Instructables

Trucker's Hitch, THE most awesome knot on the planet!

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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
 
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Step 1: Initial setup

Picture of 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.
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MereteS113 days ago

Definitely the most important and coolest knot in the world :))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUHgGK-tImY&feature=player_detailpage

Downunder35m7 months ago

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...

This instructable http://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.

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
And thank you for demonstrating a very useful hitch!
GoDu22 years ago
Very useful knot- I can relate to not enough time to build everything moto ! :)
stevenh4292 years ago
Wouldn't it be easier to make 2 bowlines?
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.
jpalmer92 years ago
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
droo19662 years ago
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.
AOGutierrez3 years ago
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.
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
bodger ed3 years ago
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)
cheapchuck3 years ago
I grew up on a farm and have used a trucker's hitch many times. We always had lots of twine from hay bales, so we'd tie some lengths together, which requred careful planning when making the hitch so that knots didn't foul it up. I still don't own any of those funny straps with metal buckles; although those devices look sturdy, all it would take is a settling of the load for the strap to go loose and the jumbo metal hooks at the end to come unhooked.

I currently have a very large Siberian Peapod bush girdled with this adjustable Trucker's Hitch. I used some high quality yacht line, the kind with the fuzzy outer shell. If it weren't for the girdle, the bush would have broken apart and fallen to the ground. As it is, the thing is nearing 16 feet and can be adjusted as needed.
dchall85 years ago
I was hoping this Instructable would be a great one; however, it is just very hard to make a really good Instructable about knots. Kudos for trying, though. I've tried and never came up with anything presentable. Thus I should apologize in advance for my explanation below, because it will make no sense unless you already know exactly what I'm talking about. The trucker hitch is an excellent system of knots. When used properly you get a 3:1 mechanical advantage on tension. It is almost as if you were using pulleys. That means you can get 100 pounds of tension into the system by pulling 33 pounds on the bitter end of the line. Then when you tie it properly the entire system of knots will completely collapse with a light tug on a slipped half hitch. I use it on my boat to create 700 pounds of tension to bend the mast in a certain way. It's a great knot (system of knots). The trucking company I worked for gave me about 30 seconds to study the knots and become proficient, so it really isn't that tough a thing to tie. Instead of the slip knot in the middle we used a clove hitch formed with a couple of overlapping twist loops. You pull another loop through and tighten the clove. Then you pull on the bitter end to tighten. Next you pinch the bend with one hand and tie a slipped half hitch at the pinch to cinch the tension. This is the technical end of the trucker's hitch; however, it will vibrate apart and collapse if you don't do something else. We tied one more half hitch around the loose loop formed by the slipped half hitch. There was virtually no tension on that final hitch so it remained fast under the tension we gave it. Then to untie you push the half hitch out and it collapses. Then you tug on the slipped half hitch underneath to release the tension. Once the tension is off, the entire system collapses with no knots to untie. Depending on your rope, the slip knot shown in this Instructable can slip itself and create a mess to untie. This system of knots goes together so quickly that a real-time video would not work to demonstrate it. There are several important twists and turns that make it go together easily. My suggestion would be to find a trucker and ask him/her to show you how to do it. Once you get good at tying this, you have to be careful because that tension can build up very easily. If you are using it in the wrong application something might break. One place I use it is to tighten volleyball nets for the local YMCA. The Y never gets the crank tools from the school to use with the poles so I tie the nets with the trucker's hitch. When I do it the 5-inch steel poles bend which gives a nice bounce back from the nets.
schneidp20 (author)  dchall85 years ago
I'm open to suggestions to make it better. I found out real quick how difficult it was documenting a knot, plus this is my first Instructable. I think a video on a practical application would help.
Animatedknots.com. Awesome reference and learning guide.
http://www.animatedknots.com/truckers/index.php?Categ=scouting&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com
If the link doesn't work, check in he scouting section. His method of teaching visually is very effective for knots.
Cheers!
Jexm dchall83 years ago
Although I believe the truckers knot system featured in this instructable is nearly the best way to go, it's always interesting and educational to see the other ways to do it. I caught your mention of applying tension to a volleyball net and that is just what I do with the system myself. But over the years I have refined it somewhat. Maybe you will find this system of use also. I go with the slip knot but instead of running the free end of the rope through the loop formed by the slip knot I insert a S hook in it and pull it tight. Then just complete the pulley system by running the free end around whatever you are pulling on and back through the unused leg of the S hook to form the pulley system. Pulling on the free end offers the 3-1 mechanical advantage. Actually it is somewhat less than that due to the friction of the system. To tie off the free end without loosing tension move your hand holding the free end next to the rope leading to the S hook and form a half hitch around it. Tension the free end again and lock it off with another half hitch dressed up tight against the previous one, but this time make it a slipped half hitch so you can just pull on the free end to release it. It helps secure it by laying the loop of the slipped half hitch along the tensioned rope and tie it off with a overhand knot, just like the fisherman tie off knot in this instructable. I use this method because when players want to lower or raise the net for women's or men's games it allows an easy adjustment. I forgot to mention, this is beach volleyball where net changes are way more common.
keng dchall85 years ago
the instructable is actually one of the best where knots are concerned and more than adequately explains and illustrates the technique. i think the 'clove hitch' you are describing seems like an Artillery Loop or Man-Harness knot (Ashley's 153 for you knotters out there). but i'll leave that final designation to you. i'm not so sure about your supposition about the slip-knot capsizing and jamming as the one shown is a stopper knot (again for the knotters Ashley's 44) and you are putting the tension on with the bitter not with the main body of the line that is wrapped over the truck load thus the more tention put on the less (i'd say here exponentially less) likely for capsize of the knot to occur.
dchall8 keng5 years ago
The slip knot, which you are calling Ashley's stopper knot, is illustrated in Step 2. It would be Ashley's stopper if the end passed through the loop, which it doesn't. Or at least it does not in the photos. If you tied either knot and pulled on the end, the loop shrinks. If the original knot was a slip knot, the loop falls through and the knot slips away. If it was Ashley's stopper, the knot jams on itself. In either case, when you finish the system and put tension on the bitter end, that tension is reduced by still passes directly to that loop and will try to pull the loop out; however, the loop has the end passing through it and prevents the loop from pulling all the way through. When that slip knot gets jammed like that, it makes it hard to untie.

The images below show the knot as I tie it. The first two pictures show the clove hitch holding a loop which forms the other loop that you tied in Step 2. As you can see it is not a slip knot nor Artillery loop - it is a clove hitch. The third image shows the system tied off with a slipped half hitch. Unfortunately you can't really see the loop from the left side very well. If you pull on the bitter end as this is, the slipped half hitch falls out to release the tension. Then system falls apart. If you had a lot of tension on it, the clove could be pretty tight but otherwise it will fall apart, too. The next to last image shows the slipped half hitch with another half hitch to keep the loop from vibrating out. The final picture shows the entire system. This picture shows how the loop is formed from the clove on the left to where the slipped half hitch secures it (ala your Step 2).

Well now that I've gone to all the trouble to take the pictures, I found the knot as we tied it at Wikipedia. Their picture on the left clearly shows the clove hitch holding the loop in place. It does not show the knot finished.

As I said earlier, this system of knots goes together very quickly once you see the twists and turns in action. The first time you watch someone with experience, it looks more like a magic trick than anything else. Certainly it takes less than 5 seconds. Seeing it already tied makes it look more complicated than it is.
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keng dchall85 years ago
"The slip knot, which you are calling Ashley's stopper knot, is illustrated in..." I think you miss understand me, I'm not saying it's an Ashley's Stopper (which I believe is labeled Oysterman's Stopper #526). I'm calling it a slip knot (#44 and also #529). "When that slip knot gets jammed like that, it makes it hard to untie. " I don't believe it could jam with any reasonable sized loop cuz the tension itself forces the loop further and further open. Even if, when letting the tension off, the load keeps pulling on the main line and you keep having to feed the 'slack' into the loop, eventually you get down to just a handful's width of the bitter end and you can grab hold above the entire hitch and hold while letting the BE fall through the loop and then an easyish tug will spill the slip knot and your back to a straight rope without a jam. ahhhh...i thought you were using the loop in the clove hitch as the 'pulley' but now i see where i went wrong in my thinking. you're right it does seem more like magic even looking at the wp article. ;0) the locking system you come to the point where you only have a hands width of slack
dchall8 keng5 years ago
If you use a slip knot to make the loop in a slippery line (polypropylene, for example), the loop will slip back until it jams. The physics of that is beyond most beginning studies of pulleys. The lack of friction is important in allowing it to happen. If the system was completely frictionless for all rope, it would happen for you, too. For the volleyball nets, the YMCA uses polypropylene line. I had to tie a permanent bowline to use as a loop because the slip knot in the trucker's hitch jammed and clove hitch could not hold the loop. For our practice nets I replace the braided polyprop line with braided polyester (Dacron). Then the tension on the net was limited by the strength of the poles.
keng dchall85 years ago
when you say 'jam' are you talking about the loop getting pulled back up inside with the bitter end in it or the overhand knot part getting so tight you can't pull the loop back out that makes the slip-knot?
dchall8 keng5 years ago
Both. I worked for a moving company and was paid by the hour (of course). If we could not tie and untie our knots fast, the boss was looking at us funny. We had to make them fast and break them apart fast without damaging anything and without using tools. And we did not always untie our own knots so they had to tie them pretty close to the same. The clove hitch approach was the most reliable for us using the ropes we used. We never used braided polyprop rope. Back then we used twisted sisal but even a heavy, twisted polypropylene is better than braided polyprop.
keng dchall85 years ago
"Both. "

ohhhh.....well, I guess i can see that on the ovrhnd-knt (maybe not on it pulling the BE through it given the precautions i lined out) but that clove-hitch method would prevent that (in much the same way a water bowline does).
I'll have to start getting to work on this version!
dmartin823 years ago
I too have been using the Trucker's Hitch since the 1970's, and yes it does give you so much mechanical advantage you can damage things (like canoes) by applying too much tension, so be careful!

A couple of things I've discovered from using this knot: First, it is sometimes useful to tie the half hitches loosely before you place tension on the rope. It can be difficult to tie the half hitch once the ropes are pressing hard against the item you are tying down. Second, in most situations you can maintain the tension while you finish the knot by simply squeezing the running end of the rope with two fingers at the point it passes through the standing loop. There is so much friction it is surprisingly easy.
Potroast3 years ago
I tend to agree that the trucker's hitch is the most awesome knot in the world. One thing I tended to wrong in the begining, is making the eye (or the loop) that takes the place of a pulley using the strand on the anchor side of the knot, rather than the loose, working end of the rope as you correctly show it here. The bad news if you do it wrong, like I still sometimes do, is that it is very hard to undo. A properly done trucker's hitch, as you show here, comes out with a simple tug.

Great instructable!
l8nite3 years ago
being on the front page I thought this was a new "ible", I guess its a good thing that the older "ibles" are brought back... I've used the truckers hitch for many different things over the years (not the least of being the time I caved in the sides of a trailer) It can also work as a "winch" for loading heavy objects or holding boards together or in one case forcing the poles of a portable carport together. For some of these uses it helps to add a 2nd loop, once you pass the free end thru the 1st loop go about 3/4 of the way between the loop and the second mounting point and form the 2nd loop, pass the free end thru and pull back towards the 1st mounting point (hope that makes sense) 2 people can pull a car out of a soft sand spot using this setup as long as you have a good anchor point or pull a boat onto a trailer if the trailer winch somehow gives out
arawls3 years ago
A couple of people have mentioned a simpler version of the truckers' hitch that just shakes out when you are done with it. That's the one I learned driving a lumber truck decades ago, and have been using ever since.

With the far end of your rope secured to one of the downward pointing rope hooks on the far side of your truck, pull your rope over your load and towards a near-side rope hook. Using your left thumb and forefinger, hold the rope at a point about 3 feet from the hook.

Now with your right hand, come down about a foot further down the rope and pull that spot on the rope up to your left thumb and forefinger so that you form a loop hanging off to the right of your left hand. Don't cross the rope over itself or twist it. Just bring it up.

Now go down a foot again, bring that point of the rope up, and wind it twice around the loop that you have hanging from your left hand. The wind should go over the top (or clockwise, as seen from the right), and the second wind should be TO THE LEFT of the first wind. This is where the holding power comes from. The pull down on the second wind sucks it in tight behind the first wind so that it can't pop out.

Depending on the thickness of your rope, this double wind will use up somewhere between an eighth and a half of that last foot of rope you grabbed. The rest of that foot of rope will be hanging down, forming another little loop, while the continuing part of the rope hangs down from your right hand.

From here, take the index finger or the ring finger of your right hand and push a loop of the continuing part of the rope towards yourself and to the left, through the loop that is left over from the winding action you just did. Then grab that loop that you just pushed through the loop and pull it down over your rope hook. If you now pull down on the free end of the rope it will pull up on this last loop, snugging it up onto the rope hook with the same two-times-mechanical-advantage as schneidp20's slip-knot-based truckers-hitch.

To finish either version of the truckers' hitch off, just pull down hard on the free end of the rope and secure it to your rope hook with a couple of half-hitches.

To undo, just undo the half-hitches and let out enough slack to take the last loop off of the rope hook. Then pull on the free end of the rope and the whole shebang comes out. That's the advantage of the wind-it-over-twice method. When you are done, you don't have to pull the free end of your rope back through the slip-knot-loop or undo any slip-knot.

Hmmm. I wasn't sure I'd be able to explain that without pictures, but I think those instructions ought to be followable. Anyone want to give it a try and let me know? As schneidp20 noted, it takes a bit of practice get a feel for where to start this kind of knot. The more give there is in your load and in your rope, the further you have to start from your destination rope-hook.

This knot doesn't LOOK that reliable, and indeed, from the front of the knot, it is actually pretty easy to push the inner winding over the outer winding so that the whole thing comes undone, even when there is substantial load on it. But if nobody is pushing on the front of the inner winding then there is no pressure there. All the pressure that the knot itself creates is at the BACK of the inner winding, where downward force is pulling the inner winding hard to the inside of the outer winding.

I have used this hitch thousands of times on some very heavy loads and have NEVER had it come undone. Very fast, very easy to learn, and very reliable in my long experience. Highly recommended.
jdege5 years ago
I've used this forever, and it works wonderfully. Only difference - I use a taughtline hitch, instead of two half-hitches, as the sliding adjuster. And if it's something I need to make sure doesn't loosen up, I'll throw a couple of half-hitches around all the lines together, to tie everything together.
schneidp20 (author)  jdege5 years ago
Can you post a picture on how your taughtline hitch works with this knot? I'm always open to ideas! I'd gladly add your alternate securing method. Thanks!
Jdege has the same thought I have; it's just a Magnus or Rolling Hitch (Ashley 1734/1735) where you have your two half hitches, with the double turn toward the slipnot. A Midshipman's Hitch (Ashley 1855) is more secure, but harder to adjust.
A good alternative is the alpine butterfly knot - slightly slower to tie but does not bind as easily.
amac13 years ago
Definitely one of the most useful knots out there! Depending on the loads that get put on the line sometimes the slipknot becomes so tight that the loop wont pull through after. A way to avoid this is is to put an additional two twists where you do the overhand loop. This keeps it from cinching up!
sam19463 years ago
Nice job on the photos & how to. There is however a knot I believe to be even more awsome. I have always known it as the beekeepers knot, but am not sure if that is the correct name. It has the mechanical advantage of the truckers knot, will not jam, will not slip, can be untied instantly, and can be tied in the middle of the rope.
Do have any source for that knot? I've consulted The Ashley Book of Knots and some online sources with no luck. Any chance of posting an Instuctable? Always looking for new knots and variations of old ones.
ProductsUK3 years ago
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Here is a link..
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slchorne5 years ago
The problem with this version of the knot is that you have to thread the end of the rope through the top loop. The top loop can also get jammed under a load and will be hard to undo. There is actually way to tie the entire hitch with out using the end of the rope and it is much faster . It will also completely undo itself once you release the load. I guess i should post images of the difference somewhere
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