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Double Bowline Knot

The Double Bowline Knot is sometimes used as a “tie-in”, to attach the rope to the climber’s harness. The Double Bowline has the same strength as a figure eight knot but is simpler to tie. As the rope wraps around twice, the double bowline knot is more secure than a regular bowline knot.

The Double Bowline knot has been around for centuries, primarily used by fishermen and sailors to affix sails to boats. It’s considered one of the first boat knots a person should learn. It’s also a famous knot among climbers as it offers a loop at the end to affix gear or even the climber to the rest of their equipment. 

How To Tie the Double Bowline Knot

Use the following steps to tie a Double Bowline knot properly. The steps are the same whether you use string, rope, or fishing line.

Step 1

Double Bowline Step 1

Place your string or rope in the shape of a “U” in front of you. 

Step 2

Double Bowline Step 2
Double Bowline Step  2b

With your non-dominant hand, grasp the left side of the “U.” With your dominant hand, wrap the left side of the “U” into one loop. The easiest way to do this is to twist your dominant hand clockwise like you’re turning the key when in a vehicle ignition. Repeat this so that you have two loops. 

Step 3

Double Bowline Step 3

Take the bottom of the rope or string and wrap it over the top of both double loops. Push the end of the line through both double loops.

Step 4

Double Bowline Step 4

Pull the end you just put through both loops snugly towards your body to form one ring over both circles. 

Step 5

Double Bowline Step 5

Once through both loops and wrapped snugly, bring the same end behind and under the line sticking straight above the double circles.

Step 6

Double Bowline Step 6

Once under the piece that is straight above the loop, wrap the end around that line and bring it again toward your body. It may be helpful to lay it over your fingers as a guide. 

Step 7

Double Bowline Step 7

Take the same end toward your body and place it back through both loops from the top side. Do not place it in both loops from underneath. This action forms the second ring.

Step 8

Double Bowline Step 8

Once pulled through both loops, simultaneously pull that end tighter while cinching up both loops. One loop should remain. 

You can get all kinds of lengths of 550 lb paracord at Amazon to practice this knot or for use tying the trucker’s hitch.

Tips on Tying the Double Bowline Knot

  • Take the time to learn to tie the knot correctly. It’s subject to slipping out of place if tied too loosely. If it’s tied incorrectly, it will fuse and won’t untie at all.
  • Cinch it fully down before suspending large objects from it.
  • The final step can take a little practice if you’re not used to it. 
  • If you’re repeatedly having difficulty tying the knot, try a different rope with different textures and sizes. A shoelace used for practice may not yield the same results as a smooth, slippery, small, weighted rope.

Variations on Tying the Double Bowline Knot

The Double Yosemite Bowline is the same knot with a Yosemite finishing step. This knot can be tied with a slip knot method for even faster release. 

The Spanish Bowline is the same Double Bowline Knot, except it has two loops of equal lengths instead of one. Having two loops helps attach multiple items to an endpoint. 

Advantages of the Double Bowline Knot

When fully bearing a more significant weight, the Double Bowline knot won’t seize up and become nearly impossible to untie. Different knots can firmly fuse when suspending a load, forcing a person to cut the rope above or below the line.

Disadvantages of the Double Bowline Knot

The Double Bowline might be difficult at first for beginners. Some people say it’s a more complex knot to inspect, ensuring that it’s tied correctly. The more weight the knot will bear, the more critical it is to tie the knot correctly.

History of the Double Bowline Knot

Sailors have used the Double Bowline knot for centuries. It was first named by Clifford Ashley, who lived from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. He was both a seaman and an artist. Ashley spent a great deal of his time learning about knots and experimenting with them. He compiled a book in the 1940s illustrating over 3,900 different types of knots. 

Uses for the Double Bowline Knot 

The Double Bowline knot has many uses. Primarily, it’s used for affixing one thing securely to another item with strength, along with the ability to detach easily once loosened.

Survival Situations

The Double Bowline knot is helpful during rappelling and rock climbing. Combined with other safety protocols, using a Double Bowline knot can help keep a survivor more secure as they make their way down the side of a mountain. Firefighters and other rescue personnel also use this knot in rescue scenarios.

Fishing

Anglers primarily use this knot while temporarily mooring their boats. It’s also used to secure a boat to the dock. The Double Bowline knot can be used with a fishing line. Using it with a fishing line to attach a lead to a hook is less common. 

Hunting

The Double Bowline knot can be used to hang a recently killed animal before dressing it.  

Camping

The Double Bowline knot can be used to suspend bear cans full of food off the ground while camping. This knot is popular among hammock enthusiasts to hang hammocks from trees. 

Around the House

Double Bowline knots can be used to hang a tire swing in the front yard or leveraged on a pulley system to assist in lifting larger objects.

Related Knots

For more beneficial, fun, and helpful knots, including the Yosemite Bowline, click here

To Tie a Double Bowline Knot:

Form two loops and thread the tie in point (harness, whatever).double bowline 1
Weave the rope back through the loops, around the main line.double bowline 2
Weave the rope down through the loops again.double bowline 3
Wrap the tail as shown.double bowline 4
Finish with a stopper knot to ensure there is no slippage.double bowline 5