Three Knots Every Woodsman Should Know (Part 3 of 5): The Overhand Loop

Overhand Loop

Perhaps my favorite knot is the overhand loop.  The overhand loop, frequently called a figure–eight knot, is great for a wide variety of applications.  I tend to use this loop as a starting point for tying rope to trees, tarps, or the rails on the roof of my Honda.  I begin by tying the loop  at a working end of a rope or cord then I pull the other working end around the fixed object (tree, tarp, etc.) and pull it through the loop.  I also use this loop frequently when canoeing.  I tie overhand loops to both working ends of a short piece of 550 cord, then attach carabiners to both ends of the rope – one for the stern handle of the canoe and one for my dry–box.  This loop is really easy to tie – so easy that after a few practice runs, you’ll be able to tie it in the dark.

To tie the overhand loop (figure–eight knot):


1.  Form a bight.  In this instance, the bight is at the working end of a rope, but this loop works equally well without a working end.  As long as you have enough slack to create a bight, you can tie an overhand loop.

Overhand Loop 1


2.  Wrap the working end of the bight around the standing end as indicated in the photo.

Overhand Loop 2



3.  Pull the working end of the bight through the loop.

Overhand Loop 3


4.  Pull the working end until the overhand loop is secure.  Check for twisting or crimping as you pull.

Overhand Loop


Are you learning to tie the overhand loop or are you a seasoned pro?  Either way, I’d love to hear about it.  Do you use it for any specific purposes or have you found it to practical in a wide variety of situations?


6 thoughts on “Three Knots Every Woodsman Should Know (Part 3 of 5): The Overhand Loop

  1. Excellent instructions – this is a new one to me, so looking forward to learning it. We have three days in an off the grid cabin next week, seems the perfect place to have a go at these knots you’ve been posting. Thanks!

  2. This is an interesting twist to your normal content. I think instructional writing is a nice skill to practice. (I’m inspired to write something after a 4 year break — Ugh!)


    • Thanks. I try to stay focused on the outdoors but allow myself to go in any direction from there. I’m doing this series on knot–tying then I’ll probably do some product reviews. I try to put most of my efforts into my novel though.

      I’m glad I inspired you to write! Sometimes that first effort is the hardest. Afterwards, the words start flowing more and more easily.

      Thanks again for the comment!

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