How to Tie a Clothesline Between Two Trees

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When camping in the wild, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene, and this includes keeping your clothes clean and dry.

However, washing clothes in the bush can be so hectic, especially if you don’t have a suitable place to hang them for drying.

This is where the clothesline comes into play. It’s usually a small diameter rope stretched between two trees or posts.

A clothesline allows you to dry your clothes in the natural sun to keep yourself clean and comfortable while still in the bush.

It’s also gentle on clothes and ensures that fresh air from the surrounding removes any odors from your clothes.

Unfortunately, tying a clothesline between two trees is not always an easy task. One of the greatest challenges in tying a clothesline comes in when attaching the ends securely.

In this text, you’ll learn how to tie a clothesline between two trees and discover a few things about drying clothes in a clothesline when camping.

How to Tie a Clothesline Between Two Trees

  1. Find Two Trees in a Sunny Spot

The first thing to do is to find two trees in a sunny spot, and they should be close enough for you to tie the rope.

If you don’t find two trees that are close enough for tying, you can make your own poles or find any kind of stake available in your camping area.

While in the bush, a clothesline can be any type of rope, provided it’s strong enough to hold wet clothes.

In this case, you can use a paracord, tactical rope, or any other strong material that you can tie around a tree.

Ideally, try to find a spot with good access to airflow or a light breeze for the clothes to dry faster.

  1.     Measure the Height

Measure the height on which you will tie the rope. You can do this by stretching your hand straight up against the trees you want to tie the clothesline.

The height to which you will tie the clothesline will depend on how tall you are. It shouldn’t be too high to ensure that you can hang clothes effortlessly.

  1.     Tie the Rope

The next thing is to put the rope into the loop on the line tightener. Whatever knot you make should be easy to untie, but strong enough to bear the wet clothes’ weight.

The best rope for a clothesline is the Multifilament polypropylene (nylon), but you can also use a parachute cord as this is the rope you are likely to carry around as a survivalist.

Here is a simple way to tie the rope between two trees using the Siberian hitch and overhand knot:

  •         Take the working end of your paracord and wrap it around the tree then cross the cord over itself before wrapping it around the tree for a second time.
  •         Put the other working end of the rope under the cross over the rope in a way that they run parallel in reverse directions.
  •         Then pull both ends in opposite directions and let the simple knot to cinch down.
  •         Take the longer end and pull it towards the other tree to make the line. Then go round the tree and bring the working end over the top of the rope, and go over it twice before making an overhand knot.
  •         Then take the end or through the loop from behind and pull the rope to tighten to create an overhand knot.  

The line may be quite loose, so you will need to slide to tighten it a little bit. This will give you a firm clothesline that can bear the weight of your wet clothes.

If your paracord is long, you don’t have to cut it to tie a clothesline. Instead, use the paracord as it is, since you are just making a temporary clothesline.

The Best Knots to Use for a Clothesline

Clothesline should be tied tightly enough for it to bear the weight of wet clothes.

This means you must know about making efficient knots that are strong enough to bear the weight but are also easy to untie.

Generally, there are three types of knots that you can use to tie a clothesline between two trees. These include the bowline, half hitch, and the alpine butterfly loop.

Speaking of knots, there are some terms that you must understand, including the working end, standing end, and a bight.

A rope has two open ends, the working end that goes around a tree and around itself to form a knot, and the standing end, which is the rest of the rope.

A bight is a loop made on a rope by creating a “U” shape on the string and twisting it once. A good bight should have the working end on top or front of the rope’s standing end.

Here are the three best knots to use when tying a clothesline:

Bowline Knot

A bowline is an ancient and easy knot used to create a fixed loop at the end of a clothesline.

It’s among the most useful and commonly used knots when making clothesline and holds the rope to one anchor point.

Many survivalists love using this knot because it’s easy to tie and untie, even after being subjected to heavy loads. It’s also very strong to bear the weight of wet clothes.

Here are the steps you can follow to make it:

  •         Put the rope on your hand and make a bight of about 17 inches.
  •         Bring the working end of the rope and pass it through the bight from the underneath.
  •         Wrap the rope around the tree and then pass the working end into the bight again.
  •         Then tighten the rope by holding the standing end and pulling the working end.

Half Hitch Knot

The half hitch is a simple knot that involves bringing the working head over then under the standing part.

This knot is mostly used to tie a rope to objects but is rarely used alone. It’s used as a support for other knots.

You can follow these instructions to make this knot:

  •         Pass the rope around the tree and make an overhand knot.
  •         Add half hitch knots on top of the first one by doing the overhand knot in the same direction.

Alpine Butterfly Loop

Alpine butterfly loop is a very tight knot and can bear hefty weights. It’s mostly used by mountain climbers.

Here is how to make it;

  •         Make a bight on the rope and twist it in a complete rotation until you form an eight shape.
  •         Grab the top of the eight and fold it down to the bottom of the eight.
  •         Pull it up and out through the lower opening of the eight. Pull it until it gets tight.

Other convenient knots include the tumble hitch, clove hitch, and more. Such knots are incredibly handy for various situations in bushcraft.

How to Tie a Simple and Tight Knot

To tie a simple and tight knot, hold the cord with both hands then pass the working end over the rope’s center, and hold it well in place with your fingers to create a loop.

Then pass the other working end through the loop and finally pull both ends in opposite directions to close the loop and make a strong knot.


While you may not have to wash your clothes when you are on the trail for a short time, you might want to wash them when camping for more than a few days.

Your clothes may also get wet due to various circumstances while out there and you will want to dry them.

If you don’t find a suitable place to dry your clothes in the bush, you will need to tie a clothesline between two trees.

Tying a clothesline between two trees requires some skills to ensure that you make reliable knots, but it becomes an easy task when you have some tips and guidelines to follow.

You can use the above guide to tie a clothesline between two trees when camping. 


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