Prepper’s Guide to Knots – Practical for Survival and Fun, Too

Knowing how to tie knots is a practical survival skill to have. And, believe it or not, it can be fun, too.

Nonetheless, I’ll be the first to acknowledge I’m no expert on knots. I have baseball bats for fingers, and tying knots is a challenge.

So after receiving a review of Prepper’s Guide to Knots, by Scott Finazzo, I began to have doubts. Surely, there are those who are more qualified to do a book review and podcast about tying knots than me.

But I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I enjoyed it and learned more than I expected. I believe you’ll want it in your survival library for sure.

If you’re like me and not up to speed on knots, Scott’s book is a great place to start. Plus, I have no doubt that knot veterans will find it useful, too.

In case you think the subject of tying knots isn’t very exciting, well, you’re not alone. But there’s more to it than you might guess.

To help me untangle the subject of knots, Scott joined me on DestinySurvival Radio this week. Below I’ll share a few strands of thoughts about the book, and I’ll string out a hint or two about our conversation.

Not a Not Nerd

Scott Finazzo is fascinated with ropes and tying knots, but he’ll tell you there are others with more knot knowledge and experience. Still, he’s knowledgeable enough to put forth this book.

Scott has been my DestinySurvival Radio guest before, and he’s always good at passing along down to earth information. If you’re not acquainted with him, here’s a little background.


Scott has been a firefighter for nearly 20 years and is currently serving as a lieutenant for the Overland Park, Kansas, Fire Department. He has been an instructor for firefighting tactics, confined space rescue, first aid, CPR, Community Emergency Response Teams, and other emergency training.

In addition to being an emergency responder and educator, Scott has been writing in various capacities for much of his life, contributing to blogs, magazines, and books. Scott’s first book, co-authored with Scott B. Williams, The Prepper’s Workbook, became a national best seller. He followed that up with the narrative of his kayak journey through the Virgin Islands called Why Do All the Locals Think We’re Crazy? Most recently he wrote The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook and Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook.

Scott has a bachelor’s degree in management and human relations, and two associate degrees. Follow him at


Looping Around to the Book


Prepper's Guide to Knots


As info from Scott’s publisher points out, when it comes to survival, tying the right knot can mean the difference between life and death. Ask our firefighters, national guard, and military personnel how ropework saves lives.

Prepper’s Guide to Knots is a step-by-step guide packed with 100 practical, easy to remember knots for both critical and everyday situations.

From the basic stopper knot, like an Overhand Knot, to the famously reliable Bowline Loop (which does not slip, loosen, or jam!), this book will teach you the ropework skills essential for survival.

Unraveling the Subject of Knots

Why this book? In his duties as a firefighter, Scott is a rope rescue technician and knows the value of knots in life saving situations.

While it’s true there are numerous other books out there on knots–some featuring hundreds of them–this one is meant to put forth a select group of knots which should prove useful to preppers for today and for disaster scenarios. Furthermore, knots are presented in a simplified, step by step format.

Most knots in this book require only a few steps to complete. I’m grateful for that because I find knots baffling.

What’s inside? The opening pages are full of interesting tidbits, such as uses for knots and the different kinds of rope in existence. You’ll find out about the materials used to make ropes, how to care for and clean ropes, and important definitions.

By the way, who knew rope needs care and maintenance? It’s not difficult to do, but not something to take lightly.

At 156 pages in print, this isn’t a large book. You’ll be able to take it with you on outdoor adventures.

Yet it isn’t too small to keep you from viewing the illustrations well.

Knots covered are divided into…

  • Basic Knots
  • Bends
  • Binding Knots
  • Loops
  • Coils

Instructions are simple and straightforward. “Knot Notes” and tips accompany many of the knots featured. They give historical background or some other useful tip.

Many of the knots are described in a single page, while others take up two.

Clear drawings comprise most of the book. You’ll see what the completed knot looks like at the top of the page as well as in the final step diagram. There’s plenty of white space to help you focus on the sketches, too. Scott gives credit to the design team at Ulysses Press for bringing everything together so well.

How will you use this book? Well, you won’t likely read it from cover to cover. Decide what task you have in mind, then look through the pages to find one or more knots that will help you do it.

Do you need to hoist or drag something? Maybe you want to tie something down on your truck. Or maybe you need a secure knot for a hiking or camping adventure. During our conversation I asked Scott his thoughts about putting up an old fashioned tire swing in a tree.

In any case, you’ll want to get acquainted with the knots featured in the book so you’ll have an idea of what will work in a given situation. You may want to start with knots that look fun and interesting.

Why not knots? You’ll learn what knots work best in certain circumstances. You’ll also learn what knots you shouldn’t use. For example, don’t use a square knot as a bend. Furthermore, some knots aren’t meant to take a load.

You’ll see knots with functions you may not have thought of. For example, did you know there’s a knot that will serve as the handle for a bottle or jug?

Many knots have interesting names, such as Cat’s Paw, Highwayman’s Hitch, Thief Knot and Tom Fool’s Knot.

As long as knots have been around in some form or other, it surprised me to learn that so many have been created in recent times. I mean since the 1980’s and ’90’s. And Scott says more variants are likely on the way.

Why knots now? Like other preparedness skills, don’t wait until an emergency scenario happens before you learn and practice knot tying. This is a book you’ll want to spend time with as you practice various knots.

Why not have some fun and get your kids or grandkids into knot tying, too? During our chat Scott gave guidance concerning what kind of rope to practice with.

Tying It All Together

Hear my conversation with Scott Finazzo by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for November 17, 2016. (Right click to download.)

Get Prepper’s Guide to Knots by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. I think you’ll agree, it’s worth having this one on hand.

Think about it. Knots can help you have a secure life–in more ways than one.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.