Our collective knowledge of bushcraft knots is taking a huge hit in modern society. Our kids have just as many options for shoes without laces as they do to use shoes with laces. The earliest knot we teach our children are disappearing. That is just one small example of where that knowledge is being lost.
We have compiled a massive list that includes 20 of the best bushcraft knots every survivalist should know. These bushcraft knots vary in use and difficulty. However, we have covered a large variety that can be used for climbing, lashing, fishing, and bushcraft shelter making.
Cordage for Bushcraft Knots
We have 21 of the best bushcraft knots every survivalist should know and they can be tied using all kinds of cordage. Some are best used in course rope, others in fine lines and strands, and some are even designed for monofilament.
However, there are some cordage options that you should consider when you are talking about bringing cordage into the bush. You cannot bring every type of rope and cordage with you but if you know what to pack then you will be prepared to take advantage of these bushcraft knots.
Let’s look at two of the most popular types of bushcraft cordage.
Paracord is short for parachute cord. It is a hollow chord that contains 5-7 individual smaller strands. I like paracord because it gives you options to use the combined strength that can be as much as 500lbs or more, depending on the brand and type. You can also separate the two and have thicker cordage and strands of finer cordage for things like survival fishing or other tasks.
Bankline is waxed cordage that is smaller than paracord but can still hold a lot of weight. You can carry much more bankline on a spool than you can paracord because of the mass. Bankline is effective but it is not a hollow cord and does not contain any smaller lengths of line inside like the paracord.
The Best Bushcraft Knots for Survivalists
1. Overhand Knot
Also known as the Thumb Knot it is great to tie the loose ends of a rope together. It is also a knot to tie into a rope to assure you can grip and climb it. This simple knot is a great place to start.
2. Double Overhand Knot
This knot is just a fortified version of our first knot. It is made with one additional pass which makes the knot harder to untie and easier to grip. The overhand knot and the double overhand are both very easy bushcraft knots to tie.
3. Figure 8 Knot
The figure 8 knot is a must-tie. If you take nothing else away from 21 of the best bushcraft knots every survivalist should know, then take this knot and beat it into your head. The figure 8 knot is so effective that it is used in fishing, boating, climbing, and even jewelry making!
4. Off Shore Swivel Knot
This is purely a fisherman’s line that is used to tie a hook or a weight to the main fishing line. The offshore swivel knot is not a hard one to tie and it will never come undone. If you like fishing from shore or pier fishing this knot is a must.
5. Granny Knot
The Granny Knot is a binding knot and should be used to tie rope or string onto other things. If you are trying to affix a rope or something attached to a rope around something else then the granny knot can do that for you.
This knot is weak and is better used in things like jewelry making. The lore says that it might have been named Granny for granary and that it was used to tie the tops of bags of grain.
6. Sheep Shank
This is an old knot that is designed to be tied into an old coarse rope. Modern synthetic ropes help this not fail particularly when the line is slack. The sheepshank would have been used to shorten a length of rope, deal with slack in a line or even protect a damaged length in the rope.
The bowline is a knot that is designed to create a loop at the end of your rope. This is a great knot for attaching gear to your pack and has been historically used on sailing vessels. Its name comes from its use on boats. The bowline holds a square sail at the front of the boat.
8. Square Knot
The square knot is an ancient binding knot that is used to affix rope around an object. This is a very basic knot that all survivalists should know. The square knot is easy to learn how to tie and very effective.
9. Double Clinch Knot
The double clinch is a great knot for the survivalist fisherman to know. Fishing knots are necessary when learning 21 of the best bushcraft knots every survivalist should know. Fish is an easy source of protein when you are surviving or even just camping!
10. Sheet Bend Bow Knot
This is one of the very best knots for combining two lengths of rope. The great thing about this knot is that it can even combine two types of rope that are vastly different in diameter. It’s not a difficult knot to tie but it takes some practice.
11. Clove Hitch
The clove hitch is easily one of the most popular knots and is used all over the world. This knot can serve a number of different purposes but is used for starting and finishing lashes. It can be tied in the end or middle of the rope.
12. Half Hitch
The half hitch is one of the most essential and simple knots on the list of 21 of the best bushcraft knots every survivalist should know. On its own, the half hitch is not the strongest knot but it is the basis for many other knots which makes it very important.
13. Water Knot
This versatile knot is used for climbing, anchoring, and netting. It is a great knot for combining two lengths of rope. This is a knot that can bear lots of weight when tied properly.
14. Sailors Knot
You might know this knot by many other names. Its most popular name is the carrick bend. This is a maritime knot that is designed for joining two lengths of rope together. This knot can work for thick rope, fine string, or even two ropes of differing sizes.
15. Fisherman’s Knot
What do you think the fisherman’s knot is used for? It is a knot that is designed to join two thin lengths of rope, string, or strands or monofilament together. This can be a very helpful knot if get into fly fishing.
Although using line leaders is becoming much more popular in spin fishing, too. The fisherman’s knot is really easy to tie and very effective.
16. Millers Knot
Also known as the constrictor’s hitch, this is a powerful hitch-style knot. You are creating something similar to a clove hitch. It is a stronger and safer hitch than a clove hitch. This is a very easy knot to practice and can be used in all kinds of applications.
17. Bowstring Knot
The bowstring knot is designed to tie a large loop into a rope. This knot creates something like a common lasso. First, you create the loop that will become the lasso and then you tie that loop into place with a simple knot.
This knot will create the very best lasso in a stiff rope.
18. Trilene Knot
I have tied more Trilene knots in fishing hooks than any other kind of knot by a long shot. This is one of the very best fishing knots that you can use to tie lines to hooks. This knot is very strong and involves twisting the fishing line to make the knot even stronger.
This knot is named after the Trilene fishing line.
19. Bosuns Whistle Knot
This is a lanyard knot that is used to create a loop at the end of a rope or string to hang things from. This is a very attractive knot but it is a little complex. However, once you get a chance to practice it you will see it is easier than it looks.
20. The Perfection Loop
The perfection loop is one of those incredible knots that is as effective as it is easy to tie. This is one of the best knots for creating a loop at the end of fishing line for rigging up some pier fishing tackle. In fact, it is one of the 12 major fishing knots that you should know. It is even called the angler’s knot.
Wrapping Up the Best Bushcraft Knots for Survivalists
Just as the right tool for the job makes things easier, the right bushcraft knot for the job is just as important. Start practicing these bushcraft knots so that you might carry this knowledge with you and convey it to the next generation.
So this makes up 20 of the best bushcraft knots, every survivalist should know. These bushcraft knots have literally been integral parts of sheltering and feeding our species for thousands of years. They deserve our attention and a bit of a legacy.