The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know

Michael Major
By Michael Major March 4, 2021 07:37

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know

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.

Related: 4 More Knots A Prepper Needs To Know For Survival

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.

Materials Required

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.

Trucker Hitch Tree#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.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#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.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know

#4. Make an overhand loop. From here take a bight of cordage from the working end next to the overhand loop.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#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.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#6. Now that you have your slipknot loop, pass the working end of your cordage through it.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#7. Pull the line taut.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#8. When the line is tight enough pinch the cordage where it passes through the slip knot loop.

Trucker Hitch 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.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should KnowVariations Worth Noting

Instead of using a slip knot loop, an alpine butterfly loop can be used instead.

#1. Lay the cordage across your palm.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#2. Loop the working end of the cordage behind your hand and across the tips of your fingers.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#3. Loop the cord back across your palm.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#4. Pull the line that lays across your fingers down and over the crossed lines on your palm.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#5. Push the line under both lines on your palm and up towards your fingers.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know#6. Hold on to this loop with your free hand and remove your hand from the cordage.

Trucker Hitch Cordage#7. Dress the knot by holding the loop at the size that you want and pulling either line until the knot is tight.

Trucker Hitch PalmThe 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.

Related: 3 Quick Shelters (The Last One is Invisible!)

Step 1: After step 8 of the Trucker Hitch, take a bight of the working end next to where you have pinched the line.

Trucker Hitch LineStep 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.

Trucker Hitch BightStep 3: Carefully dress up the knot leaving a loop of a few inches in diameter.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should KnowStep 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.

The Only Knot Every Prepper Should Know 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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Michael Major
By Michael Major March 4, 2021 07:37
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  1. spike March 4, 16:15

    I am always impressed with knot tying skills but since I never use them I never remember them. I end of using the inferior knots I learned as a kid. Nice simple one topic article though.

    Reply to this comment
  2. woodhead March 4, 16:20

    I’ve used all these knots for years, they are very very handy, you well be amazed how often you will use them when your out in the world.

    Reply to this comment
  3. JohnC March 4, 17:07

    Have been using this knot for 50 years. Works for securing everything including trailer loads and even canoes on top of vehicles.

    Reply to this comment
    • Steve March 5, 00:59

      This is not a true truckers knot , if you can tell me where to send the pics , I can send you pics of a true truckers knot , I used to tie 80,000 pound loads with the knot I’m talking about , and I now live in the Philippines and use this same knot on my motorcycle!! And much more versatile that the knots you are using!!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Jim March 4, 17:38

    I guess I am a rope purist! I hate to see any kind of rope with the ends all fraid out per your paracord. I either do a back splice or in the case of paracord heat the cut ends with a match to seal the ends. FYI I really liked your how to on the truckers knot. That is the only knot that for some reason does not “stick” in my brain! I can do the majority of knots in my sleep or behind my back but when I need to do a truckers hitch I might as well do a granny knot!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Billy Sharpstick March 4, 18:18

    I always give an extra twist or two so it will be easier to undo later.

    Reply to this comment
  6. PARAMOHONSA March 4, 18:24

    Good information

    However, I think the Bowline is easier to tie and
    much more useful

    Reply to this comment
    • Jim March 4, 23:14

      Yep, I use the bowline most often and the taut line hitch to snug down loads ( since I keep forgetting the truckers knot)

      Reply to this comment
    • Michemarie March 9, 05:01

      I use the Bowline as well and find it the quickest, easiest and strongest, plus extremely easy to undo. When working trees the load can be in the thousands of pounds. The Bowline holds strong, has never let me down and I can always get the knot out quick which in the tree business is life or death.

      Reply to this comment
  7. ziegler March 4, 20:49

    guess I’ll try this sometime…
    but I prefer tauntline hitches, easier and quicker to tie.

    Reply to this comment
  8. crazysquirrel March 4, 22:45

    Too complicated of a knot to make.

    Reply to this comment
  9. City Chick March 4, 23:53

    Helpful for sure! Knowing that there are different specific knots for different specific situations, is key. Having one with almost universal practical applications is most helpful! Truth be told, I always seem to fall back on the various knotting techniques that I learned practicing embroidery and lace making as a kid.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Judge Holden March 5, 01:58

    The ratchet strap has pretty much replaced rope for securing loads, but even in the old days nobody knew how to tie knots. Every new guy that ever came to work for me would almost immediately show up with a truck load of material secured with a tarp and a rope fastened in square knots all the way around. It always made me mad to watch a young fool wasting time trying to break all those hard knots so I would go out to the trailer and walk around it with my buck knife cutting the rope in to about twenty pieces. This was decades ago when it was okay for the boss to cuss out an employee, and I did plenty of that while explaining a knot had to be easy to loose in a hurry. Then a quick lesson in half and trucker’s hitches (and a new rope) and the problem was solved until the next new guy showed up. Now they don’t even let drill instructors cuss, what kind of world have we made?
    I don’t know my knot language but there’s an easier way to tie a tight ridge line, secure to one tree and pull the line tight around the other tree, running end comes over the top of the line and loops back around the tree the other way, secure to the line with half hitches. Does that make sense? Do it right the 1st time or I’ll get mad.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lonnie G March 9, 16:35

      But, if you learned the wrong way and did it that way for 40 years…it don’t make it right! p.s.- I started driving trucks when I got out of the army in 1973…I have used this knot thousands of times, the only problem I ever had was pulling such a bind on nylon or poly rope that the rope melted fron the heat of friction.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Mario March 5, 04:09


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  12. Clergylady March 5, 04:13

    I earned a badge in knot tying as a 10 year old. I nadd a display b oard or 32 knots. I’ve forgotten most after 64 yeas gave passed since then. The truckers knot ending with the slip kjot is a good one for tightening down a load. Ratchet straps are handy but there are times I definitely want a rope. And ending with the slip knot makes it easy to release.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Ginny - in West AU March 5, 05:28

    Hubby always used a half sheet bend for the first loop, which falls out when the tension is released, and clove hitches to finish.
    Of course these days it’s all ratchet straps or chains and binders to secure the load by law here.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Rock March 5, 21:24

    there’s and easier way to do the knot. i’ve tied down 1000’s of loads with 1000’s of ropes. the knot looks the same but tied differently. its so easy to release to, just pull on the end and the knots release and the rope is as if you never tied a knot. its called a “red neck wench” (i didn’t name it)

    Reply to this comment
  15. RC March 5, 22:02

    You can save some time with step 1 (photo 1). Rather than pulling the entire length of line through the bowline, just make a bite through the bowline and place a stake or stick into the bite. Both the setup and takedown take less time

    Reply to this comment
  16. Omega 13 March 8, 18:25

    Looks like a clove hitch and a sheepshank got together and made a knot baby!

    Reply to this comment
  17. Bwa Ha March 11, 03:24

    The tree and the hole.

    The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and goes back down into the hole…

    I also put a little cinch on it for good measure.

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