Useful Knots for Hikers: The Round Turn and Two Half-Hitches

Round turn and two half hitches

Imagine you’re out on a two week backpacking trip and it has been raining non-stop for 3 days. Despite your best efforts, your sleeping bag is wet, and you’re not looking forward to another miserable night in a wet bag. Suddenly the clouds part and the sun in shining. It’s time for a long break (or time to stop for the day) to dry everything out. You can either lay everything out on the ground or hang a clothes line if you find a sufficiently sunny spot between two trees. Since it’s a breezy day and you find a good spot for a clothes line, you decide to to hang a line. What kind of knot should you use to hang your clothes line to the trees?

The round turn and two half-hitches is a great knot for this scenario. This type of knot is used to secure a cord or line or rope to a fixed object, like a tree. The first part of the knot is a round turn, which controls the load and provides friction against the support. This allows you to make the line taught. The two half-hitches secure the line and keeps the line tight.

How to tie the round turn and two half hitches

The round turn and two half-hitches is tied as illustrated in the photographs. A trekking pole takes the place of the tree in the above scenario.

Round turn: Photos 1, 2, 3

Half-hitch #1: Photos 4, 5

Half-hitch #2: Photos 6, 7

Pull tight: Photo 8

Round turn and two half hitches

Uses for the round turn and two half hitches knot

Here are the two most common scenarios where you would use a round turn and two half hitches on your backpacking trip:

  • Hanging a clothes line
  • Securing a tarp line to a tree
round turn and two half hitches