I've recently been using figure 8 follow through on anchor webbing, and although it takes more time to dress properly and setup than a water knot, it's easier to untie at the end of the day and I feel like I get more than my time back on the untie. With either system, I also tie backup stopper knots.

This led me to thinking, is there an even better knot for anchor webbing? Would some sort of bowline variant be useful? If it's too hard to look at it and instantly see that it's correct though, I probably won't use it in practice, but I'm interested for curiosity's sake.

  • This application is the only reason I know the water knot. When there's a totally, totally standard knot for a certain application, I would need a heck of a good reason to use some other knot.
    – user2169
    Feb 13, 2015 at 5:10
  • Anyway to make the waterknot easier to untie then? On a bight? Feb 14, 2015 at 3:03

1 Answer 1


A water knot is the best knot for joining two ends of webbing, I wouldn't recommend any other knot except for maybe the beer knot, but that's certainly not going to save you any time. You don't need to tie back up knots either, webbing doesn't slip like rope does, in fact I've never known webbing to slip at all, and I've set up a lot of slacklines using 1" tubular webbing.

A figure 8 follow through is more likely to slip than a water knot, because the webbing can't lay flat, so there's less friction in the knot. If you're concerned about slippage in your water knots, leave longer tails.

The best thing to do to aid in the quick untying of a water knot, is to tie either a piece of cord, or a rappel ring, or a carabiner into the knot that you can use to leverage on when untying. That's what I do when I'm setting up anchors for a slackline, as a slackline will tighten a water knot a lot more than any top anchor ever will.

There are other options for using webbing as an anchor that don't involve tying and untying a knot:

You can simply throw your pre-tied 1" webbing sling around the tree and join it with a carabiner:

enter image description here

You could also put a girth hitch around whatever you're anchoring to, but you have to be careful with girth hitches, because if tied wrong they can actually put twice as much tension on the webbing when tied one way vs another (think of a basic pulley system).

  • 3
    Regarding water knot slippage, it seems to happen with lots and lots of cyclical loading as opposed to a slow creep under weight. Not so bad if you tie it yourself and leave sufficient tails; but problematic for webbing anchors left behind for others to use. Some tests reported here: user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/Water_Knot_Testing.pdf
    – requiem
    Feb 12, 2015 at 7:25
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    Tying a knot in the tails of a water knot can reduce considerable risk.
    – Citizen
    Feb 12, 2015 at 12:29
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    @requiem - The amount of usage in that study is completely inappropriate for a webbing anchor in my opinion. Who is going to put over 800 cycles on a webbing anchor without at least checking or retying the knot? If you're going to get that much usage out of an anchor then it's obvious that you should be using something steel and permanent.
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 12, 2015 at 16:09
  • @PaulDelasaux - Agreed.
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 12, 2015 at 16:09
  • Agree, for longer pieces of anchor webbing that you're going to untie when done, this is likely a non-issue. It's the anchors that are left in place and get used by many others (not the wisest idea, but it happens), or smaller loops that are left tied and repeatedly used as slings where this is likely to bite someone. (Yes, you should check the knot each time, but people get complacent, particularly when the knot has held their weight umpteen times before and they don't expect it to untie.)
    – requiem
    Feb 12, 2015 at 18:29

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