There are many benefits to learning the ropes
I HAVE BEEN A fan of tying and learning knots, hitches, loops and bends ever since I was a little kid. This spark was first lit when they taught me to tie my own shoelaces, but the flame was fully ignited when I realized that I could crawl up behind my friends and tie theirs together, too.
Ever since then, I have been fascinated by knot craft. Obviously, learning to recognize and tie knots is important to an outdoorsman. If you know knots, when the canoe flies off the roof racks of the car, you can look at your friend and say, “I guess I shouldn’t have relied on those granny knots.”
There was a time when I could name and tie somewhere around 25 different knots but that still did not help me when it come to successfully tying my shoelaces.
The thing is in the outdoors you rely on a few
tried-and-true knots and hardly ever use the others. But that doesn’t mean you should not be aware of the options available. So every now and then, you need to find your handy book of knots and take a bit of a refresher course. I typically do this during the winter when watching TV.
This is something you should not do in the bedroom, however. I have learned from experience that when your better half walks into the bedroom and sees you practicing a handcuff knot, they often immediately hide your book of knots and practice rope for a good long time. If he or she walks in as you are practicing this knot blindfolded, it’s even worse. I’m still not sure why.
This is a shame because, and maybe this is the hot chocolate speaking, it seems to me that knowing a few good knots makes you a far more interesting and well-rounded person. I mean, name one person who doesn’t love a good prusik knot.
I’m not exactly a social butterfly but even I know that when you are at a gathering and no one reacts positively to the fact that you just tied an alpine butterfly knot out of the bride’s train, it’s time to slip out the back door.
Having said that, just because you know a knot doesn’t mean you should use it. For instance, I would never use a fireman’s chair knot unless the elevator was out and I was higher than the first floor – but only because that knot has a tendency to pinch.
Also, it’s never OK to lasso a person or group of people. I know that now.
My point is anyone who owns a rope ought to know a variety of knots – at least until the international Velcro conglomerates seize total control of the market. Admittedly, some people do not get as excited about a carrick bend as I do. But, you know what? I’m OK with them preferring the sheet bend. After all, that’s the beauty of having so many incredible rope connecting options.
Having said that, I know several outdoorsman who have skipped right past learning how to tie a variety of useful bends, knots, loops and hitches. Instead, they have decided to rely on a proven few. And that’s their loss, I suppose. But it sure says a lot about the temperament of some people.
As for myself, I am knotty by nature.