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Micro Ventures: How to Tie Knots

Being proficient with knots is a valuable skill to have for outdoor sports, like rock climbing, mountaineering, sailing, or mountain rescue scenarios. Some knots will be used every time while others are used on occasion. Having a vast knowledge of knots may come in handy for traveling in the mountains.

Various knots use different techniques. If you're stumbling on getting the motions right, research to see if there is another trick that will help you remember. Better yet, sit down with a friend or family member and try to instruct them on how to tie the knot. I have found you learn more by teaching and speaking the steps out loud.

The most important skill to have is being able to evaluate the right knot and systems being used. Though practice makes perfect, a correct knot with several attempts is better than an incorrect one.

Plus, it’s fun to practice when you’re sitting at camp, in the car, on a rainy day, or even watching movies on your couch. Once you get the basic knots down, consider adding gloves or learning more knots. Pick up a knot-tying book or scour the internet and watch how-to videos on YouTube.

An example of various knots used on a glacier travel rope system.

Micro Ventures, a free digital program to engage all ages in outdoor-related activities. Stay tuned for a different "Micro Venture" each week.

SheJumps Marketing + Partnerships Manager, Angela, demonstrates how to tie five different knots to get you started.

Gear list

  • Practice rope

  • Webbing

  • Carabiners (optional)

*How to make a practice rope? Use a retired rope, either from your gear or ask a climbing gym, cut it the desired length, and burn the ends of the rope to prevent fraying (adult supervision recommended).

Overhand knot

How to: Form a loop and pass the end through it. Tighten it to form the Overhand Knot. When pulled tight it can function as a simple stopper knot.

Use: Considered to be the ‘simplest of single-strand stopper knots,’ Can also be used to prevent the end of a rope from unraveling.

BONUS: Pass the end through it again for a Double Overhand Knot.

Figure 8 knot

How to: Pass the tail over itself to form a loop. Continue under and around the standing end. Complete the knot by passing the tail down through the loop.

Use: Provides a quick stopper knot to prevent a line sliding out. This knot is important for climbers because it is the base for the Double Figure 8 Loop, Figure 8 Loop Follow Through (also known as Rewoven Figure 8), and Figure 8 Bend.

BONUS: Try tying a Figure 8 on a bight or learn how to do a Rewoven Figure 8 knot by tying into a climbing harness.

Square knot

How to: Take two ropes and cross them to form a half knot. Cross them a second time and pull the ends tight to form a Square Knot.

Use: Has many uses such as tying your shoes or packing a gift but not where safety is critical. It is the basis for the Half Knot and Half Hitch.

Double fisherman’s knot

How to: Lay the ends of two lines parallel to each other. Coil the free end of one rope twice around the second rope and pass it back through the inside of the coils. Repeat with the second rope in the opposite direction. Pull free ends to tighten knots, then standing lines to slide knots together.

Use: A way to join two ends of a rope and used for creating prusiks or tying fishing lines together.

Water knot

How to: Take a piece of webbing. Tie an overhand knot on one end of the webbing. Next, make sure the loop of the webbing will be flat throughout without any twists. Take the un-tied end and weave through the tied overhand knot from the tail end. Once you’re through the overhand knot, Pull on the knot to tighten it. You should have 3 to 6 inches of tail ends on each side of the knot.

Use: Joining two ends of webbing together to make a sling or an anchor.

Create knot bracelets

Now that you know how to tie knots, try making a bracelet. Make one for yourself or a couple to gift to friends.


  1. Gather paracord, scissors, lighter.

  2. Cut a 12 inch length of paracord.

  3. Practice the knots in this lesson by incorporating them into your bracelet.

  4. When bracelet is complete, trim ends with scissors and use lighter to burn the ends of the paracord to prevent fraying (adult supervision recommended).

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