Summer Trail Smarts: Tie a Figure-8 Loop

Learn to tie a figure-8 loop–one of the most common and useful knots.
Learn to tie a figure-8 loop–one of the most common and useful knots.

Behold the king of loop knots! The figure-8 is just a slight variation of the overhand loop, but that extra turn makes a huge difference: This knot is more secure and easier to untie later. Typically, for camping and boating, you’ll just tie a standard figure-8 loop as shown here: fast and easy. It can be at the end of the rope or anywhere along it.


1. Begin with a long bight of rope. Start to tie an overhand loop, but add another wrap.

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2. Tuck the working end through the loop.

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3. Snug the knot up and try to uncross the strands so it will be a bit easier to untie.

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Climbers routinely use this same knot for tying a rope to their harness. In that scenario, you simply tie a figure-8 a few feet from the end of the rope, then thread the working end through the harness, and retrace the first knot. In theory, you don’t need to tie a backup overhand knot for a figure-8 loop, but many climbers do as a precaution.

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1. This loop starts with a figure-8. The working end then goes to the harness or an anchor.


2. Now thread the working end back into the knot.

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3. Retrace the first knot with the rope.

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4. To finish the knot, snug the strand pairs.

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