This has been a question I have been asked several times in the past six months for various reasons and has been one of the most difficult for me to answer. So I opted the other day to phone a mate for a second opinion. His reply “It was a non question, it depended on perspective”.

So this is probably going to be the longest Non Answer in history. It will come down to what your background is and what you expect to get out of bushcraft. A Fisherman will be expecting a different 5 knots to someone with a Search and Rescue background for example. Does your bushcraft involve using tarps or tents, do you go bush to abseil? Are you an instructor and want to build from basic knots that arent difficult to learn and make the experience enjoyable and not over whelming, so the student wants to come back and learn more knots?

Climbing knots (disclaimer: examples my rope work ticket expired)

Belaying,securing yourself to a carabiner, anchor or harness , joining webbing , Rappelling, handholds or foot holds, for friction or sliding

Prusic, double figure 8, water knot reinforced, triple fisherman’s, alpine butterfly, clove hitch, barrel knot.

Tarp knots; siberian hitch, truckers hitch, taut tarp hitch, prusic, sheet bend.

Fishing knots; Surgeons knot, Trilene knot, Palomar knot, Snelling

Lashings for building; Square lashing, Diagonal lashing, Shear lashing, Round lashing, Tripod Lashing.Timber hitch to start lashings, half hitch to finish them.

4WD Recovery; soft shackles, figure 8s (if all you have is an old rope in the back of a ute and not proper recovery snatch straps and braided kinetic rope).

Join two ropes together; (same diameter) fisherman’s, double fisherman’s, (uneven diameter)double sheet bend.

Teaching someone the basics; marlins spike hitch, half hitch, double overhand stop knot, reef knot, sheet bend, larks head, clove hitch.

What Id choose for basic all round knots (sorry I couldn’t do 5):

1) Bowline fudge anything with this knot

2) Canadian Jam knot for building

3) Figure 8 for hauling

4) prusik for safety

5) fisherman’s knot joining two lengths of equal size

6) Truckers hitch for tensioning

I hope this answer confuses the hell out of those people that have had my mind working over time for the past six months trying to figure this out HAHA.