How long is your bow line? - Mountain Buzz

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-05-2019   #1
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 81
How long is your bow line?

What ropes do you carry and how long? In some pictures it looks like people have really long lines for tying up- so i’m Wondering how long and what material you are using. Thank you!

kayakingkate is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 02-05-2019   #2
Never enough free time
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 336
Currently using about 40' of 1/2" utility rope. It looks like climbing rope but isn't rated to nearly the same strength. I actually prefer my bowline in a bag but I can't get the wife and kids to play along so it is just alpine coiled on the bow
MontanaLaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #3
Boise, ID
Paddling Since: '99
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 356
I use old NRS Rescue Pro throw bags. They're about 70-80' of 3/8"s. Hook the tail end of the line to the d-ring with a big locking biner. Tie a big knot close to the end inside the bag draw string, and put the bag strap through the biner so the rope doesn't come out along the way.


-Only pull out what you need to tie off. Then you have plenty of line after if needed for a hang line to dry stuff.
-It's nice because at camps where the water will fluctuate, you can leave slack so your boat isn't dry if water goes down.
-I run one on the stern and park at either end of the line up at camp. If the water is heavy, we'll run it down the line of boats and connect all the sterns in case there is a mishap during the night including anchors pulling, drunk people tripping in the dark and pulling them, people that don't know solid knots, etc. Waking up to a missing boat is a bummer.
-The throw bags are also nice because we swing flies and there's one less thing to get flies and line tangled in. Could be solved with better technique but I'm lazy.
-In a pinch, you've also got extra throw bags on the bow and stern.
-Rope is protected from sun a majority of the time so it lasts longer.
-Sandy beaches...long line means you don't need as many sand anchors.
-Bow lines coiled or stuffed under a chicken line get tangled. If you're in an emergency situation, it's easy to grab the bag, hop off the boat to shore, and put a bit around something to stop if needed.


-More expensive. Over the years I've ended up with extra throw bags from river booty (not claimed on lost and found, and mark your stuff!), boat acquisitions, gifts, etc. For the guy who has everything, a throw bag is easy to put on your Christmas/B-day list.
-Takes a little longer in the morning to stuff a bag than coil under a chicken line.
-Risk of line coming out while on the river. It's a risk for any rope so you have to pay attention a little more when putting it away.

I've used a lot of different bow lines over the years and throw bags have become my favorite.
Conundrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 02-05-2019   #4
St. George, Utah
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 267
I do Grand Canyon trips pretty much every year so I use a 75' Sterling floating 3/8 inch bow and 50' stern line. On other rivers I just reverse them so the 50' is in the bow. I like a smaller diameter line for handling and don't like stuffing a bag so I just coil. I do usually carry a 10MM 165' for rescue work depending on the river I am on.
dsrtrat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #5
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3,093
Originally Posted by MontanaLaz View Post
Currently using about 40' of 1/2" utility rope. It looks like climbing rope but isn't rated to nearly the same strength. I actually prefer my bowline in a bag but I can't get the wife and kids to play along so it is just alpine coiled on the bow

Pretty much this! My line is 40' or 50' long.
MT4Runner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #6
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,938
My bow and stern lines are in the 20' range, but I carry an old NRS throw bag with a carabiner. I coil the stern line and loop in into the chicken line. I usually keep the bow line accessible to grab whenever I leave the boat and jump on shore. An old guide once told me to never leave your boat without a bowline in hand. I've found this to be useful advice.

Once on shore I tie a figure 8 in the end and clip on with the carabiner on the throw bag. That give me around 80 to 90 feet to get to a good onshore tie down.

Sometimes I'll just tie my short line to another boat if there are a bunch of boats in a row.
caverdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,859
Ditto what Conundrum says above.

Mine's usually about 60 feet, I use an old throw bag so I don't have to coil and tie off, there's less threat of entrapment, and it's just neater altogether. I tie a knot with a loop about 3' from the end that's clipped onto the bow, and leave the loop part out of the opening before cinching with the knot inside the bag. Then run the bag's buckle / strap through the loop so it's less likely to play out if the cinch loosens up. The bag lives inside the front of the bow, rather than outside on the front of the boat.

Each year I'll generally cut off the first 4' that's been in the sun the previous season, after a few years the rope's ready to retire and shorter than I like anyway for a bowline.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
Andy H. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #8
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 347
I do a lot of paddle rafting and oaring down narrow rivers with trees and large boulders At the waters edge in many places. I pull over often for quick stops to scout, stretch the legs and check out cool things.

I have about 18 feet of strong tubular webbing on just the stern. I daisy chain the webbing to shorten it to 5 or 7 feet, which makes for a quick and easy handling line. I then coil the daisy chain a few loops and tuck it tight under the perimeter line for safe keeping, even in a flip.

If stopping for a quick few minutes I just run the daisy chain around a tree or rock and carabiner it together. One click of the carabiner and I am hitched. The tubular webbing is also plyible for a simple hitch knot around a tree or rock crevasse.

If I am spending the night or going away from the river for a while, i tie a throw bag to shore as a second point of contact. My throw bags are 25' and 75'. I don't always have two, but I always have one.

On a Grand Trip, we had long ass ropes for beaches. But not everyone in the group needs a long rope. Depends on the number of crafts
FlyingDutchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2019   #9
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 164
Never long enough........
Aerocam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2019   #10
Bellingham, Washington
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 153
I use bow and stern lines. It is 3/8" static marine grade rope that has similar strength to rescue rope, but is not rescue rated. The bow is 50', and the stern it 100'. I max the 100' line as often as not.

Wiggins is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
GC bow line Sleepless Rafting | Trip Planner 12 06-12-2015 07:37 AM
Bow line storage brasscap Kayaking | Gear Talk 30 06-16-2014 08:59 PM
Lost Favorite Bow Line at Cisco BCJ Lost & Found 0 07-03-2012 07:28 PM
how long for bow/stern cat taglines washoe99 Kayaking | Gear Talk 8 10-04-2011 10:22 PM
Bow line length? barcolounger Kayaking | Gear Talk 24 04-25-2011 05:03 PM

» Classified Ads
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.