Knots & Hitches for Beginners & Pros
4.5 (12 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
363 students enrolled

Knots & Hitches for Beginners & Pros

Step by step, recorded from a first person's prespective
4.5 (12 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
363 students enrolled
Created by THOMAS WONG
Last updated 9/2016
English [Auto]
Current price: $16.99 Original price: $24.99 Discount: 32% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 25 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • 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. 

Who this course is for:
  • 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.
Course content
Expand all 30 lectures 54:27
+ Introduction, Course Objectives, and Requirements
1 lecture 02:39

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. 

Preview 02:39
+ Introduction and Orientation
1 lecture 01:12

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. 

Preview 01:12
+ Beginner Knots & Hitches
14 lectures 21:03

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. 

Preview 01:16

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.

Preview 02:36

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. 

Preview 00:59

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. 

Preview 01:02

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. 

Preview 00:50

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. 

Preview 01:54

The figure 8 stopper is the core of the figure 8 family. It's used by many professionals including arborists and rescue personnel. 

Preview 01:03

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. 

Figure 8 Single Loop (on a Bight)

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 round turn 2 half hitch is commonly used to capture an object and is very easy to tie. When tied around a tree, the bark act as velcro and holds the rope tightly. There could be virtually no load on the bitter end. 

Round Turn 2 Half Hitch

The taunt line allows you to tighten or loosen your rope within seconds and is very easy to tie and untie. 

Taunt Line

The daisy chain can be used to organize long lengths of rope or extension cord. If done with care, it turns out really beautiful and can also be deployed easily. 

Daisy Chain

The slip knot (made with the bitter end) provides a noose-like adjustable loop at the end of the rope. It is easily tied and untied after heavy loading, however, it can also come apart by itself when not loaded. 

Slip Knot

The heaving knot is used to weigh down the end of your rope for throwing. It is a lot easier to tie and untie compared to the Monkey's Fist. 

Heaving Knot

A lot of information has been thrown at you. Let's see what you remember.

Quiz 1
10 questions
+ Intermediate Knots & Hitches
11 lectures 20:55

The trucker's hitch is used to cinch down on cargo. It is extremely strong and easily untied after loading. 

Trucker's Hitch

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. 

Butterfly / Alpine Knot

The running bowline provides an adjustable loop at the end of the rope. It's very secure and can cinch down on your object. 

Running Bowline

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. 

Equalizing Bowline

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. 

Figure 8 Double Loops

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. 

Figure 8 Bend

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. 

Figure 8 Follow Through

The Inline / Directional Figure 8 provides a loop in the middle of the rope for attaching items. Due to its design, the load is inline with the rope. Always know which end is your running end to prevent tying the wrong way. 

Inline Figure 8 / Directional Figure 8

The double fisherman is used to join two ropes together. Although it's very secure, it's extremely difficult to untie once loaded. 

Double Fisherman

This little gem can be used for making anchors, capturing objects, and even be used to catch a falling climber!!

Prusik Loop

The prusik hitch can be used to ascend / descend ropes, used as cams / pulley for mechanical advantage systems, and even rescue practices. 

Prusik Hitch

Are you ready to see what you remember?

Quiz 2
8 questions
+ Practical Application
3 lectures 08:38

One of the most useful over-sized tools is a ladder, however, transporting it could be a real challenge. I'll demonstrate how to tie down a ladder with 2 knots. 

Ladder Tie Down

You need to access your roof to hang some Christmas lights. The easiest access point is from the 3rd story balcony, however, the ladder can only be brought up through the back of the house. You have a 30 foot rope. 

Ladder Hoist

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. 

Safety Tips:

  1. Take local roads.
  2. If freeways are required, drive with hazards on and consider driving late nights or early mornings to avoid creating traffic.
  3. Do not attempt to reach freeway speed limits.
  4. Have a someone follow you with hazards on (this serves a warning to other motorists).
  5. The person following you also serves as a second pair of eyes to warn you if your load starts to slip.
  6. Exit or pull over as soon as possible and as safely as possible to retie your load. Remember to use the proper rope.
  7. Practice your knots.
  8. Bookmark this section and review before the big day.
Mattress Tie Down