This is a widely used knot, from bushcraft, to climbing, to sailing. It is so simple that it can be done with one hand, which is one of its main advantages and is what makes it a classic outdoor knot that you need to know.
There is evidence on sculptures and paintings that show the clove hitch been used in the 1700’s. However, I am sure it would have been used far further back than that.
It is basically just two half hitches usually tied around an object done successively with the same piece of rope. This makes the clove hitch stronger and more secure than a half hitch.
I will give you 3 examples of how you can tie a clove hitch in the outdoors, to highlight the versatility of the clove hitch:
Stand facing the branch.
Have the length of rope on your side of the branch and take hold of the end of the rope.
Depending on the thickness of the branch you will need around 7 inches of rope to tie the knot, basically you will need enough to around the branch a minimum of 2 times.
Take the 7 inches of rope and hang it over the branch, so the main body of the rope is hanging down from your side and the shorter end is on the other side hanging down.
You now get the end of the rope and bring it towards you under the branch and back up to the left slightly to form a cross (X) shape.
Then you go back over the branch and under again, and bring it back towards you. Should have created 2 loops around the branch that forms a cross in the middle.
You should still be holding the end; you pull it up but also under the loop you have just created around the branch.
Pull the rope end upwards you and the main body of the rope down to tighten it.
Push the 2 loops towards each other and tighten again to make a stronger knot.
You now have a clove hitch knot. If you are looking directly at it.
Then you should have a piece of rope coming up from the floor on the right-hand side going over the branch, then you see this rope coming back around under the branch and up towards the sky on the left-hand side, held together by a diagonal piece of rope, going from bottom right to top left.
Secure your carabiner and have it facing you.
Run the rope through or clip it into the carabiner.
The main body of the rope, or the rope attached to you should be on the other side of the carabiner. The short end of the rope should be hanging on your side.
With the long end of the rope make a small loop in your left hand and pull it up towards you.
You then need to cross the loop you have made over the front of the main body of the rope to the right, then back around to clip it into the carabiner.
Now you should have the long and short end of the rope hanging down from the carabiner. Pull on these to tighten the knot around the carabiner.
You now have a clove hitch knot on a carabiner. It should look like the short end is hanging on the righthand side.
Going up and over the carabiner in front of you, it comes under the carabiner to the right, the comes to the left in-between the hanging short end and the main body of the rope, back over the carabiner to the left, then back through its own loop so that both ends of the rope hang together in the middle.
Create 2 loops in your hand. The main body of the rope should go up and loop to the left, comes back around to the right, upwards, and back towards the middle to form a second loop.
The end of the rope should be hanging down next to the main body of the rope.
Now you need to slide the loop with the short end of the rope that is on the right hand side, so that it is now over the left hand loop that has the main body of rope.
Whatever pole you have can now go through the middle of the 2 loops you have created.
Now you simply pull on the short end and the long end of the rope down towards the floor if the pole is horizontal to tighten it.
You now have a clove hitch.
It will look like the short end of the rope is hanging down on your side of a horizontal pole, going up and over the pole, coming back towards you on the righthand side, going to the left in-between the 2 ends of the rope, going over the pole to the left-hand side, and back around through the middle under itself, so that the main body of the rope is now hanging in the middle with the short end.
There are many benefits to the clove hitch knot, and here are the main ones:
If you enjoy the great outdoors and all the adventures you can have in it, then at some point you are probably going to need to know how to tie a clove hitch knot.
Whether you are a bushcrafter, homesteaders, survivalist, or prepper then it will come in handy at some point.
Here are some typical uses:
This list is just off the top of my head, and the actual full list is probably almost endless, but I am sure you get my point… they are very useful!
The clove hitch is a knot that everyone should know how to tie, however, it is not perfect and in some cases, there are other knots that could be used instead.
This knot is sometimes better for some bushcraft and shelter building tasks over the clover hitch. It is especially useful for hoisting or dragging branches and logs, that are smooth or tapered.
Have the main body of the rope on your side of the log. Then you wrap the short working end of the rope around the log, away from you are to the left.
Then take the short end and bring it back behind the main end and wrap it over the log so it is on the other side.
You will have created a loop which can be looped around the end of the log. You then pull the two ends down and towards the end of the log to tighten.
To look at it you should have a horizontal log with the end on your righthand side.
Close to the end of the log you have the 2 ends of rope hanging down, secured to the log by a loop on the bottom of the log, going behind the log, coming back over diagonally from top right to bottom left, which secures the four initial loops in place.
An excellent knot for sailing or boating as you can adjust the knot to make different sized loops to go over and around things, but when you leave it and apply a load the loop stays in the size you set.
Take the rope with the long end on the righthand side and pass it around the cleat to the left and back towards you. Use the short end to tie a half hitch around the main end.
Pass it around and through the loop again, creating a small second loop that is closer to you. Pass the end through this smaller loop and pull to tighten.
It will look like a hangman’s noose when you are finished.
Often used as a closed system with a short piece of rope with 2 looped ends hanging.
Have one end hanging down. Loop the other end 4 times around the pole going upwards.
Bring it back down and behind the first end. Wrap it around the pole one more time under the first loop but bring it through itself and pull to tighten.
When finished you should have 2 looped ends on top of each other where you could fasten a carabiner through both for example.
As the name might suggest it is an excellent knot for trying around branches, logs, and posts. It can take a heavier load than a clover hitch but it is not as versatile.
If the log is on the floor, have the main end on the other side, bring the short end under the log towards you. Bring it back over and loop around the long end.
Then wrap the short end around itself three times, with the final time coming under the first loop. If the long end is 12 o’clock, the short end is now pointing at 3 o’clock.
Pull to tighten.
If you need the knot to be on a particular side, you will need to stop it twisting. To do this take the long end and create 2 half-hitches working to the left.
I hope you find this useful.
If you think that you might need to use this hitch in the wild or in nature, then please do practise it at home.
Before you go out anywhere it is important that you know how to tie a knot properly and it is second nature to you. This is important for your safety and the safety of others.