Hitches: Lessons

Knots for tying a rope to an object.
Duncan Knot

Duncan Knot

(Duncan Loop, Uni Knot, Grinner Knot) One of the most important snelling knots, used mainly for attaching hooks, swivels, lures or flies to a line. It can also be used for joining two lines. The knot is very strong and dependable and not complicated in structure: after some practice it can be tied effortlessly in the dark. The knot was named after its inventor, Norman Duncan, but then for its vast scope of application it got another name — «uni knot». Among the multiple virtues of the Duncan knot is that it can be tied at some distance from an object and then it slides into the right place. The knot is not recommended for braided lines; it is more secure on monofilaments.

Instructions

Buntline Hitch

Buntline Hitch

This hitch is used for attaching a rope to objects such as rings, rods, railings, posts, etc. It gained its popularity among sailors as a simple and effective knot for securing buntlines to the foot of square ships. This knot is not afraid of shaking, and tightens more with every jerk. It tends to jam and, after using it for a long time, can be difficult to untie. Good for setting up a tent.

Instructions

Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

This simple knot will help you attach a rope to a stationary object, e.g. to moor a boat to a pier. It doesn’t jam and is easy to untie. The knot is extensively used in boating, although it is not fail-safe. For additional security pull the knot tight or seize the ends with a twine.

Instructions

Backhanded Hitch

Backhanded Hitch

This hitch is good for thick and rough cables and very useful for tying on objects that are difficult to reach with one’s hands, such as car tow hooks. The knot doesn’t jam, but might come loose if the ends are not seized. For additional security pull the knot tight before seizing.

Instructions

Anchor Bend

Anchor Bend

The Anchor Bend is actually a hitch: it is used for attaching a rope to an object, such as an anchor ring. It can hold rather heavy loads and doesn’t jam under strain. That is why it has always been a traditional knot for tying an anchor line to an anchor. For additional security pull the knot tight or seize the ends with a twine.

Instructions

Enclosed Backhanded Hitch

Enclosed Backhanded Hitch

This knot grips itself tighter than the simple Backhanded Hitch, doesn’t require seizing and doesn’t slip along a pole. This feature allows it to hold securely in situations when the direction of the pull varies. For additional security pull the knot tight before seizing.

Instructions

2 Round Turns & 2 Half Hitches

2 Round Turns & 2 Half Hitches

The extra round turn makes this knot very strong. 2 Round Turns & 2 Half Hitches doesn’t jam, but might come loose if the running end is not loaded. To avoid this happening, seize the ends with a twine. For additional security pull the knot tight before seizing.

Instructions

Clove Hitch

Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch is a basic multipurpose knot. It is easy to tie and untie, but should be used with caution, as it releases easily when only the standing part is loaded. It is also one of the four basic maritime knots.

Instructions

Bachmann Knot

Bachmann Knot

The Bachmann knot is used to support a load on a vertical rope. It slides down the climbing rope freely, but solidly grips the rope when loaded. To release the knot you just need to unclip the top loop and pull the line free. It is safer to use the knot with the carabiner gate opening facing down.

Instructions

Fisherman’s Figure-8 Hitch

Fisherman’s Figure-8 Hitch

Another common knot for attaching a hook to a line. Very secure on thick and rough lines, but can release, if the line is thin. As any figure-8 knot, Fisherman’s Figure-8 Hitch is easy to untie.

Instructions

Canadian Figure-8 Hitch

Canadian Figure-8 Hitch

A simple knot for attaching a fish hook to a line. The Canadian Figure-8 hitch is relatively secure and particularly good for thick artificial lines. As with any figure-8 knot, the Canadian Figure-8 hitch is easy to untie.

Instructions

Hammock Hitch

Hammock Hitch

This hitch has been used for hundreds of years for hanging hammock beds on warships or other vessels. The hammock hitch is very secure when loaded, easy to untie and very effective in situations when the direction of the pull varies. For additional security pull the knot tight before seizing.

Instructions

Swing Hitch

Swing Hitch

This hitch is very secure and is commonly used for setting up rope swings. The standing part, when loaded, tightens the knot, which allows the knot to hold very heavy loads. The Swing Hitch is also easy to undo, allowing one to untie the swings when needed without difficulty.

Instructions

Self-tightening Half Hitch

Self-tightening Half Hitch

This ancient hitch is the simplest of all binding knots. It is actually an overhand knot tied around, or through, the object with its running end on the upside. It stays tied only under a constant strain on the standing part. The Self-tightening Half Hitch can be used for hanging static loads, such as grain sacks.

Instructions

Highwayman’s Hitch

Highwayman’s Hitch

This hitch is an interesting combination of three loops. The main virtue of the Highwayman’s Hitch is that it can quickly be released with one hand by pulling the working end. After releasing both ends of the rope appear on one side of the object, which helps to untie the knot faster.

Instructions

Italian Hitch

Italian Hitch

An elementary knot applied in climbing as a part of the belay system. The hitch is fixed around an object, such as a tree or a carabiner. It is very useful when the length of a rope needs to be adjustable. The Italian Hitch is not very secure and stays tied only under constant tension.

Instructions

Two Half Hitches

Two Half Hitches

An ancient hitch, easy and reliable, actively used by sailors. This knot is good for attaching the rope to a post or a log. Keep in mind that thе half hitches of a correctly tied knot resemble a Clove Hitch, not a Cow Hitch. For additional security pull the knot tight before seizing.

Instructions

Mast Hitch

Mast Hitch

A good hitch for attaching a rope to a thick post, such as a tree or a ship mast. The hitch doesn’t jam and can easily be undone, but it’s trustworthy only when the ends are permanently loaded. Seize the ends with a twine for additional security.

Instructions

Half Hitch

Half Hitch

This knot is extensively used for forming other knots. The Half Hitch itself is not trustworthy and should be used only with its running end fastened to the standing part.

Instructions

Clinch Knot

Clinch Knot

A common fishing knot for securing an object (e.g. a hook, lure or clip) to a fishing line. A properly tied Clinch knot is relatively secure, but for additional security, the running end can be passed back through the final loop. This variant is called the Improved Clinch knot.

Instructions

Prusik Knot

Prusik Knot

The Prusik grips tightly when loaded, but without a load slides freely up and down the rope. It can be tied with one hand and does not damage the cord. However, the Prusik tends to jam. It is principally used for attaching loads to a cord or for making the cord easier for climbing.

Instructions

Timber Hitch

Timber Hitch

This knot is used to attach rope to a cylindrical object. It is useful for handling cargo, because it is very easy to untie. This hitch is commonly used to tow pieces of timber. The Timber Hitch is also known as the Bowyer’s knot, as it had been used to attach a bowstring to a longbow.

Instructions