Survival Tips photo

School your children in knot tying, and you’ll build lasting connections. These basics are a cinch
to learn.

Practice rope TLC. Never step on any line, which can damage the fibers. Keep all cordage away from oil, gas, and other petroleum-based products that can weaken it. And store ropes in a dry, dark, cool place—just keep an eye out for mildew.

Tie three knots well. It’s better to master a few knots than to sort of know a bunch.

A: Pole Lashing
Break a paddle, or need a taller tarp pole? It’s time for a pole lashing. (1) Lay the two poles side by side and tie a clove hitch: Wrap the rope around both poles, take the tag end and make another wrap over top of the first one, tuck the tag end under the second wrap, and tighten. (2) Wrap both poles with a half-dozen tight wraps. Finish with another clove hitch. It’s a good idea to tie another lashing a few inches apart from the first to prevent the poles from twisting.

B: Trucker’s Hitch
This knot will secure a canoe to a car or truss a dozen rods into a bundle. (1) Tie a quick-release loop above any tie-down point. (2) Run the tag end around the tie-down and back through the quick-release loop. (3) Cinch it down, and finish with two half hitches.

C: Waterman’s Knot
This simple wonder joins two pieces of rope together when neither is long enough. Brilliant! (1) Lay the two ropes parallel to each other. (2) Tie an overhand knot around each standing end with the working end. (3) Snug them tight.