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How To Tie the Adjustable Hitch Knot

The Adjustable Hitch gives you the flexibility of tightening a rope around anything you’re trying to secure. Using this knot lets you harness a boat to a dock, pull rope lines to a tent with ease, or suspend items overhead quickly. This type of knot utilizes an adjustable loop that allows you to retrieve the rope or string from an object almost effortlessly.

Keep in mind that once tightened, the Adjustable Hitch keeps all its tension, so it’s a great knot to tie if the rope will be under slack since it won’t loosen.

The Adjustable Hitch is easy to learn and can be a fun conversation starter.

How To Tie an Adjustable Hitch

Adjustable Hitch Knot
Jute Rope with Adjustable Grip Hitch Knot on White Background

For this knot, you’ll need a cord, string, rope, or fishing line and an object to place the cordage around. 

Step 1

Place the cordage near the object you intend to tie around. In most cases, it’s helpful if the thing is wholly anchored to put tension in the loop you’ll be creating.

Step 2

Thread the working end of the cord around or through the object you intend to tie. Bring the working end of the rope around to form a bight, leaving the cord’s working end above the bight roughly the same length as one side of the bight. You can try completing this knot without this part, but there is a high chance the knot will not end up correct.

Step 3

Wrap the working end of the cord over the top of the bight once to form an overhand loop. Keep the overhand loop tight over the top side of the bight.

Step 4

Wrap the working end of the cord over the top line of the bight a second time to form a second overhand loop to the left of the first. Keep this just as tight as the first, so that two rings appear next to each other.

Step 5

With your non-dominant hand, pinch both lines of the bight. Continue pushing the working end of the cord around the back of both sides of the bight.

Step 6

Bring the working end of the line up around both sides of the bight and slip it through the second overhand loop you just made.

Step 7

Pull gently on the working end of the line to tighten down the loop.

Step 8

Fully tighten down the loop. Pull the cord to verify that the knot will move one way and pull the knot the other way to confirm that it slides.

Tips on Tying the Adjustable Hitch

  • Practice this knot more than once before you need it. You don’t want what you’re trying to hang or to suspend to fall because the knot wasn’t tied correctly. 
  • Tighten down the knot slowly until it reaches the desired snugness. If the knot is wrapped incorrectly and tightened too harshly, the lines might turn over each other or seize up completely.
  • Safely test the knot against similar weights you intend to use it for before you need it. 
  • Suppose you’re having trouble tying this knot; try using a different type of rope or string. Sometimes you’ll also need a smaller thickness of rope or cord to be successful. 

For a more in-depth tutorial and additional information on the Adjustable Hitch knot, check out our video!

Variations on Tying the Adjustable Hitch

The Adjustable Hitch is also called a Tent-Line Hitch and a Midshipman’s Hitch. The Midshipman’s Hitch is considered the most secure of the two, but a person may have difficulty adjusting the knot with heavy weights attached. The Tent-Line Hitch is the most commonly used one for securing and tightening tent lines. 

Advantages of the Adjustable Hitch

The Adjustable Hitch is easy to learn and quick once someone knows how. Beginner knot-tyers feel successful after their first few victories, giving them a positive experience when exploring knot-tying skills. In sticky situations, being able to perform this knot may put others in the vicinity at ease.

Disadvantages of the Adjustable Hitch

The Adjustable Hitch works well under tension but cannot technically be used for such purposes until the knot is both complete and tied correctly. Avoid using this knot for climbing as it may come apart if too much weight is placed on the knot too quickly and sharply.

History of the Adjustable Hitch

Because the Adjustable Hitch knot has so many different name variations, it’s often disputed as to who invented the knot and during what period of history it appeared. Some variations of the knot appeared in a book published in 1912, although centuries of humans and their various rope-making skills would indicate the invention of this type of knot is much older. 

Uses for the Adjustable Hitch

The Adjustable Hitch knot and its variations have many practical uses.

Survival Situations

An Adjustable Hitch knot allows a stranded or lost individual to create a small game snare to place near animal trails. As a small animal passes through the snare, the loop will tighten around the animal and keep it trapped due to the continual tension the animal provides in attempting to escape.


The Adjustable Hitch knot lets fishers and anglers keep a lead of fish they’ve caught suspended neatly in the water’s edge or a bucket. This knot is helpful when tying a boat to the dock’s edge. 


An Adjustable Hitch helps suspend game animals before dressing the animal. Some who hunt alligators use this knot to hang bait chickens from low-hanging trees. 


Use the Adjustable Hitch to create a guy-line for a rain fly over a tent. These knots are also helpful when suspending hammocks and tightening the slack in the lines coming from the hammock. 

Around the House

The Adjustable Hitch is useful when making crafts, like adjustable band bracelets or toy lasso ropes for a school project. The knot helps secure extra tie lines to tent canopies or bug screen houses when entertaining, as the lines can be straightened. 

Related Knots

Find other fun and valuable knots, including the Midshipmans knot, click here.