Take 5 minutes out of your day, find a small piece of rope (or CAT5, headphone wire, USB cable), and actually tie the knot with your hands. It's super easy to pre-visualize the knot forming and you can learn to tie the knot in any orientation after just a couple tries.
Being able to adjust the tension on the line after tying the knot pops up in all manner of practical situations. This was my gateway drug to the wonderful world of knots.
EDIT: to encourage people to actually tie the damn thing, here's a picture of my computer mouse cable around the handle of my coffee cup: https://i.imgur.com/ZN4WXoB.jpg (in the "right handed down" orientation, as opposed the the "right handed up" direction from the instructions).
However, I'll use adjustable grip hitches for the guylines. That lets me freely adjust how my tarp is placed and holds up the tension reasonably (from experience, the friction hitch on paracord could do with tightening every 1.5 days or so). It's also quicker to tie and uses less cordage, so that's a plus.
Combining the two straight up never occurred to me. Will definitely give that a shot :)
If you want to experiment, there's really only three knots that will solve 80% of your common needs:
1) Bowline: https://www.animatedknots.com/bowline-knot -- secure loop that doesn't slide, easy to undo (mnemonic: "rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree, and runs back down the hole")
2) Midshipman's Hitch: https://www.animatedknots.com/midshipmans-hitch-knot -- sliding adjustable-tension knot for tying down gear or guy lines
3) Square Knot: https://www.animatedknots.com/square-knot For quick tying of two ropes together. Fun fact: the square knot is also how you already tie your shoelaces! You're just using a loop (a "bight") instead of the end of the rope because bights are commonly added to quickly undo knots (see, you're already using advanced techniques!). And funner fact: if you understand how you accidentally reverse the square knot to make it weaker, you can understand how NOT to tie your shoelaces in the way that makes them come undone easily!
Bonus Points: the Trucker's Hitch for tying down gear. It's basically any number of fixed-loop knots like the bowline to create a "pully" (mechanical advantage), fixed by any number of adjustable tension knots like the midshipman's to hold it down.
"But under no circumstances should it ever be tied as a bend, for if tied with two ends of unequal size, or if one end is stiffer or smoother than the other, the knot is almost bound to spill. Except for its true purpose of binding it is a knot to be shunned." To quote from Ashley.
Others refer to it as the most dangerous knot because of the number of people killed by relying on it as a bend.
Uhh, in theory. In practice no one knows how to tie their laces any more. I can go days and see nothing but granny knots and self-invented tangle (and I sneak photos to document such).
This seems to be an international issue, as well. Foreign nationals fare no better than we Yankees in my observations.
I don't know when this happened—the application of velcro in kid's shoes?—but it's definitely a real thing.
Be warned: once you start to look at people's shoes ... it's like a bad dream.
(p.s. Ian's Shoelace Site is a great resource and the double bunny ears knot (aka "Ian's Knot") is a life changer once you start to use it everydsy. I refer to it as the "All-day knot" since the added bight makes it last all day.
RE the "square not", in the UK this is usually called a reef knot: never use this for safety, a far superior alternative is the double fishermans https://www.animatedknots.com/double-fishermans-bend-knot, also use this for climbing, this is considered the best, strongest, safest way to join the ends of two ropes and it's pretty simple (you can add stoppers for safety or just make very long ends unlike the video). Unlike the bowline it can be a bitch to undo, but if you need safety...
Parlor trick AND life saver!
My "climbing" is all rescue related (so almost entirely rappelling/hauling, not actual climbing), but I don't think I've ever used a bowline for anything life-safety related, with or without a safety knot.
Bowline is useful if you are likely to take lots of falls on a single rope as with sport climbing (bolts) with frequent untying, where figure of eight can become very difficult to undo. Technically figure of eight is stronger in terms of _rope_ failure, but this is not usually the most important thing for climbing since if the instant force is strong enough for that to be a concern you are going to break your back anyway. It is however unsafer in the sense of being more easy to tie badly, for that reason I'd never encourage a novice climber to use it over a figure of eight - but when you are experienced, and are taking falls (and have a routine to check the knot), this knot saves your fingers and your rope from a lot of unnecessary stress. In a rescue context though I can't see any benefit, so figure of eight for sure.
Like you said, the figure-8 excels in strength (which matters more in rescue, since you're often dealing with loads heavier than a single climber), and has the added advantage of being easily inspected. I can look at a figure-8 someone else tied and have a high degree of confidence very quickly; I feel like that's harder with the bowline (since it's asymmetrical, etc).
I like the sheetbend, or double sheetbend for tying two ropes together, as long as they are similar is size and not to thick.
That sounds good, but the thing with that knot is it's not "assurance", it's required, it has a tendency to come undone without it, the free end just works it's way back toward the knot - especially when wet which makes many sailors shun it. Many climbers have also died using this knot without a stopper. The stopper should be considered an integral part of the bowline, there are other bowline variations which also serve this purpose as with your example.
Gommers catalogs many of them in his bowline treatise.
I never used a stopper on a bowline, if done correctly you don't need a stopper, is not going to slip.
As a sort of meta, you are not making your point any easier to accept the way you presented it, you start off by stating "it has a tendency to come undone [...]", but then switch to "it has the potential to work it's way loose given enough wiggling".
This is nuts, are you talking about a different knot?... look at it: https://www.animatedknots.com/bowline-knot part of what makes this so easy to untie is what makes it easy for the end to slip through, the first loop self tightens (which locks the second loop), but also untightens itself when load is released again. you can't fit a full stopper through, but it's intuitive to see how the end can inch it's way through the first loop as the rope is repetitively tensioned and untensioned in different positions like a rachet.
> Here is some data: https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/sailing-skills/strongest-sai.... Note that the knot did not fail, the lines did. Also, note the loads they are talking about, >1 tonne.
You are referring to a completely different aspect, failure of a _static_ line under constant or instant load in a single position, this is completely different to the potential of a knot to work it's way loose under light or zero load and has more to do with how different choices in knots weaken the rope.
These knots don't work themselves loose at the instant load is applied, they do so before when they have opportunity to wriggle around. When climbing this is the scenario every single time you use it as a safety knot, 90% of the time it's not under load but will be continuously lightly tugged back and forth, sometimes tension will be applied then released over and over, then when you finally load it fully with your weight is merely the point you _realise_ it has failed. My mind is made on this one, I have a lot of first hand experience with this knot in climbing on dynamic lines, i am intuitively familiar with it's behaviour, perhaps in your context of static lines holding down things in one position with relatively constant load it is reliable as is (fair enough), but this does not make it _safe_ for all uses.
You've coaxed me into this massive argument against it like it's some terrible knot, but this is my favourite knot.. keep in mind I am talking about _safety_, where failure of the knot means your death, the basic bowline is a very reliable knot for most uses without a stopper - just not for hanging from deadly heights, for that it has to be more than just 99% reliable, and in that case, all it takes is an extra step... but it doesn't have to be about safety it can apply to anything that is important enough, as I said in my original comment: "make sure you give it a generous safety stopper knot if it's _vital_"
> you start off by stating "it has a tendency to come undone [...]", but then switch to "it has the potential to work it's way loose given enough wiggling".
Not really sure what you are complaining about, this is pretty clear, it has a tendency to come undone... did you imagine it would just untie itself without any movement?
In the end, put all the stopping knots you want, but tie the damn knot properly.
ffs, the video is an example, you really think anyone ties it that loose in practice? are all of your arguments going to be strawmen?
Your link is broken. and if all you are showing is a tightened version it's pointless.
> You definitely do not know how a bowline works
Based on what? your disagreement? you assuming i tie it loose like an example video? I really don't care what you think anymore, i've explained and reasoned in great detail (and i'm far from alone in this reasoning)... but you don't argue against my reasoning, all you do is accuse me of not tying correctly and then don't give specifics, you've never even seen me tie it so it's a massive assumption based purely on "I don't agree", you obviously can't be reasoned with. I've tied this knot probably over 10,000 times, and all of your arguments are very troll like, goodbye.
For example, take the truckers hitch (https://www.animatedknots.com/truckers-hitch-knot). I could give this to someone and I'm sure they could tie the knot, but I would have great doubt about their ability to actually secure a load on a rooftop rack. There's a big gap between the mechanics of knot-tying and the application of the knot to a larger scenario.
I wish a guide came out that was more scenario based, covering things like:
How to secure a tarp so it doesn't blow away, how to secure a load on a car, how to lash together a back-country field-table/stool, etc.
I'm pretty sure the answer to all of those is duct tape.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ashley_Book_of_Knots
 - https://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Book-Knots-Clifford-W/dp/03850...
It's expensive for what amounts to a coffee-table book of old drawings and a history of many superfluous, duplicate, or decorative knots.
A lot of the information is outdated with respect to newer materials and/or the "knot" industry.
In the linked pdf, a bight is bend/curve of rope that doesn't cross itself; however, they show a "double bight" which seems to cross itself. They say that the "strands" don't cross... errr ok?, I'm not understanding how the "double bight" is not a "loop"... the rope is crossing itself!
You can tie a regular bowline, or a bowline on a bight. The same knot will need a different technique for tying on a bight, since you can't pass the ends through. When you tie a bowline on a bight, first you take a bight, then you make a loop.
The site does an amazing job at a visual step-by-step guide that's easy to understand w/o always asking.. "did I skip a step?".. "How does that move that way?" .. The makers seem to have separated their steps in just the right way which is always a challenge. The pictures are high-quality too.
Kudos! Glad to see it get more eyeballs!
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_bend  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_loop  https://www.animatedknots.com/alpine-butterfly-bend-knot  https://www.animatedknots.com/alpine-butterfly-loop-knot
In case its not included at all - I realize the knot has macabre associations, but a site aiming to be an encyclopedia of knots should in my opinion include every knot there is, good or bad alike.
The site also has the noose knot which can be extended to create a hangman's knot: https://www.animatedknots.com/noose-knot
There is some discussion on the noose knot page that indicates the hangman's knot is deliberately not included in the encyclopedia. The site doesn't give a reason for not including it.
I agree it should be included in an encyclopedia of knots. Any knot can be dangerous if you put it around your neck.
For example, suppose I've got two ropes that I want to join together near the ends. I need a splice, right? And there is a "splicing" category...but the "splicing" category only contains one knot for joining two ropes end to end. All the rest are for joining a rope to a non-rope, or joining two non-ropes via a rope, leading me to wonder if I misunderstand what "splice" means.
There are plenty of splices on the site for joining two ropes near their ends, but they aren't in "splicing". There is the Double Fisherman's knot, which is described as being for securely joining two ropes of similar size, which is listed under "climbing" and "scouting". There are similar cases of splices in "fishing" and "boating" and some other categories.
It’s worth having a hardcopy version of Ashley’s Book Of Knots if you’re really into this sort of thing... but for (my) practical purposes, i prefer John Long’s “Climbing Anchors”.
Ironically the most common knot in all climbing, the one used by virtually every climber every day, isn't in Long's books. He doesn't teach how to lace and tie your climbing shoes. There are right and wrong ways. I have seen a climber injured by incorrectly tied boots. They hurt their foot and couldn't remove the boot quickly because the laces were all wrong.
as generalist all-day cragging shoes go, they’re very hard to beat.
The site is the years-long passion project of an anesthesiologist from South Carolina who happens to love making websites, along with his two sons. He's also an avid sailor, holds patents on medical devices, and creator of a bunch of other similarly niche sites devoted to subjects like stereo art, napkin folding, and magic squares. What a guy!
As someone who climbs I'm surprised that the EDK is not high up there.