Knowing three specific knots can help tremendously when setting up camp. A jumble of nondescript knots might seem like the easiest solution for securing your tent or tarp, but that often turns into a disaster when the knots don't hold or when you have difficulty getting the knots untied the next morning. Once learned, these three knots will save you time and trouble in camp.
The bowline is a slip-free knot which is often used for securing an anchor or tying an anchor around a tree. This knot is very helpful in setting up a tarp or for tying guy lines to trees or tent stakes. Make a bowline by forming a small loop with the rope and passing the loose end under and through the loop. Pass the end around the back of the rope's standing end and then back down through the loop. Pull it taut. You can tidy up the loose end with a simple overhand knot.
The taut-line hitch is also used for tying tarp or tent lines to trees, tent stakes or other anchors such as rocks. This is a quick and easy, tie-it-in-your-sleep knot which comes undone easily when you need to pull it apart later. Loop the line around your anchor and wrap the remaining line around itself at least 4 times. Use the remaining 10 inches or so to create a "slippery" half hitch by making a bend in the line and feeding it through the last of the four wraps you have made. As shown in the illustration, slide the hitch to tighten the line and lock it off. Make sure you have a small length of line sticking out from the last bend you made in the line. That excess line will be easy to grab and pull loose when you are ready.
An even simpler knot, which can be used in camping, climbing, kayaking and other outdoor sports, the girth hitch is used to attach rope or webbing to a loop or most anything else. Attaching a pack to a haul loop in climbing is a classic example, but you may find a use for this knot when putting up your bear hang, attaching cord to a tarp grommet or just attaching a replacement string to one of your tent zippers. Make a loop with the rope, wrap the end of the loop around the object and pull the rest of the rope through the loop.
Article Written By Naomi Judd
Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.