I like the smell of sun-dried clothes/blankets/etc, and I got some line to make a clothesline. I've got a device that you pull the line through and it stays where you pulled it, which will be on the end of the line that's anchored to my great outdoors vehicle. I don't know the name of the device, but, anyway, the other end is to be tied to a tree branch. I'm wondering what would be a good knot to tie around the branch so that it can stay tight from the pull on the anchored end---with the device, but be able to be pulled loose on the branch end when I need to?

That is to say, I need the following:

(1) I can tighten the loop.

(2) I can pull the loose end of the rope to undo the whole thing.*

(3) I don't have to pick at the rope to undo it.

*While the loop is around the branch.

  • I was hoping for something fancy. That I might not know of. :-)
    – user13336
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 1:52
  • If you're looking for something you don't know of, you should edit your question and tell us what knots you know and perhaps why you think there could be something better (tension, maybe?).
    – Roflo
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 16:40
  • 1
    Remember to protect the tree, even if it is just a clothes line on a branch.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 14:29

8 Answers 8


Have you considered a quick-release hitch? My first instinct was a highwayman's hitch, but that page suggests the tumble hitch as a superior alternative. Both knots have one end that can hold a load, and another end that can be used to instantly untie it.

A word of warning: don't use these knots for anything where a failing knot will cause more harm than some dirty clothes. As these are quick-release knots, they are more prone to unintentionally releasing quickly.

  • This is perfect. Now I just have to commit it to memory.
    – user13336
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 16:25

Round turn and two half hitches:


That's exactly what this knot is for.


What your talking about here is essentially a slip knot. This will tension under load and not slip off. There are several options I'd say:

If you want to tension the line you can use something like a truckers hitch, I used this on my house washing line to get it good and tight.

Simply for simplicity I'd probably say a noose is the best bet. If you want something fancy then use the running bowline.

If the line is slipping laterally (on a horizontal branch), you may want to attach it using a prusik. This will resist slipping sideways as it will "grip" the branch.

  • I like the figure of eight, but, if my topology is correct, it looks like you'd have to be free of the branch in order to unknot it. Is that correct?
    – user13336
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 17:31
  • I like the noose, but I want to be able to pull the loose end of the knot and have it be undone without me having to pull at the rope. Does that make sense?
    – user13336
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 17:35

I'm partial to the Anchor Hitch myself.

It's simple, secure and you will be able to untie it when you're done.

  • Be careful with the Anchor Hitch, it's not generally chosen in situations where you need to untie the rope again. If used correctly, it cannot be untied while under any load.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 12:57

The timber hitch works wel for tying the line to larger trees, the clove hitch is fine for any thin poles.


The obvious answer is the Evenk hitch, aka Siberian hitch. It's a quick release hitch that acts like a slipknot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_hitch

Alternatively, you can do a simple Halter hitch. It's also quick release, it will be a tad bit stiffer to undo after it's been loaded tight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halter_hitch

And you can get rid of your fancy doodad on the other side by tying a standard trucker's hitch.


The first knots for the BSA Tenderfoot rank requirement #3 include two half hitches and the tautline hitch. Using them to make a clothesline is a good motivating example and a basic skill that the tenderfoot scouts can take with them.

If you want to make a knot easier to untie, you make the last part of the knot "slippery" by tucking a bight instead of the end, just like on shoelaces.


A bowline knot or a clove hitch.

(1) (2) (3) added to the question after this answer.

  • 5
    Expanding with pictures would be great.
    – Aravona
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 7:33

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