Know Your Knots: The Bowline

We recently shared with you some basic pointers on how to build an emergency shelter, but if you’re either lucky or prepared, knowing some basic knots can help your chances of survival even more. Regardless of if you put yourself in survivalist situations, the bowline is an incredibly popular knot and can come in handy on any camping trip.

A bowline is typically used to tie a rope to a stationary object. Frequent camping applications include tying a rope to a tree, securing tent guylines and securing a hammock. A bowline is easy to tie and with some practice can be done one-handed. Once the knot isn’t under load, it is also incredible easy to untie, making camp disassembly easy.

The general idea is that your rope will now have a secure loop at the end. That loop can be small enough to fit through a tarp grommet or big enough to fit around  a sequoia (or both in the case of hanging a tarp).

Many people learn to tie this knot using the mnemonic of a rabbit coming out of its hole, around a tree and back into the hole. Confused? Don’t be — here are some pictures and a video to help show you how to successfully tie a bowline.

Create the "rabbit hole"
The rabbit comes out of the hole...
The rabbit goes around the tree...
The rabbit goes back into the hole

If you prefer a video, watch this:

With a little practice, you should now be able to tie a bowline knot, one of the more important outdoor survival tools.

Photos via Darraghkelly and Wikipedia

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