Q. What’s the best and easiest way to tie something down? My dad is always showing me different knots, but they are so hard I can never remember them.
— Keith Knotless, Portland, Ore.
A. Hi, Knotless. I’d say the answer is the Trucker’s Hitch. I learned this knot when I was a whitewater river guide. We used it to tie down huge stacks of rubber rafts on top of our trailers. And over the years, I’ve used it countless times on my outdoor adventures. It’s the easiest, most handy knot on the planet. It’s highly adjustable, capable of piano string-tightness and ideal for everything from tying a kayak on a roof rack to setting up a tent or stringing up a hammock.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Tie a loop in one end of the rope. Slip the other end of the rope through the tie-down point and then through that loop.
2. Next, make a quick-release loop (called a bight) above that tie-down point. To do this, grab the rope in your left hand and twist it clockwise two times, then pull the slack through to tighten the loop.
3. Thread the loose end of the rope through the opposite tie-down point.
4. Now, feed the loose end through the quick-release loop you just made and pull to tighten.
5. Once you have it as tight as you like, clamp down on the loop with your thumb and forefinger.
6. Pull a section of that rope back through and tighten.
8. Tug on the loose piece of rope to easily undo the whole package. Or, to lock it in place, tie a bight in the line.