I’m kind of a stickler for following rules in outdoor spaces. I meticulously pick up poop and keep Cheyenne on a leash wherever it is required. It’s not because I’m a huge fan of leash laws but because I recognize that our access to wild spaces with our dogs is a privilege; a privilege that could be lost if my dog decides to chase wildlife or harass other people on the trail.
And, to be honest, Cheyenne’s recall skills leave something to be desired. We joke that it’s good that she’s pretty because she’s not too smart. Of course, it was our training or lack thereof, that is the real blame. So, keeping her secured when I can’t keep a constant eye on her is pretty critical in making sure she catches a ride home at the end of the trip.
For backpacking trips with Cheyenne, I’ve brought along long-lines and various connectors to anchor to trees and rocks. I once tried what amounted to a large plastic screw that goes into the ground as a tie out. That was useless and ended up tied around a tree instead of in the ground. A carabiner on the end of paracord anchored to a tree has been my most popular method but leaves a lot to be desired. I spend more time untangling Cheyenne from trees, bushes, and roots than I do relaxing.
Enter the Knot-a-Hitch
When I saw Ruffwear’s Knot-a-Hitch it looked like it might be the answer to my campsite woes. The Ruffwear Knot-a-Hitch is a campsite hitching system that keeps your dog secure when you’re in camp. It is a 36′ long adjustable tether, neatly packed into its own stuff sack. Anchor each end to two opposing trees and attach your dog’s leash to the included sliding carabiner. Your dog can securely roam up and down the line.
The anchor system is ingenious, one end is a simple clip. Wrap it around the tree and clip it back onto the rope.
The other side has the attached stuff sack, a daisy chain to go around the opposite tree, and an adjustable anchor to tighten the whole system down, horizontally between the trees.
Simply wrap the daisy chain webbing around the tree and clip into it. Then, grab the end of the rope and pull to tighten the whole thing. Attach your dog’s existing leash to the included carabiner that slides freely across the rope.
When you’re breaking camp, pull the silver ring and it will loosen back up. Unclip each end and stuff it back in the bag!
What We Dig
- This is exactly the thing I’ve been looking for. It was easy to find two trees where she could roam around on the Knot-a-Hitch and not get tangled on anything. At most she might go around one of the anchor trees but because the leash was pointed up in the air, she couldn’t get wrapped around the tree and could easily get herself untangled.
- The hardware and other materials are top-notch. Everything is well made, very strong, and incredibly light.
- Instructions are sewn in the lid of the stuff sack if you’ve had a long day and can’t remember how to set this thing up. You probably won’t even need it though, it’s pretty easy to set up.
- The whole setup is 6 in x 7 in x 2 in (think of something about the size of a softball when you have it packed up) and weighs 13 ounces.
What We Don’t Dig as Much
I love everything about the Knot-a-Hitch except for one big fat sticking point, the price. At $59.95, it’s a pretty expensive tie-out. It’s a situation where I see the quality of the hardware and the product overall so I don’t feel gouged by the price but there’s no denying it’s very expensive.
If the Knot-a-Hitch sounds great, but just isn’t in your budget, consider a DIY option. I quickly prototyped something to the tree in my front yard, in the rain this morning.
What You’d Need:
- 40′-50′ of 550 Paracord – consider a bright color so you don’t walk into it when it’s up
- Nite Ize S Biner – or something similar for the anchor at one end
- Nite Ize Figure 9 – as an adjustable anchor for the other end
- Small carabiner – something with smooth sides to run along the cord and attach to your dog’s leash
- Add your own stuff sack to store it all
Most definitely not as elegant but it might better fit some budgets.
Where To Buy the Knot-a-Hitch