How to Tie a Zeppelin Knot
A zeppelin knot is one of the strongest, most secure knots. The process of tying a zeppelin knot may look complicated, but if you go slowly and follow instructions, it's actually quite simple. It's a matter of making two loops and joining them together in one single knot. Test your zeppelin knot to assure it is secure before using it in any situation.
Setting Up the Rope
Place two pieces of rope on a flat surface with the tail ends facing one another.The tails of each rope should be facing one another. The two ropes should form roughly a straight line, with a small break in between the line.
- If you're working outside, you may not be able to find a flat surface. Simply look for the flattest bit of ground you can find.
- Check your rope for any knots or tangles. These should be undone before beginning your zeppelin knot.
Form a counter clockwise loop with the left rope.As you loop, place the tail of the left rope over the rest of the rope, forming a q-like shape. It's very important the tail end goes over, and not under, the rest of the rope.
- It may be difficult to maneuver tougher kinds of rope. You may have to use both hands, using one hand to keep the excess rope down as you form your loop.
- If necessary, ask a friend to hold the rope in place as you loop.
Form a clockwise loop with the right rope.You're doing essentially the opposite with the right rope, forming a mirror image of the left rope. When you finish with your loop, pass the tail end of the right rope under the remaining rope.
- Your loops must be the opposite of one another. One rope should have the tail passing over the remaining rope, while the other rope should have the tail passing under.
- A zeppelin rope will not tie correctly if the two loops are not mirror images of each other.
Place the left loop on top of the right loop.It's very important that you place the left loop on top of the right loop and not the other way around. The loop with the tail end passing over the remaining rope should always be on top. In other words, the loop with the tail end on top of the excess rope goes on top of the loop with the tail end on the bottom of the remaining rope.
- It may be necessary to have a friend hold the ropes in place as you continue with your knot.
- Check several times that the correct rope is on top. A zeppelin knot will not tie correctly if the left rope is not on top, and this could be dangerous if you're using it to secure heavy loads.
Tying the Knot
Pass the left loop's tail through the two stacked loops of rope, passing the tail underneath the stacked loops.Remember, the left loop is the rope on top of the stacked loops. Pass the tail end of the left loop under the circle formed by the two ropes. Do not pass the tail end of the left rope over the circle.
- You always want the tail end passing over the rope to pass under the two stacked circles.
- You may have to have someone hold the stacked ropes in place as you complete this process.
Pass the right loop's tail through the two stacked loops of rope, passing the tail end over the stacked loops.Once again, you'll be mirroring the left rope with the right rope. Take the tail end of the right loop and pass it through the circle. This time, pass the tail over the two stacked loops rather than under. If you pass both tails under the loops, the zeppelin knot will not work correctly.
- If necessary, have a friend hold the stacked ropes in place again.
Pull the rope together to secure your zeppelin knot.The process of finishing up your knot is simple. Pull on the longer ends (i.e., not the tail ends) of the two ropes. Pulling on the tail ends will undo your progress.
- Keep pulling until the knot is tight and secure. This may take a few seconds.
- The knot should be a small bundle of intersecting loops, with the two tail ends sticking out to the left and the right.
Untie the knot when you need to by pulling on the two loops.One of the advantages of the zeppelin knot is that, while it's secure, it's very easy to untie. Tugging on the two loops at the center of the knot should undo your knot. It should come undone with a light amount of pulling.
- If you're using the loop to secure a heavy load, the load must be safely on a solid surface before undoing the knot.
Using the Knot Properly
Check that your knot is secure before using it.If you're using the zeppelin knot, test it out first to assure it's tied correctly. Pull on both ends of the knot, not the tail ends, with considerable pressure. The knot should not come undone. When done correctly, the zeppelin knot is very secure, but it's very easy to make a minor mistake. If you, for example, place the wrong loop on top, or pass one tail over instead of under, you'll end up with a final product that looks similar to a zeppelin knot but lacks the stability.
- If your knot is not secure, redo the process and go slower this time. You may have accidentally made a minor mistake along the way.
- Never use a zeppelin knot that seems loose to secure a heavy load.
Use the knot for the right situations.The zeppelin knot can be used in a variety of situations. You can use it to secure heavy loads by tying together cables. You can also use it to secure slippery, synthetic rope together, as this rope may be resistant to other types of knots.
Watch out for the tail ends of the knot when using the zeppelin knot.If you're using pointy or harsh rope, be careful. The tail ends of the knot will stick out to either side.
- Avoid contact with the tail ends if you're using harsh rope, as they could poke or scratch your skin.
- You may want to handle a zeppelin knot with gloves.
- Before relying on this rope for any task, especially important safety conscious activities such as rock climbing, ensure that you can tie it efficiently, and ensure that you compare it to other knots to make sure it's the best type of knot to use for your situation.
Sources and Citations
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