Tourniquet Blog

What Is the Best Knot for a Tourniquet?

Question: How do I tie a tourniquet? Should I use a square knot, and then poke the stick through the middle of it?

Survival Med’s Answer:

Tying a tourniquet involves various methods, and the choice depends on the situation and the materials available. The quickest approach for most individuals is to wrap the material around the limb and place the windlass directly underneath it. This method requires fewer twists to tighten. Alternatively, using any simple knot, like a square knot, could be effective. For thicker materials, sticking the windlass through the square knot itself may work well.

It’s essential to note that with stretchy materials such as ACE bandages or stretchy cotton, the effectiveness of certain knots may be compromised, requiring more twists to tighten. We encourage experimenting with different methods in advance to familiarize yourself with different techniques. In the field, if you have various materials available to you for tourniquet construction, remember that the ultimate goal is to cut off circulation in the injured extremity.

If you’re still getting a pulse below the tourniquet it isn’t working, so be prepared to switch to another approach if needed – for example, a different type of material, or a more rigid or sturdy object to serve as the windlass.