Trucker's Hitch, THE Most Awesome Knot on the Planet!

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Introduction: Trucker's Hitch, THE Most Awesome Knot on the Planet!

About: I like building stuff. Trouble is, there just isn't enough time to build everything ... Sigh.

Yes I know that there are plenty of other cool knots out there ... many of which I literally couldn't live w/o ... I rock climb. However, this knot is unlike any other. Plus I needed a grabber for my Instructable. :-) (BTW: this ISN'T a climbing knot!) And in truth, it isn't a knot by itself, but rather a system of common knots.

Have you ever tried to tie something down for transporting, but just couldn't get the lines tight and/or during transport the lines would continually loosen? Then this is the knot for you! I learned this knot back in the 70s when specialty car racks and ratchet straps were rare or unheard of. I initially used it to tie a canoe on a car rack, both attaching to the rack as well as the lines to the bow and stern of the canoe. Even with all the new gizmos available today, this knot still shines because all you need is a rope and ropes don't hum in the wind like straps.

The unique aspect of this knot is that it gives you a 2-1 mechanical advantage when tightening the rope. Be careful though. You can actually damage some things because of the mechanical advantage. This knot holds fast and is easy to untie, hallmark traits of any good knot.

Below you see the finished knot system ... we'll break it apart in the steps that follow

Step 1: Initial Setup

The first step is to anchor one end of the rope and then loop the rope around a 2nd anchor point.

For attaching to the 1st anchor point I chose bowline ... a close #2 on my list :-). There are other instructables on that one so I won't bore you here.

The 2nd anchor really should be round because it serves as a pulley in this block and tackle type knot. I've used it on sharp anchor points and it doesn't work as well.

Step 2: Creating a Slip Knot

Tie a slip knot somewhere between the two anchor points. Correct placement of the slip knot takes some experience to judge it correctly. Typically I place it too close to the 2nd anchor point and end up with not enough room to work with. If the knot ends up too far from 2nd anchor point, you can extend the knot by enlarging the loop.

Be sure you tie the slip knot as shown. You may not be able to untie other knots.

In this small example, the slip knot is uncharacteristically close to the 1st anchor point.

Step 3: Tightening and Securing

The loose end of the rope that went around the 2nd anchor point goes through the slip knot loop. Pull the loose end to the desired tension and secure with two half hitches.

Note: To allow better view of the knots, the rope isn't really tightened in this example.

Step 4: Securing Loose End

The final knot is just to secure the loose end somehow. I chose a fisherman's knot to do this.

To tie a fisherman's knot, the rope goes around twice and goes under the "X" created by the loops. Pull the loose end to tighten. Finally slide the knot to put tension on the half hitches.

Step 5: Finished

There you have it. I guarantee that the first time you really use this knot (not just practice), you will be amazed at how well it works and you'll wish you knew this knot a long time ago. You may even come over to my side and declare that is is THE most awesome knot on the planet! :-)

Enjoy and happy hauling,
Dave

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    57 Comments

    It might be a knot but it definately is not a Trucker's hitch!

    Using these slipknots makes it hard to impossible to undo the knot after applying a lot of tension on it.

    A true truckie's hitch does not use slipknots at all.

    This tut only shows a simplyfied version that is neither rated, nor allowed to be used if you actually hold a truck license and use it, as a matter of fact here in AU you will losse your license if you secure your load with the knot above...

    4 replies

    So, given your critique, it would be useful to hear what a CORRECT knot looks like...

    There are several examples available on Youtube, mostly those made as training videos for upcoming truckies.
    And so far I had to learn that there is no right or wrong with this knot as most who are stuck with a certain way never accept a different one LOL
    Basically it comes down to not making knots to get it together so that you have a chance to undo it.
    Keep in mind that you create a massive pull with this system and any normal knot will simply constrict and be next to impossible to get loose after 1000km on the road.

    This instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Four-knots-to-make-paracord-into-a-useful-tool/ includes a Truckie's hitch the way that I do them. I've seen them done a few other ways, but most of them are either harder to get right, less secure, or harder to undo.

    Yeah, for tying down loads, this is way overkill. A quick-release system is heaps easier - use a sheep-shank for the loop, and then just use a clove-hitch in a bight to tie off - makes it possible to use one rope with one bowline at one end, and you can put it over a trailer 3-4 times, and then when you're done, you just release the clove hitch and the sheep-shanks, and you can pull the rope off without pulling it *through* anything.

    You are incorect when you said that you used a fisherman's knot because a fisherman's knot actually connects two rope ends together. You actually used a clove hitch. I only know because I'm the knot expert in my boy scout troop.

    If you use a doubled figure-8 knot instead of a slip knot it can't tighten up on you, and it can also be tied in the middle of a line. Otherwise, is a great knot-system. I learned it for tying down rolls of fiberglass insulation on a truck.

    The trucker's hitch provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage as the loop that acts in place of a pulley is moving when pulled.

    After the "hay knot" you can daisy chain the rest of teh chord and tie that off. When it is time to untie, just undo your end of the daisy chain and the entire chain and "hay knot" comes loose. I work on a river and that is the system we use to haul rafts on top of the bus. The knot has NEVER failed. Though we have had ropes break.

    While the slip knot is certainly applicable here (and I used it for decades), I find that the directional figure-eight here is a better choice, as it tends to jam less on heavy loads. I'd do an Instructable on it, but Animated Knots just does such a good job:

    http://www.animatedknots.com/fig8directional/index.php

    1 reply

    And thank you for demonstrating a very useful hitch!

    Very useful knot- I can relate to not enough time to build everything moto ! :)

    Yes, but then there you would be missing the mechanical advantage that the tuckers hitch offers. This is to be used for tying things down that need to be SECURE! I use this to tie canoes and kayaks to my roof, a strong, secure knot is important when driving highway speeds with a boat on the roof. This knot offers a 2 to 1 mechanical advantage so you can get things nice and tight with very little effort.

    I wouldn't call that a truckers hitch
    It doesn't look like the truckers hitch I use in the UK which is much simpler to do and undo

    I don't know how to make an instructable but I do know how to tie a secure "Trucker's Hitch" or "Menhinnet Hitch" and this aint it. If you wanna come to Adelaide, I'll teach you how to do it right.

    You can add in extra loops to increase the mechanical advantage if you need serious tension. The two half-hitches are indeed secure but if you are not using this for over road purposes a single half-hitch with a loop (also called a slipped half-hitch) will hold the same tension and provide a quick release.

    The Fisherman's knot is commonly referred to as a Constrictor Knot also.

    Very nice visual presentation.

    1 reply

    The single half hitch is what I have always used, we called it a hay knot on the farm. In all my years of use, it use has never come loose with just the single half hitch and like you said it is a simple pull of the rope to untie

    I have never seen a wagoners hitch made so complicated, I am a truck driver of the old era, and i was taught as a nipper how too tie what i know as a dolly hitch, when i get my nerve up and have had time to figure i tie it and how to discribe it in easy terms i will come back and show it. this is not a slur on how this knot was tied, as we all have different ways. may you dolly never slip (or if it does you end up on your butt as i have done whilst learning)