Category Archives: Scouting Knots

Rolling Hitch


Rolling hitch is a method used to tie a rope to a post. It can also be tied to a rod or other rope. The rolling hitch is designed to vertically resist movement for a direction of pull.

3 Different Methods of Rolling Hitches

The first is the rolling hitch used to tie the rope to a pole.

  1. Turn the rope around the object. Have the loose ends toward the direction for pulling and between the standing part and the object.
  2. Go around the object again, making sure the wrap is facing the direction of pull. Have the loose ends over the standing part in the opposite direction of pull.
  3. Move the object in the same direction as the starting turns.
  4. Tighten the rope around the object before connecting the load.

The second way is the rolling hitch used to tie the rope to another rope.

  1. Make a turn around the object with the loose ends between the object and standing part. Cross over the standing part away from the pulling direction.
  2. Make a second turn exactly as the first.
  3. Move the rope around the object in the same direction as the starting turns.
  4. Tighten the rope around the object before connecting the load.

The third is the magnus hitch. This hitch is more secure under weight.

  1. 1. Make a turn around the object with the loose ends toward the pulling direction and between the standing part and the object.
  2. 2. Wrap around the object, making sure the wraps are going in the direction of the pull.
  3. 3. Have the loose ends over the standing part in the opposite direction of the pull.
  4. 4. Tighten the rope around the object before connecting the load.

Timber Hitch


The timber hitch, as its name suggests, is a knot that is often used by lumbermen to attach a rope to a tree trunk. In this context it is often used to pull a tree in a desired direction when it is being taken down. However, the potential functions for this knot have the ability to go far beyond the roots of its name. The timber hitch can be used on any long object, such as a beam or post, to attach a rope and provide a tight hold. This makes it particularly useful for dragging heavy objects. Use the following simple steps to tie your own timber hitch.

How to Tie a Timber Hitch Knot

  1. Begin by sending the rope behind the object.
  2. Holding the tail end of the rope in the dominant hand and the standing rope in the other, pass the tail end around the standing end.
  3. Wrap the tail end of the rope around the working part, which wraps around the object, approximately three times.
  4. Finally, tighten the knot by pulling on the tail and standing ends.

Square Knot


A square knot is used to tie the two ends of a single line together so that they will secure something. For example you could use your square knot to tie a bundle of objects together. Since a square knot will lie flat when it is made of fabric, it has also been used in the medical field for things like tying bandages. Sometimes the square knot is used to tie belts for martial arts such as karate or jiu-jitsu. Boys are also required to tie a square knot before they can join the Boy Scouts.

How to Tie a Square Knot

  1. Start with two pieces of rope that are close in diameter. We’ll call them rope 1 and rope 2 for the purposes of this demonstration.
  2. Hold the end of rope 1 in your left hand and the end of rope 2 in your right hand.
  3. Cross rope 1 over rope 2 to form an X.
  4. Wrap rope 1 once to the right around rope 2, just like the first step in tying a bow in your shoestrings. Rope 1 is now to the right and rope 2 is to the left.
  5. Cross rope 1 over rope 2 again to form another X.
  6. Wrap rope 1 once to the left around rope 2.
  7. Now just pull on both free ends to tighten the knot and you’re finished!

I think that with these instructions you will be well on your way to tying a perfect square knot. Just remember to be patient, have fun, and practice, practice, practice.

Sheet Bend

The sheet bend knot is a simple yet sturdy technique. It is most useful for tying two lengths of rope together, especially when the two ropes are of different thickness.

How to Tie a Sheet Bend Knot

  1. Lay one of the ropes you will be tying down so that it is horizontal and the end you’ll be working with points to the right. If the ropes are different thickness, this should be the thickest rope.
  2. Curve the end of this rope back on itself. The end should now face to the left, and it should form a loop.
  3. Thread the end of the second or thinner rope you will be tying through this loop. Do this by threading the second rope under the right side of the loop. The ends of both of the ropes should be pointing to the left.
  4. Move the end of the second rope over the end of the first rope, then tuck it under both sections of rope that form the loop. The end of the second rope should now be pointing down from under the loop.
  5. Pull the end of the second rope back over the loop and thread it underneath itself, where it originally emerged from the loop. Pull the ends and main sections of both ropes to tighten and strengthen the sheet bend knot.


The sheepshank knot is useful when shortening a rope temporarily. This is done without actually cutting the rope. The weakness of this knot is that while it will hold well if the rope is taut, a slack rope will often slip the knot. Therefore it is best used in a situation where constant pressure is being applied to the rope.

How to Tie a Sheepshank Knot

  1. Fold the rope into a reverse S.
  2. Make a loose loop at the end of the top of this S. Make sure that in making this loop the end of the rope passes OVER the rest of the rope, not vice versa.
  3. Pass about an inch of the bottom curve of the S through this loop from the top of the loop. Don’t worry about tightening it.
  4. Make a loose loop with the bottom end of the rope, previously the end of the S.
  5. Again, the end of the rope needs to pass OVER the rest of the rope.
  6. Pass the top curve of the S through this new bottom loop, again entering the loop from the top.
  7. Pull gently on both ends of the rope, which will tighten both of the loose loops. This will grip what had been previously the top and bottom curve of the S more firmly, successfully shortening the rope.
  8. Keep in mind that while the loops will grip well when the ends of the rope are being pulled, these S curves can slip out of the loops if the rope is allowed to go slack.

Half Hitch

The Half Hitch Knot is commonly used as a temporary knot. It is used to securely grasp an object momentarily, and it allows for quick release once it is no longer needed. Almost all tradesmen and outdoor enthusiast use the Half Hitch Knot. The Half Hitch Knot is commonly used by electricians when they have to pull large wire. Campers use this knot when setting up a tent, hanging lanterns and dragging large pieces of wood. Boaters and sailors use the Half Hitch Knot while rigging their equipment.

The Half Hitch Knot also functions as reinforcement to stronger knots. This reinforcement provides reassurance that the original knot doesn’t fail. When the safety of people and equipment is on the line, every precaution helps. The Half Hitch Knot is the most basic knot. However, without a clear understanding of how to tie such a knot, successfully tying it is hard to do. Here is a list of easy to follow steps outlining the process.

How to Tie a Half Hitch Knot

  1. Wrap the rope around an object such as a pipe, or a log.
  2. Run the small piece under the longer piece.
  3. Run the small piece over and down into the space between the rope and the object.
  4. Press the knot to the object, and pull the rope to make it tight.
  5. To release the knot, simply pull the small piece.

Figure 8 Knot

The figure 8 knot is known as a very photogenic knot. It is mostly used to tie off the ens of ropes or to create stopper functions in another knot. Also, this knot is common for rock climbers to create with their harnesses for safety.

How to Tie a Figure 8 Knot

  1. Grab rope or your material and stretch it in front of you so that it is parallel to the floor. Twist it in order to form a loop.
  2. Bring the right hand of the rope to the left loop.
  3. Grab the end to pull around and slide it through the loop. Make sure you pull it tight so it won’t fall out.

When you’re finished, it should like like a number 8 symbol. This knot is easy to tie and convenient for many different uses!

Eye Splice

To prepare the line for an eye splice, unravel 3 inches and tape the ends in the direction of the lay of the line to keep it tight. Unwrap another 10 inches to allow for 5 tucks in poly or nylon line. Hemp or manila line only needs 3 tucks and a taper because it will not slip as much. Then make the eye and tape the eye in place to prevent further unraveling as you work the splice.

When you have the line taped correctly the three strands will lay open with a left, middle or top, and a right strand leading away from the eye.

How to Tie an Eye Splice Knot

  1. Begin with the middle strand and twist the line to open a gap, while feeding the strand through the base line, but do not tighten the splice yet.
  2. Take the left strand and go over the one the middle strand went under and then under the following braid.
  3. The hardest strand is the right strand. Turn the base and twist to open the braid to insert the right strand under the twist that doesn’t have any strand under it. Remember do not tighten yet, you can tighten on the next tuck.
  4. From this point it is over and under following the lay of your line. Always begin with the middle and you will be less likely to make any mistakes.

Using a fid will help keep the strands from unraveling, and make it lay correctly on your line. Following the lay of the line will give a nice tight splice, and you can tighten down on the 2nd tuck, so as not to unravel the intersecting joint of the line.

Constrictor Knot

A constrictor knot is useful for tying bundles of loose materials, and keeping bags closed. The knot as the name implies constricts and is often too tight to untie. Another name for the Constrictor Knot is known as a Miller Knot.

How to Tie a Constrictor Knot

  1. Starting from the front of your item that needs secured, wrap one end of the rope from the right side to the left, crossing over each other in the front.
  2. Make one more wrap around the items to be bundled.
  3. Now take the working end and guide it under the two wraps so that you cross over the standing rope.
  4. Pull on both ends to tighten the knot.


A bowline is familiar to any Boy Scout because it is required material. It was once very important to sailors and military people, in an age when ropes were an essential part of other technologies. It is still useful in many situations, and it is a special knot with a wide variety of purposes.

The most basic point is that it creates a loop that will not slip. A slip knot such as two half hitches will grip under pressure but still has the ability to slip. A bowline simply does not slip because of the clever way both ends of the string are secure around each other. It is usually tied at the end of the rope to create a secure loop for holding a tarp post.

Tying the knot requires some practice but it is astonishingly simple. The place where the loop will start is twisted into a circle to form a loop. The exact dimensions of the loop must be noted or else the knot will fail. The very end of the line is placed through the loop, going from underneath with the longer part of the rope on top of the loop.

The short end is extended behind the the top line and then wrapped around. It is brought back through the loop to form a knot that will grip itself securely. Nothing is left in a straight line to permit slippage. If the knot was performed incorrectly then it will disintegrate into nothing or else a simple end knot. A little practice will reveal the correct positions.

Ropes are most useful when someone knows all the knots. The bowline has the advantage of being slip-free but also high strength. This means it does not squeeze the rope at any tight angles, which increases breakage under pressure.