How to tie a trucker’s hitch

Use this simple knot to secure everything from car-top canoes to trailer-loads of brush

By David ZimmerDavid Zimmer

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The alpine butterfly


The trucker’s hitch is one of knotdom’s handiest stars, able to safely secure anything from a car-top canoe to a trailer-load of brush.

Using only rope—no cam straps or ratchets required—the trucker's hitch creates enough mechanical advantage to really cinch down a load. There are many variations on the alpine butterfly; here’s the simplest.

Note: Since the alpine butterfly has three points of tension within the knot, it’s very strong and doesn’t jam (so it’s easy to undo even after being severely tightened). What else is it good for? Isolate a worn section of rope—by making the loop with the damaged part, you effectively remove it from the equation.


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