Clove Hitch is one of the more important knots, together with the bowline and the sheet bend. It is secure knot, but it could be better.
Clove Hitch has two major issues. First of them is that under the load, it slips. Plain and simple. So, to secure the Clove Hitch one can add one or two Half Hitches, which is very secure setup. In fact, Clove and Half Hitches are so secure that if they were under heavy load, they can bind.
However, Clove Hitch is very useful knot worth learning, just be aware of its shortcomings.
How to tie a Clove Hitch
There are several ways of tying Clove Hitch:
- Clove Hitch tied using rope end
- Clove Hitch tied using Half Hitches
- Clove Hitch tied using two overhand loops
Clove Hitch tied using rope end is perhaps the best way to 'understand' this knot. After that, using Half Hitches and/or overhand loops comes naturally :)
On the photos below, you can see how this knot is tied. Also, you can click on small photos to see larger gallery.
Pass the tail around the object and continue over the standing end for second turn. Pass the rope's end under last turn and pull the both tail and standing end to tight the Clove Hitch. To secure the knot, make at least one additional Half Hitch, just be aware that if such combination is subjected to high loads, binding can occur.
If you are going to permanently attach line to the, for example, an anchor chain, feel free to use Clove Hitch with at least one Half Hitch. But, for more or less temporary situations, one can use a Bowline or a Round Turn and Two Half Hitches.