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The bowline knot | a camper's best friend

The bowline knot | a camper's best friend

If there are only two knots an outdoors person can remember, they should be the trucker's hitch and the bowline.  We covered the trucker's hitch in this earlier blog post, but the trusty bowline is your best friend for all kinds of things:

  • tying painters (ropes) to the ends of your canoe
  • attaching a tarp to a tree
  • for joining two ropes together
  • made large as a seat, for rescuing someone from above

...and so on.

The bowline is essentially a secure, fixed loop at the end of a rope.  It's one of the four basic marine knots and is used in all kinds of situations.  When it is under load it doesn't bind or slip, and it is easy to undo even after putting a lot of stress on it.  AND you can tie it with one hand.  That's cool.

The easiest way to learn how to tie a bowline is to think of a rabbit.  Make the rabbit hole first.  (If you are attaching the rope to something, pass the free end around or through it at this point.)

 bowline knot rabbit hole

Next, take the rabbit (the free end of the rope).  He comes up out of his hole.

bowline rabbit out the hole

Then he runs around the bush.  This is getting fun, right?

bowline knot rabbit goes around bush

Then he jumps back down into his hole.  

bowline knot rabbit goes back down hole

Now grab the two aligned ropes (one is the rabbit) and pull.

bowline knot pull ropes

The knot will snug up nicely, leaving a loop at the end of the rope. 

bowline knot finished

And there you have it.  Now you know one of the most essential knots in the outdoor world.  Just remember the rabbit. 

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