Two lines joined with the sheet bend knot.
Photo by Paul Bodnar
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Useful Knots for Hikers: The Sheet Bend Knot

One of the most important backpacking knots a hiker can learn is called the "Sheet Bend." This knot is great for joining two lines together and can be very useful while out on the trail.

Paul Bodnar       Tech on the Trail       08/11/2020
Paul Bodnar
Tech on the Trail
08/11/2020

The sheet bend knot is known for joining two lines together.  It is easy and quick to tie making it one of the most useful knots to learn.

The sheet bend knot can also be used to connect a line to a corner of a tarp or poncho.  This gives the sheet bend knot another useful function for the backpacker.

For added security you can easily upgrade the sheet bend knot to a double sheet bend making the connection even more secure.

Securing two lines together

The sheet bend can be quickly tied as illustrated in the diagram to the right.  The final and important step is to tighten the knot.  A lose sheet bend knot can slip.

You should always verify that the two free ends are on the same side of the knot as illustrated in the diagram.  If the free ends are on opposite sides you tied the knot incorrectly and it will slip.

Note: The two free ends are on the same side.  If the two free ends are not on the same side the knot will quickly slip.

Secure a line to a tarp or poncho corner.

The sheet bend can be quickly tied to a corner of a poncho or tarp as illustrated in the diagram to the right.  The final and important step is to tighten the knot.  A lose sheet bend knot can slip.

You should always verify that the two free ends are on the same side of the knot as illustrated in the diagram.  If the free ends are on opposite sides you tied the knot incorrectly and it will slip.

Note: By twisting the corner of the poncho or tarp you make it act like a line.

Bonus: Double Sheet Bend

To make a more secure knot you can convert the sheet bend knot to a double sheet bend.  In order to make a double sheet bend make another loop around as illustrated above.  Always verify that the two free ends are on the same side of the knot.


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A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.