There are numerous occasions when we need a rope to be pulled very tight and secured while not losing any tension. The most obvious of these circumstances is when securing a load to one’s truck or trailer and the truckers who make their living driving goods around the country know a thing or two about tying down a load.
The Trucker Hitch is a series of knots that form a primitive style of block and tackle which will allow you to pull cordage taut and secure the line without losing tension.
The Trucker hitch also has several variants that use slightly different techniques to achieve the end goal, but what I will show here is the method that I use and have had a lot of success with.
Trucker Hitch Uses
The Trucker Hitch is primarily used to secure loads but can be very useful in any situation where you need to tighten and secure a line.
I like to use a Trucker Hitch to create a very taut ridgeline off which I can string a tarp to make a tarp shelter. I also use this knot to tighten and secure lines for flying tarps while setting up a camp.
Knot Tying Terminology
To make it easier to follow along with the tying instructions it is helpful to know a few common knot and rope terms.
Bight – A bight is a U-shaped section of rope that is not crossed over itself making it different than a loop. A bight can be at any part of the cordage.
Loop – A loop is where the cordage is crossed over itself to form a loop. A loop can be either overhand or underhand depending on which end of the rope is crossed overtop the other. An overhand loop has the working end crossed overtop the standing end and an underhand loop is the opposite.
Working End – This is the end of the rope that is being used to tie the knot.
Standing End – This end of the rope is opposite the working end and is static.
Aside from cordage, you will need something in which to either run the cordage around or through to aid you in tightening the line.
Related: Making Cordage From A Plastic Bottle
How To Tie The Trucker Hitch
#1. Secure one end of the cordage to the opposite side from where you want to tie the knot. This can be a tree, pole, trailer tie-down point, etc.
#2. Locate your next tie-off point and run the working end around it, or in the case of a ring, through it. Pull the cordage so that it is snug.
#3. Pick a point several feet away from where the cordage runs around the tie-off point. This is where you will tie your loop.
#4. Make an overhand loop. From here take a bight of cordage from the working end next to the overhand loop.
#5. Pass the bight through the overhand loop from the rear and carefully dress up the knot. What I like to do is to keep hold of the bight and pull the overhand loop closed around it. You want to end up with a slipknot that has a loop of a couple of inches wide.
#6. Now that you have your slipknot loop, pass the working end of your cordage through it.
#7. Pull the line taut.
#8. When the line is tight enough pinch the cordage where it passes through the slip knot loop.
#9. Secure the line with two half hitches. It will take a little practice to be able to secure this hitch without losing any tension but it is possible to do so.
Variations Worth Noting
Instead of using a slip knot loop, an alpine butterfly loop can be used instead.
#1. Lay the cordage across your palm.
#2. Loop the working end of the cordage behind your hand and across the tips of your fingers.
#3. Loop the cord back across your palm.
#4. Pull the line that lays across your fingers down and over the crossed lines on your palm.
#5. Push the line under both lines on your palm and up towards your fingers.
#6. Hold on to this loop with your free hand and remove your hand from the cordage.
#7. Dress the knot by holding the loop at the size that you want and pulling either line until the knot is tight.
The advantage of using a loop such as the alpine butterfly loop is that when practiced it can be very quick and easy to tie. The one disadvantage is that it is not as rapidly untied as the slip knot loop.
Using a Slipknot Loop Instead Of Two Half Hitches
You can also use a slip knot loop to secure the Trucker Hitch. This is what I like to when securing a ridgeline for a tarp shelter.
Step 1: After step 8 of the Trucker Hitch, take a bight of the working end next to where you have pinched the line.
Step 2: Take another bight and pass it up through the backside of the first bight. This second bight is what makes the loop of your slipknot, so when you dress up the knot in the next step, hold onto this bight.
Step 3: Carefully dress up the knot leaving a loop of a few inches in diameter.
Step 4: Coil the remaining cordage and place it inside of the slipknot loop. You can now tighten the slipknot loop around the coiled cordage which will prevent it from accidentally untying.
I like to use the slip knot loop because it means I can take down my ridgeline or tarp lines very quickly and efficiently. It also lets me secure the excess cordage reducing the need to cut it.
Why Preppers And Survivalists Should Know The Trucker Hitch
While there are many important knots that we should know as preppers and survivalists, the Trucker Hitch is one that has been my go-to knot for quite some time.
Securing loads, hanging bear bags, running ridgelines, flying tarps, and securing guy lines are only a few of the tasks that I have used a Trucker Hitch to complete.
Even in my daily life at work and around the home the Trucker Hitch is in regular use.
This is a hitch that I use so often it has become second nature for me. I have even practiced securing a ridgeline with this hitch one-handed with some success.
While it does take a little practice to get the feel for how to tie this knot once you understand the basic process it becomes an exceptionally versatile hitch to have in your knot-tying toolbox.
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