So, what good does any amount of cord do you in an emergency if you don't know how to use it? Not much. Knowing a handful of basic knots can multiply the utility of your cordage several times over. Here's a list of knots that I think are especially useful in the outdoors:
- Bowline: an incredible rescue knot, puts a loop at the end of a cord so you can haul someone up from danger!
- Clove Hitch: a quick and easy way to attach a rope to a pole; also used to start a lashing for building shelters or camp furniture
- Figure 8 Stopper: tied ahead of another knot, it prevents that knot from slipping loose
- Sheet Bend (or, even better, a Double Sheet Bend!): used for joining two ropes together, especially when they're of different sizes
- Square (Reef) Knot: best for tying a bundle or attaching something to your pack (NOTE: do NOT use the Square Knot to join two ropes together! A significant amount of deaths from knot failures are due to this mistake!)
- Tautline Hitch: allows you to tighten down a rope; good for tent stakes and shelter building
- Two Half Hitches: a more secure way to attach a rope to a pole
- Sheepshank: used to shorten a rope or to bypass a weak section of a rope
You can find great demonstrations on how to tie these and other knots on a number of websites, but my favorite is www.AnimatedKnots.com.
Even if you have a terrible memory for knots or you never get around to learning these essential knots, SurvivorGeek.com is here to help! Just new in stock, we have "How to Tie Knots" Bandanas, with clear instructions for thirteen great outdoors knots, including all but the Sheepshank from the list above. An easy-to-carry item that helps you get the most out of your PreparaCord item in an emergency! (And remember, bandanas have lots of great uses, too!)