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The Everyday Knot Tying Challenge

This marksman challenge is all about the simple art of tying knots. Over time, I’ve found that experienced outdoorsmen and military folks tend to find a few knots they like the most and stick with them for the majority of situations. Those favorites vary from person to person, but there’s always going to be a basic need for a few tasks:

  • Join two loose ends
  • Attach a line to a fixed point
  • Create a sturdy loop
  • Tie something down
  • Serve as a stopper

There are a lot of variables within those three uses, such as whether or not both lines are the same diameter, or how much load the knot must support. 

For this challenge, your task is simple. Tie as many correct knots from a list as you can within two minutes. What are the knots? What supplies will you need? Let’s get into that.

The Knot Tying Challenge

This challenge has two possible levels. Each one depends on how many knots you can tie within the allowed time limit. Skilled knot tyers take no more than a few seconds to tie something. Two minutes is actually quite a lot of time for someone who has practiced, so don’t go thinking this is an impossible challenge.

To reach level 1, you must correctly tie 6 knots within two minutes.

To reach level 2, you must complete 10 knots within the two-minute limit.

The knots must come from this list:

Stopper Knots

  • Ashley Stopper
  • Stevedore Stopper
  • Figure 8 Knot
  • Double Overhand Stopper

Loop Knots

  • Bowline Knot
  • Alpine Butterfly Knot
  • Prussik Knot
  • Surgeon’s Loop

Joining Knots

  • Sheet Bend
  • Zeppelin Bend
  • Double Fisherman’s 
  • Carrick Bend


  • Clove Hitch
  • Highwayman’s Hitch
  • Tumble Hitch
  • Adjustable Grip Hitch
  • Siberian Hitch

I’ll leave it to you to look each of these up and start learning. I wrote about several of these within my own article about knots, but you might want to check out for further help.

Now here’ the other catch. In order to complete the challenge at level 1, then you must tie at least one knot from each of these four groups.

To complete level 2, then you must tie at least two knots from each group. 

Setting Up and Providing Proof

You may complete this challenge with any cordage of your choice. Paracord makes a great knot-tying tool, but any thicker rope that you have on hand might be easier to work with.

I suggest a different length of cordage for each knot rather than reusing the same piece for each knot (untying will eat up your time). 

Some of these knots also require some kind of anchor point. A wood dowel, handrail, or some other item will work for that.

In order to be marked complete, you must provide a list of the knots you tied, photos of those knots, and the time it took you to tie them. 

Good Luck!

I look forward to your results. 

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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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1 Comment
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Matt – just found this. Good subject matter! I find most of my knot needs are in tying something down on a vehicle or trailer and less frequently but handy – makeshift needs for hunting/fishing, camping and some household chores. I only recognized a few of the knots you listed but will research the others to recognize their use. Knowing a few knots with specific uses is extremely helpful throughout ordinary life. ‘C’ordage is one of the 5 C’s of survival.

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