Saturday, October 10, 2015

Field Guide to Knots

9781615192762Field Guide to Knots – How to Identify, Tie, and Untie over 80 Essential Knots for Outdoor Pursuits
Written by Bob Holtzman
Published at The Experiment

About the book

A Fasten-ating Guide to Knots for Every Adventure!

The perfect knot can make any job quicker, easier, and safer—whether you need to build a shelter, tether a horse, rappel down a cliff, or moor a boat. In The Field Guide to Knots, veteran outdoorsman Bob Holtzman helps you:

  • Select and tie the right knot for any task
  • Identify and untie existing knots
  • Choose and maintain your rope, and more!

With more than 80 time-tested knots and more than 600 color photos, this Field Guide is indispensible for backpackers, climbers, sailors, anglers, hunters, equestrians—and anyone else who’s ever needed to change a sail, reposition a climbing rope, or splice a tent pole!

My Thoughts

This book brings me back to my days of girl guide…   I have lost my touch with some of the things I have learned back then but I remember doing knots with my rope and making a shelter in the wood.   Some things can be lost if you don’t practice regularly and making knots is something that I recently took over again because of our boat.   Having this little book will be very helpful for when we go boating or rving.    You never know when you will need a useful book like this one…

The book is divided into nine parts.

  1. Rope and Knot Basics – anatomy and taxonomy, wokring terms and basic shapes, types of knots, finishing knits, untying knots, buying rope, rope construction and materials, natural versus synthetic fibers, caring for rope, coiling for storage, alpine coil, fireman’s coil, wrapped and reef-knotted coil, butterfly coil.
  2. Foundation Knots – overhand knot, slipped overhand knot, double overhand knot, overhand loop, single hitch, half knot, half hitch, slipped half hitch.
  3. Stopper Knots – figure 8 knot, figure 8 knot – alternate model, slipped figure 8 knot, stopper knot, sink stopper knot, Stevedore knot, heaving line knot, monkey’s fist.
  4. Binding Knots – square knot, slipped square knot, granny knot, thief knot, surgeon’s knot, surgeon’s knot with second tuck, strangle knot, Miller’s knot, Packer’s knot.
  5. Loop Knots – double overhand loop, figure 8 loop, threaded figure 8 loop, directional figure 8 loop, fisherman’s loop, double overhand sliding loop, angler’s loop, bowline, bowline with stopper, one-handed bowline, Dutch bowline, bowline with two turns, water bowline, Portuguese bowline.
  6. Bends – water knot, sheet bend, double sheet bend, tucked sheet bend, three-way sheet bend, Flemish bend, double figure 8 bend, Carrick bend, zeppelin bend, hunter’s bend, Ashley’s bend, fisherman’s knot, double fisherman’s knot, blood knot.
  7. Hitches – marlinespike hitch, round turn and two half hitches, turn and two half hitches, taut line hitch, buntline hitch, anchor bend – version 1, anchor bend – version 2, clove hitch, clove hitch on a bight, constrictor knot, rolling hitch, timber hitch, cow hitch method 1: on a bight, cow hitch method 2: in a sling, cow hitch method 3: over the end, cow hitch method 4: with one working end, pedigree cow hitch, cow hitch with a toggle, mooring hitch, highwayman’s hitch.
  8. Lashings and Special-purpose Knots – square lashing, diagonal lashing, sheer lashing, pole lashing, slip knot trucker’s hitch, sheepshank, cleat hitch, prusik knot, klemheist knot, Italian hitch.
  9. Whipping and Seizing – material and general methods, common whipping, French whipping, and flat seizing.

The book is packed with instructions and detailed pictures on how to make each of these knots.   Each knot also indicates the uses for it, the pros and the cons.  You will also have information on how to untie the knot (I even seen this suggestion to untie one of the knots in the book: “Got a knife?”.)  I am very impressed with the step-by-step photos which help you to accomplish the knot you are trying to make.   The book itself is small enough to be included in a backpack if you want to bring it with you on an expedition along with rope obviously.

This book could be a great addition to your personal library if you want to learn or desire your children to learn basic knots for various activities.   Having a boat and RV as well as being fishing often during the summer time, we think that some of these knots will come in handy for us – whether the adults or the children in the family.   However, somehow something is missing with this book.  I would have been nice to also include a rope in order to practice the knots included in the book.   Maybe in the next packaging of the book, the publisher could also include a decent length of rope so that the reader can practice the knots. Consequently, next time I go to our local Canadian Tire, I will try to go purchase some rope so that I can teach my kids some basics knots for our boating and fishing adventures next year.   

The Field Guide of Knots is available for purchase at your favorite bookstore, even on and


Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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