Harness bend

Last updated
Harness bend
Category Bend
Typical useJoining two ropes
ABoK #1474

The harness knot is a general purpose bend knot used to join two ropes together. The knot can be tied under tension and will not capsize. [1] [2]



The harness knot is essentially one half hitch and one crossing hitch each made by one of the two joined ropes, around the other ropes body. The ends get caught in between the two ropes and these two hitches, at the elliptical eye in the middle of the knot.

There are two other variants to this bend: a double harness bend with ends pointing in opposite directions, and a double harness bend with parallel ends i.e. with ends pointing in the same direction. The starting side of one of the hitches has to be different, in order to have the ends approach the elliptical eye in the middle, from the prescribed direction.

Relationship to other knots

The double harness bend is an unfinished Fisherman's knot (or even a Double fisherman's knot): the end needs to go through its own half hitch (twice) to form a (double) overhand knot.

The double harness bend is an unfinished Blood knot: The half hitches need to take one or several turns around both ropes before going through the eye in the middle.

The double harness bend with parallel ends is an unfinished Reever knot: The ends need to go through the opposite half hitch, to be lined up with its own rope body.

All these knots are more secure than the harness knot but they are not as easy to untie.


Harness bend is useful when one needs to tighten the slack in a binding loop before locking the knot in the tight position. The name probably comes from the use in fixing the saddle on the back of the horse, tightening as soon as the horse that has learned to inhale at first move, exhales.

In situations where a more professional quick and secure packing is required, it may be more proper not to tie a harness bend starting with a crossing hitch and locking with a half hitch, but another more reliable combination of loop to tighten in, and hitch to lock with, such as these:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Millers knot

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Figure-eight knot Type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

The figure-eight knot or figure-of-eight knot is a type of stopper knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. Like the overhand knot, which will jam under strain, often requiring the rope to be cut, the figure-of-eight will also jam, but is usually more easily undone than the overhand knot.

The figure-eight or figure-of-eight knot is also called the Flemish knot. The name figure-of-eight knot appears in Lever's Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging. The word "of" is nowadays usually omitted. The knot is the sailor's common single-strand stopper knot and is tied in the ends of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with monkey's tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary stopper knot is required. The figure-eight is much easier to untie than the overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure.

Water bowline

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Zeppelin bend

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Grief knot

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Climbing harness

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Overhand knot with draw-loop

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Sheet bend

The sheet bend is a bend. It is practical for joining lines of different diameter or rigidity.


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Eye splice

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Yosemite bowline Loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline

A Yosemite bowline is a loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline. It has been pointed out that if the knot is not dressed correctly, it can potentially collapse into a noose, however testing reveals this alternative configuration to be strong and safe as a climbing tie-in.

Bight (knot)

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.

Chinese button knot

Chinese button knot is essentially a knife lanyard knot where the lanyard loop is shortened to a minimum, i.e. tightened to the knot itself. There emerges therefore only two lines next to each other from the knot: the beginning and the end. The knot has traditionally been used as a button on clothes in Asia, thus the name.

The Chinese Button Knot is worn throughout China on underwear and night clothes. Buttons of this sort are more comfortable to lie on and to rest against compared to common bone and composition buttons, and they cannot be broken even by the laundry.

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Swing hitch

Swing hitch is a way to tie a swing rope to a branch or other horizontal beam. Ashley describes it in ABOK as "... firm, strong, secure, and easily untied once the load has been removed."


  1. "A-Z of Knots: G-H". Scouting Resources. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  2. "Bends: The Harness Bend". Helsinki.fi. Retrieved 2009-11-01.