By Ron Scopelliti
Spring never fails to bring out the Boy Scout in me. As soon as the equinox hits, I start having thoughts of camping, kayaking, and maybe even getting back into rock climbing.
So when a friend alerted me to the existence of Knots 3D by Nynix, the timing was perfect.
Knots 3D is an app for Android and iOS devices that shows you how to tie 120 knots, including knots for camping, boating, and climbing. It offers animated demonstrations of how to tie each knot, which can be sped up, slowed down, and paused. You can also rotate the knot to see it at different angles.
In addition, the app gives you descriptions of the knots noting their common uses, their advantages or disadvantages over similar knots, and other background information.
Though there aren’t a lot of apps I’m willing to pay for if I can find a free alternative, at $1.99, this one seemed worth trying out. An additional $6 investment at Job Lot resulted in two 20-foot lengths of rope used to put the app to the test.
Pretty soon I was accessing the climbing category and re-acquainting myself with the Blake’s hitch, which I used years ago climbing in the Quincy Quarries. Flipping to the camping section, I found a nice alternative to the taut-line hitch for securing tent lines. In the boating section I found a handy and easy-to-release knot for tying-off at a dock.
Knots 3D also includes more obscure categories, such as decorative knots and pioneering knots. The most challenging knot I’ve tried so far falls under the latter category – a diagonal lashing knot used to secure two poles together at right angles.
Using the app on a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy tablet, I found the animations to be clear and easy to follow, and the interface to be very intuitive. Being able to pause and examine the knot at different stages gives the app a distinct advantage over the reference books that I learned most of my knots from. One issue I had with the controls is that there is no rewind button. I discovered, however, that you can actually rewind by swiping your finger across the animation itself, moving the progress of the knot forward or backward at will.
One of the best features of the app is that you don’t need internet access to use it, which makes it a great thing to have on your phone when you’re out in the wilderness. Whether you need to find a convenient knot to tie down cargo or a way to lash together a makeshift tripod at your campsite, it’s at your fingertips.
One caution – if you decide to download the app, make sure it’s the version by Nynix, as there are other less highly-rated apps with similar titles by other developers.
Knots 3D is $1.99 at Apple’s App Store, Google Play, or the Amazon Appstore. There’s also a free-to-use web version of the program that requires internet access and lacks some of the features of the mobile app. It can be found at: http://knots3d.com/knots/en_us/ALL