International Guild of Knot Tyers

The Basic Essentials of Knots for the Outdoors by Cliff Jacobson

The Basic Essentials of Knots for the Outdoors by Cliff Jacobson Illustrated by: Cliff Moen

ICS Books, 1990 ISBN 9780934802574

This slim cheap book aims to give rope-working advice for a safe and enjoyable trip into the wilderness. The author is a camping and canoeing expedition leader and writer. I found it a bit of a pot-boiler. The choice of knots, bends, hitches, lash­ings and splices is sensible. The facts given - including some types of ropes and their care - are correct: but we've seen them before elsewhere and the writer failed to convince me that his trips depend on them. Of his 'Power Cinch'(the Trucker's Knot) he says; 'skilled conoeists use this pulley knot almost exclusively for tying canoes on cars.· Really? No kayaker I know can even tie it. The American voice ('schlocky bow­line', 'low utility cutesy knots') will jar on some U.K. readers; but Cliff Moen's tuck-by-tuck drawings are just right. His cartoons are fun, although they might mislead a novice, and I would love to see in Knotting Matters the one of the man who has unintentionally incorporated his fingers into an eye splice. Cliff Jacobson's attempt to cater for left handed knot tyers may be misguided. Most of us are a mixed-up 50/ 50 sinister-dexter, so I doubt if all mirror image knot versions are easier for me to learn. Still, the LH hand symbol that appears every few pages is appreciated. This is a soft covered book of 63 A5-size pages, value for money, and a good buy for a beginner.

G.B.