We love adventure and wanted to get you started before camp, so here’s the first in a four-part series:

“Preparing for Adventure… from the backyard”

Part I: Bites, Bends, Hitches, and Knot 

Knowing the right knot for the right time is the starting point for a lot of our camp activities. Here are some of our favorites.  Each knot or hitch below has a link with a description and a video demonstrating how to tie it. You can even download an app for your phone if you want, though  that costs a couple dollars for the resource. List of Knots: Knots 3D Resource

Names: The first thing needed when tying knots is the right language so you understand what you’re working with.

    1. Bight: Any part of a rope between the ends. Bight also is used to refer to a curved section of a rope within a knot being tied.
    2. Loop: A bight becomes a loop when the two ropes cross. If the working end is crossed over the standing line, it is an overhand loop. It is an underhand loop if the working end runs under the standing part.
    3. Working End: The active end being used to tie the knot.
    4. Standing End: The end not being used in the tying of the knot. The rope part that is not being used is called the Standing Part.


  • Overhand The overhand knot is the simplest knot to learn, and you probably already know it without realizing. For help tying the knot and a great visual, check out the link above and search for the overhand knot.  
    1. All you need is a short section of rope. You could even use your shoe laces!
    2. Start by pinching a section of the rope so that there are two parts of the rope hanging down parallel to each other. This is called a bight, and should look like a lowercase n. Take the end of rope that you will use to tie the knot, which is called your working end, and move it behind the other hanging section of rope in your bite, which is called the standing end. You should now have an underhand loop in the rope where your working end runs behind your standing end. Now take the working end and poke it through the loop you have made. Congratulations! You have tied the overhand.
  • Figure Eight The figure eight is an awesome knot to know because it is the basis for tying the figure eight follow through, and that is the first step to getting your bronze in climbing at camp! 
    1. All you need is a small section of rope, preferably 2-3 feet in length.
    2. Tying the figure eight is like tying the overhand. Start by creating a bight in the rope. Cross your working end behind the standing end to create an underhand loop. Now, instead of poking the working end through the loop to create an overhand knot, bring the working end all the way around the loop and poke it through the opposite side. This means that the working end will travel a full 360 degrees around the working end and then poke through the loop.
  • Bowline We like the bowline because it is simple, strong, and easy to untie. It can be used to build climbing anchors, secure camping tarps, or any other situation when you want to tie the rope to a fixed point.
    1. You can tie the bowline with just a small section of rope, but it is also good to tie it around something, like the leg of a table or chair.
    2. Start by creating a small overhand loop in the rope so that the working end runs over the top of the standing end. Then make a bigger loop with the working end and poke the end of the rope up through the smaller loop. From this point, run the working end of the rope under the standing end and then back through the small loop. A good saying to help remember these steps is “the rabbit runs up out of his hole, around the tree, and then back into his hole. Nice Work! You tied the bowline.

  • Clove Hitch The clove hitch is a great hitch to know because it is simple, easy to learn, and very strong. Do you know the difference between a hitch and a knot? A knot can be tied all by itself and keep its shape. A hitch has to be tied around something in order to stay tied, otherwise it would not work. 
    1. To tie the clove hitch, you need a section of rope and something to tie it around. The leg of a chair would work or a carabiner if you have one sitting around.
    2. Start by wrapping the working end around the object so it completes one full loop. Now cross the working end over the standing end that is wrapped around the object. Now loop the working end around the object creating another full loop, but at the end of the loop, thread the working end underneath the section of rope that crosses over the standing end. Once finished you will have two wraps around the object and a section where the rope crossed under itself.

  • Trucker Hitch The Trucker’s Hitch is an awesome way to tie down a tarp nice and tight so that it has no creases or saggy spots, and that is the difference between staying dry and getting soaked!It is also the way we tie canoes onto the trailer.
    1. You’ll need a good section of rope, probably 3 feet or more, and an object to tie it. A bed frame or table leg would work well.
    2. It is best if you start with one end of the rope secured to something, try tying a bowline to one chair leg to start! From here, tie an overhand on a bight in a section of the rope closer to your initial bowline. An overhand on a bight is just like a regular overhand, but instead of using the end of the rope as your working end, you will use a bight of rope as the working end. This will create a fixed loop in the section of rope. Now take your working end and wrap it around your other chair leg or desired object. Now take the working end and run it through the loop you created with the overhand on a bight. You can now pull the rope tight between your two fixed points, like between your stake and the corner of your tarp. Now, keeping the tension in your rope, run the working end of the rope under the tight standing end near your overhand loop to create what will look like the number 4 in the rope. Using your working end, take a bight of rope and pass it through the middle of the “4” so that it sinches down on itself. Pull on the bight away from the overhand loop in order to tighten the hitch down. Nice Job!

  • Double fisherman The double fisherman’s knot is a great way to join two rope ends together to make an adjustable necklace or bracelet.
    1. All you need is a section of rope.
    2. Start by taking one rope end and wrapping it around the other rope about 8 inches from the end of the other rope. Wrap it so the working end crosses over itself, wraps around the other rope again, and then the working end poked through the wraps that were created. Repeat this step with the other rope on the original rope so that you have two matching knots. The knots should be able to move away from each other, making the overall loop created smaller, and move towards each other so that they stop one another from sliding or untying. Both knots should cross on themselves on one side, and be parallel on the other.