Author Topic: hitch VS loop  (Read 2313 times)


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1
hitch VS loop
« on: September 11, 2011, 03:07:28 PM »
Hi girls & guys!

I've been following the forum for a while and googled a lot on internet, but couldn't find an answer to a subtle question:

What kind of situations are more suitable for a loop than a hitch and vice versa (apart from some obvious situations, e.g., icicle hitch)?
Why precisely is it better to tie anchor hitch (ABoK #1723 and #1841) than, say, double bowline to tie rope to anchor? When I construct a swing on a tree -- would you secure the chair with a loop or with a hitch to the branch?

Thanks a lot for your answers!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 03:10:55 PM by Marko »


  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1881
Re: hitch VS loop
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 03:45:01 PM »
Hello Marko and welcome to the forum. Glad you finally decided to de-lurk. ;-)

The main difference to consider is rope movement on the attachment area. Do you want the ability to slide from a specific, first location? Will the rope's applied movement cause undue and undesired wear? Will it enhance the application?
Also factor in the type of rope/cord and its material and construction.

So, if let's say the tree branch has a crotch at the chosen point, you would not necessarily need a per se hitch and could use a loop.
Or you might choose a loop because the method of getting it in place would be facilitated by this choice.

Best knot for the job.....

« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 01:40:28 AM by SS369 »


  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 257
Re: hitch VS loop
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 12:28:25 PM »
Good question, I've recently put up a rope type swing for my son. It consists of two ropes, one on each end of the bench style seat. Regarding the loop/hitch to the branch, on one rope I took a round turn and made a poacher's loop, on the other rope I tied the constrictor hitch. Below, where the rope runs through the two holes on the bench style seat, I just tied a double bowline on each end. It's held up really good for my three year son but I'm not particularly happy with the system of knots. IMO, the very best solution for the rope to the branch scenario is by tying off with a Bull Hitch and this is what I plan on doing. The double bowline's have worked great though, they are of course backed up with an OH stopper knot.

As for tying off to an anchor, I'm a fisherman and have four anchors in my boat, don't use a loop (bowline) as your knot. An ideal anchor knot is the buntline, lobster bouy hitch, or probably the best of the lot is the anchor bend variant. Two reverse half hitches work good too, it's probably the easiest one to untie if you're worried about untying the anchor at any point. The reason I don't use a bowline or loop knot down there is because it just creates a snag opportunity, hope that makes sense.

I don't find myself tying loops that often but when I do, it's usually the double bowline for the stationary type and the poachers knot for the slide and grip type.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 12:32:45 PM by TMCD »


  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1076
Re: hitch VS loop
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 08:56:05 PM »
I prefer a hitch when I want any of the following:
  • Knot close to the object- There are practical reasons as noted above, and sometimes it just looks better.
  • Grip on the object - For example, if I need massive grip on a slick vertical pole, or just some grip on a tree.
  • Quick untie - For example, Sailor, Timber, Slipped Buntline, and others untie faster than most loops.
  • Untie from a distance - Many hitches may be slipped and untied from a distance by using a long working end or an extension to the working end.
  • Increased security as load increases - In contrast, many loops don't appear to increase security as the load increases.
  • More strength (resistance to rope breakage) - For example, I'm guessing Two Round Turns plus Three Half Hitches is stronger than a Bowline.
  • Adjustability - For example, Tautline, Adjustable Grip, and Blake are adjustable.

I prefer a loop when I want any of the following:
  • Less abrasion - Depending on the application, a hitch often (but not always) causes more abrasion than a loop.
  • No grip on object - Sometimes I just want a rope attachment that freely moves around the attachment area.
  • Attachment to a delicate object - For example, rope around a dog's neck may be tied with a fixed loop, while most or all hitches are more apt to strangle.
  • Not too much thinking about the object - For securing a loop to an object, the main consideration is how to get the loop around the object, which is usually not a big deal.  In contrast, many hitches make the object an intricate part of the security of the knot.  This concept is highlighted in the Timber Hitch.  Consideration of the object is more critical for a hitch.  
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 10:04:56 PM by knot4u »