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Canadian Jam Knot

A step-by-step guide for tying a Canadian jam knot.

How to Tie a Canadian Jam Knot

Step 1: Create either a cinch or slip stopper knot at the end of the line, with several inches of a tail at the end.

Step 2: Feed the line around a tree, post, or gear, with the stopper knot running beneath and in front of the line. 

Step 3: Thread the line back, next to the post, and up through the space. 

Step 4: Run the stopper knot through the loop, the same direction as the standing line. 

Step 5: Cinch the knot down by pulling on the long end of the line.

Step 6: Release the knot by pulling on the tail end of the stopper knot. 

Note: You can use a Canadian jam knot by slipping it over gear, tying two overhand knots, and threading the stopper knot through the loop in the second knot.

About the Canadian Jam Knot

The Canadian jam knot is a fisherman and survivalist’s knot. It’s used to tie a fishing line around the arbor of a fishing reel. On a fishing line, it tightens around the running line, but you can use it in any situation where you need a secure hold on a rope. 

The Canadian jam knot simply combines two overhand knots. The first knot is a stopper knot at the end of the line, which prevents the second knot from coming undone. You want several inches of tail behind the stopper before you tie the second knot. You can use either a cinch knot or a slip loop for the stopper, depending on what you’ll be using the Canadian jam knot. The most important part of tying an effective Canadian jam is to make sure the stopper knot is running the same direction through the second knot.

It’s easy to test your technique when tying a Canadian jam. Just keep the lines heading the same direction. Test the knot by pulling against the cord; it should tighten against the load, tree, or post it’s tied around. The knot will stay cinched until you pull it loose with the stopper knot.

Related Knots

Cinch knot: a small, strong knot used to tie a rope around a post or carabiner.  

Slip loop: combines a half hitch with an uni knot to create a non-slip loop. 

Arbor knot: another name for the Canadian jam knot. 

Prusik knot: a friction knot to attach a rope or cord to a standing line. 

When to Use the Canadian Jam Knot

The Canadian jam knot is ideal for any situation where you need to cinch a knot down, but still may need to loosen the knot later.

For Survival

Use the Canadian jam knot to set-up accessible storage, where you’re adding to and removing supplies or gear from a load. With simple engineering, it tightens and releases fast for effective results. 

While Camping

Use it to secure gear and hold a load in place. It also releases with no difficulty in situations where you’re often loading and unloading. This knot works best when used with thick cord or rope. The cinching property is ideal for compressing sleeping bags and other gear in a pack. Because it’s fast to release, you can unload tight-packed equipment with ease. 

With Other Knots

The initial overhand knot at the end of the Canadian jam knot is essential to create the cinching effect. Because it’s a struggle to untie overhand knots once they’re tightened, try using a slip loop for the stopper knot. Instead of feeding the working end through the overhand knot, double up the line and use a loop. You’ll be able to tug the knot free from the rope with ease, no matter how tight the stopper knot gets.

Around the House

This knot is easy to teach the entire family, as it builds on the basics of the half hitch knot. Use it in the garden or when you’re installing seasonal decorations. Don’t be surprised if, after learning the Canadian jam knot, you find occasion to use it throughout the house for quick repairs.