4 Basic Knots That Everyone Should Know (On a Campout)

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Most likely the hikers, and other adventure people of Falling Creek Camp for Boys, all know these knots. They use them in any of their overnights, setting up tents, or securing bear bags. They are essential to sleepaway camp-outs.

So, to make it easier for you, I have organized a top 4 list of knots you should know if you want to go on a summer camp-out of your own. If this isn’t enough, check out the follow up post of Four More Basic Knots to Know!

Falling Creek Knots

4. The Square Knot

The square knot is simple and perfect for tying together two lengths of rope. If you can remember the phrase: over-under, under-over, you will forever know how to tie the square knot.

Falling Creek Knots

It is two overhand knots, tied over each other… in opposite directions.
Easy to explain. Easy to mess-up.

If it doesn’t look like the picture, then you have tied the dreaded granny knot (which could take hours of picking at with your fingernails to untie if it’s been tugged on). You need only undo your second overhand knot and tie it the opposite way.

Falling Creek Knots

3. The Sheet Bend

Let’s say you want to tie a p-cord to a shoestring because those are the only two strings you got on you (common problem). Will the square knot work? You have two cords that are different sizes, shapes, and textures.

The sheet bend is exactly the knot you need in this situation. It ties similar to a square knot, but with a twist.

Falling Creek Knots

  1. Create a loop.
  2. Feed the p-cord under and through the loop
  3. wrap it around the base
  4. and instead of completing the loop through the shoe string, pull it under the p-cord, to make an ‘x’ shape

It should look similar to the square when you’re done, but 50% more awesome.

Falling Creek Knots

2. The Bowline

Just about anybody can tie a slipknot, but it will almost always frustrate you when you try to use it for any practical purpose. You can’t control how tightly it constricts and it will always constrict as tight as it can.

If you want a loop that won’t constrict at all, then you will want to use the bowline, my friend.

Falling Creek Knots

  1. It’s as simple as twisting your rope to make a hoop
  2. Sometimes you need to leave more excess rope for a larger loop
  3. Feed the end of the rope through the hoop
  4. Then wrap that end around the base of the rope above the hoop
  5. and back down the hoop

If you imagine the tip of the rope as a rabbit, popping out of its “rabbit hole” (the hoop), running around the tree (the base of the rope), and jumping back in it’s hole (the hoop again), you will never forget this knot.

It’s perfect for hanging random objects on hooks, or tying your yacht to the docks.

1. The Tautline Hitch

Falling Creek Knots

To make a Falling Creek tent you will need to know this knot.

It keeps a rope wrapped tight around a tree or a stake. It also allows you to adjust the rope tighter and tighter (as the title would suggest).

It slides only one way (whatever direction makes it taut), unlike that fiendish-slip knot which will go anywhere with the slightest provocation.

Falling Creek Knots

  1. Like the timber hitch, you’re going to wrap the rope around your base
  2. Tuck it back under the rope
  3. Make a loop
  4. Form another loop for good measure
  5. Then going under the rope, make a loop on the opposite end

Cinch this down as tight as you can before pulling on the cord to tie your tarp or stake…

Hopefully these knots will help you like they have helped me.

Check out the follow up post of Four More Basic Knots to Know at summer camp.

Want to put these knots in action?

Dads and sons alike can join us at our Father/Son Weekends!

Father/Son Weekend
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Falling Creek Camp is featured on the cover of the August 6, 2007 edition of TIME Magazine: The Myth About Boys.

Come Join Us!

Falling Creek is a traditional summer camp for boys founded on Christian values. We are a close-knit community of 312 campers and over 140 dedicated staff members from across the country and the world. Camp is situated on 900+ private mountaintop acres near Tuxedo, North Carolina.

Summer Camp Sessions range from 1-week to 4-weeks, for boys in grades 1 to 11. We offer Father/Son Weekends for boys in grades K to 10 and their fathers, as well as Family Camp.