How to Tie a Tumble Hitch Knot

The Tumble Hitch Knot is a secure hitch knot that can be released quickly by pulling on the working end. It’s used in survival, boating, and other similar situations.

Video Guide: How to Tie a Tumble Hitch Knot

Start by creating a bight and placing it in front of the pole. Then create another bight in the working end and through the backside, pass it through the first bight. Then wrap the working end around the standing end. And finally, create another bight on the working end and again pass it through the final bight through the backside.

The Tumble Hitch Knot should be carefully dressed before use, as it’s likely to come loose otherwise. You can tighten it by holding one end of the final bight and pulling the standing end in the opposite direction. It’s a bit difficult to tighten but it gets easier over time.

To tie it more easily, you can hold the standing end of the rope still and keep the knot tensioned as you tie it. Start by tensioning the first bight, then the second one, and finally the third one.

Don’t use the Tumble Hitch in critical, life-threatening situations, like climbing. It can accidentally release and isn’t as secure as other, more-permanent hitches. Some more secure options are the Clove, Anchor, and Halyard Hitches.

To make this knot more secure, you can tie an overhand knot between the working end and the last bight. This will keep it from releasing. You can untie the overhand knot once you need the quick-release function to work again.

Tumble Hitch

Pros and Cons of the Tumble Hitch Knot

The Tumble Hitch is one of the most secure quick-release hitches. Even so, it should be used only in non-life-threatening situations.

You can release the Tumble Hitch very easily by pulling the working end with one hand. It works even while there is a load applied to the standing end of the rope. This makes it preferable over other, more typical hitches because you won’t need to struggle with untieing it.

The main downside of the Tumble Hitch is that it’s a somewhat difficult and awkward knot to tie. That’s why it’s very rarely used by most people.

Another downside is that it’s difficult to tighten. It takes a while to dress it right and you need to learn how to dress it properly to do it more quickly.

Common Uses for the Tumble Hitch Knot

The Tumble Hitch is usually used in survival situations for securing non-vital loads. You can use it to secure one end of a ridge line for tarp setups. Or you can use it to hang food in shelters and trees to be able to quickly retrieve it the next morning.

You can also use the Tumble Hitch in boating and sailing – for mooring your boat while you board it. After boarding, you can pull the working end and untie it from the post without exiting the boat. This is usually useful for smaller boats and kayaks.

People also use it for retrieving rope without access to the object where it’s hitched. For example, you can climb a ladder and tie this hitch to hoist an object. When you’re finished, you can climb down the ladder and untie the knot without needing to climb the ladder again.

Knots Like the Tumble Hitch Knot

Horsethief Knot (Bank Robber’s Knot, Highwayman’s Hitch): A quick-release hitch that is very similar to the Tumble Hitch, only less secure.

Slipped Buntline Hitch: One of the simplest quick-release hitches. It isn’t as secure as the Tumble hitch, but it’s a good alternative.

Siberian Hitch: Another quick-release hitch that can be tied with gloves in freezing temperatures. It also isn’t as secure as the Tumble Hitch Knot.

Mooring Hitch: This quick-release hitch is most commonly used by boaters to moor a boat. It’s very similar to the Slipped Buntline Hitch and also isn’t as secure as the Tumble Hitch Knot.

Farrimond Friction Hitch: This quick-release hitch creates an adjustable loop at the end of a rope which can also be released by pulling the working end. If tied correctly, it can be used in place of the Tumble Hitch, with the benefit of being able to adjust the tension of the rope.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Tie a Tumble Hitch Knot

Tumble Hitch

A step-by-step guide on how to tie a Tumble Hitch Knot.

Step 1:

Tumble Hitch step 1

Create a bight in the rope.

Step 1a:

Tumble Hitch step 1a

Place the bight next to the pole.

Step 2:

Tumble Hitch step 2

Create a second bight on the working end of the rope.

Step 2a:

Tumble Hitch step 2a

Wrap it through the bight created in step 1a from the backside.

Step 3:

Tumble Hitch step 3

Pass the working end behind and over the standing end.

Step 4:

Tumble Hitch step 4

Create another bight in the working end and pass it through the second loop (made in step 2a).

Step 5:

Tumble Hitch step 5

Tighten the knot by pulling the standing end while holding the bight made in step 4.

Step 6:

Tumble Hitch step 6

To untie the knot, pull the working end.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Strong Is the Tumble Hitch Knot?

The Tumble Hitch is the most secure quick-release hitch knot. It can withstand holding moderately heavy loads. But as with all quick-release hitches, you shouldn’t be using it in life-threatening situations, like climbing and search and rescue.

About the author
Oscar is a freelance writer who writes about traveling, hiking, and the outdoors. In his free time, he enjoys trekking in the mountains and camping in remote areas all across Europe.