By far, the knot I’ve found most useful is the reef knot. Commonly referred to as a square knot (that’s usually what I call it), the reef knot is excellent for securing items in place, connecting ropes of the same size and stiffness (like two pieces of 550 cord), and is a great all–around knot to know and use around the campsite or home. The reef knot is also relatively easy to tie and is typically the first or second “real” knot people learn. A word of caution though, reef knots shouldn’t be used to connect ropes or cords of different sizes or textures – they will likely slip. Furthermore, I don’t recommend using the reef knot in a mountain–climbing application either. Then again, if you’re a mountain climber, you probably already know way more about knots and ropes than I ever will!
To tie the reef (or square) knot:
1. Cross both working ends of the rope.
2. Wrap the working ends once.
3. Cross the working ends again. (This time, switch which end is over the other.)
4. Pull the working end through the loop between the crossed ropes.
5. Ensure that the working end and standing end of each rope leaves the knot as indicated in the photo below. Pull the working end and standing end of both ropes tight while verifying that the knot doesn’t twist or crimp when tightening.
*** NOTE: I am using two ropes of different sizes and textures here even though I recommended against it earlier in the post. I used different colored working ends only to demonstrate how to tie the knot. I again recommend that you not use the reef knot when connecting two ropes or cords of different sizes and textures.
Are you learning to tie the reef knot or do you already use it frequently? I tend to use it for binding two ropes of the same size and texture. How about you? Have you found it valuable for other uses?