Creative and Practical: Innovative Uses of Knots in Bushcraft

Creative and Practical: Innovative Uses of Knots in Bushcraft

In our recent blog, Knots 101, we went through the must-know knots for linking short lines, crafting shelters, cooking in the great outdoors, and handling outdoor first aid.

Now, let's dive deeper into the world of knots in bushcraft, exploring more clever ways to use them in various situations.

This blog will demonstrate how knots, going beyond their fundamentals, can be incredibly useful and clever in numerous aspects of outdoor enjoyment.

We'll specifically look into the following uses:

  • Bushcraft Zipper Pulls

  • Quick-Release Knots for Gear

  • Knots in Tool Handles

  • Knots for Innovative Fishing Techniques

  • Navigation Markers & Knot-Based Clothing Adjustments

  • Knots in Bushcraft Furniture

While these knots may be a bit more challenging than the basics, they can significantly elevate your bushcraft experience.

So, let's untangle the secrets of these knots and take your bushcraft expertise to the next level!

Bushcraft Zipper Pulls

To begin, let's dive into the world of bushcraft zipper pulls, starting with those crafted from the Snake Knot.

These unique additions bring a practical flair to your outdoor gear.

When we talk about outdoor essentials like backpacks, first aid kits, and outdoor clothing, they often come with standard zipper pulls.

The issue is, these original pulls can not cut it in wet conditions. That's where the brilliance of the snake knot comes into play.

Tying a snake knot to your zipper gives you more than just a decorative touch. In the unpredictable outdoors, especially when things get wet, the snake knot delivers a better grip.

It becomes your reliable companion, ensuring that opening and closing zippers remain smooth, even when the weather throws a curveball.

What makes these knots even more remarkable is their adaptability in the field. Imagine you're out there, and one of your zipper pulls decides to call it quits.

No worries! The snake knot can be easily replaced or even improvised on the spot. This little maneuver can be a game-changer, ensuring that your gear stays operational without a hitch.

Tying a snake knot is a straightforward process that involves a series of overhand knots.

How To Tie A Snake Knot

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to tie a snake knot:

Begin by locating the center of your cord and folding it in half.

On the right side, near the centerfold, form a loop with the working line on top.

Next, take the working line on the left and feed it through the loop from behind.

Run the working line over the right line and back through the loop from behind.

Tighten the first knot by pulling on the center point and both left and right lines.

Then, loosen the first knot slightly.

Pass the line on the left behind the right, upwards, and through the previous loop. Pull the right rope to tighten.

Flip the knot over. This step is crucial; every time you have done the last step, you need to flip the knot over.

Loosen the last knot, pass the line on the left behind the right, up, and through the previous loop. Pull the right rope to tighten again.

Repeat this process until you've achieved the desired length. The more knots you add, the longer and thicker the snake knot will become.

Once you've reached the desired length, secure the last overhand knot by tightening it well. Trim any excess cord, leaving a small tail if needed.

Congratulations! You've successfully tied a snake knot.

This knot is indeed complex; you really need more time to master it.

Keep at it, and soon you'll be effortlessly creating snake knots for various applications.

Bushcraft Zipper Pulls

Quick-Release Knots for Gear

The second cool way to use knots is by making quick-release knots with something called the Highwayman's Hitch.

These knots help to tie up things quickly and can be easily undone.

Imagine you're out in the wild, and you need to organize your gear fast.

The Highwayman's Hitch is like a superhero knot for this job. It makes sure things are tied up securely, but when you need to move or adjust things, it's super easy to untie.

These knots save time and make it simpler to change your plans when things in nature surprise you.

If you need to let a bunch of firewood go in a hurry or fix your shelter in a snap, these knots are like your secret weapon.

How To Tie A Highwayman's Hitch

Tying a Highwayman's Hitch is honestly quite easy to master. Follow these steps:

Begin by taking a bight of the rope behind the support.

Next, form another bight with the rope on the right and pass it through the bight on the top.

Create an additional bight with the rope on the left and pass it through the bight created with the rope on the right.

Now, pull the top loop and the standing part of the rope.

And there you have it! Your knot is complete.

In a nutshell, these knots save time and effort and show how ready you are for anything in the wild.

Quick-Release Knots for Gear

Knots in Tool Handles

The third way to use knots in bushcraft is on the handles of your tools, like knives, axes, and even your walking stick.

Tying knots on handles isn't just for looks; it's also about making your tools work better.

A great knot for this job is the Turk's Head Knot.

It's like a special design tightly woven around the handle of a knife, making it comfy to hold and preventing slips.

When you use your tools, having a good grip is super important. It helps you control them better and reduces the chance of accidents.

The Turk's Head Knot on the handles ensures your tools stay snug in your hands, even in rainy conditions or when wearing gloves.

But it's not only about functionality. Tying knots on tool handles is like saying, "I care about how my tools look and how well they work."

It's about adding your personal touch to your tools to make them fit you and the outdoors better.

That's why I opt for the Turk's Head Knot, applying it to every one of my knives using paracord in various colors.

How To Tie A Turk's Head Knot

Honestly, tying this knot is even trickier than mastering the snake knot.

Start by forming an "X" shape and passing the tag end from below.

Now, pass it from beneath the upper part of the "X."

Guide it behind and pass it as demonstrated.

Flip the entire structure.

Next, pass the tag end from below the upper part of the "X" once again.

Give the structure another flip.

Interweave the end following the shown pattern.

Carefully take it out completely.

Repeat steps 2-8 if you want to double the braid.

And once more, go through the same steps to triple the braid. Tuck the ends.

Because this knot is truly complex, I recommend checking out the tutorial video for a visual guide:

So, in a nutshell, tying knots on tool handles is like giving your tools a double boost—they work better, and they look cooler too.

It's a way of making your mark in the outdoors with tools that are just right for you.

Knots in Tool Handles

Knots for Innovative Fishing Techniques

Knots also come in handy for making fishing gear on the fly, especially if you're into trout fishing like I am.

Knowing the Snell Knot is a real game-changer, and here's why:

Firstly, it's great for getting those hooks securely in place.

When you use it with an "Octopus Hook," where the eye curves back, your line stays right in line with the hook's shank, helping you hook your catch better.

It's also super useful with Circle Hooks. The way this knot is set up makes the circle hook turn into the fish's lip more than a regular knot would.

What's cool is there's no knot above the eye of the hook.

This means no chance of grass or debris getting caught, which could happen with a knot above the eye.

How To Tie A Snell Knot

There are different ways to snell a hook, and we've found this one to be the easiest and best.

Professional bass fisherman Kevin Hawk from the Elite Series recommends this method.

To start, put the free end of the fishing line through the hook eye towards the point of the hook.

Make a small loop and bring the free end behind the hook shank, leaving about 4 inches (10cm) of line to work with.

Now, start wrapping the free end around the hook shank and the line, moving from the point to the eye.

Do 5-7 wraps, then pull the free end out through the loop from underneath to on top.

While holding the wraps in place, pull the free end to tighten the knot.

Make sure the wraps look neat on the hook shank and pull both ends very tight.

Clip the excess free end, and there you go!

People used to love this knot back when hooks didn't have eyes with holes. Those hooks could only be tied to a line using the snell knot.

Even though most hooks today have holes, the snell knot is still a smart way to connect your line to your hook.

It gets the job done and keeps you ready to reel in the big one!

Knots for Innovative Fishing Techniques

Navigation Markers & Knot-Based Clothing Adjustments

Previously, we talked about the cool bowline knot, which is like a superhero knot for securing the bow of a ship, and its applications in rock climbing.

But guess what? It's even handier than we thought!

First off, imagine you're exploring a new place, and you want to make sure you find your way back.

The bowline knot becomes your buddy by helping you tie strong loops around branches or rocks.

These loops act like signs that can handle all sorts of weather.

So, not only does it help you not get lost, but it also shows how clever and creative you are in the wild.

Thanks to this knot, I didn't end up lost during my recent bushcraft adventure in Ma On Shan Country Park, unlike the poor guy Matthew Tsang.

Secondly, the blowline knot can make your clothes work better.

Outdoor adventures can be tricky, right? Sometimes you need to tighten your hood, keep your pants secure, or fix up a makeshift poncho.

Well, enter the bowline knot—it's like a fashion superhero that lets you adjust things on the go.

So, next time you forget how to tie a bowline knot, just check out our earlier blog piece, Knots 101: Essential Knots Every Outdoor Enthusiast Should Know for a quick reminder.

It's like having a superhero toolkit for your outdoor fun!

Navigation Markers & Knot-Based Clothing Adjustments

Knots in Bushcraft Furniture

The last cool way to use knots is to build furniture, like chairs.

Skills such as shear lashing and the taut-line hitch come into play, allowing you to fashion robust and reliable structures using whatever materials you have.

Furniture created with knots isn't just practical; it also showcases the bushcrafter's knack for adapting and creating comfort in the wild.

These makeshift pieces can truly elevate your bushcraft experience, turning it into something special.

Imagine this: a crackling fire, food simmering in your titanium pot, and you comfortably seated in a chair with a cup of coffee under the starry night.

Sounds amazing, right?

Now, let's talk about making a bushcraft chair.

Remember how to build a tripod for cooking in the Knots 101 blog? Well, a simple tweak to the tripod can transform it into a comfy chair.

Once the tripod is set up, attach your tarp to the three pods using a taut-line hitch.

And there you have it—a chair that's like a tripod hammock, offering a cozy spot to relax in the midst of your bushcraft adventures.

I make this chair on almost every adventure I go on; it really helps ease tiredness and stress.

Knots in Bushcraft Furniture


In bushcraft, knots are like secret tools that make outdoor activities more fun and useful.

From cool zipper pulls to quick-release knots for gear and knots on tool handles that look good and help you hold things better, they're like little superpowers for outdoor lovers.

Even fishing gets an upgrade with the snell knot, making it easier to catch fish.

Bowline knots can also become handy signs in the wild and help fix your clothes when you're outside.

But the coolest part is making furniture with knots. Imagine turning sticks into a comfy chair using shear lashing and taut-line hitch. It's like building your own adventure zone in the wild!

So, knots in bushcraft are like magic tricks, making everything from gear to furniture more awesome and fun!

If you'd like to talk about how you use knots in your bushcraft adventures, go ahead and drop a comment below!

To your next adventure


Older post Newer post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published