Line Handling

edited March 2008 in Technique
I'm curious how people are gripping or holding their kite lines when they go to tie off the line.

When I used a Henry's Handle with a cleat, I was able to wrap the line onto the cleat while still holding the hoop winder. Later, when I started tying off to a caribiner with a running clove hitch, I found I had to grab the line with my hand to create slack. Sometimes I even wrap the line around my gloved hand to get a good grip. But I have this nagging feeling that this isn't the wisest or safest thing to do.

Has anyone worked out a hands-free method for tying off? Is wrapping the line on a hand common practice? Does anyone have any thoughts on how safe or dangerous it might be?


  • I've certainly used the "wrapping round the gloved hand" trick when needing a bit of loose line (to put a figure 8 on the line for example). However, if it's windy enough for the pull to be such as to cause pain to my hand I'll usually have put the figure 8 on before I started. And with a figure 8 on the line (with the 8 also attached to a climbers strap round my body) it's easy enough to tie the line off to something fixed like a fence post with another strap and cabariner. Of course, it may not be so easy to get the figure 8 off without wrapping line around a hand!
  • Celaya talked about a carabiner knot that I've used in stronger winds.

    The idea here is that you start the knot by twisting the carabiner on to the line, then pull it in to get some slack, make a reverse twist loop with the slack line and loop it on to the carabiner.
  • My method may be neither safe nor wise, but it seems to work pretty well. No need to pull on the kite line with a gloved or ungloved hand.

    All parts come from REI .... and outdoor/mountain climbing equipment store. Three Omega Pacific ISO Oval carabiners are used; 1) to a homemade cleat (similar to Henry's Handle) 2) Carabiners #2 & #3 are clipped to a BlueWater Titan/Specta Runner - 36" long x 9/16" and to carabiner #1 which is also clipped to the handle. Sometimes I clip the three carabiners to a rappel ring or something similar. All parts are rated for for about 20 kN.

    In use, I wrap the 36" runner around my waist and clip onto the handle or rappel ring. If I want to affix the kite to a post, table, or ? it is easy to unclip one carabiner and either clip it to a rail or wrap the runner around the tree and clip it back onto the runner.
  • Doug, I think I need to see a picture or two.
  • Dave Wheeler
    Some time back I mentioned what I call "The Nun"; it's simply a figure-eight on a carbiner; clip the 'biner anywhere on the line, using the eight as a handle, twist the 'biner a couple times, and the line is ready to haul.
  • A swift hold I've used hundreds of times for fiddling with rigs with both hands is to reach down with the line and put two or three turns around my foot. It's one of those tricks that has worked for me, as I use short picavet lines. If you use long picavet lines and can't get the rig down to hand without touching the ground, then it won't be much use to you. To be avoided on hard ground and sharp gravel.....

    As I fly on lightly loaded lines usually, I can tie off easily to bits of scenery for most things. Henry's handle and a carabiner strap are all I've ever needed in stronger conditions.
  • In two or three cases I used my teeth/molars to hold the line. It was in a very light breeze and nothing around that could hold my kite line. Not really recommendable, but sometimes you need to do something like that.
  • edited April 2008
    Though late, here are some photos to help explain my technique as outlined above.

    The large carabiners are easy to use with gloves and are very strong!

    Tie off worn on person.JPG

    Tie off top view.JPG

    #1.JPG by Nilvad, on Flickr">Kite tie off <a href=#1.JPG" />

    The rappel ring is optional.

    Note: a small line is used to secure the kite line halo ring. It easily clips on or off and frees your hands. It also keep the ring from rolling away!
  • edited April 2008
    I'm really glad you guys are discussing this. Carla is in Australia for work for six months and she is usually my kite handler while I focus on the KAP rig. I've been out recently with the Sutton FF16 and I am amazed how much pull it develops. I need to make some of these aids (belts and carabiners) to help in the handling of the kite. I'm just not used to it and now I am starting to really appreciate my KAP assistant. We really have been a team. I also have a greater appeciation for all you guys that KAP alone. I'm even going to find some appropriate gloves. Thanks for the discussion, it's been very helpful. KAPing alone is something new to me. Obviously it starts with the basics of kite handling.
  • Dave,
    I like your device; if it is of flat aluminum stock , as I view it, I would be concerned about wear on the line.
    Might it work to dip each end several times in to one of those vinyl tool dips ( for plier handles and such) ?
  • I use the carabiner knot, as mentioned above. Sdunn stated that he uses it also in strong winds. I have found it works very well for me in all the wind ranges I have flown in. As for handling the line, I hate to admit it, but who knows, someone might find it useful. I set up my anchor and the last step is attaching the line to the carabiner. But, I actually put my hoop on the ground and hold it down with my foot while I anchor. If I feel I cannot safely hold it with my foot hands free, I will not anchor the kite; the wind is probably too strong anyway. But, the pull my 9 ft delta has may be far less than what some of the kites many of you fly.

    In not so strong winds, I make the first twisted loop before attaching it to the carabiner. In stronger winds, I have done the twists after the carabiner is on the line, which is so much easier than trying to keep a twisted loop in your fingers with lots of pull.
  • I'll put a carabiner on an anchored strap, then run my kite line through it. At this point I can simply point one end of my winder through the cabiner and the pull of the kite keeps it secure. In this photo I'm using a figure 8, but the principal is the same.

  • The home made cleat/line holder is made from flat stock aluminum with all edges sanded so as to prevent line abrasion or cutting. In four or five years of use, the line has not been cut or chaffed. Never-the-less, I'd like to have one made from 3/8" or 1/4" stock.
  • edited April 2008
    Here are some pictures of my tie off rig with the rappel ring.

    Doug's tie off rig for KAP

    Close up of rig with the rappel ring.

    Usually, I do not use the ring as it twists the carabiners in an awkward manner. ..... and it is just one more thing to carry.
  • I have started to use this unusual figure 8:

    It has a cleat along one side of it, so it can double as a henry's handle or a figure 8. Its pretty small, and it has an annoying rubber gasket on the lower ring of the 8, so make sure that you pick a carabiner that fits it nicely. The low end climbing rated rounded 'biners work fine, but not the new shaped ones with wire gates.

    With the cleat you can wrap the line even under tension keeping your fingers in the big hole of the 8, the halo in the palm of that hand then, optionally, work the slack end of the line through the figure 8 with no risk to fingers and clip off to an anchor or a belt, release the cleat if you want to use the figure 8 to let out more line. I have a short loop of 550 cord with small 'biner, to suspend the halo from my harness or an anchor.
  • Yes I saw one like it which Bert Maetens from Belgium uses. It was a Petzl Pirana. very similar to yours Pavoroyale but available in UK. They are made by
    and look like a useful item

    Fly High


  • edited October 2014
    That is correct, Sue. I am using the new Petzl Pirana. A kind of combination of 8 Poli and a Christian Becot hook.
  • For those who haven't seen the Christian Becot hook in action :- you attach it with a carabiner to something and then, after you have pulled some line in or walked the kite down and dragged it back to the hook, you wind the line round in a figure of 8 til it doesn't slip any more. Then you can walk some more line down and drag it back etc. I made one out a piece of stiff fencing wire which works fine.

    Fly High

  • Hi,
    about equipment originally for climbing I find useful what enclosed in the picture, small and 68 grams only; offers a wide variety of possible use within personal preferences

    see :

    shown also my preferred light and flat EIGHT PLUS than includes the positive features of an EIGHT with those of an Henry's handle

    shown also my harness that gives hands free handling (harness + EIGHT PLUS + connection = 150 grams and easy to pack for transport)

  • edited December 2014
    When in fairly strong wind conditions, I wear a web "belt" around my waist with a detachable web strap that can be fastened around a post or tree (instead of to ME) if need be. But I keep it simple when it comes to tying off the kiteline: I carry a single ordinary chain link in my pocket.

    Works very well...just create a larks head, pass it over the link, then fasten the web strap.
    What could be easier?


  • I am not sure why the normal, minimalist editing toolbar stopped working and I am looking into it. In the meantime I have added a fancier (and somewhat redundant) toolbar that does seem to work. So, for now use the lower toolbar.
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  • Phil - You are welcome.

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