How to tie 10 essential Scouting knots

Sheet-BendKNOT-TYING HAS LONG BEEN a part of the Scouting program — for good reasons. It promotes discipline and focus, and it teaches useful skills that can be used immediately. Most people can tie just one knot (the “overhand”); many Scouts know more than a dozen.

Here’s how to teach these knots to your Scouts or Venturers.

Need to tie two ropes together? This is the knot for you. The sheet bend won’t slip when ropes of dissimilar material and size are entwined.

When tying the knot, be sure that the working ends are on the same side; otherwise, the knot might be unreliable. If you tie a thick and thin rope together, use the thick rope to form the “stationary loop” and the thin rope as the “working line.”

For greater security, especially with plastic rope, use the “double sheet bend” by taking an extra coil around the standing loop. The double sheet bend can be used when you’ve tied two ropes together and the knot absolutely must not fail.

This knot is popular among mountaineers, climbers, sailors and others. Use the bowline when you need a non-slip loop at the end of a line. The knot won’t slip, regardless of the load applied.

Begin by forming a loop or “rabbit hole.” The “rabbit” (working end) of the rope goes up through the hole, around the tree, then back down the hole. The knot will slip as it tightens, so allow a long working end.

The trucker’s hitch is a powerful pulley with a locking knot. Use this when you need a locking pulley with a 2-to-1 mechanical advantage, such as hanging a bear bag, tying a canoe on a car or guying out a tarp. Unlike the taut-line hitch, this knot won’t slip when used with slippery line.

Form the overhand loop. Then pull the loop through. Make the loop exactly as shown; it won’t work if you do it backward. Run the working end of the rope through the loop and then pull hard to form the pulley.

Secure the pulley to a stationary object (like a pole or branch) with a quick-release half-hitch or, for extra security, two or more standard half-hitches.

Use two half hitches to tie a rope to a tree, ring or dock.

If you need more security, take a second turn around the tree, or just add more half-hitches.

To create an adjustable loop that stays in place, use the taut-line hitch. This is the knot to use for staking out the guy lines of your tent.

A prusik hitch can slide up or down a stationary rope, but it will hold fast when weight is applied. It’s used in a number of self-rescue situations. Mountaineers use the prusik for footholds to help them climb a vertical rope. Campers use it for rigging rain flies or rescuing rock-pinned canoes in a river.

First, use a sheet bend or double fisherman’s knot (instructions below) to make a loop from a length of parachute cord or rope.

Then, wrap the loop around the main line three times. The prusik hitch will slide easily along the rope, but it will jam when a load (horizontal or vertical) is applied.

Use this knot to tie together the ends of one rope, forming a loop. The loop of rope can be used for many purposes, including the prusik hitch, shown above.

The clove hitch is a versatile knot that is often used in Scouting activities, including servings as the start or finish to many lashings.

The square knot can be used to join two ropes together. Generally, it works best with two ropes of the same diameter, and should not be used to hold a heavy load.

The timber hitch is often used to drag a log across the ground or to start a diagonal lashing.


  1. I know that the standard rule is “square knot for equal diameter ropes” and “sheet bend for different sized ropes”, but I advise Scouts to use the sheet bend, the double sheet bend or other special “bend” knots for joining ropes, and to forget the square knot after the Scout rank. Sailors called the square knot he “reef knot” and used it in one place only, taking in reefs on a sail. They used the knot because by pulling on one loose end, they could “spill” the knot and untie it easily.

    • The reef knot is used for first aid because it comes undone as explained with the sail, so a Scout should always remember how to tie one.

      • I think maybe you are referring to a surgeons knot, which is of a square knot format but with a extra twist or overlap on both sides, whereas a square knot has but one overlap. Its easy to undo and or to cut with a stitch scissor.

      • The Reef Knot is used in first aid in the construction of an arm sling because the knot lays flat and is more comfortable.

      • I believe the square knot was also used to tie up sacks of food (flour, etc.) The thief’s knot is a variant of the square knot used to find if a bag had been tampered with.

      • The reef knot is also a flat knot & so will not dig in when used to tie a bandage.

      • My understanding is the use of a square knot in first aid is traced to the Egyptians. They believed it had magical healing power.
        I prefer a “slippery square knot”. Similar to a regular square knot but one side forms a loop instead of pushing the end all the way through. The knot will hold under load but by pulling on the loop, the knot comes undone easily.

    • A Reef Knot is simply a reconfigured square knot. Whereas in the square knot both free tails come out on the same side, in a reef knot the tails come out on opposite sides. It does not hold as well as a true square knot does. The story I was told is that old sailors would tie their sea bag in place with a reef knot of my description and then the unknowing would re-tie it back with a true square knot and then the old sailor would know his bag had been tampered with. So there are 3 ways to tie a square knot, 1. the correct way with both free tails on the same side, 2 As a granny knot, 3 As a reef knot with the free tails on opposite sides….

      • The knot you’re referring to is the “Thief’s Knot” since a thief would probably retie it as a square knot. Why this would help in anyway is a mystery since the stuff would still be gone and you still wouldn’t know who took it. The “Reef Knot” is the same as the Square Knot. If you want a definitive source check “Ashley’s Book on Knots,” the knot enthusiast’s bible.

      • No, what you are referring to is called a thief’s knot. The reef knot is the same as the square knot.

      • The reef knot is another name for the square knot, where both rope ends are on top of the knot, the variation that the sailors used to identify if theft had occured is called a thiefs knot where the loose ends are located on opposite sides of the knot, the other variation is indeed the granny knot.

      • That is the description of a thief’s knot. It was used to secure a seaman’s bag interchangeably with the square knot so the seaman could see if anyone had been in his bag. It is tied in the same way as a sheet bend but instead of crossing over the loop, the bitter end goes through the loop.

      • I think the reef knot is a square knot. I believe the sailor’s sea bag knot is a thief’s knot.

      • Just use a slip knot for bandages, I am an RN and we use it all the time. Easy on and easy off.

      • Betty Peacock: Thank you for your service to our youth and injured. But I fail to see the advantage in using the Slip Knot in a first aid situation. Arm Sling? No. It must hold up. Gauze bandage secure? No. It would fall off. Slip Knot is intended to tighten up ,when the standing part is pulled, the running end loop slides and tightens around the object, but when the pull is released, it will loosen. Use the Square Knot correctly, the arm sling stays, the gauze bandage stays.
        AND,,,, I still say this video sequence is not the useful teaching aid the SCOUTING magazine needs, see the many previous comments about it’s faults. See you on the trail.

      • It is my understanding that the reef knot and square are the same knot with different names. The “thief knot” is what what sailors would use to check for unauthorized access to their sea bags

    • Yes, the square knot is extremely important to learn as a first aid knot, as well as for other uses. It is one of the few knots that can be tied tightly around something, as in around a body with a wound, or around a sleeping bag being tied onto a backpack, etc. It can be untied without removing any load by “spilling”, which involves simply jerking one of the loose ends toward the opposite side of the knot, and sliding the result, which is almost 2 half hitches (a larks head, really), and slides easily. Scouts should always know and practice the square knot for the first aid purposes alone. That said, the hunter’s bend is a MUCH stronger knot, and holds better in slippery rope. It looks complicated, but it is merely 2 mirror image overhand knots tied into each other. I always use the hunter’s bend when I want a really strong knot tying 2 pieces of rope together.

      • According to, the Hunter’s Bend should be avoided as it consistently jams tight under load and so would need to be cut to release it.

        If untying the knot easily with fingers and fingernails is desired then other knots would seem to be more appropriate (e.g., Carrick Bend).

      • I’ve used the Hunter’s Bend a lot, including in some uses where the knot was put under considerable load. As long as you can remove the load to untie it, it is actually very easy to untie, assuming you pull it tight correctly. You just put a thumb into the “back” (referring to the side that always seems to be in the back when a picture of the knot is taken or drawn) and pull the little “ears” (for lack of a better term) toward the back. The “ears” can then be held along with the standing ends, and pushed back toward the middle together. This loosens the knot nicely.

      • Following the story all the way to where the person tested it, he intentionally used thin and stretchy cord. The thing that makes a knot lock up is when the stretch is significant and stays in the knot when releasing load. If you are getting THAT much stretch in a rope you are tying together, you are using too thin and/or too stretchy rope for your use. I’ve never had problems untying the Hunter’s Bend.

      • The hunter’s bend can jam very badly. In setting up rope confidence courses for Boy Scouts in southern Arizona, 11mm and larger climbing rope was used, which was loaded around 10% of its breaking strength at most. We had a number of small rope remnants donated from major climbing rope vendors, so they had to be joined with bends. In some cases the hunter’s bend was used, since it has the reputation of being a very strong bend. I had to break out a small marlinspike to untie the hunter’s bends after a full day of loading, and even then it was a fight to get them untied, taking a few minutes for each knot.

    • Ashley’s Books of Knots specifically calls out the “Square” knot as having caused more deaths from joining two ropes together than any other two bends combined. I teach the proper used of a Reef Knot to my Scouts and show them how easily it can be spilled. I back that up by teaching them a Carrick Bend for tying ropes together of equal size. But I work with Older Scouts and Venturing Scouts.

      • Did you mean to say you teach the Carrick Bend for joining ropes of “unequal” size? Because for ropes of equal size the flat overhand (aka EDK) and double fishermens both seem like potential better choices. Flat overhand if you’d like to be able to untie the knot after it takes a heavy load (e.g. catches a falling climber), double fishermens if it’s not intended to be untied, as in a cordelette.

    • Reef knot or square knot is only used to tie around a bundle. Tieing a sail to a yard arm, a sling over the shoulder or behind the elbow, or tieing shoes. It is a knot not a bend. Aside for ceremonies it should not be used to join the ends of ropes together. The only bend the scouts have is the sheet bend, and it works “ok”(not really).
      Carrick bend, zepplin bend, fishermans knot, and hunters bend all work better.

      Know more, be prepared.

      • Other Scouting uses for a square knot: finishing off a Mark II Square Lashing, a West Country Round Lashing, West Country Whipping, and s Sailmakers Whipping. It’s a BINDING knot!

    • I agree. I teach my scouts the reef knot so it can be signed off in their book, then I tell them to forget it and use the sheet bend.

      • I will not argue your logic. Keeping that simple KNOT in each Scout’s inventory needs emphasized and reinforced as one of the Instant knots in emergencys, rescue work, chores, securing items to ???. Add the Square, Clove, Two & ½ Hitch and and anything is done quickly and securely. The fancier knots can be deployed to maximize the unique nature of their design and straights.

      • Well when your wrapping your a parcel with twine, good luck tying your sheet bend.

      • Common sense in what you are teaching.. good and likewise the two half hitches has incorrectly been taught for over 110 years as the means to securely tie to a pole, tree, ring etc. The round turn and two half hitches has been taught in the rest of the world as correct. Now the added after 1995 that the round turn is more secure… Never was in the original Scouting for BOYs by Lord Baden Powell.. it is a USA Scouting anomaly! Should have been fixed years ago. My father was a scouter,Sea scouter and naval officer I was a scout, sea cadet, and naval officer… never was taught the 2 half hitches. Always Round turn and 2 halfs.

    • Mike: I completely agree, the Sheetbend is a much more useful knot. I learned this on a windy night setup. The guy line was too short, and I tied a sheetbend in no time, by holding the line steady with the bight and quickly lengthing the line with the sheetbend, then a taut line to the stake, the other Scoutmasters looked at me like I was a God!

    • A thieves knot has the tails on opposite sides.
      The square knot and reef(ing) knot are the same knot with tails on the same side. The reefing knot gets its name from sailing ships when you would reef (tie up) the sails when you wanted to reduce the amount of sail you had out.

    • good and likewise the two half hitches has incorrectly been taught for over 110 years as the means to securely tie to a pole, tree, ring etc. The round turn and two half hitches has been taught in the rest of the world as correct. Now the added after 1995 that the round turn is more secure… Never was in the original Scouting for BOYs by Baden Powell.. it is a USA Scouting anomaly! Should have been fixed years ago.

    • Hi Mike as an Australian we use the original name for the square knot. which is the Reef knot. also we teach the Haymans hitch as a Truckers hitch. as it is faster to use as you do not have to feed all the tail end of rope through.
      Good work on getting people to use knots Safely. Cheers S

  2. I’m glad to see the sheepskank absent from the list. The knot can fail far too easily, and place lives and/or the load in danger.

    I wish BSA would really embrace the Alpine Butterfly (a fellow Scouter taught this to me years ago) as it’s not too hard to tie, can be tied with both ends fixed, can be untied after load was placed on it, and produced a strong mid-line loop useful for hauling, climbing, suspending, or shortening/bypassing a section in the line (the original intent of the sheepshank).

    • The sheepshank is fine, but almost all instructions I’ve seen show the worst way to tie it, which is both unnecessarily difficult and unreliable, as you mentioned. I recall seeing one book with a different method a long time ago. You just make three loops, oriented the same way, and pull the middle loop through the outer two in such a way that it pins the loops against themselves. Pull tight. Same knot, way more reliable, way easier.

      • That’s a ‘Trumpet Knot.’ The rope crosses between the two loops. There’s no crossing in a sheepshank.

      • Try tying the Sheepshank with two half hitches at either end, ‘becomes a much more stable knot…..IOW, a “Double “Clovehitch Sheepshank”

    • I agree, but an improvement on the Sheepshank is instead of a Haf Hitch at each end, turn them into Clovehitches, makes a much more stable knot….a Double Clovehitch Sheepshank!

  3. As a Scoutmaster of 12 years or so, the Troop Committee Members administering the boards of review need to know that the pictures of the knots shown in the Scout Handbook, are tied right handed. Left handed boys may tie them differently, but they are still correct, just backwards to the pictures in the book.

      • That is correct. Boys should never be retested on the skills that have already been tested on.

      • “I see you earned pioneering merit badge since your last BOR. Do you remember the knots required for this badge? Would you be able to show us the bowline?” As a former scoutmaster; I have no issues with this. But rest assured, it’s not the basis of the BOR.

      • “I see you earned pioneering merit badge since your last BOR. Do you remember the knots required for this badge? Would you be able to show us the bowline?”

        You may not have a problem with it as a Scoutmaster, but you probably should. This makes it a test/retest which BSA explicitly says is not to be done at all in a BOR (or even by the SM when the blue card is signed off and turned in for that matter).

        Instead, perhaps change the last question to “Which knot did you have the most difficulty with and how did you deal with it or what lesson did you learn from it?” are more appropriate and you’ll learn more about the Scout’s experience which is a big part of the purpose of the BOR.

    • You’ll notice in the print version of this story, we show several of the knots tied left-handed. Hope that helps!

  4. I wish that someone who knows how to teach tying knots would take the pictures. Showing the knot with all the ends of the rope out of the picture makes it really hard to understand what is happening. Good knots don’t have foot long tails everywhere. The 2 half hitch and taut-line hitch are shown upside down here so that it is hard to see the proper wraps. One of the editions of the handbook showed the taut-line hitch from the bottom side and for 10 years scouts tied it wrong.

    • I hear what you’re saying, Chris, and agree that knots typically don’t have super long tails. But for teaching purposes, we hope the videos accurately show how to tie each knot. We will consider your feedback for future knot-tying videos. Thank you!

  5. Here is a video of “Deuce” doing 14 BSA knots in less than 60 seconds – it includes 7 of the above knots + 7 more that are closely related the others. On a good day, I have done these 14 in about 35 seconds

  6. In the BSA’s new Troop Program Resources website, there are full-length How-To Videos for each of the basic Scouting knots and also for knots commonly used in Pioneering. The videos not only detail how to tie the knots, but also feature the ways they’re used.

  7. The Bowline, As I recall it: “The rabbit (or bunny ( Cub Scouts)) comes out of his hole, hops around the tree, SEES THE LITTLE RED FOX and dives back into his hole.”

  8. The video of the double sheet bend is wrong. You can’t get to step 8 from step 7. The final picture, step 8, is wrong.

    • Hi, Tom. We see what you mean. We’ve uploaded a revised video to correct this. Thank you for your comment.

  9. As a Scout, Scout Leader, and having the honor of being asked th fill the role of Scoutmaster (regrettable only for a year) for a Troop in Zimbabwe. Being able to tie the basic Knots (16 in my Scouting youth) suggested by the BSA worked good to great things through 24years in the USN-Seabees and throughout my 45+ years in construction. OK so I’m old but I can still tie (if I remember the names) all those knots and many more. Teach through fun and in all Outdoor activities you will never regret doing so.

  10. The taut line hitch is a poor knot to use, and there are variations that are much better. For all you knot enthusiasts, I would suggest the Grog Knots app, as it shows very god demonstrations on a plethora of knots and also describes when and how to fully utilize them. For full effectiveness, they recommend tying the midshipman hitch rather than the taut line; the variation is in the second turn of the hitch, it forms a rolling hitch which locks the first hitch in place.

      • Yes, of course. My mistake. What I intended to say was an awning hitch, rather than the rolling hitch.

      • I read David’s reply to this, but I did want to comment on the Midshipman’s Hitch. That one is very close in method to the Taut-Line Hitch, but the difference is that instead of tieing a Rolling Hitch on the rope, the second turn is moved to on top of the first. When looking at it, it looks an awful lot like a new Scout’s mistie of a Taut-Line Hitch. It is a little bit tighter, but a properly tied Taut-Line Hitch should be just as strong.

    • The version ( of the Trucker’s Hitch ) that I use and teach is not the slip knot version, but more of 2/3 of a sheepshank. That version is easier to tie with both ends fixed. I’m not sure how the slip knot version would solve that problem without having to plan it in beforehand.

  11. Teaching knots to little folks with unused fingers (manipulation is much lacking in kid’s play these days). Thumbs and finger tapping of computer games has robbed our children of dextrosity. Dexterity. Aw, you know…
    1) Make up 5 foot lengths of rope. 3/8″ sash cord is sufficient. Paint/dye one end a different color so you now have “Imported, fresh picked, bi-colored, double ended rope”. This makes the manipulations stand out. Over, under….
    2) Note for your students that they should NEVER (!) buy single ended rope. It will only create trouble and problems. When you go into the store, INSIST on double ended rope! (Huh?? Make’m think a little.)
    3) Use the proper terms, and teach these first: Standing part, running end, bight, bend, loops (over and under loop). Look these up, if you must. Use them in your instruction.
    4) If you must, don’t be afraid to stand behind your student and place his hands where they should be. It is HARD for a modern kid to turn your demonstration around/over and make it from HIS direction. I have been known to lay down on the table and show the knot right side up, from the kids view, rather than upside down from my view.
    5) When the Scout shows me his effort and asks “is this right?” I will sometimes ask him “what’s your name, Scout?” (if I didn’t know). “Joseph!” “Oh, then that’s a Joseph Knot! Here’s how to do the figure eight….” Make sure the Scout is encouraged in his desire to Do It Right. Tight and Neat.
    6) DO NOT pass on if they have not mastered the skill. I have had argument with CSDC folks who were of the opinion that just because it was DEMONSTRATED, that meant the Cub knew the knot. Teach eight knots in an hour? Never. Maybe LEARN four. Maybe.
    7) If possible, give the Scout the bi-colored double ended rope (“imported from Peru”) to keep. So you have to buy 200 5foot pieces. Good for the Scout.
    8) No ropes around the neck , Never. Make that a point of honor for the Scout.
    See you on the trail.

    • I spent a long time with my local troop (7 years scout + 30 years leader, Plus 20 years with the local ambulance corps), and I agree 100% with the last sentiment… NEVER tie ropes around the neck; it is much too dangerous, especially around easily excitable youth!!!

  12. Rather than a pair of half hitches, I always taught the boys to use a round turn and two half hitches. It is much more secure.

    • Yes, Brian, it’s hard to understand because the text directs one thing, and the illustration another. Though inadvertent, the illustration attempts to depict the traditional way one forms what’s been referred to as the “American Whipping.” Unfortunately, the illustrator failed to present an accurate drawing. (This will be corrected in future editions.) The text describes what’s seen as a simplified and less effective approach.

      The so called “American Whipping” forms the “whips” by wrapping the inside of a loop around the rope and then pulling both ends until they form a half knot under the wraps, which has always been a tad tricky to teach, but when tied tightly and correctly, will do the trick. Here’s a video of the American Whipping from the BSA’s Troop Program Resources website, which I trust you’ll appreciate:

      By the way, the new edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet, which is forthcoming, clearly presents the whipping used in the pioneering area at the national jamboree, referred to as the West Country Whipping. It’s much easier to understand and tie, and stays put better under hard use. From Troop Program Resources:

  13. Knots are integral to scouting (and many professions – I could list a dozen careers I have used knots in regularly). Knowledge is integral to scouting… I have had rare occasions to disagree with BSA policy, but the introduction of the “no test” Board of Review is definitely one. (When I was in school, we had nothing but reviews, and they were all formatted like tests!) If you can’t demonstrate proficiency in a discipline (such as knot tying, or life saving, or fire safety, knife safety, etc.) on demand, you don’t truly know it. If you don’t really know it and try to fake your way through it in an emergency situation, you’re going to make a mistake. (Maybe that’s why there have been so many accidents/ injuries with scouts using square knots improperly?) In any military body, you don’t make rank if you can’t demonstrate proficiency under stress. In any life saving/ emergency response profession, you aren’t certified unless you can demonstrate proficiency under stress. Why are we short changing our scouts by removing the requirement for proficiency? It’s not supposed to be baby sitting, it’s supposed to be turning boys into men!

    • Joshua: Thank you for your service to our youth. I have to point out that ,yes, the Scout should be tested, but that should come BEFORE the BoR. The Scout BoR is meant to be a communication, a way of the adults to test the Troops program. “How are you doing? What was the toughest thing? The most fun thing? How would you like the Troop to proceed? Have you asked your Patrol Leader?” sort of thing.
      If the Scout truly cannot demonstrate the skills, perhaps the Troop needs to Practice them more often. Patrol competitions? Camp outs? Hard to do a Tautline without a tent or Dining Fly to put up. But then, we have a lot of Bungee cords, don’t we? Pride of skill comes from repetition and need of use.
      That illustrates my complaint about these videos. It does not show the knot’s USE… The Tautline just lies there, and in the wrong direction, too. The Timber Hitch, too, is not shown IN USE. Why tie it? What is it’s purpose?
      Trucker’s Hitch? Good for lashing the canoe to your Prius, but how would a Scout know that from this video?
      My dad was a steel rigger back in his yoooth. Knots and ropes were taught to me early
      . Cable? Twisted cord? Steel versus manila versus nylon? Archaic skills are good to know , especially for Scouts. MY dad only had one arm, his right (lost his left in a construction accident before he met my mom), when I knew him. He taught me how to tie my shoelace ONE HANDED. Try THAT at your next Camporee !

      See you on the trail !

  14. Pretty much the standard Tenderfoot knots we learned, with a few good additions, like the Prusik.

    But rather than the two half hitches, I always taught the Round Turn and Two Half Hitches. It’s a much stronger lash-up, and is the way BP and the British Scouts teach it.

  15. One of the older comments here says that the square knot was used to tie sacks of grain of other items. I believe that the correct knot used to tie these sacks was the Miller’s Knot.

    Now, to address the more recent question of interesting skills at a board of review: I have been working with the BSA for a number of years, in various capacities, most recently as a member of the Troop Committee for a troop of new scouts. The testing of a boy in the BOR has never been part of the official BSA guidelines. The problem is that most, if not all, of the leaders remember how thing were done in the units they were in as boys, and think the way the unit worked was correct. Many times, those units were doing things the way the leaders remembered from their time as boys. FEW OF THEM WERE PROPERLY TRAINED.

    What I do, which gets me the same info without the retest, is to ask the boy to teach me how to tie the knot. While it can be argued that it is still a retest, I find that the modern kids have a much shorter attention span, and do not retain this material for more than a couple of weeks. It works better if the trainer was able to teach in the context of _use_, where the boy can see the relevance of what he’s being taught.

    Just my nickels worth of paragraphs.

  16. This video link keeps getting renewed as a recommended compilation of “Scout Knots”. Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The complaints remain: 1) The knots are not shown IN THEIR PROPER USE. Why tie a knot at all? 2) Read thru the comments. Misnamed? Poor choices? These are often “tradition” versus “official”. It is good if we all use the same terminology. Be sensitive to that. 3) Knowledge vs use vs testing? If the Scout has no NEED to use a knot, how will he/she remember it? Use Patrol competitions, get rid of the bungee cords, put up Knot Boards at the meetings, have the Scouts teach the knots (after they have LEARNED them , eh?) to Cubs and each other. Rig up “practice” rescues/first aid/, set up a dining fly at the Church… 4) Every kid (SCOUT!) likes “Bragging Rights”. Give them something to brag about, set up a Gateway at the Camporee. A signal tower (G2SS?). A bigger flag pole using those knots and lashings. 5) DO NOT retest the Scout at the BoR, but use that to find out where the Troop can improve, and then go to the GreenBar Boys (PLC) to let them “Do It Better”. See you on the trail….

    • Yes! All skills instruction SHOULD be followed with opportunities to put the skill into action in ways that are challenging and fun, AND that also illustrate how the skill can used! During these activities, Scouts should be faced with the need to rely upon these skills in order to experience success! And then, of course . . . put the skills into play during outings!

      By the way, the campcraft how-to videos on the BSA site DO present the skills in conjunction with their proper use.

      • Thanks, Friend Larry, I wish I could. Trip to Belgium is scheduled, if I do attend WJam, which registration is pending, I will leave early. Now, if I was asked to TEACH there at Phil’s Mont, and had a “scoutership” to attend (make it really worth my while) (long way from Bawlmer Murlin to Colarada to Murlin to Westbygod Virginia to Murlin to Belgium… ) I might re-consider, but still…. … Greetings from White Oak District, NCAC.

  17. Why has this poor excuse for a video been repeated? Hasn’t the SCOUTING magazine found a better video to promote knots and ropes? The USS Constellation in Baltimore harbor , if fully rigged (got an extra million or two to donate for that project? ) would have about two MILES of rope in use (their figure) for the Sloop of War’s power and navigation. We have problems getting a Scout to tie his shoes securely…. Square bow? Granny bow?

    • So what’s stopping you? By my math, you are almost a year older. Knock on a Troop’s Door, go to “BeAScout dot org” Get off your duff….

  18. Has anyone else noticed that the method used to the the Taut-Line Hitch seems to have changed in the last few years?

    I have seen it tied like a Clove Hitch with an extra turn, and more recently like a Cow Hitch with an extra turn. The difference being that the first has the ends come out on both sides of the “tautened” rope, and the latter with the ends on the same side of the rope. I’m not sure if it actually affects the function of the knot, but if you teach a bo,, er, child to tie the Taut Line Hitch, and they tie a Midshipman’s Hitch, it will work but the WRONG knot was tied.

    • Chuck, you’re correct. It’s “wrong” because when the second half hitch on the outside of the loop is applied proceeding in a different direction than the first (not spiraling around the standing part in the same way) the two half hitches form a larks head instead of a clove hitch. This produces less friction against the standing part and hence is not as effective in keeping the line taut.

      • Thank, Larry. I’m glad to see that someone else has noticed the same thing. I was beginning to wonder if I had missed something, or had seen it incorrectly. So I know I’m not crazy, at least with this knot. 🙂

    • Way to wake up an old video ! Please note all the older comments. The REEF knot is another name for the SQUARE KNOT. Again, there are better knot instruction videos, even on YouTube (OMG !) Get some rope and play with it. Learn the splices for manila fiber, Macrame is only polite Pioneering .

  19. My dad makes me learn a knot, show him the knot, and explain when was it invented and why it was made. I’m also teaching him too because he forgot to tie a knot and needs to learn again by me.

  20. Also, why couldn’t this website make the original Fisherman Knot? This is weird. Is there any original Fisherman Knot?

    • About the original Fisherman’s Knot:
      That knot was simply an Overhand Knot tied in the ends of the 2 lines being joined, so that the lines being added pass thru the inside of the loop of the Overhand Knots in the opposite line. Sorry, it’s late and I’m tired.
      1. Tie a loose Overhand Knot in the end of one line or cord.
      2. Pass the added line thru that Overhand.
      3. Tie an Overhand Knot in the added line so that it surrounds ( or encompasses )
      the line with the original Overhand Knot. This works best if the 2 knots have
      the same “angle”, so that they are parallel rather than “right angles” to each
      The sequence should be:
      Line 1, knot 2, knot 1, line 2.
      ———\\ \\———, NOT ———\\ //———
      When the line is pulled tight, the 2 Overhand Knots are pulled together, with the resulting friction keeping both knots from coming loose. Theoretically. Thin plastic line and modern materials tend to rob the knot of its effectiveness, if not meticulously tied.

  21. Just can’t keep from whipping a dead video , can we? Ho hum…. Again, the biggest fault of this video set is not so much the instructions (see previous mentions about the Tautline and others) but the lack of demonstrated USE. Many other youtubers have this problem, too. The Scout needs to USE the knot and rope. It should NEVER be “one and done” just for rank advancement. These things are survival skills, lifetime skills. USE THEM. Get out and get dirty. (and clean up after).

    • Well, James Lehman, the scouts MOSTLY need to use the knot. The rope is what will let them make a knot. That’s what this is all about.

  22. I would guess that that was the time that the moderator approved it to be posted. It could also be a time zone setting. Third guess is who the 7734 knows.

    • You may be right, Charles. But anyways, As I was trying to say, Google says that the Clove Hitch is the weakest but it is strong since I tried to pick up a object that I tied around and it didn’t let go.

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