So now you know the three knots that I consider most useful to woodsmen (or to anyone for that matter.) You’ve mastered the reef knot. You’ve mastered the overhand loop. And you’ve mastered the cinch knot. Now what? Well, for this bonus post, I’m going to tell you how to put it all together (the reef knot and the overhand loop, at least) to use your rope or cord effectively. I typically use the reef knot and overhand loop together to construct my own version of a trucker’s hitch. This combination works great in a wide variety of applications. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to describe how to tie a clothesline between two trees, but the exact same concept works for tying tarps for shelter, tying mattresses to the top of your car, and countless other scenarios.
To tie my version of the trucker’s hitch:
1. Tie an overhand loop to the working end of the cord. Wrap the working end (with the loop) around a sturdy object (like this hickory tree.) Pull the remainder of the cord through the overhand loop. This configuration now becomes the standing end of my clothesline.
2. Tie two overhand loops in the length of the line near the opposing sturdy object. It will take practice to quickly determine where these loops should be tied.
3. Wrap the working end around the sturdy object. Then pull it through the overhand loop furthest from the working end. If using 550 cord or other high–tensile strength cord, you can really pull this tight! Lean into it and pull!
4. After the cord is banjo–string tight, pull the standing end through the overhand loop closest to the second sturdy object while keeping pressure on the cord where it is pulled through the first overhand loop. Tie it off with a reef knot. TIP: Leave a bight on the second hitch of the reef knot. This allows for easy untying when you’re finished using the line.
There are many versions of the trucker’s hitch. This one is just my own personal method. How about you? Do you do it a different way? Or, if you’ve never done this before, are you going to try? If you do, let me know how it goes or if you have any questions!