in: Featured, How To, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

How to Tie a One-Handed Bowline Knot

Poster by Art of Manliness about Tieing 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.  

1: Remember your knot lingo. Here’s what you’ll need to know.

2: Grip the running end so that you’ve got at least six inches of rope coming out of your hand.

3: Bring the rope behind your back, then grab the standing part with your pinky while still holding onto the running end.

4: Pass the running end over the standing part, and then back up between your body and the rope while maintaining your grip on the running end.

5: Grap the running end from under the standing part and then pull through the loop.

6: Draw the running end back slowly through the loop and pull taut.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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