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Camping Knots for Wilderness Survival

By Filip Tkaczyk

Knowing how to tie good camping knots is an invaluable skill in wilderness survival situations. Its also a great asset when having fun in the outdoors. There are a wealth of different knots out there that you can learn to tie. With so many different knots, you might find it hard to choose which to learn first. Here are 3 of the most useful knots for camping and wilderness survival.

Three Useful Camping Knots:

1. Square knot

Also called a reef knot, this knot is useful for tying bandages, packages and joining shorter pieces of rope together. It is excellent for joining sections of survival cordage.

camping knots square knot

To begin, lay the ends of the ropes parallel and then pick up a rope in each hand.

camping knots square knot

Now tie an overhand knot as you would for tying your shoe laces by putting the right end under and over the left rope end.

camping knots square knot

Then tie another overhand knot, this time putting the left end under and over the right rope.

camping knots square knot

Completed Square Knot

2. Clove hitch

Like all hitches, this knot ties a rope to an object. The word "clove" comes from the word "cleave" which means to hold fast. This knot is used to start and finish all types of lashings, including lashings for survival shelters.

camping knots clove hitch

To begin, bring the rope end over and under the post. Next, take the rope around a second time, crossing it over the first wrap to form an X on the post.

camping knots clove hitch

Now, bring the rope end around a third time, and tuck it under the center of the X.

camping knots clove hitch

Tighten by pulling the end and the main line apart.

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3. Bowline

One of the most important knots to learn is the bowline knot. Because it does not slip, it is a great knot for all sorts of uses including securing tarps, lifesaving operations, and mountain climbing.

camping knots bowline

To start the bowline, first make a small loop on the rope.

camping knots bowline

Take the rope end through the loop, around the main line of the rope and back down into the loop.

camping knots bowline

Try to remember "the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and then back down into the hole."

camping knots bowline

To tighten, pull the main line of the rope away from the loop.

Knots are often an essential skill for wilderness survival situations. They are also excellent tools to help you have a fun and safe time in the outdoors. Practice these knots, and you will soon find many more uses for them!

By the way, if you enjoyed this article then you'll love our survival mini guide. You'll discover six key strategies to staying alive in the outdoors plus often-overlooked survival tips. We're currently giving away free copies here.

Additional Resources:

Essential Knots - Outdoor Life

Related Courses:

Wilderness Survival Courses at Alderleaf

Filip Tkaczyk

About the Author: Filip Tkaczyk is a periodic guest teacher at Alderleaf. He also wrote the field guide Tracks & Sign of Reptiles & Amphibians. Learn more about Filip Tkaczyk.

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