The round turn and two half-hitches is used to secure a line to a fixed object.
Photo by Paul Bodnar
Read something else

Why Knot? - The Round Turn and Two Half-Hitches

One of the most important knots a hiker can learn is called the "Round Turn and Two Half-Hitches." This knot is great for securing a line to an object.

Paul Bodnar       Tech on the Trail       05/09/2019
Paul Bodnar
Tech on the Trail

Round turn and two half hitches

Imagine you’re out on a two week backpacking trip and it has been raining non-stop for 3 days. Despite your best efforts, your sleeping bag is wet, and you’re not looking forward to another miserable night in a wet bag. Suddenly the clouds part and the sun in shining. It’s time for a long break (or time to stop for the day) to dry everything out. You can either lay everything out on the ground or hang a clothes line if you find a sufficiently sunny spot between two trees. Since it’s a breezy day and you find a good spot for a clothes line, you decide to to hang a line. What kind of knot should you use to hang your clothes line to the trees?

The round turn and two half-hitches is a great knot for this scenario. This type of knot is used to secure a cord or line or rope to a fixed object, like a tree. The first part of the knot is a round turn, which controls the load and provides friction against the support. The two half-hitches secure the line and keeps the line tight.

How to tie the round turn and two half hitches

The round turn and two half-hitches is tied as illustrated in the photographs. A trekking pole takes the place of the tree in the above scenario.

Round turn: Photos 1, 2, 3

Half-hitch #1: Photos 4, 5

Half-hitch #2: Photos 6, 7

Pull tight: Photo 8

Uses for the round turn and two half hitches knot

Here are the two most common scenarios where you would use a round turn and two half hitches on your backpacking trip:

  • Hanging a clothes line
  • Securing a tarp line to a tree

Want to keep up with all that’s going on at Atlas Guides? Sign up for our newsletter!

Read more!

Check out more Tech on the Trail posts!

About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.