4 Knots That May Save Your Life

4 paracord knots

In any survival situation, the ability to work with cordage and rope can be the difference between life and death. Cord and rope is indispensable for building shelters, raising or lowering gear or people, climbing, lashing, and many other activities.

In this piece, we’re going to look at four of the most useful knots that everyone should know to maximize their chances in a survival or grid-down situation. This is just an introduction to this subject. There are at least 10 different knots worth knowing for survival situations — educate yourself on this topic!

We’ll include videos for each knot to show you how to tie them

Clove Hitch

One of simplest knots — once you know how to tie it — is the clove hitch, which is often used for securing stock to trees or hitching rails, but can also be used anytime you need a quick, strong, and adjustable knot.

Taut line Hitch

The taut line hitch is a small, simple knot that has one major function: pulling tension. This knot works similar to a prusik knot, using loops to grab onto rope and provide enough friction to stay in place.

The best use of the taut line hitch is in securing a tent or tarp shelter (although it can also be used for securing a load on a backpack or vehicle): you can rig the tarp, loop the guy lines around stakes or other anchors, then tie taut line hitches on each line and cinch them tight.

Even better: if your rope stretches due to rain or anything else, it only takes seconds to tighten up the line.


The bowline is a simple, excellent know that’s highly strong and quick. Even more so than the figure 8 follow through, a bowline is easy to untie even after extremely high loads have been applied to the rope. Experts can even tie this knot one-handed. It’s a great option for hauling anything.

It’s much easier to learn how to tie a bowline (or any other know) from a video than from text, so check out YouTube to learn the bowline.

Figure 8 Follow Through

This knot, widely used in rock climbing, is easy to learn, extremely strong, and results in a loop in your rope or cordage. It’s also easy to untie after being weighted — something that can be critical when you can’t just go to the store and buy more rope.

The figure eight follow through is a great knot to know for any rigging, climbing, or hoisting situation.

4 Knots That May Save Your Life
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Max Smith

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