Its taken me over 6 years learning , amending and improving the knots Ive come across.Ever since my first bushcraft course and I couldn’t remember how to do a bowline after many years of using knots in arboriculture and rescue work.Ive narrowed it down to just over 20 core knots for bushcraft. Not including climbing knots (another section entirely). With another hand full of secondary knots that are worth taking the time to understand. I hope this can be used as a cheat sheet for fellow bushcrafters interested in becoming more proficient with knots for their craft.

Core Knots

Friction knots

Taut Tarp hitch,midshipman’s hitch variation

Prusic, variation larks head

Lashings (Pole to Pole)

Square lashing

Diagonal lashing

Shear lashing

Round lashing

Tripod Lashing


Square lashing – binds two poles together at a 90 degree angle such as in a ridge pole for a shelter or a ladder style pack frame.

Diagonal lashing – braces a rigid structure roycroft pack frame

Shear lashing – joins two poles together to form legs ie instead of three legged tripod only two legs for a tree less tarp set up.

Round lashing – securing two poles together to form an end join as in to extend a pole for a longer saw handle.

Tripod Lashing – as name suggests for making a tripod

Hitches (Cordage to Pole)

Half hitch

Truckers Hitch (Improved)

Clove hitch variation with stop knot lock, with half hitch lock on side, spar hitch, picket line or ground line hitch, constrictor with slip ends

Siberian hitch

Timber hitch

Marlin spike hitch

Round turn and two half hitches variation anchor hitch, double turn and two half hitches

Knots (cordage to Cordage)

Overhand knot, variation double overhand stop knot

slip knot

Fishermans variations double fishermans,tripple

Bowline – yosemite, double, scotts lock, bowline in a bight, twin bowline.

Sheet bend variation double sheet bend

Square knot

Whipping knot

Arbour knot or Canadian jam

Figure 8 standard or trace, inline, on a bight

Tarp corners

zip tie

Secondary knots (worth knowing)

Mechanical Advantage

Flip Flop Winch

Paring ladder

rope break

Fishing knots

Surgeons knot (also for bootlaces)

Trilene knot

Palomar knot



Panic knot

Post hitch

Alpine butterfly

Soft shackles

reever knot

Climbing knots would be another section

USES This is why I never fall into the question of which 5 knots? There are 7 just for a tarp.

Tarp knots

Siberian Hitch, Taut tarp hitch, prusic, truckers hitch, fishermans, bowline, sheetbend.

Siberian hitch or bowline for an ridgeline attachment point

taut tarp hitch for guylines

prusic to tension the apex points

fishermans to form the prusic

truckers to tension the ridgeline

sheet-bend in case you require lengthening the ridgeline