Tying the Dutchman Knot or Rope Tackle

The rope tackle is a handy rope tie that everyone who has to tote a large load can use.
By Robert Howard
March/April 1981
Add to My MSN

Make an upper and a lower loop.

Content Tools

If you've read "How to Tie the Ten Most Useful Knots" and "The Forgotten Zeppelin Knot" in MOTHER EARTH NEWS you already know eleven useful binders. Well, I'm going to add one more piece of rope lore to the collection ... and my contribution is about the most useful knot ever devised for securing a load on a car roof or pickup bed.

I'm talking about the Dutchman Knot (also called the Rope Tackle ). I learned the hitch on a lumberyard job when an old hand who noticed my unskilled tying attempts kindly pulled me aside and "showed me the ropes." I've since found that the Dutchman isn't widely known to folks outside such hauling businesses. As far as I'm concerned, though, no one who ever has to drive off with a load of furniture, boxes, luggage, hay bales — or most anything that needs "mooring" — should be without knowledge of the practical fastener.

Most folks, you see, are content to simply throw a rope over their totings and feebly secure the line with a couple of half hitches. But all too often a person who uses such a hard-to-tighten rope arrangement finds that the load shifts a bit as it travels, causing the rope to loosen. After a few miles on the road, that cord is likely to be flapping in the breeze while the precious cargo is on the verge of spilling all over the highway!

You won't risk such a calamity if you use the Dutchman, however, because the handy knot lets you cinch the rope tightly. What's the holding secret of this freight fixer? Simple. The Dutchman fixes a loop in the main line that acts as a pulley or "come-along." When you thread the bitter end of your rope back up (from its mooring point) through this loop, and then haul down on the line, you gain a pulling advantage of nearly two to one ... and are able to secure your rope almost twice as snugly as could be done without the "pulley" effect.

In fact, the force-multiplying hitch is so effective that you should always be sure to use a strong rope when you tie the Dutchman. Otherwise, your line may snap when you try to tighten it up!

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.