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Knots

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If you added two half hitches, and a simple overhand knot and figure of eight knot to that list it would include the knots that I use for about 95% of applications.

… I definitely should have included two half hitches (or a series of hitches to use up line) to the list. I also use the simple overhead, figure eight and double fisherman’s knot.

Thinking that I am going to have to learn the Evenk hitch.
 
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The highwayman's hitch (aka getaway hitch, bank robber's hitch) previously mentioned by cheeseandbeans is a pretty neat hitch that consists basically of a bight within a bight, within a bight hitched around a pole or post. It can be easily tied at any point in a line and does not require access to the free end of the rope, and is easy to release.

This hitch can be used to secure the painter of a towed boat around a thwart just in front of your paddling station allowing the painter to be immediately release if need be.
 
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I use a bowline and a Blake's hitch every time I put my boat on my car, for the bow lines. I rely on the Blake's hitch instead of a trucker's hitch (tensioning bow/stern ropes while car-topping) and instead of a tautline hitch for tarp and tent guys. The Blake's originated in arborist-style tree climbing, and holds much better than a taut-line hitch and can be slacked and un-slacked easily (admittedly hadn't thought that you might WANT a hitch to slip on a tarp in a storm - good point! But you don't want slippage usually). I have a Blake's hitch pretty much permanently tied in my bow painter, which serves more often during car-topping than as a painter on the water. A carabiner clips the loop of the Blake's to the anchor point on my car. I have climbed on both a Blake's hitch and a taut-line, and the taut-line can slip A LOT when it matters. Extra turns can be added to the Blake's hitch for extra security or better hold in a slippery rope. I use a "3-2" when car-topping with 3/8 line, instead of the typical "2-2" set up (learn a Blake's hitch and you'll understand what I'm referring to - otherwise don't worry about it!)

While tripping, a Blake's is likely to come into play again with tarps, and I will frequently use what was taught to me as a "tensionless hitch", though it more resembles the round-turn on the animated knots site. I add enough turns (often 3), making sure the rope crosses itself, to capture tension towards the load, and then finish off with a slip-knot on the standing (loaded) part of the line, secured with a half-hitch turn over the slipped bight, rather than a carabiner or half-hitches as shown in the round-turn example above. The slip-knot is super easy to un-do; the half-hitch over the slipped bight prevents accident release. I often use this for securing a food hang, but also for tarp guy lines at times. Slip-knots secured with a half-hitch have tons of uses I find.

When tying a boat to shore with a bow painter I usually just do two or three half-hitches on a bight - I learned the highwayman's hitch for such occassions but haven't used it yet.

A girth hitch is often useful for various things, most recently putting bits of flagging on black tarp guy lines for easily-removed visibility.

I have practiced a Munter's hitch a lot to make sure I have it in my back pocket for a rescue situation.

A water-knot for webbing is useful for creating webbing slings to hang a boat from rafters in storage. Tie it right before you load it - once tensioned under weight, it ain't coming out.

The fisherman's and double-fisherman's knots, and a double-fisherman's loop, are extremely useful for lanyards, loops for prussiks, etc. I often prefer terminating an end in a double-overhand knot tied on the standing end of the line rather than a bowline or a figure-8 on a bight/re-fed figure-8, since the double-overhand will cinch down on a carabiner or other object. It's my preferred method for attaching a life-line during climbing, as it reduces the risk of side-loading a carabiner greatly. Once the carabiner is removed the knot comes out easily. If you tie this around a tree or similarly immobile object it will be a bear to undo after loading.

I learned a lot taking courses on arborist style tree climbing. Beyond the Blake's hitch (my go to friction hitch) and many others Pblanc mentioned, a couple really useful 'tricks' are the sliding double-fisherman's loop and a clove-hitch with half-hitches instead of a sheet bend. The sliding double-fisherman's loop is a great substitute for a regular fisherman's loop, because 1) you can secure an object like a carabiner or tool at one end, and 2) you can easily undo it by sliding the knots over one end of the loop, whereas a regular double-fisherman's loop is very hard to undo once it's been under tension.

For the clove-and-half-hitches, imagine you're trying to get a thick (say 1/2in diameter) line up over a tree branch to hang a food bag away from raccoons or whatever. You use a thin (say p-cord size) line to throw over the branch, and then connect the two lines and use the thin line to haul the thick line over. Now a sheet bend is a fine knot for joining to lines of different diameters, but when you try to pull it through a narrow opening, you've double the thickness of the thicker rope and it will often hang in the tree or other constriction. Instead, tie the thin line in a clove hitch around the thicker line about 6 inches from the leading end, then tie a half-hitch around the thick line about 4 inches from the end and another again around an inch from the end. You now have a streamlined set-up much more likely to successfully let you haul the thick line through the constriction using the thin line. I've used this trick getting lines into trees, but also had to use it recently re-doing the window-sash counterweight ropes that broke on a window at home.

Finally from the tree climbing world (and maybe elsewhere but that's where I learned it) is the concept of Tie-Dress-Set. You tie a knot, then dress it (make sure all the loops, turns, etc are laying as they should, and working slack out of where it shouldn't be), then set it by applying tension in the right places. Many knots, especially friction hitches, will not function unless properly dressed and set. It's one of those ideas helpful when you're learning a new knot; with practice it's a smooth and unconscious process, but learning this way helps avoid issues like improperly tied bowlines, slipping or jamming friction hitches, etc. Remember to dress and set a bowline will significantly reduce the chance of a capsized knot (I still finish off with an overhand knot or Yosemite bowline just in case.)
 
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If you want a friction hitch for guy lines that is extremely easy to undo, the Farrimond friction hitch is worth knowing. It is a little bit fussier to tie than a tautline hitch or Blake's hitch until you get used to it, but it comes apart in an instant.

Tautline hitches in particular seem to have a tendency to capsize and jam on thin cordage and can then be a bit of a pain to untie.


If anyone is interested in learning more about the large variety of friction hitches that have been devised by arborists and climbers, the three articles by Mark Adams available to download on this website are very helpful and have good diagrams.

 
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@pblanc great resources! Do you climb too?

I'll have to give the Farrimond a try.
No, I do not climb. But I have found that the asymmetrical friction hitches used by arborists and climbers tied with eye to eye Prusik cords work much better for mechanical drag systems for swiftwater rescue purposes than the old standby three loop Prusik hitch.

For a 3:1 mechanical advantage "Z drag" my favorites are the Klemheist on the haul line using a sewn webbing loop and either the Distel, Knut, or Michoacan as a "brake Prusik" to capture progress as the Klemheist is advanced on the haul line.

I like those three especially since the free ends come out on opposite sides of the hitch which allows them to go to either side of a pulley keeping the haul line centered on the pulley. They are also very compact which makes for less loss of progress capture when tension on the haul line is released.

I have found that which one works best will depend on the haul line, the pulley, and the eye to eye Prusik cord. Some provide a bit more grab than others which may or may not be desirable depending on the frictional qualities of the ropes involved.
 
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Amen to all that! The body of arborist knot/rope knowledge has lots of applications, including Z-drags and rescues. For my climbing rigs, I'd settled on the Blake's and Distel hitches as my favorites, especially the Distel for progress capture with a pulley, but as you say it's very dependent on the particular lines you're working with.

At the end of the day, however, I don't run the kind of whitewater that necessitates such knowledge or practice, and rarely get on even a class I these days, so I don't carry rescue gear and have limited my recent practice to the Munter, since I'm likely to be dealing with painter lines, a carabiner, and not much else while tripping.

I did use a Distel to set up a rope and pulley system for loading a 70lb canoe into the garage rafters at one point.
 
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About everything I want tight. Works like a trucker’s hitch…but faster, comes out clean. Just a leftover from my muleskinning days.
Attaching a line like a bow painter to an object (post/tree?)? Or attaching two objects together like lashing two poles? Both?
 
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Attaching a line like a bow painter to an object (post/tree?)? Or attaching two objects together like lashing two poles? Both?
Naw, lashing stuff down. I can lash a canoe to the roof of a VW beetle with no rack using a packer’s hitch, and go 70 mph without worry. All these lines around the tarp are tied with that hitch. Very similar to a truckers hitch I’m told, but I’ve never been a trucker.1A5B8F4F-E846-4C8D-9372-2777F7F6A301.jpeg
 

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I’m gonna need a minute to read through all ^that^. My favorite knot is the taut line hitch. So versatile. The prusik is fantastic. We use that one installing wells, or airlifting wells. Any application where we’re hanging pipe in a hole. Makes it easy to lower it or pull it. I still screw up the bowline; Dad taut me that one but he was left handed and I get it first try about 50% of the time. At least I can study it and determine if it’s wrong now…
 
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I’m gonna need a minute to read through all ^that^. My favorite knot is the taut line hitch. So versatile. The prusik is fantastic. We use that one installing wells, or airlifting wells. Any application where we’re hanging pipe in a hole. Makes it easy to lower it or pull it. I still screw up the bowline; Dad taut me that one but he was left handed and I get it first try about 50% of the time. At least I can study it and determine if it’s wrong now…
I always have problems with the bowline because of my left- handedness because I either need to tie it right handed which is clumsy, or tie it backwards with my left, But I can tie a figure 8 on a bight behind my back, but my favourite is probably the taut line, followed by the timber hitch. Another cool one is the lumberman's hitch-basically a timber hitch tied a couple of feet down the log, followed by several wraps to the end and a single bight at the very end. As long as there's pressure the log pulls in a straight line, but a simple flip of the tag end releases the bight, and allows you to spin the log to roll over obstructions. We used it (without the wraps) a lot for lifting telephone poles because we could control the very top without the need to climb that high to release it, in that case the timber hitch could be tied 10-12' down the pole where it was reachable by a cherry picker (you don't ever want to put a ladder or even climb an unanchored pole...)
 
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