Knot Tying

Knots and how to use them!

A knot not knotted neatly is a knot not knotted!

Knots, Hitches, and Bends

Not all “knots” are true knots. Technically, a true knot does not need to be tied around anything; it can hold its form on its own without another object such as a post, eye-bolt, or another rope to give it structure. A hitch, by contrast, must be tied around something to hold together; remove the thing it’s tied to, and a hitch falls apart. A bend is a knot used to join two rope ends.

In practice, we often use “knot” as an umbrella term to cover all these types, but the distinction is useful to know.

See also Apps for Outdoors: Knots

Featuring this month …

The Taut line Hitch

This knot can be slipped to tighten or loosen a line, then holds fast under load. Useful for lines that may need adjustment. The Tautline Hitch is essentially a Rolling Hitch tied on the standing part of a tight line after it has been secured around a object. Campers like to use this knot to secure tent guy lines because the hitch slides freely, yet jams under load, making adjustments to the line easy..


The Truckies Knot

‘The truckies knot or trucker’s hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. Using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, it has long been used to tension lines.

Trucker's Hitch versus Truckie Hitch

The Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch allows you to secure a rope in place on a carabiner. It’s easy to untie after taking a heavy load, and quickly unravels when you unclip it from the carabiner. Many climbers use it to connect directly to an anchor. You can tie a clove hitch with two hands or with one.

  • Hold the rope in both hands, and form a loop by crossing the rope over itself.
  • Then form a second loop in the same way.
  • Now move the second loop behind the first, and clip both loops with a carabiner. Dress the hitch by pulling both strands tight.

If you’re at the anchor, you can also tie the clove while you hold onto the anchor carabiner with one hand.

  • Grab the rope in your fist with your finger pointing down the rope.
  • Bring your hand up so that your finger points up and toward you.
  • Then clip the rope into the carabiner.
  • Now grab the rope below the carabiner and do the same thing again. Grab it with your finger pointing down, bring it up so that your finger points up and toward you, and clip it into the carabiner.
  • Dress the hitch by pulling both strands tight.
The Alpine Butterfly

The Alpine Butterfly knot forms a loop in the middle of a rope and is especially useful for the middle member of a rope team because it won’t deform after a pull in either direction.

See also for an alternate tying method:

Share your favourite knot

Have an interesting knot or useful knotting resource to share?
Let us know by Sharing a Knot

Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.

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