How To Tie The Clove Hitch Knot


Tying knots is one of the most important things to know for basically any water or nature-related activity. Whether you’ll be camping, kayaking, hiking, sailing, or fishing, there is a great chance you’ll need to tie up a thing or two.

One of the most basic, simple yet used knots around the world is a knot known as the clove hitch knot. Its main purpose is to secure ropes to trees, posts, poles, or anything stable, and one of the biggest plus sides of this knot is the fact that it can easily be tied using only one hand. It is also one of the knots that will allow you to adjust the rope’s length if needed. In this article, we’ll go through the ways to tie the clove hitch knot for different purposes, its main strengths, weaknesses, and when it is best to use it.

How To Tie A Clove Hitch Knot Over The Pole

Sometimes you’ll have to tie a knot over an attached pole, and this is how to do it, simple and easy:

Take the end of the rope and wrap it halfway around the pole. As a result, you should get the end hanging from the other side of the pole. Make sure you have around 6 inches on the other side of the pole, because this is the length you’ll need to successfully tie it. You can do it with an even bigger length, but this also means it will hang out at one of the ends. To simplify, you’ll need the length that will allow you to move the rope around the pole at least twice. If the diameter is large, you may increase the length.

Take the end of the rope and cross it over the part of the rope in front. Move it under the pole, and then over the front part of the rope. Now you should end up having an “X” formed with these two rope parts.

Follow by wrapping the end of the rope over the pole once more. During this, make sure the X stays intact by going over the pole, and push it over to the backside of the pole. Right now, there should be two loops around the pole with an “X” formed at the front side.

Take the end of the rope and move it under the piece you wrapped around the pole last. Bring the end of the rope around to the front, so there are the original loop and the one you’ve made recently. Move the rope under the second loop and pull it out at the top. This will create the second “X”.

Tighten the knot up to finish by pulling both ends of the knot at the same time. In case the rope isn’t too flexible, you may have to push the loops together on the pole.

How To Tie A Clove Hitch Knot During Climbing

The clove hitch knot has found its purpose in climbing because it is simple enough to be tied using only one hand.

The first step is to place the rope in the carabiner clip. Grab the end of the rope from your harness and guide the edge of it into the carabiner clip from left to right. The end of the rope that is going down to your harness should, when you do this, come out on your far side.

Indoor climbing places have carabiner clips set in the rocks, allowing you to use them to tie your rope as a safety measure.

The long end of the rope creates a loop. Reach to the other side of the carabiner clip with the long end of the rope. Grab the rope at the side opposite of the carabiner clip, and continue by twisting it up so you create a small loop. The shape you’ll get will resemble a letter “e” in italic, with the rope coming down from the clip, moving up, and then going forward to create a loop.

Take the loop and cross it over the rope to hang it, and then bring the loop around to bring it in front of the harness rope. Finish up by slipping it onto the carabiner clip. In the end, the front part of the loop should go over the clip.

Make the knot tighter by pulling both ends. This way you’ll make it more secure, but be careful as it can still be untied if you loosen the knot up. If needed, you could easily adjust both ends of the knot without having to untie it.

Tying A Clove Hitch Over A Loose Pole

Sometimes you’ll have to make a knot on a loose pole or clip, and this is how to do it properly. Note – use this method only when you’re dealing with something with at least one end up to slip over the loops.

Start by making 2 loops in a line. Take the left end of the rope, twist it to the left near the end and you’ll get one simple loop. From there move about 1 to 2 inches, repeat the sequence but this time to the right side and the second loop will come up.

Check your loops, on the left one the end that is leading away should come in front of the loop, while on the right loop, the end leading away should be behind the rest of the loop.

Take the right loop and slide it over the left one. Be careful not to flip it over, carefully but simply and easily slide it over so it comes in front of the left loop. As a result, there should be two loops on top of each other.

Take the object – pole or clip, or basically whatever you want to tie up, and guide it through the loops. In case it is too tight, open up the loops a bit using your fingers.

Once the object is between the loops, take the ends of the rope and tighten them up to finish up the knot. The knot’s tension should be your main concern here because it is an essential part of keeping the object you’ve inserted there in place and preventing it from juggling.

When To Use The Clove Hitch Knot


As we’ve already stated in the first paragraph, the fact it is one of the simplest knots out there make the clove hitch’s usage widespread, and this is how and where to use it to get the most out of it, without any safety risk.

  • It is most commonly used as a crossing knot.
  • It can be used to secure lines you’ll have to run among the series of posts.
  • Clove hitch knot can be used for belaying, starting lashings, and weak binding
  • It is used to start and finish a lashing, for instance like the conventional square lashing in pioneering.
  • The clove hitch knot can be used for the master point when climbing a fixed rock. It can also connect a personal anchor.
  • With the combination of the carabiner spine, it will create a block that will improve the prevention of rapid.
  • It is perfectly safe for self-belaying on a biner so it is a crucial part of a clumber’s knowledge.
  • It is used for rappel transitions.
  • Lifting light to medium-heavy objects.
  • For bandages, if an injury occurs.
  • As a decoration
  • To tie a fender to a boat or a rail
  • To set up teepees and as a hammock hanging knot

Clove Hitch Advantages

This knot offers some pretty interesting advantages that many water-related activity lovers will find more than useful:

  • It is easy to learn and it won’t take much time to learn how to do it properly.
  • It can be tied using only one hand, without losing its strength.
  • It is easy to adjust it without having to worry that adjusting the knot will cause it to untie.
  • It will hold tight and stay strong with 1 strand weighted.
  • It is not complicated to undo.

Clove Hitch Knot Disadvantages

This knot also has some downsides:

  • Slipping is one of the main concerns when it comes to the clove hitch knot. When the friction is high or it is being affected by the strong wind or constant moving left and right because of the waves, this knot can start to slip and it can eventually untie. If you plan to move something and you need a knot, you could go with the clove hitch, but only if you combine it with some other knot to provide additional security.
  • Binding is another common problem with this knot. This most often occurs when some other knot is being used to additionally secure it, which will affect the rope and cause a major strain, which will most likely make it unbelievably hard to untie. This also means that you should probably avoid it for any kind of safety knots on board.
  • It doesn’t provide much stability when tied to a rectangular or a square post.
  • If you use it with thinner rope for something heavy loaded it will basically impossible to untie it.

Additional TIps

Some additional tips will help you properly use it:

  • When trying to make it tight, pull the sides in the opposite direction.
  • It could and most often will become loose when the weight is constantly being removed and added.
  • Never use this knot with a non-locking carabiner as it can open up the gate.
  • Never leave it unattended
  • Never use this knot by itself, but as a combination with some other for additional safety.
  • To prevent slipping, finish the knot with a half hitch stopper back around the standing part

Clove Hitch Variations

Clove hitch knot has a few different variations you could use to enchant some of its strengths and safety aspects.

Double Clove Hitch

As the name says itself, this is a regular clove hitch knot, only doubled in its size. You’ll add 2 extra turns to each arm for this knot’s version. This way you’ll increase the safety, stability, and strength of the knot. This version is mainly used among the windsurfers, and it is one of the most popular choices used to attach the mast to the boom.

Clove Hitch With A Slip Knot

This knot, also known as slip clove hitch is the version of this knot where you’ll, instead of placing an object in the last step; you’ll add a part of the rope between the loops.

How Safe Clove Hitch Is?

When speaking of safety, with its tendency to untie itself under constant change of pressure it is recommended as a go-to option for lifting anything heavy. It is not too secure, so it has to be used with care. Another action that could lead to untying this knot is a constant vibration or rotation.

To avoid any possible problem or unwanted outcome, in case of an emergency, don’t go with this knot. The chance of untying can be reduced by placing the almost equally heavy loads to both sides of the tied cord.

Many campers and sailors consider this knot as one of the most important ones with the value only in theory, as it is almost completely unreliable if used by itself. It is one of the knots you’ll learn in sailing or scouting schools, but with a little-to-none value in real life.

Globo Surf Overview

Clove hitch knot is one of the basic knots you’ll learn and it is quite handy when you need a crossing knot, but it is not the one that you can rely on solely. You should learn it, especially if you’re into climbing, and it can be really helpful in many camping activities. With this article, you’ll know when, where, and how to use it properly and to react the right way next time you need it.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!