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How To Tie The Double Overhand Knot

The Double Overhand Knot is an extension of the regular Overhand Knot, made with one additional pass. The result is slightly larger and more difficult to untie. It is sometimes used as a stopper knot. It is more often used to tie loose ends off around the main strand of rope.

Double Overhand Knot
double overhand knot tied on synthetic rope.

The double knot, also known as the double overhand knot, is one of the simplest knots to tie, and one of the most useful. In fact, you’ve probably been tying a double knot since you learned to tie your own shoelaces.

It’s the second knot we learn to tie, after the single overhand knot. The uses for the knot go far beyond footwear, including fishing, boating, climbing, and household uses. Its simplicity and versatility make it the first knot anyone should master. 

The double overhand knot is used in everything from fishing to mountain rescue operations. It’s also one of the best knots to know for around-the-house jobs. We could talk about the double overhand knot all day, but how about we get to tying one? 

How To Tie The Double Overhand Knot

This is not only one of the oldest known knots, it is also one of the most useful. Whether you’re rock climbing, working in the garden, or just around the house, the double overhand knot is a great knot to know. 

This knot also forms the basis of several other speciality knots. Here’s how you tie the double overhand knot. 

Double Overhand Knot 2

Take the free end of your rope and loop it over the working end

Double Overhand Knot 3

Take the free end under the loop forming a basic overhand knot

Double Overhand Knot 4

Repeat that step again to create a double overhand knot

Double Overhand Knot 5

Tighten and make sure your ropes are laying flat 

Double Overhand Knot 6

You’ll notice that one side of the knot forms an “X” shape while the other has the ropes running parallel. This is how you can tell you got the double overhand knot right! 

Double Overhand Knot 7
Pass the end of the rope over itselfDouble Overhand Knot 1
Around the main part of the rope once moreDouble Overhand Knot 2
And then under itself and through the first loop formedDouble Overhand Knot 3
Pull the knot tight and set.Double Overhand Knot 4

Tips on Tying the Double Knot

The double knot’s simplicity makes it very easy to tie. Make sure you complete both passes before pulling the knot tight. Pull evenly on each end of the rope or line.

If you need to tighten the knot, push each knot towards the other. Then pull the ends again. If you want a larger knot, don’t push the knots together. The knot is still secure but slightly wider. 

Always make sure to double check your knots when you are engaged in potentially dangerous activities. 

Another good tip for the double overhand knot is to not tighten the first overhand. This would make tying this knot extremely difficult and force you to restart your tie. 

For a more in-depth tutorial and additional information on the double overhand knot, check out our video!

Variations on the Knot

To make a larger knot, you can make multiple passes through the loop. This is known as a multiple knot or multiple overhand knot. It can be useful when you are using the knot as a stopper knot.  

Another variation is to tie a single overhand knot, and then tie another. This makes a larger and looser knot that is a bit easier to untie. The single overhand knot, or just simply knot, is a single knot instead of a double knot. 

Advantages of the Double Knot

The biggest advantage of the double knot is its simplicity. It’s also a useful knot because it is the basis for many other knots.

It has multiple uses. It can be used to tie rope, fishing line, shoelaces, or string. The knot can easily be tied in the dark, while wearing gloves, or with one hand. It’s a strong knot that will hold in various conditions, including rain and snow.

It can also be used to securely tie two ropes or strings together. When climbing, the double knot doesn’t get caught on edges as frequently as some other knots. 

Disadvantages of the Double Knot

Much like the regular overhand knot, this knot is extremely basic and very easy to untie. In more complicated situations with a lot of movement on the line, there are usually better knots to pick from.

Another disadvantage is that the basic double overhand knot is just the start. If you’re planning on rock climbing, then you’ll need to learn more advanced ways to tie this rather than just this 101 guide. 

History of the Knot

This is one of those knots that has both an ancient, boundless history and has little that is truly known about it. 

Odds are, this knot has been used since the Lower Palaeolithic period. That’s somewhere between 2,500,000 and 250,000 years ago! The double overhand knot is a simple extension of the overhand knot which is regarded as the most basic form of knot possible. It’s so basic, in fact, that there are animals that regularly use the basic overhand knot! 

Humans have been tying knots for a long time and the double overhand knot is one of the oldest. 

Uses for the Knot

As a Basis For Other Knots

The double knot is used as a basis for many other knots. In fishing, it starts the surgeon’s knot and the double fisherman’s knot. In climbing it can be used to secure two ropes together with the double fisherman’s knot.

As a Stopper Knot

The double overhand knot can also be used as a stopper knot. It’s often used to prevent rope from pulling through an opening. It can be useful in climbing, boat tying, and securing thread to a needle. 

A stopper knot can also be used to prevent rope from unraveling. This has a wide variety of applications in hunting, camping, and boating, as well as general household use. 

Lastly, a stopper knot can prevent another knot from unraveling. This allows you to tie the knot you need for a particular application, and then use the double overhand knot as a back-up knot, or to prevent rope from sliding through a device after a knot has been tied. 


A double knot can be useful in survival situations. You can use it to secure gear to your body. You can create a rope belt or harness. You can use it to anchor yourself to a tree. You can use it to combine two pieces of rope, or even vine, to create a longer piece. 


The double overhand knot can be used to create a rope harness or halter. It can be used to secure repelling ropes, and it can easily connect an abseil. It can be used to secure other knots that are tied to a climbing harness or a carabiner. 

Household Uses

In camping, it can be used to tie rope stakes. It can be used to tie shoelaces. The double overhand knot can be used to secure a rope to a tree, post, or other object. It can serve as an anchor for a dog leash or horse halter. It can also be used to secure a rope swing or clothesline. Twine can be tied in a double knot to secure packages. 

It’s also used in jewelry making. It’s popular for tying the end of friendship bracelets, and it can be used to make paracord bracelets as well. It’s used so often, you likely tie it frequently without even thinking about it. It’s also the knot that items you don’t want to tie seem to find themselves in. 

Related Knots

More Knots That Use the Double Overhand Knot

Are you looking to see what you can do with your new double overhand knot skills? Check out these knots for more advanced ways to use the double overhand.