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Tie Yourself In Knots

Truckers Hitch
Youíre always tying something down when you travel, especially off road. You might be storing cargo on the roof of your vehicle and/or materials inside. Securing supplies onto a trailer. Putting up a lean-to or staking down a tent. You can sometimes use a ratchet strap or rubber strap. Other times require the use of rope. Thatís why itís helpful to know how to tie certain knots.

Former Boy Scouts remember having to learn five types of knots. The square knot and double half hitch are very useful. Brush up on those if you need to. For off-road purposes, itís helpful to learn several others as well.

Iíve been fascinated with tying knots since I was introduced to the Ashley Book of Knots as a kid. (Link to The Ashley Book of Knots). Over the years Iíve mastered a number of different types of knots, but this column will concentrate on a few that are most suited to off-road activity.

Along with the square knot and double half hitch, itís good to know the Truckerís knot and the rolling hitch (sometimes called the taut line hitch). I wonít describe how to make these, because you can see for yourself on the Animated Knots by Grog Web site. Check out all the amazing videos by clicking on a knot.

The Truckerís knot is useful any time you need to cinch up the rope. A good example is when youíre securing supplies to the roof of your vehicle. You want to get that rope as taut as possible; the Truckerís knot allows you to do that. As long as you have two points to tie down your materials, this knot works really well.

A rolling hitch knot comes in handy when youíre staking down a tent. The rope in essence becomes a guy line. After securing on both ends (the stake and the tent grommet), you tie a knot in the middle of the rope. To take up the slack, simply move the knot downward. For you Scouters, who learned the taut line as a boy, the rolling hitch is only slightly different but significantly more secure.

How much and what type of rope to buy

You donít need much rope for most applications. My pieces tend to be 6í or 8í long. You can do a lot with those lengths. Several standard 25í packages will be enough. Your needs wonít change much from one trip to the next, so once youíve cut a few segments, youíll find yourself using them repeatedly. I usually carry 6 to 8 8ft ropes in a zip lock bag.

I tend to buy white nylon rope. Itís thin (usually 1/8Ē or 5/16Ē) and slippery, but is very strong so it holds up well. A lot of people like parachute cord. Stay away from clothesline. Itís made mostly of natural fiber, and just doesnít hold up well over time. It also isnít as strong as nylon.

The most important factor, of course, is strength. Make sure you buy the proper rope for your need. If youíre just tying stuff to your roof or doing things around camp, a thin line is sufficient. Buy thicker rope for rescues and other tasks that involve a lot of stress. Climbing rope works well for that.

Respect your rope

Make sure your load is secure, that itís tied down. Tug on it from every direction. If thereís too much play in the load, tighten your ropes. Anything on the roof of your vehicle will undergo tremendous forces both on-road and off-road. This is a good area to use extra rope.

The Grog site mentioned above has some additional safety information on its home page. Iíll recap the major points here.

Always wear gloves when working with rope. Thin rope, especially nylon, cuts into skin easily, and rope burns are possible under the right conditions.

A knot weakens the rope by upwards of 50%. This is why you never tie a knot into ropes and straps used for recovery or any other use that puts the rope under severe stress.

Inspect your rope before each use. Replace any that is cut, worn, or damaged from heat or chemicals. Rope is really inexpensive. The few bucks you spend before your trip can save a lot of grief later on.

Rope is one of those multi-purpose items that you donít fully appreciate until you need it. Learning Ė or brushing up on Ė some basic knots can help you take full advantage of this very useful component of off-road adventures.


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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous article? If so, read it here



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New BLM Rules June 25, 2010


Rasor OHV
In case you missed the announcement the BLM has issued new rules for public lands administered by the BLM California Desert District. These rules are actually called "Interim Final Supplementary Rules". While, the rules took effect at the end of June, there is a 30 day public comment period. After that you can be fined up to $1000, spend 12 months in jail, or both.

  1. Public nudity is prohibited at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas

  2. It is prohibited for a person to ride in or transport another person in or on a portion of an ORV or trailer that is not designed or intended for the transportation of passengers.

  3. It is prohibited to use as firewood, or have in their possession, any firewood materials containing nails, screws, or other metal hardware, including, but not limited to, wood pallets and/or construction debris.

  4. Possession of glass beverage containers is prohibited in all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.

  5. It is prohibited to place into the ground any non-flexible object, such as, but not limited to, metal or wood stakes, poles, or pipes, with the exception of small tent or awning stakes, at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.

  6. It is prohibited to camp within the areas commonly known as Competition Hill Corridor and Competition Hill located within the Dumont Dunes ORV Area, as shown in the map at the entrance kiosk.

  7. It is prohibited to reserve or save a camping space for another person at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.

  8. All persons must keep their sites free of trash and litter during the period of occupancy.


Want to read the actual details from the BLM? Follow this link and also learn the definition of Public Nudity.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/cdd_supplementary.html


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Wine Safari July 24

Last chance to sign up for the Wine Safari.

Wine Safari



Register now.
http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#wine.

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Sand Clinic July 31, 2010

Sand Clinic
If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for July 31 and sign up now. The next one is not until December. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so weíll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...



Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Sand

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Rubicon Trail Adventure August 16- 19, 2010


The Rubicon Trail

The Rubicon Trails is the stuff of legends. It is considered the Grand Daddy of trails. If your vehicle has a weakness, it will find it. Any serious four-wheeler needs to "Do the 'Con" at least once. There is no guarantee of avoiding vehicle damage. Even the most skilled driver can succumb to the fatigue of 12 unrelenting miles of rocks. Just bring a good attitude and the best prepared vehicle you can. This could be a once in a lifetime trip but a lifelong of bragging rights. More Details


You need to register now so you have time to prepare. Register directly at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rubicon


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Winching & Recovery DVD


Stuck

Don't forget to order a Winching DVD - only $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Read the press release

Order the Winching DVD!

PS - our web master is not too bright, so he used the same format to order DVD's as to register for a class. Just fill in the parts that make sense.

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Check out the 4 minute video on the Badlands Off-Road Home page

And look at the new slide show on the home page. (Another example of our bright web master's work! For best viewing us I.E. His code is not too swift on Firefox.)




I hope to see you on the trails!

Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Make it Safe.

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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information:

Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2010, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.





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