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How to Tie a Taut-Line Hitch Knot

March 1, 2016
Taut-line Hitch
Ryan SmithThe taut-line hitch knot is named for its adjustability, slipping when loose but holding under a load.

A trusted knot in a backpacker’s repertoire, the taut-line hitch is hard to forget and a lot easier to learn than the trucker’s hitch. The taut-line is so named for its adjustability, slipping when loose but holding tight under a load, making it the perfect knot for securing a tarp or tent. (It’s important to maintain tension on the knot to keep it from loosening. Check the line periodically for slack and tighten the knot if necessary.) Master the following steps and you’ll be tying like a pro in no time.

Step 1: Pass the working end of the rope around a secured object then under the standing end.

Step 2: Coiling toward the secured object, pass the working end into the loop and around the standing end twice.

Step 3: On the other side of the coil, pass the working end of the rope under the standing end.

Step 4: Moving back toward the coil, pass the working end around the standing end and through the resulting loop.

Step 5: Pull the working end to tighten the knot.

To adjust tension in the line, slip the knot closer to or further from the secured object by holding the standing end of the rope and moving the knot to the desired position.


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Ryan Smith

Ryan is the managing editor of AMC Outdoors magazine and contributing professional photographer. He has worked for AMC as a backcountry caretaker, trail crew member, Mountain Classroom educator, and Teen Wilderness guide. His passions include hiking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and climbing.