How to Tie the Figure 8 Knot

VideoJanuary 11, 2012

The Figure 8 is one of the most versatile knots for kayakers, rafters, canoeists, swiftwater rescue professionals, climbers and other outdoor folks to learn and use. It is also one of the strongest knots you can tie. It works for making a tie-down point along a length of rope and as a stopper knot at the end of one.

It’s frequently tied at the end of a rescue line to secure it to an anchor point or a rescue belt, often with a carabiner. Climbers use it to securely tie into a climbing harness. You can also tie two different lengths of rope together with it. And a great thing about this knot is that it’s easy to untie, even after it’s been under load.

Spend some time practicing your knot tying; you can’t be on the water all the time! Ropes are an essential part of a boater’s gear inventory. They’re used for lashing gear into or onto the boat. They tie you up to shore. They’re essential for setting up a Z-drag and other rescue and safety systems. To do just about anything with a rope requires putting knots in it. NRS Tiedown Straps do a lot of this for you, but many things demand the use of a rope!

In this video, NRS Repairs Guru Josh Gile demonstrates different ways of tying the great figure 8 knot. With the video shot from overhead it’s easy to follow his steps as he first ties a stopper knot on the rope end. He explains the importance of “dressing” the knot, or straightening out the coils, to get the maximum strength from the knot. Then he shows how to tie the figure 8 on a bight, or loop of rope. This method lets you secure the rope around an object. It’s also the method for joining two pieces of rope together with the Figure 8.