The clove hitch is a type of knot. Along with the bowline and the sheet bend, it is often considered one of the most essential knots. It consists of two opposed half hitches made successively around an object. It is most effective used as a crossing knot. Although it can be used as a binding knot, it is not particularly secure in that role. A clove hitch made around the standing part of the line is known as either two half-hitches or buntline hitch, depending on whether the half-hitches progress away or towards the hitched object.
The clove hitch can slip when loaded. In smaller diameter cords, it may jam and become difficult to untie after being heavily weighted. It is also very unreliable when used to hitch to a post with sharp corners. The knot is useful in situations where the length of the running end needs to be adjustable.
To tie a clove hitch, first place a loop around the pole, with the working end of the rope on top. Run the working end round the pole once more until you meet the place where the ropes cross, then pass the working end under the cross. Pull to tighten.
It can also be formed in the bight, that is in the middle of a rope, without either end available. To tie it this way, form two back-to-back overhand loops in a rope, and then put the top loop underneath the bottom one. Drop both loops over a post and tighten. Be sure it looks just like the knot pictured here, as it is easy to twist the ends in the wrong direction. This way of tying clove hitch is used for instance at belaystations of multi pitch climbs.
The clove hitch is commonly used in scouting to start and finish a lashing such as the square lashing, diagonal lashing and sheer lashing.