Let’s take a closer look at some knots:

The first knot: The End-of-the-Line bowline.

I’m going to start with about a 10 to 12 inch piece of paracord, and that short piece is going to become my working end. The long piece will become my standing end, so when I refer to that you’ll know what I’m talking about. This is called a bite where the rope doesn’t cross itself. If the rope crosses itself, it’s called a loop. Make a loop in the rope. The working end is on the bottom and the standing end is on top where it crosses. This is the beginning of your bowline.

From there, from bottom to top, push a bite up through that loop. This is what we call the clean side because there’s nothing there. There are no loops, no knots, no twists, nothing. That’s my clean side. On my left hand side, I’ve got what I’ll call the dirty side because it goes around itself. I have loops. Take the working end and push that through the bite. Hold it right there. I’m going to give myself a good four inches or so, fold it back on itself, hold that together. Now, what I’ve got is a bite inside of another bite that’s pushed up through a loop. Pull on the standing end. What you’ve created is a bowline.

Check it by making sure that you have a fixed loop, and a working end coming out of a teardrop shaped bite with a locking bar. Look on the backside. You should basically have almost a triangle formed by the rope. The other key thing is your tail, which should be coming from inside of the loop, not the other way around. From there you need to tie a security knot. Use an overhand, and take the tail, go around the actual top leg of the loop, and then from bottom to top of that loop, pull it through. Now, you have an overhand that’s actually tied on a portion of the loop. That’s a security knot that keeps it in place.

The next knot: Modification of the Trucker’s Hitch, which is useful because it makes it easier to tie by holding the slack.

The Trucker’s Hitch is a very common hitch that’s used in order to establish ridge lines. And there’s one small modification on it that should make it even better. For the Trucker’s Hitch, we round the second anchor point. This is my ridgeline going to my original anchor point, this is my second anchor point. Now, once I get around that, I’m coming probably a third of the way back towards the other anchor point and I’m going to make a loop, then I’m going to pull a bite through that loop to establish a quick release. This is an overhand slip, which I’ll show you a little bit later. That’s an overhand slip. That gives me a fixed loop in the rope that I can use in order to make … in order to tension this back together.

On a normal trucker’s hitch, you’d come back through that loop with the end to gain the mechanical advantage. All I did was go around the anchor point and then come back through this loop that I made. Now, I can pull it towards the anchor point and it’ll tighten this up as I’m going. Once it’s tight, you have to tie this off so it doesn’t slip on you. Instead of just going around and going through this loop once, come through a second time with the end. Then you’ve created a round turn inside this loop. Now, when you pull tension towards that anchor point, it actually bites on itself. You can let go and it maintains the tension. If you’re familiar with the trucker’s hitch, I recommend you add that little modification in there, it’ll make it that much easier to tie.

Now, I can pull my tension and it doesn’t slip when I let go. Tie it off first with a quick half hitch. Then do a half hitch on a quick release for the second loop. Leave that in place because this becomes part of your five minute shelter system. When you want to take it out, you can just pull on the end and it will pop free. Take your half hitch out and then pop that loose to take the ridgeline down.

The Fisherman’s Knot is very simple, and similar to the overhand. Actually, it’s two overhands joined with each other.

We want to join the ropes together and make a loop. With the ends pointed opposite each other, tie an overhand. You’ll have your loop and come back through. So tie an overhand, but that overhand is tied on the other end or around the end of the rope. Then we’re going to do the same thing on the opposite side, around the other portion of the rope. Make a loop, trying to keep your fingers out of the way. Make a loop around that end and then come back through that loop. Now there’s an overhand on one side and an overhand on the other. Pull those tight, you’re going to form your Fisherman’s Knot. It’s basically two overhands and with the tension, it pulls them closer together. That’s a joining knot called the Fisherman’s knot. And that is how we’re going to create a loop in the number 36 Bank Line to make our prusik loops to make the shelter go that much quicker.

Let’s take a look at the Prusik knot that we’re using in this loop. Now, you’ve already made that loop. It’s about twelve inches of Number 36 Bank Line. You have put your Fisherman’s Knot in the end to create the loop. What a Prusik is designed to do is take a line or cordage or rope of smaller diameter and attach it to a rope or cordage of larger diameter and it’s designed to bite into that rope so that when you pull tension on it, it doesn’t release and it actually keeps tight. This is a great knot to know for ridgelines and shelters.

This knot leads into another. What I’ve got is a fixed loop lying over the paracord. Take one end and go around and come back through the loop that’s made. This is the start of what’s called a Girth Hitch, or a Lark’s Head Knot. It has one wrap around. That can be used to establish a line AS SHOWN.

Now, because you want more bite than that, you can see how easily that slides, so that when you pull it tight, it stays.

Instead of going around once and making a Girth Hitch, go around a second time to create a 4- Wrap Prusik knot.

Make sure that my ends are not crossing. What I should have is four parallel wraps going around it that are not crossing each other. Then have a cross locking bar here with your loop coming out of the bottom.You’ll have one, two, three, four parallel wraps, cross locking bar, nothing’s crossing, and I can tighten that down.

When you slide that somewhere and put tension on it, it bites into the rope and  won’t let go. If you need to move it, you can take that cross locking bar, pull it down to unlock it, (which puts slack in the loops), and slide it wherever you need. This is a great thing for shelter. Whenever you start getting slack in your line after it’s been up for a while or if it rains, you can tighten it up really quickly with a Prusik system rather than have to untie, stretch that out, stretch out that slack, and then tie it again. It’s a great knot to know.

Just for added security, if you’re tying a rope that is the same diameter, or cordage that’s the same diameter as the cordage you’re trying to tie it onto, in order to give it more purchase, the more wraps you give it, the more purchase it’s going to have. What I like to do just to be safe is go ahead and do a 6-Wrap Prusik, where you take it through one more time and then dress it up to where none of the loops are actually crossing over each other, so they stay parallel. Now you’ve got six parallel loops with the cross locking bar, which gives you even more of a bite into the rope when you put tension on it. That’s the Prusik knot.

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