How to Tie Down Knots for Secure Loads! | WRAPTIE

How to Tie Down Knots for Secure Loads!

by Cameron Saunders September 28, 2018

Unless you have lived in velcro shoes, flip flops, or slippers (or barefoot?)all your life, chances are know how to tie at least one knot. But with so many knots out there, you may possibly know a couple more, maybe three at best for the average person. 

Lacing your shoes is one thing, but using knots to tie down knots onto a roof rack or bike is another thing altogether. These knots need to not only be strong and also easy to remove but safe enough to keep your gear in place. This is when you need to get your knot selection right!

If you tie a knot too loose, you may end up with your load spread across the road, causing a dangerous situation. On the other hand, too tight and you may spend the rest of the day trying to undo what you tied up!

Learn your knots for securing a variety of things

There are a large variety of knots out there, each with characteristics that make them suitable for different tasks. Here in this article, we'll talk about some of the more specific knot types for securing various types of cargo.


Trucker's Hitch Knot

The “Trucker’s Hitch" is the go-to knot for securing loads of cargo on trucks or trailers. It can also be used on roof rack tie-downs for your outdoor adventure.

The knot is accomplished by tying one end of rope to a fixed object such as a roof rack, bumper or tailgate. Then, about mid-way on the rope, you will tie a slippery half hitch to form a loop in the middle of the line.

You’ll want to make sure the loop part is formed with the slack part of the rope or it will tighten down on itself under pressure.

Do you know how to use your roof rack for luggage? Learn the Truckers Hitch Knot to secure large loads on top of your vehicle.

Trucker’s hitch knot

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The Bowline

Perhaps the most common and certainly one of the most useful is the bowline. It is one of the easiest knots to learn to know how to secure luggage on a roof rack. 

You can do it in 4 simple steps by following the image below:

The bowline knot

There is a great rhyme to remember how to tie this one: "The rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree, and then back in the hole". The best feature of the bowline is the knot is always easy to undo, no matter how tight it gets, meaning you will be able to take your luggage off your roof rack once you get there.

PRO TIP: Once knotted, remember to secure the loose length of rope with a series of half hitches. Otherwise, it will flap around and get tangled or come loose! 


The Backpacker’s Hitch

The "Backpacker’s Hitch" is great for tying down knots around a tree. It's useful when hanging things such as a hammock or bear bag when out camping. What makes this knot so unique is the fact that it is secure and also designed to easily untie by simply pulling on the loose end of the knot.

To create a backpacker’s hitch you need to take one end of the rope and make at least 3 wraps around the object you are securing it to. After you've wrapped it a few times, make sure to tuck the loose end under your final loop. That's it!

The backpacker’s hitch

The backpacker’s hitch is one of the easiest, simplest, and fastest ways for putting luggage or almost anything on a roof rack and securing it for a long drive.


The Square or Reef Knot

Finally, the "Reef" knot is the most basic of knots and is a true classic for all the ex. Scouts and Guides out there! 

The square knot has been used since ancient times. While it can be used for securing a rope or line around pretty much any object, it is most useful for connecting two pieces of rope. It is the ideal knot for tie down situations that require additional length for security because it can always be released after being under pressure. 

NOTE. You need to concentrate on the order for this one because if you get this one wrong you will be left with a “Grannie” knot. These are very difficult to undo and could become a permanent fixture to your rope!

To accomplish the square knot, you’ll want to hold two ropes together at one end. Then, follow the next steps

  1. Left strand under the right and under again. 
  2. Then take the right over the left and then under. 
  3. Next, take the left part of the rope and put it over the right and wrap it around. 
  4. Lastly, take the new right side of the rope, put it over the left end and wrap it under.

You’re done! Easy, right?

The square or reef knot

The square knot is very useful when you’ve purchased car roof straps that are too short for your luggage, kayak, or surfboard. You can just use this to produce longer roof rack tie-downs that will secure your items in place. 


What if you could avoid knots all together and still get the same or even better result?

Whilst there is a knot for every purpose, you will need to practice to get it right and tight every time. And because rope isn’t elasticated it tends to come loose on the longer, bumpier journeys.

A safer alternative is to consider a system designed specifically for securing gear to your roof rack or motorbike, it is called the WRAPTIE™. The WRAPTIE™ is elasticated to keep your gear secure all the time but uses a unique type of fastening system so that you don’t need to learn how to tie the perfect knot and secure your gear safely every time!  

So, if you are looking to save time from learning how to tie knots it might make sense to check out the WRAPTIE™ below!

WRAPTIE™ Classic 240

WRAPTIE™ strap systems are designed to easily and safely secure large cargo loads without the worry of anything coming loose or undone. This is because these multi-functional, roof rack tie-down straps are made from high-tension, industrial-grade, elasticized webbing materials.

Forget about complicated knots you must learn just so you can use the roof rack luggage straps you just bought. Learning how to use ratchet straps on a roof rack does not have to be complicated. With WRAPTIE™, using tie-down straps on a roof rack has never been easier.

All you need to do is anchor the WRAPTIE™ car roof strap on one end, and looping it over the luggage or whatever item you can think of before finally securing the strap in place. This roof rack luggage strap does not have any sharp buckle that can damage your car or equipment.

WRAPTIE™ 3-tab rule


How to secure luggage on a roof rack using WRAPTIE™ tie down strap? Use the 3 TAB RULE. Make sure that at least 3 tabs are fully engaged to achieve the maximum holding strength. Also, the more tabs engaged, the more secure the equipment or luggage will be. 

Have you ever come across a situation where you have a tie down strap that is not quite the right length?

No problem! 

WRAPTIE™ was designed to have a fast grab end. So, not only does it attach to pretty much everything- it can also be used to attach to another WRAPTIE™, doubling it's length! No need to think hard about your knots to extend the length of WRAPTIE™ straps.

To learn more about the functions of WRAPTIE™ straps and its multitude of uses aside from being a sturdy and reliable car roof strap, head to this article

WRAPTIE™ is the world’s smartest multi-functional tie-down straps and can handle everything from smaller pack loads to sizable roof-bound equipment.  WRAPTIE™ straps’ ease of use, durable material, unparalleled strength, and easy storage make these straps a winning formula for any and all gear that needs to stay in place.


*Each strap is rated to 50kg (110lbs) using a minimum of 3 x hook & loop tabs fully joined.

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Cameron Saunders
Cameron Saunders


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