The basics ,,,,,

Knots are frequently a foreign subject for new leaders. However, taking the time to learn them will serve you and your Scouts as well on campouts and other occasions.

Knots are a skill taught at every level of Scouting from Cub to Boy Scout. The Wolf Cub will find them in Elective 17 - Tie It Right. The Bear will encounter them in Achievement 22 - Tying It All Up. Webelos will have a chance in the Outdoorsman requirements. Scouts will have some of them as requirements for rank as noted in the table below.

Knot name
Scout Level
Knot Type
Comments and uses

Bear, Webelos, First Class

The bowline is the universal fixed end
loop. It may be tied in a variety of 
sizes for many uses. It is frequently 
referred to as a rescue knot due to its 
use in rescue harnesses. It does not slip.
If you look closely you will see that it 
is related to the sheet bend.

Clove hitch
Webelos, First Class
Hitch -- like hitching your horse
The clove hitch is a quick method for
securing a line to a post. It may be 
tied very quickly with two overhand loops
dropped onto the post. Load should be 
applied perpendicular to the post.



Temporary whipping. 
End of line stopper knot.
The simplest knot.

Overhand bend


Simplest bend to join two lines. 
Hard to untie.


Bear, Webelos

The sheet bend, while not required, 
is illustrated in the Bear, Webelos, 
Boy Scout Handbooks. It is reliable 
under load and particularly good for 
joining ropes of different sizes 
(the smaller line should follow the 
pattern of the light line in the 
illustration).It is a must know 
knotting basic.

Slip knot

Actually an in line loop . One way 
of tying this is actually a noose. 
Can also be a simple hitch.

Wolf, Bear, Webelos, Joining Scout
Joining or also known as a bend
The square knot is generally uses for 
tying bandages and general bundle tying. 
It is NOT a reliable method for joining 
two ropes that are under strain as the
knot can be broken easily and creates a 
risk. Outside the US this is known as a 
reef knot.

Square bow knot

Keeps your shoes tied. If your bow
lays square to your shoe then this 
is what you are doing

Webelos, Tenderfoot
Loop adjust
The tautline is versatile because it is 
an adjustable loop which holds its 
adjustment  under tension. Relieve the 
tension, adjust to size and reapply 
tension. This used in conjunction with 
two half hitches will provide a taut 
hold for tent and fly lines.

Timber hitch
First Class

Beginning for diagonal lashing, drawing 
the spars together.

Two Half Hitches
Bear, Webelos, Tenderfoot

Two half hitches will serve well in 
attaching lines to eyes on tents, dining 
flies and other items where an attachment 
of a line is needed.

There are literally thousands of knots recorded. However, the basic Scout knots will do for nearly any occasion. The various Scout handbooks have excellent instructions for tying them. Learn them and use them.

JK 8-3-95












The "40 KNOTS" card for the knot impaired