This how-to is not for sailors. Nor anglers, mountaineers, first responders, or anyone else who need to know a huge diversity of knots, their strengths and weaknesses, and what situation calls for each.
This is for the rest of us. Those of us who go through normal life and its adventures, and encounter rope, twine, string, line, paracord, and the like, and when we need to secure it, say "Should I tie this like my shoes, or in a square know that I know will be nearly impossible to get off when I'm done."
The truth is, at this point in our lives, we're probably not going to learn how to tie a complex calvalcade of knots, and even if we did, would probably not have enough opportunity to practice them in real world situations in order to commit them to long term memory.
But, still, we should all know how to tie at least one pro-level option, and so we say to you — if you're only going to know how to tie one kind of knot, let it be:
I'm consistently blown away by the ingenuity of mind behind PrimitiveTechnology. We’ve featured his work before, and if you haven’t seen him, he’s created a series of wordless YouTube videos in which he showcases brilliant yet simple survival skills that could make all the difference to one’s survival in the wilderness. And while I love learning survival skills as much as the next guy, there’s something more to his videos that strike me...
A survival axe built to cover anything the average camper might need: hacks firewood, saws most anything, and comes with a bottle opener. A weekend of mountaineering and carrying multiple tools led to its invention Benne, who passes on his wisdom in this full-on how-to...
This is real MacGyver territory. I've been stuck in a handful of urban survival situations and the inevitably dying phone battery is by far one of the more pressing issues. Most important will of course be immediate safety, shelter, water and food, etc., but it's likely that the use of a phone will help you secure those things. And when the power is knocked out it can be a real challenge.
I've personally been a slow convert to the idea of using fire-starters. As a boy I thought they always burned in a kinda cool way, but as I got older for whatever reason I thought of them as a way of cheating somehow. Like a real man just found a way to light things on fire on the first go-round or something. However, I've come to see the proverbial light and ease of comfort that a fire-starter can bring to adverse conditions...
If you've ever entertained the question of which books you'd take to keep you sane on a deserted island, you'll want to check this out.
Old stereotypes deemed the bespectacled the weakest of the bunch, but in case of an emergency, your glasses may make you into the fittest for surviving.
One of my all-time favorite poems is "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by W. B. Yeats about the simple cabin ("of clay and wattles made") that he plans to build along shore of the lake and the peace he hopes to find as a result. The poem is beautiful and striking in its simplicity, and so is this process video of a man building an actual primitive hut from scratch.
The video has no dialogue or narration, but is presented in a way so that you can actually watch it and reproduce it yourself.
Camping (and campfire) season is back, my friends. Knowing how to build a fire may sound like the most basic skill a guy could know, but mastering good technique is essential to keep you alive in trying circumstances, or to avoid looking like a zero on your next outdoor get-together with friends.
Nettles grow just about anywhere that's left alone long enough, which is why it's great to learn about their multiple uses. This photographic tutorial from Nature's Secret Larder shows you how to easily weave tight cords in the wild for things like twine and fishing wire.
The Altoids Tin kit is a DIY classic. I'm almost nostlagic for the early days of the make/hack/indie craft blogosphere, where it seemed like every week, there was a new project and collection of stuff you can smush into one of these ubiquitous containers.
But, throwback-ish or not, it's also a darn good project, and something to consider keeping
Popular Mechanics takes on accidental death, and how to avoid it. Interestingly, the majority of the tips don't presume mountain isolation or post-apocalyptic bug outs, but a variety of outdoor activities, from mowing the lawn to attending a baseball game to drinking too much water.
A ManMade man is a resourceful man, and while we don't buy into the lone-ranger-ish, solely self-reliant masculine stereotypes, we do believe that classic skills always belong in one's repertoire.
One such skill is tying effiecient knots, those that effectively and safely attach one thing to another, hold it still while you want it there, and then are easily released when you don't.
The quick-tie bowline knot seems to be a perfect one to learn.