single rope together to create a handle, perfect for carrying around trash or sticks for a fire.
These five knots all have their uses while camping. You won’t use them every time you go out, but you can never be too prepared. If you have any suggestions on knots you would recommend learning out in the field then mention them in the comments below. As always if you found this content useful make sure to like and share it with your friends.