Knot-tying is an important skill in survival. You might need to turn two ropes into one long rope for a clothes line or shelter. You might need a ring on the end of a rope to keep a boat in place. Or you might need to tie a rope to a fixed object such as a post. There are a many types of knots with multiple uses, but if you don’t want to learn them all you should at least learn the three essential knots: the sheet bend knot, the bowline knot, and the clove hitch knot. Howcast has made some great videos on how to tie these knots. I’ve included transcriptions.
The Sheet Bend Knot
You will need a length of thick rope and a length of thin rope.
Step 1. Fold one end of the thicker rope back on itself to form a bend, or bite, that looks like a U-shape tipped on its left side.
Step 2. Slip one end of the thinner through the bite from the behind.
Step 3. Wrap the end of the thinner rope around both arms of the bite, crossing over the short arm first and staying below the trailing end of the thin rope.
Step 4. Bringing the end of the thinner rope around to the front, pass it between itself and the short arm.
Step 5. Tighten the knot by pulling both ends of the thinner rope.
The Bowline Knot
You will need a single length of rope.
Step 1. Cross the end of the rope over the top of the remaining rope making a Q shape.
Step 2. Pass a short portion of the end of the rope, or tail of the Q, through the loop from behind and back along the remaining rope. Thread it loosely, leaving behind a new large loose loop to the right of your Q.
Step 3. Pass the short portion of the end around the back of the remaining rope.
Step 4. Bring the short portion of the end back up and once again pass it through the small loop, your initial Q, this time from the front.
Step 5. Cinch the knot closed and use the resulting loop to secure your bow.
The Clove Hitch Knot
You will need a single length of rope and something to hitch to such as a post, pole or ring.
Step 1. Loop the end of the rope counterclockwise around the object you are hitching to, let’s say a pole, and cross it over the remaining length of rope.
Step 2. Make another counterclockwise loop around the pole, but this time pass the end of the rope through the loop you’ve just formed.
Step 3. Pull at both ends to tighten the knot.
What to watch next: How to Make a Fire Piston