The taut line hitch is a friction-type hitch that can be tied on a rope that is under tension. It’s also an adjustable knot. That makes is a useful camping knot, especially when rain-flies for tarps are being tied down.

The Taut-line hitch (photo by Rob Nelson)

The taut line hitch, however, should not be used if there is considerable strain on the rope as there is the potential that it could slip under large forces. taut lines should also only be used in ropes that handle bends and turns easily. Many of the newer ropes, like climbing ropes, do not hold the taut line hitch well. I explain all of this in the following video.

Step by Step: The Tatuline

  1. Take the working end of the rope around a tree or tent stake.
  2. Half hitch 1: Bring that end around the standing line and back through the loop you just formed.
  3. Half hitch 2: Go around the standing line again in the same direction as before and inside the loop you just created.
  4. Half hitch 3: Still going in the same direction, take the working end around the standing line on the outside of the loop you just formed to tie one last half hitch.

Note: it doesn’t matter the direction you go initially (left to right or over/under). Just keep going in that same direction for all three hitches.