7 Common Knots That Everyone Should Know

Whether you’re leading a 5.10 climbing route, guiding a zip line tour strapping a boat to the top of your car or even staking out a tent, there are 7 common knots that any outdoor lover really should know. After all, knots don’t just keep your shoes on your feet – they’re capable of achieving amazing feats of strength.

Below are 7 common knots ACE’s rock climbing, zip line and river guides know. We thought you should know them, too.

1. Figure Eight Knot:

Figure 8 knot photo

Figure 8 Knot

A figure eight knot is a climber’s go-to knot for all sorts of things. But most common, you’ll see it used to attach the rope to a person’s harness so they can safely climb. If you’re in a pickle and your dog is running loose, this knot can make a quick leash. It also works well when you find your car needs removed from a ditch. Just wrap the loop around the tow hitch and pull.


2. Bowline Knot:

Bowline Knot photo

Bowline Knot

Have you ever loaded a knot and it has gotten so tight that you have to take a pick to loosen it? The benefit of using bowline is that it can handle incredible amounts of weight and still be easy to untie. Bonus! You’ll see climbers using it to wrap a tree when creating an anchor point. It also works well when you need to haul something. Wrap the load (a tree trunk, pipe, etc) using a bowline and drag your load where you need to go.

3. Water Knot:

Water Knot Photo

#3- Water Knot

When you have a couple of pieces of webbing (flat material), and none of them are long enough to do the job, this knot makes it easy to join them together. TIP: after you are finished with your project, be sure to untie this knot. It can be very difficult to loosen if you let it sit for a long period of time.

4. Prusik Knot:

Prusik Knot photo

#4- Prusik Knot

This is a classic ascending knot, oftentimes used for self-rescue, but also very handy for attaching an object to a rope. It’s easily adjustable – it can slide up and down the other rope — yet securely grips when under load. NOTE: In the James Bond movie, “For Your Eyes Only,” 007 had to use his shoelace to ascend a rope to reach the evil castle. This is the knot that was likely used. Of course, this was a movie, and we don’t recommend anyone attempting such a scenario.

5. Double Fisherman’s Knot:

Double Fisherman's Knot Photo

#5- Double Fisherman’s Knot

Similar to the Water Knot, this is a secure way of joining two ropes together. What’s really cool is that these two knots slide on the rope around which they are wrapped. You may have a leather or rope necklace that uses this knot for adjustment purposes.
6. Trucker’s Hitch:
Of all the knots to know, the trucker’s hitch is the one I use the most. With a three-to-one mechanical advantage, it’s ideal for tying down loads. Have a canoe or kayak you want to strap to the top of your car? This is the knot for you.

7. Single Fisherman’s Knot:

Single Fisherman's Knot Photo

#7- Single Fisherman’s Knot

When using the above knots in a loaded situation, it’s critical to have a back up knot for safety purposes. Tie a Single Fisherman’s Knot as close to the main knot as possible. This protocol helps to lock everything in place.

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