We used AmSteel Blue in this article. AmSteel is considered to be some of the highest performing rope in the world. AmSteel Blue in the 7/64″ diameter has a breaking strength of 1,600 lbs and weighs only 1.36 grams per foot! AmSteel is just as strong as steel cable that’s the same diameter and it even floats. 🙂
1. Prusik Knot
Useful for crossing rivers, descending slopes and shelter building
AmSteel is not for climbing because of the rope’s thin diameter but you could easily use the rope as a safety line for crossing rivers or descending down steep slopes. You’re going to need to know how to tie a “Prusik Knot” in order for this to work.
The Prusik Knot moves freely up or down a long piece of rope but when sudden pressure or tension is put on the knot, it tightens on to the long piece of rope and does not move. So if you’re in a situation where you may slip and fall or get washed away, the Prusik knot can be used to catch you and prevent you from going any further. We recommend carrying at least 50′ of AmSteel with you, and at only 70 grams, there’s no reason not to.
The Prusik Knot is also great for shelter building with tarps because you can use this knot to adjust where your tarp sits on your ridge line and to keep tension on the tarp.
Tip: AmSteel is great at holding knots so once the Prusik knot is tightened you will likely have to do a little work to loosen it.
2. Marlin Spike Hitch (Marlinspike)
Useful for rope retrieval, making a rope ladder or hanging a hammock
The Marlin Spike Hitch allows you to tie an extremely strong knot in the middle of a rope and when you’re done the knot simply pulls out. You will need to have a “spike” or something hard that you can tie the knot around. The spike is what you pull out so the knot can fall (more like pulled) out of the rope.
To make a ladder, just do the Marlinspike hitch on both sides of a sturdy stick and make sure the knot is secured tightly around the stick. This knot is made to slip out easily so if done incorrectly you may be in for a surprise! Check out this demo of using the Marlinspike hitch to make a rope ladder.
Imagine you need to use a rope to lower your kayak down a steep hill and you won’t be able to get back up the hill once you’re at the bottom (speaking from experience). What you need is a way to retrieve the rope.
Rope Retrieval Steps Using the Marlinspike Hitch:
- Tie a loop in the end of the rope
- Tie a Marlin Spike Hitch below your loop
- Put your rope around an an anchor (such as a tree) and secure the loop over the ‘spike’
- Tie a second rope to your spike so you can pull your spike out when you get to the bottom
This same basic concept is used for hanging a hammock with a tree strap (usually using whoopie slings). All the pressure is placed on the rope rather than your spike which is how the Marlinspike hitch is so strong.
Or… you could simply make a cool place to hang your backpack.
3. Bowline Knot
Used for everything
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Bowline knot. The Bowline is probably the most commonly used knot around the world because you can trust the knot not to slip and the knot is easily untied. The genius of the Bowline is that the tighter you pull on the knot, the stronger it becomes.
Using the Bowline as a rescue device
Because the Bowline knot doesn’t slip, it’s an ideal choice for a rescue knot to throw to someone who may be drowning. AmSteel Blue floats which is great if your using it as a throw-rope. However, AmSteel has very little memory so it’s not quite as springy as regular throw-rope and may become tangled. Make sure you practice coiling and throwing your rope so you know how it will perform.
CAUTION: Use the appropriate equipment if you’re doing an activity that may be life threatening. These scenarios and ideas are educational only.