Techniques: How to tie three essential knots for pitching a tarp

Pitching a tarp is not necessarily a difficult thing to do, but investing some time learning a few knots will definitely make the experience more enjoyable and increase your confidence when you are pitching your shelter. There are three knots that I use routinely when pitching my tarps. The clove hitch, tautline hitch and the evenk hitch. This post explains how to tie them.

How to tie a Clove Hitch

To tie a clove hitch, first create two loops in your guy line like this:

Next place the left hand loop on top of the right hand loop like this:

Finally place it over your tent peg and pull tight. It should look like this:

This knot will hold rock steady, but can be easily untied when you’re breaking camp.

How to tie a Tautline Hitch

This knot is a bit more involved, but still very simple. This knot provides you with a knot that will hold fast under tension, but can be tightened by sliding the knot along the line, much like a line lok would do. First loop the working end of your line around your peg:

Next pass the working end over the main line:

Now pass the working end through the loop formed like this:

It doesn’t matter if you passed the line over or under the main line, but whichever you chose do the same for the remaining steps. Next pass the line through the loop again, in the same direction like this:

Now, working in the same direction, pass the working end outside the loop you formed, like this:

Notice you’ve now created a second loop. Finally, pass the working end through the new loop you just formed, like this:

Pull it tight and you should be left with what’s shown below. You can pull tight against it, but also slide it up and down to increase tension. This is a very worthwhile knot to learn when pitching a tarp.

How to tie the Evenk Hitch

This knot is quite tricky to demonstrate in photographs, but is actually very easy to tie. I’ve tried to show this as clearly as I can. I’ve shown this using a tent peg, but most commonly I use this knot to secure a ridge line to a tree, with the other end being a tautline hitch so you can get it really tight.

First, wrap your line around the tree/peg and lay the working end in your hand. You’ll need a decent amount of working end for this knot.

Next, wrap the working end of the line around your hand twice like this:

The next part looks tricky but isn’t. You need to rotate your hand so you bring the loops you just formed under the main line to bring them to the top of the main line, like this:

Now form a loop with what remains of the working end and pass it under the loop you have in your left hand, like this:

Pull tight by pushing the knot up to the peg or tree. Do not pull on the working end to pull it tight. Pull on the loop and the main line. It should end up looking like this:

If you now pull on the main line, it will hold fast and you can put it under a lot of tension. If you pull the working end it will immediately undo the knot. This is a great knot for creating a ridgeline, in combination with the tautline hitch shown above.

Do you have a favourite knot that you use when out camping? If so please leave a comment!

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