Can you tie a knot?
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I recently bought a 10' by 10' BCUSA sil-nylon tarp. Granted it's not the lightest tarp on the market, it is definitely not the heaviest either. In fact it's quite nice for wanting to camp out for the night and practice skill (ie, Tarp-shelters: An Introduction by DBM) rather than cover many miles -I'm not saying a tarp can't be used when covering many miles, but I chose to return to the tarp as a way to pay hommage to my backpacking roots. Back then we would go to the woods to hike and learn various subjects from natural sciences to knots. Fortunately I have muscle memory when it comes to tying various knots, however the names never cease to escape me. At the time I was more interested in the knot itself rather than what to call it.

When camping with a tarp, I often use a combination of the bowline, prusik, and tautline hitch. Because the bowline forms a secure loop that will not jam and is easy to tie and untie it is one of the most useful knots to know. I use this particular knot when setting a ridge line, as-well-as attaching quide lines. Both applications are always in combination with a knot hitch which can be slipped to tighten or loosen along a line, then holds under load; the tautline hitch is extremely useful for lines that may need adjustment. With this same desire for ease of adjustment along the ridge line, I make use of two prusik knots since they slide easily along a tight rope yet jam solidly upon loading.

On a side note, there's a delightfully humorous scene in Winnie the Pooh where Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo are trapped in a hole -Piglet has just cut the rope into six pieces, and Rabbit looses his patience..