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in: Knots, Manly Skills, Survival, Visual Guides

March 15, 2019

How to Tie a One-Handed Bowline Knot

The bowline is one of the most useful knots you can know. Simple to tie, and easy to undo, the beauty of the bowline is that it creates a quick loop secured by a knot that tightens when under load. Sailors use the bowline to fasten halyards and other rigging which require a super-secure connection.  

The one-handed bowline is a technique that allows you to tie the knot using only one hand. Why is that useful? Imagine you’ve slipped and fallen into a rushing river. At the last second, you grab the branch of a tree, but you can’t pull yourself up. A friend tosses you a rope to tie around yourself, but the only knots you can tie would require the use of both hands. With a one-handed bowline, you can secure a loop around your body while still holding onto the branch. In most scenarios this is a survival knot tied around your waist, but it can be adapted to a number of circumstances.  

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak