Hey gang,

Over the past few years, I decided if I was going to enjoy backpacking and camping even more I had to learn some knots –  or at least learn which ones were the best to use for certain jobs. As it turns out, when you get into it a little, knots matter, especially the right kind of knot. Learning these was actually fun. It appeals to my need to actually be doing something that keeps my mind busy.

Also, it turns out most of my experience with knots came from watching hippies make and sell necklaces in the parking lot of Dead shows. Nice necklaces but mostly useless in the woods..

So I’m going to start an occasional series on knots you need in the backcountry. I’ll try to keep them simple and do a video with each to show you precisely how it’s done.

The first is going to be a clove hitch. When you hang your food – and yes you should hang your food to keep bears the heck out of your campsite – there is a method called the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) method. (I’m going to cover this in the next couple of weeks). It’s by far the best way. The PCT method needs a couple of knots to do it right. Today, I’ll cover the easier one, the clove hitch.

Here are some photos to show you how it’s done. First, this is a knot to attach rope to something like a branch or tree.

1. Drape the rope over the stick in which you want to tie the knot


2. Cross the rope over itself


3. Begin to wrap the rope behind the stick.


4. This is the key move. Take the end of the rope and pull it up through the loop you just created.


5. Pull both ends of rope to tighten.

Here’s a video to help.

Next up is going to be the bowline. It’s another easy knot and has been taught for generations. It’s one of those standard knots that has a billion uses.