Tie a Bowline Knot (How To)

Posted by Stacy on 2/5/2013

The bowline knot is one of the most useful knots you should have in your tying arsenel.  This knot is useful for tying stuff down and would certainly be useful in a survival situation.


Speaker 1: Okay, hi everybody! Today Iím going to show you how to tie a bowline. The bowline is a very strong and safe knot. It can be used in life saving situations or critical situations, unlike the square knot which we learned about a little bit earlier. A little note on how you say it. It is pronounced ďboh-linĒ even though it is spelled ďbowlineĒ. Itís not pronounced ďboh-lainĒ.

Okay, like I said this knot is really strong. In fact when I worked at an arbors company where they trimmed and removed big giant trees - the climbers then, who would go up in the trees and cut off these branches and lower them, would use this knot every day in almost every situation to tie under tree branches or to tie themselves into the tree. Or to tie their equipment to themselves or to the trees, so that when it dropped it wouldnít break. This knot is very strong. It wonít bind up very easily. Iíll show you how to untie this knot at the end. That way if the knot does experience a big shock or a really strong tightening, itís easy to untie it. It doesnít bind up.

Okay enough of me [gagging inaudible 00:01:19]. Letís get started. Leave yourself a decent amount of line to work with. It makes it a lot easier, this knot uses a little bit of the string to create. Okay, so the first thing with setting up your bowline is to create a loop. Now since Iím practicing ... training you know how to practice it with a shoe lace. I am not going to do it like you would if youíd have your rope, but Iíll show you both ways. Iím just going to put a finger right here and Iím going to bring the short end of my string up and over my finger and let it drop down. Now thatís the loop you want to create.

There is another way to create the loop which is much more useful when youíre working with a heavy line. That would be to grab onto the rope and turn it up and over. People grab on with their whole hand on a big heavy piece of rope and turn it up and over and make a loop like this. Thatís perfectly fine. Itís much easier with a big rope. For a little piece of rope like weíre using here Iím just going to use my finger. Okay, so you want to be set up with the loop. The most important thing to remember about the loop, the only thing that really matters. I donít care, you know you can create it however you want. The only thing that matters is, this short part has to be on the top. It can never be behind. It needs to be over the top of the back part of the line.

Okay, so thereís our loop. Now what weíre going to do is weíre going to take this end and weíre going to pass it up and through the loop we just created. Iím going to squirrel all this up so you can see it very clearly. Itís going to pass up and through that loop, okay? Now go up and through. Now what weíre going to do is weíre going to take the end and weíre going to pass it behind the back part of our line. There it goes behind the back part of our line. Squirrel this up so you can see all the gaps and see how itís all set up. There we go.

Itís going to go behind that back part. After it goes behind the back part, itís going to go back in right beside. Itís going to go back through this loop, right here this little loop, right beside the other string, the part that came out. Here we go. Itís going to go back in right beside it, just like that. Okay, Iím going to pull it down a little bit, but Iíll still leave the big gaps in there, so you can see how itís all set up. Okay, so itís going to look like that.

Now your knot is finished. Thatís it, itís completely done. To tighten the knot you want to grab on to the tag end, this little end right here, end of our string, and the inside of this big loop just like that. Weíre going to grab one right here. Then weíre going to pull, weíre going to pull this back part. There it goes, nice and tight. When you do this, right, what youíll see happen Ö Iím going to pull this up close to the camera so you can see. What youíll see happen is this small loop, the very first loop or the loop we created. itís going to fold over a little bit. See, thereís our line. We tighten it. See how it folds over a little bit? Thatís perfect! Thatís exactly what you want.

Now this loop is really really really strong, like I said. Itís not going to give way. If you want to make a strong slip knot like the tree climbers did, they would pass an end of this through. They would have a really strong slip knot that wonít get loose they put that around a branch or something like this and lower it to the ground. Now a couple of more things about this knot. If it experiences a heavy load or a big shock and you want to untie it, the way to do that ... this is the front of our knot. Weíre going to turn it over to the back and where that little loop folded over a little bit, you just want to put your finger or your hand underneath that and lift it up. When you lift that up, see when itís really tight it folds over. When you lift it up, thatís going to release all the pressure off this knot. Itís really amazing. Then the whole thing would just untie, really easily. There you go, itís done! Okay, now if you want to tie a bowline around an object, say you have a boat, and you want to hitch it up to a tree, or you have a car and you want to hook it up to a stump and pull the stump out or try to at least. Or really just tie a line onto anything with a knot that wonít slip and that would be very strong. Iím going to show you how to do a bowline around an object. Okay, so like I said, just before we want to start off with a decent amount of string to work with, and Iím practicing on this big old spoon handle. (Laughs) You can practice on anything you want.

What weíre going to do is just like before, weíre going to create a loop up and around. Thereís our loop. Remember we always want the short end down here. We always want the short end to go on the top. Then what weíre going to do is weíre going to take our short end, weíre going to pass it around whatever object we want to tie onto, okay? Here we go around the object. Now weíre going to take the end just like before, pass it up and through the small loop we created, just like so.

Now weíre going to pass it behind. Oops, itís going to fall down here Ö Now weíre going to pass it behind, behind the back part of our rope. Then weíre going to pull it down and put it right inside that same loop where this one came out. Weíre going to pull it down, put it right inside that same loop. There it goes. Iíll pull it through just a little bit, but Iíll keep everything loose so that you can see how itís set up. Okay, there it goes. Now just like before weíre going to grab on to tag end ... this end in the inside of the loop. Weíre going to pull. Weíre going to pull on the back and create a strong loop. Just like before, this small loop is going to fold over. Itís perfect, just what we wanted.

Now we have a really, really, really strong, strong, strong knot. Iíll pull it as hard as I can and I canít get it to come undone. You know this is going to be a good, good, good strong knot. Now just after that, you saw me pull as hard as I could on the shoe lace. Maybe not quite as hard as I could, but I donít want to break shoe lace. Now Iím going to show you how to untie it just like before. This is a really nice knot. It does not jam. Iím going to pull it up really close to the camera so you can see. Here it is where itís folded over in the back. Weíre just going to take that and lift up that little loop. Now all the pressureís off the whole knot. (Laughs) Oops, it just completely comes undone. Thereís our string again.

This is a great knot practice. Practice tying it a couple of times. Watch the video. Pause it as much as you need to. Leave me some comments and stuff. Let me know if this style of demonstration helps you out or if there is something I need to change up, so that I can make it a little more clear for you. All right everybody, thanks for watching. Have fun practicing and good luck!
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