How to Tie a Variety of Rope Knots

No matter what type of activity you are participating in at the state parks, whether it is boating, rock climbing, or even trying to tie an object to a post, it is important to know how to tie a secured rope knot. Here are some important rope knots that you should master before going outdoors.  

Courtesy of Net Knots

Double Fisherman’s

Green and red double fisherman's knot


This knot securely ties two ropes together. It can also be used to fasten the ends of a rope or cord to make a loop.

1. Lay the ends of two lines parallel to each other.

2. Coil the free end of one rope twice around the second rope and pass it back through the insides of the coils.

3. Repeat with second rope in opposite direction. Pull free ends to tighten knots, then standing lines to slide knots together.

Anchor Bend

White anchor bend rope knot


This is a type of knot used for tying an anchor to a rope. The steps for tying this knot are as follows:

1. Make two turns around the shackle, leaving turns open.

2. Pass free end behind the standing line and feed the free end through the first turns and pull tight.

3. Now tie a half hitch around the standing line and pull tight.

4. Seize the free end or tie the knot with a long tag end and tie a backup knot such as one half of a Double Fisherman’s with the tag end around the standing part.

Cleat Hitch

Blue Cleat Hitch Rope Knot


If you are a boat owner or someone who loves everything about boating, this knot is crucial to learn. It is the best way to tie a boat to a dock.

1. Take a turn around the base of the cleat and then bring the line over the top of the cleat.

2. Wrap the line under the arm of the cleat opposite the first turn, and then back over the top of the cleat.

3. Wrap under the first arm, a second time and then back over the top of the cleat. You have now made a figure eight pattern over and around the cleat. Now form an under hand loop and slip that loop over the arm of the cleat, which pins the free end under the last wrap.

4. Pull the free end tight.

Cow Hitch

Blue and red Cow Hitch Rope Knot


This knot is for tying a rope to a post or other objects. It could also be used while boating, climbing, or even attaching luggage tags.

1. Wrap end of rope around object from behind.

2. Cross behind standing line.

3. Wrap the rope ends around object in opposite direction as first wrap and put it through the opening, created by the wrap.

4. Pull both ends to tighten the knot.

Figure Eight

Red and blue figure eight rope knot


This knot is the strongest knot because it forms a secure, non-slip hook at the end of the rope. Climbers use this knot the most due to the strength and security of it.

1. Tie a single eight in the rope two feet from its end. Pass the free end through any tie-in point if desired.

2. Retrace the original eight with the free end leaving a loop at the bottom of the desired size.

3. Pull all four strands of rope to clinch down the knot.

Tautline Hitch

Taut-line hitch

Image: Taut-line hitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Campers like to use this knot to secure the tents because the knot slides freely, yet holds in place, making adjustments to the tent lines easily.

1. Make a turn around a post or other object several feet from the free end.

2. Coil the free end twice around the standing line working back toward the post.

3. Make one additional coil around the standing line on the outside of the coils just made.

4. Tighten the knot and slide it on the standing line to adjust tension.

Once you have these knots mastered, you will feel safer when you are outdoors. Check out your state’s Pocket Ranger® app too see all the activities where you can practice your rope knotting skills.

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