The ability to tie a few simple knots can be very helpful in the outdoors. Leaders should know them, and their uses, and be able to demonstrate them to a beginner.

Reef knot
Used to join two ropes (cords, guys, etc.) of the same size. Easy to undo, by pushing both sides of the knot towards one another.

Fisherman’s knot
Also used to join two ropes of the same size, but holds synthetic rope materials better than a reef knot.

Used to join two ropes of different sizes. Start with a loop in the thicker rope.

Clove hitch
Used for securing a rope to a tree or a pole, or for starting a lashing in stretcher making.

Round turn and two half hitches
Used for securing tent guys to trees, and for general use.

Used where a loop is required that will not slip or draw taut (e.g. around a person’s waist or tying guylines to tents).

Figure of eight knot
Similar function to a bowline, but easier for the beginner to remember, and puts less strain on the rope.

Rolling hitch
Used for increasing the tension on tent guys. The knot is slid up the guy rope to give the required tension. It will not slip backwards by itself, but may be pushed back down the guy to release tension.

Square lashing
The best means of securing two poles at right angles.