Learn how to tie a square knot and add this to your survival skills! Often called the reef knot, the square knot is one of the most commonly used knots. Thus, following this tutorial can be a lifesaver!
In this article:
How to Tie a Square Knot | Your Ultimate Guide
The Square Knot
The square knot is probably one of the best-known knots or at least one of them. It is also sometimes referred to as the reef knot used primarily to join two ropes, cords, or lines of similar thickness.
Square knots are easy to tie and the perfect choice for many things, but there are also times when you should not use them.
We encourage you to learn as much about basic knots as you can, so you can use the right types of knots for the right situations.
Uses for Square Knots
- First aid, to tie bandages
- A common knot used in surgery
- To tie boot or shoelaces
- To tie belts and sashes
- Tying the reefing points of sail when the wind blows up
- To tie plastic bags and trash bags
When Not to Use a Square Knot
Square knots are not your best choice when you have two different thicknesses you wish to join. They slip when you tie them with a nylon rope and will also slip if it is not under tension.
Square knots can be dangerous if misused and should never be used in critical situations where lives might be at risk. This is simply due to the potential instability of the knot.
Unfortunately, many accidents took place as a result of trying to join two ropes with a square knot.
Pay close attention to these steps, as a square knot is often tied wrong. You will end up with a “granny knot,” which may slip under a heavy load.
See how this type of knot looks like or tied by using two colors of cord.
Remember: “Right over left, left over right.”
Take one line in your right hand, and one in your left and lay the right over the left.
Pass the right end over the left end and back under the left.
Pass the left end over the right end and back under the right.
Check the knot (the two loops should slide on each other).
Tighten by pulling both strands on each side of the knot.
Create a backup knot by making an overhand knot on the shorter ends of the rope.
Backing up a knot is important so that the square knot will not untie itself.
Here’s an infographic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy how to tie a square knot infographic for reference:
Now you know one more type of knot to add to the knots and hitches tricks you can pull off your sleeves for camping and survival. Remember, while this is a simple and reliable knot, it has its limits, so use it the right way for your own safety.
Have you ever used a square knot in a particular situation before? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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