Knot – clove hitch (slipped)

July 20, 2017

A really useful and incredibly strong self-tightening knot that can be used in many different scenarios.

clove hitch knot on a stick
Author: Liz, Muddy Faces

Age Range: 6+

Duration: less than an hour

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: knot, rope, string

Category: bushcraft & survival


The clove hitch can be threaded or slipped on. In this example we will be slipping it on.


You don’t need much to prepare for practising your clove hitch, just a piece of string or cord and a stick to slide it on.
When working with groups it’s really handy to have 1 metre lengths of cord ready and available for the group to practise with – they are also great to give out for people to fidget with when listening.

Step 1

Create a loop – I call this loop the p. Stick of the p over top of the loop.

the first loop of a clove hitch

Step 2

Create another loop to the right of the p. I call this the q. The stick of the q going over the top of the loop. If you pull it apart slightly it creates a spiral.

Don’t worry if it takes you quite a number of goes to get this right – once you start to get the idea it does become easier and eventually instinctive. Like anything it just requires a little practice.

2 loops of a clove hitch

Step 3

Slide your q behind your p.

If you slide it the wrong way when you slip it on the stick it will all unravel so its easy to see if you have gone wrong.

Clove Hitch Step 3

Step 4

Slip the loops onto your stick. If done loosely it should look like the photo, with a diagonal bar going across the incoming and exiting strings.

As mentioned in step 3, if its not correct it will probably all just spring apart.

Clove Hitch Step 4

Step 5

Pull the knot tighter. A clove hitch is a self-tightening knot and will stay gripped.

Have a little play with it – it is incredibly strong. When pulling in the same direction the strings pull away but if you pull the string back down in the opposite direction the knot can slip.

clove hitch around a stick