Zubuhacks: The Bow Knot

Zubair Mahedavi

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If there could be one knot that you knew that could save money and time, what would it be? Mine is the Bowline knot. This particular knot was taught to me in Boy Scouts and continues to help me during activities and campouts. It is also a requirement to do successfully in basic scout rank. It seems to me this is the most useful and legitimate knot I have learned.


The Bowline knot gets tied to a tree. The Bowline knot can be used in many different situations.

The knots´ origins come from “A Sea Grammar” By John Smith in 1691, was Smith first coined it the “taut knot” or a knot strong enough to hold boats to a pier. John Smith was the head of the Jamestown settlement during the time of King James. This settlement became one of the first 13 colonies that later became the United States of  America.


Since then, the knot earned many variants such as the Round-Turn Bowline, the Water Bowline, and the Yosemite Bowline. Although there are many variants on the knot, they all have the same thing in common, they hold things together through a loop. Unlike the Sheet Bend or Square knots, the Bowline knot, depending on the strength of the rope, can hold up to 1,000 pounds! That’s why you don’t fall down when ziplining and rock-climbing. Many recreational centers use the knot for their zip lines and climbing areas. The knot may also be used for camping purposes also. If it is raining really hard and you have no shelter, and you have the right rope and tarp, you can make a shelter with a tarp by tying it to two trees.


Now that you know that you know a bit about the Bowline knot and its uses, you can make one too! Just follow these steps and instructions, and you will be ready to go.

What you will need…

A visual representation of the steps of the bowline knot. Depending on the variant of the knot, the knot can be done in as little as three steps.

  • Rope
    • preferred fused and elastic
  • Something to tie on
    • A stick or tree stump, practically anything

Step 1

First, take the rope and make a ‘rabbit hole.’ Coil the rope from the bottom and make a loop clockwise with some space between the end of the line. During my time in the Scout rank, I never understood this part, I kept doing it counterclockwise and messed up. This is very important to the outcome of your knot.

Step 2

Second, put the end of your rope through the loop you just made, and pull it halfway. The hole should be big enough for the rope to fit; if it is not, stretch the hole so it is. Think ‘bunny comes out of the hole.’ Remember that if the hole is on top of the stem, you did it wrong. Do the hole under the stem, not over.

Step 3

Your rope should have two loops by now. Put the end that went through the hole, around the stem. A good way to remember it is ‘bunny goes around the tree.’ Do not pull it too far around the line, for you will have too small of a loop. Pull the rope around the ‘tree,’ from under to above.   

Step 4

The bowline knot lays finished, ready for use. The bowline knot can be used in many situations.

Take the rope that has been around the stem and put the ‘bunny back in it’s a hole’ Pull gently from the rope until it forms a loop around the object you tied it to. After you successfully that step, compare your turnout to the photograph on the left.  your knot should look like this…


Congratulations! You made the bowline knot! We know that this knot has many purposes, but what can you save with it? You can save tons of money. Have wet clothes from a campout and want to dry them without them fading? You can use the Sun’s heat.  If you perform two bowline knots to two trees, you can dry your wet clothes on it. This signifies the importance of the Bowline knot.


Many times, when you use a worn out rope, it’s fibers could unravel and the tiny strands of rope could come out. When attempting such things, you have to be mindful of the environment. By leaving trace you could be contributing to hurting the planet. The ropes usually are made of natural fiber, but they are branded together using chemicals. That’s why when you leave wet rope, not only will the rope be destroyed but the chemicals could seep out into nearby streams and the watershed, killing many fish and underwater creatures along the way. One way you can stop this from happening is, taking uncoiled rope home with you.  

Welcome to ZubuHacks. ZubuHacks is the original lifehack blog by Zubair Mahedavi, Media Reporter. Each month he will teach you a new hack to life. He hopes you take these hacks and put them to good use.