One knot To Rule Them All – Readyman

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One knot To Rule Them All

Posted on May 25 2019

After almost 30 years as a Green Beret I found that there is one knot that I use 99% of the time to solve the issues common to the wilderness and every day life.

The overhand knot is the king daddy of the knot world for one reason, versatility. The overhand knot can be tied at the end, middle or in a series, depending on your need. It can be used to tie down loads in a truck, hang a hammock or make a securing string on a box guitar string tight. Lets explore some of the different ways an over hand knot can be used and why it is an essential knot to know.

1-Hanging loop – Need to hang something off the ground or from a tree or other elevated structure?  The overhand knot works well to hook onto and hold items.

2-Attaching loop – As a multipurpose anchor point for securing items, an overhand knot works well to attach a carabineer to. 

3-Slip knot – Reaching through the overhand knot and pulling the running end through the loop will create a strong slipknot.  You can see this demonstrated on  This is an incredibly useful tool for everything from, traps, snares, lashings, dragging items, and hanging game in trees to prepare for skinning.

4-Truckers hitch – This is the single best way to tie a load down in a truck.  By running another piece of rope or cord through the loop then pulling back and tying off with a half hitch, you can get the rope guitar string taunt.  This the same mechanical advantage that the RATS Tourniquet uses to get tight enough to stop blood flow.

5-Quick release truckers hitch – Just a variation of the above, where a quick release half hitch is used.  This can be done in a daisy chain series to ensure non slippage and will release the knot with a simple tug.

6-Retrievable rope bridge – I was taught what we called the “Gallant knot” when I was in Special Forces school.  It was named after SFC Gallant who was one of the senior instructors at SWTB and was a bit of a legend.  A large over hand knot is tied in the end of the rope, that is then wrapped twice around a tree, the end of the over hand loop then loops through itself leaving a small loop.  A stick is then placed though this loop to lock it in place.  A one-line tension bridge is then formed, the last man across ties para-cord to the stick and crosses the river.  Once on the other side of the river a small tug will release the stick and release the rope bridge to be retrieved on the other side of the river.

7-Rope ladder – This is just a series of over hand knots tied in a rope.  The loops that are created work as foot stirrups so that you have a place to put your feet and hold your weight so that your grip is not wiped out.  

8-Budweiser line – Same as the rope ladder only this is used by Special Operations Combat Divers to keep a team together when diving an infiltration at night.  Not as useful for SHTF survival but cool enough to mention here.   Each dive team member uses their own line with carabineer to snap into their assigned loop.  That way confusion in the dark or waves don’t separate the team.

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