Knots & Hitches for Beginners & Pros
- 1 hour on-demand video
- 25 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- differentiate different parts of the rope
- demonstrate components of knots & hitches
- tie basic knots & hitches
- with practice, be able to tie intermediate knots & hitches
- apply knots & hitches to daily or recreational activities
- To get the most out of this course:
- a chair for practicing open and closed anchor ties
- one 5 feet utility rope of 13mm diameter
- one 6 feet utility rope of 8 mm diameter
- OR just to get by:
- one 5 feet paracord
- or a pair of shoe laces
- Prep your rope by fusing the outer sheath with the inner core over an open flame.
Tying knots are essential in daily activities, from tying shoes to more complex rescue practices. This course covers basic rope terminology, parts of the rope, and components of knot and hitches. I'll also be demonstrating 25 knots and hitches from a first person's point of view.
After completing this course, with practice and some creativity, students will be able to combine different knots and hitches to suit their needs (like strapping a mattress to the roof of their vehicles during a move). Students will also be able to build upon what they've learned here in order to safely descend down treacherous terrain or even rescue a friend in need.
- This course is designed for everyone from boy/girl scouts to rescue personnel. This course is a great refresher and gets right in the basics of rope and knots. Knots learned here will be built upon so students will be able to enjoy recreational activities or provide rescue services
- This course is NOT for students wanting to learn about the types of ropes, their uses, and working loads.
Basic knots and hitches are used everyday, everywhere, by everyone; from tying shoes to exploring hard to reach places. It can also be used to save a life! Every time we tie a knot on the rope, their strength is decreased dramatically and can generate enough heat to melt the rope. Even with modern technology, not knowing how to tie a knot properly on the strongest rope can fail instantly. This course has been designed to teach ordinary people how to tie basic knots and hitches from a first person's perspective, however, it's up to you to read the rope manufacture's labels for limitations.
Knowing parts of the rope and rope terminology is important in distinguishing rope orientation and knot tying instructions. Tying knots oriented in the wrong direction can have devastating results.
Half hitches are used to fix objects to the rope or prevent knots from untying. It can be difficult to tie, however, by following my hand movements, you'll get it right every time.
Clove hitches are commonly used to capture objects, such as a post to prevent a horse from running away or a limp sunflower to a dowel. Clove hitches are very useful, however, it can be tricky to tie. In this lecture, I'll demonstrate two of three ways to tie this hitch.
The overhand knot is one of the most basic knots and you've learned this at a very young age. It's widely used in various applications, however, it's very difficult to untie once loaded. It can also be used as an overhand safety which is more secure than the half hitch safety.
The double overhand is the base for numerous other knots. It's a very secure stopper knot but is extremely difficult to untie after loading.
Square knots are used to join two ends of ropes together. Even after being loaded, it can be easily untied. Tying the square knot can be tricky, however, I've provided a mnemonic to help you get it right every single time.
Becket / Sheet bends are used to join two ropes of DIFFERENT diameter. It's fairly strong and can be easily untied after heavy loads. Tying this the wrong way can cause damage to property or bodily injuries. The Becket / Sheet bend is not designed for live loads.
The figure 8 stopper is the core of the figure 8 family. It's used by many professionals including arborists and rescue personnel.
The figure 8 single bight provides a single fixed loop at the end or in the middle of the rope. Due to its design, it's only able to accommodate single directional loading. If multi-directional loading is required, please refer to the butterfly knot (alpine knot) or Inline Figure 8 (Directional Figure 8). Loading on both standing part and bitter end will make the knot fail. The figure 8 single loop is not able to capture closed anchors but is strong enough for life safety applications.
The bowline provides a fixed loop at the end of the rope and is said to be the "King of Knots". It's very easy to tie and untie even after heavy loading. It could untie itself when no loads are applied, however, an overhand safety can prevent that from happening. A common mnemonic used when tying the bowline uses a rabbit coming out of its hole.
The butterfly / alpine knot provides a loop in the middle of the rope. It's capable of segregating damaged parts of the rope and also multi-directional loading. You can add butterfly knots to a clothes line to prevent clothes hangers from bunching when the wind blows. It's also used in rock climbing and rescue applications.
The equalizing bowline is unique in a way that allows you to "equalize" or determine where exactly you want the knot before finalizing your knot. The equalizing bowline comes into play when you have parts of your rope being loaded, such as a ladder or a barrel. Since the equalizing bowline allows you to adjust the knot at the bitter end, you do not need to take your load off the rope to finish your knot.
Figure 8 DOUBLE LOOPS can be a life saver when your best friend needs hauling up steep terrain. These loops can be used as anchor points for TWO rescue personnel or, when made big enough, provide foot rests or even modified seat. Keep in mind that if used as a seat, lifting should not last longer than a few minutes. The rope, due to its diameter, has the ability to cut off circulation to limbs.
The figure 8 bend is used to join two ropes of the SAME diameter. It's stronger than the square knot and can be used in life safety applications. The figure 8 bend and figure 8 follow through looks the same. DO NOT get these two confused. I've provided a mnemonic at the end of the video to help you remember the difference.
The figure 8 follow through allows you to capture a closed anchor. It is very secure and can be used in life safety applications. The completed knot looks EXACTLY the same as the figure 8 single bight. Although the figure 8 single bight is quicker to tie, it cannot capture closed anchors. The way you tie a figure 8 follow through is almost the same as the figure 8 bend. In fact, when you look only at the figure 8, you can't tell the difference between the two. Remember, DO NOT confuse yourself with these knots. I've provided mnemonics at the end of the video to help you remember the difference.
One of the most common over-sized item you'll transport is probably a mattress. Not knowing how to properly tie down a mattress can have disastrous affects. This practical application will demonstrate how to tie down a mattress with only 3 simple knots.
Caution: Transporting a mattress tied down to a vehicle is inherently dangerous. Please proceed with caution. Improperly tying down or excessive speed may cause your vehicle to lift off the ground, causing you to lose traction, resulting in serious property damage and even death.
- Take local roads.
- If freeways are required, drive with hazards on and consider driving late nights or early mornings to avoid creating traffic.
- Do not attempt to reach freeway speed limits.
- Have a someone follow you with hazards on (this serves a warning to other motorists).
- The person following you also serves as a second pair of eyes to warn you if your load starts to slip.
- Exit or pull over as soon as possible and as safely as possible to retie your load. Remember to use the proper rope.
- Practice your knots.
- Bookmark this section and review before the big day.