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Old 02-24-10, 02:02 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Useful Knots while Touring and Camping?

Some knots can be extremely useful. This is one of the best I've discovered so far:

http://www.ehow.com/video_2355218_ti...itch-knot.html

It has many uses -- securing items to the top of a rack; guying out a tent, fly, or tarp; securing a bear bag; and securing a bike to a rail or to other supports, on a ferry or train, etc., among others.

It also has a perk that is not apparent at first glance. It gives you very effective leverage (a 3:1 mechanical advantage), so you can really tighten things down. No wonder truckers like it and use it a lot. They are usually using it to secure loads, and to cinch the loads down very tightly, securely, and dependably. These same qualities can be useful while touring.

These knots are also extremely easy to tie and 'untie' -- in fact, they are so easy that 'untie' is not the right word. They just pop off when you pull. And the loop disappears immediately when you pull.

They are also easy to tie and learn. Once you've practiced a few times, it gets easier and easier until it is second nature.

***
There is also a series of additional knot videos that appear as thumbnails underneath,

http://www.ehow.com/video_2355214_le...ous-knots.html

If anyone has any other useful knots or ideas on the topic, please feel free to post.

Last edited by Niles H.; 02-24-10 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 02-24-10, 03:09 PM   #2
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Interesting topic! This animated knots website is quite good for those of us who are all thumbs.
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Old 02-24-10, 04:52 PM   #3
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I've found all kinds of uses for the Prusik. You can slide the hitch around when the line is loose, but it holds fast when the line is under tension. Good for taking that last little bit of slack out, or adjusting after a load has shifted slightly
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Old 02-24-10, 05:53 PM   #4
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Niles, I think this has been covered numerous times in the past, "What knot to bring?"
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Old 02-24-10, 10:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Interesting topic! This animated knots website is quite good for those of us who are all thumbs.
Great resource. I saw the bowline on a bight knot and knew this site was a keeper.
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Old 02-25-10, 05:41 AM   #6
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I tend to forget how to tie the knots when I'm out on the road, so I recently ordered a set of these cards, which I carry in my wallet.
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Old 02-25-10, 06:10 AM   #7
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And for us tech geeks, there are numerous app's for our Ipod's that show knot animations.
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Old 02-25-10, 07:38 AM   #8
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Truckers hitch is probably one of the most useful (though at most it's 2:1 theoretical mech advantage, but closer to 1:1 since there are no pulleys involved).

The clove hitch is very useful for attaching the end of a line to something like a tree.
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Old 02-25-10, 02:12 PM   #9
Niles H.
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Truckers hitch is probably one of the most useful (though at most it's 2:1 theoretical mech advantage, but closer to 1:1 since there are no pulleys involved).

The clove hitch is very useful for attaching the end of a line to something like a tree.
The mechanical advantage would depend on at least several factors, not the least of which is the type of cordage or rope being used.

I've seen 3:1 claimed more than a few times. But I haven't seen an in-depth discussion.

Do you have some kind of empirical or other evidence in support of the 2:1 or 'closer to 1:1' assertions?

I can say from using this knot many times that you can definitely cinch things down very tightly, which is the key point. Truckers have also found this to be true. It works quite well for this.

Subjectively, there definitely is a sense of having significant mechanical advantage.

Thanks for the clove hitch suggestion. I'll check it out.
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Old 02-25-10, 02:16 PM   #10
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I tend to forget how to tie the knots when I'm out on the road, so I recently ordered a set of these cards, which I carry in my wallet.
Good resource.

I've found that it's easy to forget the knots if you don't use them much, or if you haven't yet used them much.

After a point -- after using a knot some number of times -- it becomes naturally etched in memory. It's almost like muscle memory. In fact, it may literally involve muscle memory.

Like tying your shoes.... After a point (event though it was hard at first), you can do it without thinking.

And the memory seems to last quite a while -- even after many years of non-use.
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Old 02-25-10, 02:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
Some knots can be extremely useful. This is one of the best I've discovered so far:

http://www.ehow.com/video_2355218_ti...itch-knot.html

It has many uses -- securing items to the top of a rack; guying out a tent, fly, or tarp; securing a bear bag; and securing a bike to a rail or to other supports, on a ferry or train, etc., among others.

It also has a perk that is not apparent at first glance. It gives you very effective leverage (a 3:1 mechanical advantage), so you can really tighten things down. No wonder truckers like it and use it a lot. They are usually using it to secure loads, and to cinch the loads down very tightly, securely, and dependably. These same qualities can be useful while touring.

These knots are also extremely easy to tie and 'untie' -- in fact, they are so easy that 'untie' is not the right word. They just pop off when you pull. And the loop disappears immediately when you pull.

They are also easy to tie and learn. Once you've practiced a few times, it gets easier and easier until it is second nature.

***
There is also a series of additional knot videos that appear as thumbnails underneath,

http://www.ehow.com/video_2355214_le...ous-knots.html

If anyone has any other useful knots or ideas on the topic, please feel free to post.
You can double the trucker's hitch back on itself and increase the leverage further...kind of a poor man's block and tackle I've use them to make really tight clothes lines but be careful when you pick your trees. Aspen...populus tremuliodies...can be make a very disconcerting cracking sound as you tighten the line. And I was only using 1/4" line

I learned how to do the trucker's knot before I started bicycling...when I was a trucker You can damage the outer sheets of plywood or sheet rock if you use a 1/2" line and really cinch it down tight. You also get a butt chewing when you do that

Other knots that are handy are the bowline (mentioned by gerv) and the sheetbend. The sheetbend allows you to join two lengths of line together if you need a longer rope and is nice when you want to roll all your cordage into one bundle.
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Old 02-25-10, 03:08 PM   #12
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Which knots do you recommend for setting up tarps?
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Old 02-25-10, 03:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
Do you have some kind of empirical or other evidence in support of the 2:1 or 'closer to 1:1' assertions?
It's ordinary block and tackle mechanics. Using two pulleys in place of the TH loop and the object that the line slides around would give a mechanical advantage of 2 - that's the most it could be. Technically there would be a reduction for friction, but commonly it would be called 2. IIRC, in seamanship, the configuration would approximate "gun tackle."

Line sliding over line and around things like trees, posts or rails would seem to significantly reduce the mechanical advantage due to significant friction. I have no empirical evidence, just common sense that says it would be significantly less than 2:1.

I'd guess that the internet has lots of resources explaining rigging or block and tackle mechanics if you'd like to learn about it. Just stay away from the sources that say it's 3:1
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Old 02-25-10, 03:35 PM   #14
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Which knots do you recommend for setting up tarps?
The trucker's knot has worked very well.

One thing I would add to the video: it often helps to leave yourself some extra room. The way he shows it in the video, if he wanted to cinch it down some more at some point, he would soon run out of room. The loop should (in many cases) be tied up farther -- away from you, or away from the end that you are looping around a tent stake (or whatever else you are looping it around to anchor it).

The idea is just to allow for extra cinching. The system (or the knot) gives you extra power to cinch things tight, and you often end up cinching in more line than you expect at first. Just leave some extra cinching room by putting the loop up farther (toward the tarp, if that's what you are using, or away from the anchor).

It becomes clear once you do it a few times.

Last edited by Niles H.; 02-25-10 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 02-25-10, 06:40 PM   #15
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The mechanical advantage of a block and tackle system is easy to calculate. If you take the number of lines running into and out of the moving block( in this case the loop) that gives you your theoretical mechanical advantage. In the truckers hitch case, 2 lines(one in, one out) gives you a mechanical advantage of 2. In reality, it is less for several reasons. The bend the running line makes passing through the loop is much less then the minimum bend usually recommended for block and tackle systems,the larger the radius of the bend, the lower the friction . The friction of the rope sliding on itself is high, in fact you can quite easily wear right through the loop if your pulling a fair bit of rope under some tension. This is fairly common, particularily with synthetic ropes. All that aside , the truckers hitch is a very useful hitch. IMHO, the bowline and or figure of eight , clove hitch and sheet bend, along with the truckers hitch should cover most of your knot tying needs
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Old 02-26-10, 02:07 AM   #16
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The mechanical advantage of a block and tackle system is easy to calculate. If you take the number of lines running into and out of the moving block( in this case the loop) that gives you your theoretical mechanical advantage. In the truckers hitch case, 2 lines(one in, one out) gives you a mechanical advantage of 2. In reality, it is less for several reasons. The bend the running line makes passing through the loop is much less then the minimum bend usually recommended for block and tackle systems,the larger the radius of the bend, the lower the friction . The friction of the rope sliding on itself is high, in fact you can quite easily wear right through the loop if your pulling a fair bit of rope under some tension. This is fairly common, particularily with synthetic ropes. All that aside , the truckers hitch is a very useful hitch. IMHO, the bowline and or figure of eight , clove hitch and sheet bend, along with the truckers hitch should cover most of your knot tying needs
Cheers
I get 3:1. The equivalent system has a load on pulley A and a cable fixed to its axle. This cable goes around pulley B (the tree) and back through pulley A, giving three tensions of cable acting on pulley A.

Much less in reality, of course.

No?
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Old 02-26-10, 07:16 AM   #17
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I get 3:1. The equivalent system has a load on pulley A and a cable fixed to its axle. This cable goes around pulley B (the tree) and back through pulley A, giving three tensions of cable acting on pulley A.

Much less in reality, of course.

No?
No. look up "block and tackle" in wikipedia - they seem to have it right.
Regardless, it's a good knot to know.
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Old 02-26-10, 08:21 AM   #18
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my favorite is one my Dad taught me when I was very young. It's easy to learn and easy to remember. it can be used in a variety of ways for almost everything. it works with string; cord; thin or think rope; on nylon or any material. I don't know the name but what you do:

fold a length of the end of the rope back on itself then tie that in a single knot making a tied loop at the end. there you go! with this simple loop in the end of the rope you can do just about anything with the rope.
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Old 02-26-10, 08:24 AM   #19
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No. look up "block and tackle" in wikipedia - they seem to have it right.
Regardless, it's a good knot to know.
It's the functional equivalent of the luff tackle arrangement (without the last loop of the free end over the fixed pulley).

So, 3:1.

Last edited by Pedaleur; 02-26-10 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 02-26-10, 10:30 AM   #20
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I use the alpine butterfly bend for my compass lanyard and hammock extension webbing; the tautline hitch (or variant) on my guy lines; the constrictor knot for my cadence magnet and chainstay protector; and the highwayman's hitch occasionally for securing miscellaneous items. I secure my sleeping pad to my rack with a surgeon's knot, which is the reef knot with a double (or triple) overhand knot as the base knot. At some point I'll probably transition to the packer's knot for this last purpose.
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Old 02-26-10, 11:58 AM   #21
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Cool link

I learned about the truckers hitch a few years ago, its such an awesome knot. I use it for guyouts, hanging my hammock, and for securing my tarps.. Good stuff
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Old 02-26-10, 02:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
It's the functional equivalent of the luff tackle arrangement (without the last loop of the free end over the fixed pulley).

So, 3:1.
Gun tackle not luff - sketch it out to prove it to yourself. It's that last line over pulley that makes a luff 3:1. Without it, it's a gun tackle and 2:1.
I guess this is not as simple for people as I thought.

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Old 02-26-10, 02:31 PM   #23
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Gun tackle not luff - sketch it out to prove it to yourself. It's that last line over pulley that makes a luff 3:1
I guess this is not as simple for people as I thought.
The last line over the upper pulley in a luff is irrelevant to the force on the lower pulley.

But since everyone demands a FBD, here is the functional equivalent of the trucker's hitch:



The upper pulley is the tree, the lower is the loop.

Last edited by Pedaleur; 02-26-10 at 02:35 PM. Reason: anti-botto'ism
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Old 02-26-10, 02:34 PM   #24
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Alternatively, if you insist on calling it a gun tackle, you have to consider the force on the _upper_ pulley in the wikipedia page.
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Old 02-26-10, 07:27 PM   #25
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I stand corrected. I should have looked at the video first. I use a slightly different version of the knot. You are correct, because the line passes around the fixed object, it effectively gives you a three part line on the blocks
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