Half Hitch

A step-by-step guide for tying a half hitch knot.

How to Tie a Half Hitch

Step 1: Loop working end of the rope around the support: such as a hook, tree, or rope. 

Step 2: Run the working end back over itself. 

Step 3: Thread the working end under, and through the loop created in step 2.  

Step 4: Pull to tighten. You can stack half hitches on top of each other, along the length of the rope.

About the Half Hitch

The half hitch knot is fast to execute but unstable on its own. But it’s an essential knot to master because it functions as a component in many other knots. Don’t stress about it too much; you use this half hitch in tying your shoes, so you already know it well.

Related Knots

Clove Hitch: two half hitch knots around an object.

Double Half Hitch: also called the two half hitches, when you stack two half hitches in succession on the standing rope. 

Killick Hitch: when a half hitch knot is used to stabilize a load within a timber hitch.  

Marline Hitch: whereas a half hitch threads the working end over and through a support, the marline runs under and through.

When to Use a Half Hitch Knot

For Survival

Because it’s a fast knot to tie and untie, you can rely on the half hitch whenever you need to tie off ropes or lines in a hurry. While it can slip, it’s a fast way to secure gear and branches. It’s a suitable way to get gear, or a campsite organized in a hurry before you return to the ropes for more stable and secure knots.

While Camping

You can use the clove hitch in particular when securing gear, tarps, or a rain fly. The half hitch ties quickly around trees and stakes, and you can improve its stability by stacking half hitches on top of each other. After a long day of hiking, or just outdoor activities, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time setting up camp and breaking it down the next day.

The half hitch is the perfect knot for securing tarps or a rain fly for the night without spending all morning untying ropes before you can get on the trail again. It’s not only fast to tie but also to untie and get moving again. Plus, use a half hitch anytime you’re about to leave a long line, after securing gear or a hammock, use a half hitch to tie off the slack. It’ll preserve the rope by keeping it out of the dirt and provide for a safer campsite free of debris. 

With Other Knots

If you’re worried about other knots slipping, throw a few half hitches at the end of the knot to keep the rope tight and secure. In particular, combine a half hitch with an overhand knot or truckers hitch to keep even heavy loads secure.

Around the House

Okay, so any time you go to tie your shoes, you start off with a half hitch. While we love a slip-on shoe as much as the next guy, a good half hitch technique will keep your shoes tied longer and better. But also, use the half hitch around the garage and basement. Use a half hitch when tying up extension cords to keep your gear tidy and organized. It’s simple enough for kids to tie and undo, but secure enough to keep longer ropes and cords together and organized.