Tie a One-handed Bowline Knot





Introduction: Tie a One-handed Bowline Knot

A simple method for tying a bowline knot with one hand. Useful for tying a rope around yourself in a pinch. The bowline knot is noted for its strength and ease of untying even after being heavily loaded.

Step 1: Tie the Knot

As they say, a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words. Tie this knot with the long end of the rope extending away from you and the free end held in your dominant hand. Easiest when the rope is around your waist.

The basic procedure is to hold the loose end in your dominant hand, lay your wrist on the long section of rope with the loose end between your wrist and the rope, bend your wrist down and under the long end of the rope towards your body, then bring your wrist up creating a loop in the long end that goes over the back of your hand. Then while maintaining the loop over your hand, pass the loose end under the long end of the rope away from your body, grab the loose end with your fingers and pull your hand and the loose end through the loop you made, pulling the knot tight. That is the best I can do with words, good luck.



    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking
    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Space Challenge

      Space Challenge

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    I would submit that the Bowline is known for security (won't slip under load), but not so much for strength. Most figures I've encountered say that the Bowline will reduce the strength of the rope by 40%. This may be perfectly acceptable, but you can do better. Also, most loops used for rescue should be backed up. That is, leave the dangly end (known as the working end) long and tie it around another part of the loop. In the case of the Bowline, the standard backup is a Stopper tied around the leg of the loop closest to where the working end emerges from the knot.

    you obviously dont know the use of a bowline...

    And the depth of your reply suggests that you obviously do.

    So please, educate us -- what would you use instead of the Bowline for both security and strength?

    wow. that was alot easier than i thought it would be after reading all of those other replies. ;;

    This is definitely something that takes some practice. I raced sailboats for years and only ever met one guy who could do this. I could watch him do it right in front of me, over and over, s-l-o-w-l-y, and only come away confused. We had a knot tieing race one night. I won for a figure 8 but he could tie the bowline faster than I could do the figure 8. Basically, someone shouted GO and Terry, drunk as a skunk, immediately threw his rope on the floor with a bowline in it - just that fast. Awesome! We accused him of cheating but he was definitely doing it faster than we could follow him.

    i was told by my instructors aboard my training ship empire state, that an able body should be able to tie a bowline in the dark and behind his back in no more than 3 seconds... also if you dont know any other knot, you can make a bowline work for almost anything, maybe thats why he was so good, tied it countless times

    I found a better youtube example. It was not the best video but it did fill in the blanks from this Instructable. Now I can do it behind my back in the dark in 3 seconds - I even amaze myself. This is DEFINITELY something that needs to be practiced to develop the muscle memory. When I think about doing it while I"m doing it, it becomes harder.

    In my opinion the collapsing method is easier to do one hand:<br/><br/>Holding the working end make a loop in the standing end and pull a bight from the standing end through making a slipknot (if you pull a bight from the working end you get an eskimo bowline instead). Then thread the working end through the slipknot, and pull hard on the standing part of the loop and the standing end.<br/><br/>Pay attention to which side the working end goes through, it should end up inside the loop or or it is generally believed that the knot is weaker as explained on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheet_bend">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheet_bend</a> (left-handed sheet bend). However, this is not a clear cut case (see also <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_bowline).">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_bowline).</a><br/><br/>Here are three videos. The first illustrates the slipknot very slowly. The second demonstrates this method for a bowline with two hands slowly. The third demonstrated the one handed quick method (it's easier with rope than with this cord though, so it looks kinda clumsy).<br/><br/><div style="margin-left:15px;"> <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/LiuNkcz35pw"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/LiuNkcz35pw" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></div><br/><br/><div style="margin-left:15px;"> <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/p2-vBgEKMsc"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/p2-vBgEKMsc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></div><br/><br/><div style="margin-left:15px;"> <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/2GcMsBIrP6Q"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2GcMsBIrP6Q" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></div><br/><br/>There is also a knot called the tugboat bowline (not as useful as the real bowline, it jams). Here is a movie someone else made on youtube:<br/><br/><div style="margin-left:15px;"> <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ESo9FZuIAHo"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ESo9FZuIAHo" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></div><br/><br/>You can adapt this method to tie the double dragon knot, too: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.layhands.com/Knots/Knots_SingleLoops.htm#DoubleDragon">http://www.layhands.com/Knots/Knots_SingleLoops.htm#DoubleDragon</a> (no video)<br/>

    Slow down, please! It goes so fast its hard to keep track!