Bottle sling

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Bottle Sling (Scoutcraft Knot)
NamesBottle Sling (Scoutcraft Knot), Bottle knot, Jug sling, Jug knot, Jar knot, Moonshiner's knot, Hackamore, Hackamore knot, Bridle knot, Beggarman's knot
Category Binding
Origin Ancient
Related Jury mast knot, Miller's knot, Fiador knot
Typical useSuspending bottles and other similar objects
CaveatCord must be scaled to size of bottle's flare or collar
ABoK #260, #1142, #2007, #2186, #2300, #2554

The bottle sling (or jug sling or Scoutcraft Knot) is a knot which can be used to create a handle for a glass or ceramic container with a slippery narrow neck, as long as the neck widens slightly near the top. [1]


While classed with binding knots, such as the reef knot and miller's knot, the bottle sling is able to perform a function for which most other binding knots are unsuited. The bottle sling's specific form allows it to grip a cylinder, assuming it has even a slight flare or collar, and lift it along its axis when the knot is loaded by all four strands. [1] With appropriate size cord, most wine bottles can be reliably suspended with this knot.


The bottle sling was described in detail by the Greek physician Heraklas in his first century monograph on surgical knots and slings. It was included under the name diplous karkhesios brokhos ("double jug-sling noose"). Clearly familiar with the knot, Heraklas provided three distinct tying methods. [2] [3] Knot expert Cyrus L. Day believed the bottle sling was not described again in print until Craigin's 1884 A Boy's Workshop, [4] [5] although Clifford Ashley noted it was illustrated in Johann Röding's 1795 Allgemeines Wörterbuch der Marine. [1] More recently, the Bottle Sling has been nationally recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as the symbol of Outdoor Skills by scout camps throughout the country.


Mockup of a rope fiador with the doubled "hackamore knot" at the bottom Fiador-mockup-with-Becket hitch-Fiador knot-and-Bottle sling.jpg
Mockup of a rope fiador with the doubled "hackamore knot" at the bottom

As the name suggests, the primary use for this knot is to suspend bottles, jugs, and other items with similar shapes. The space at the center of the knot is dropped over the top of a bottle or similar object. Firmly pulling on all four ends emerging from the knot tightens it against the neck of the bottle. Looping the running ends through the bight and tying them together will make a sling that grips and can be used to lift the bottle. [6] This provides a convenient method of lowering a beverage bottle from a boat into the water to chill.

As mentioned above, the knot is believed to have been used medically in ancient Greece for applying traction in the reduction of fractures and dislocations. However it is not known to have any current medical application. [3]

The knot is also said to have been used as an improvised emergency bridle when rope was the only material at hand. Its use is described with the central parts of the knot acting as a bit, one of the knot's outer bights passing over the top of the animal's muzzle, and the other passing under the jaw to form the noseband. The closed loop end of the knot would be placed over the animal's head and behind the ears, as a crownpiece, and the two free ends coming off under the chin used as reins. It was intended only for temporary use. [7] However at least one author has disputed this as "nonsense" and suggests its only proper equestrian use is in a doubled form, in this context known as a hackamore knot, to secure the fiador to the bosal in some hackamore designs. [8]


Perhaps not surprisingly—given three were already known to the ancient Greeks—there are many methods to tie the bottle sling. Swedish physiologist and knot researcher Hjalmar Öhrvall listed eight in his 1916 book Om Knutar. [9] [10]

One method for tying the bottle sling is similar to the loop-and-weave method used to tie the jury mast knot and the trumpet knot. The knot is begun by making a bight in a piece of rope and folding the bight back on itself to make two separated loops that are mirror images of each other. Lay one loop on top of the other so that they overlap slightly and create a cat's eye shaped hole above a triangular shaped hole between the two loops. Make a bird's beak with your index and thumb and weave them down through the loop, up through the cat's eye and down through the bottom loop, bunching the coils of rope against your fingers. Pinch the section of rope that was the bottom of the triangle and flip the coils over the pinched section. The flip may take a little practice, but the pinched section should become a short bight hanging off a circular shaped knot.

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Overhand knot

The overhand knot, also known as a a knot and half knot, is one of the most fundamental knots, and it forms the basis of many others, including the simple noose, overhand loop, angler's loop, reef knot, fisherman's knot, and water knot. The overhand knot is a stopper, especially when used alone, and hence it is very secure, to the point of jamming badly. It should be used if the knot is intended to be permanent. It is often used to prevent the end of a rope from unraveling. An overhand knot becomes a trefoil knot, a true knot in the mathematical sense, by joining the ends.

Millers knot

A miller's knot is a binding knot used to secure the opening of a sack or bag. Historically, large sacks often contained grains; thus the association of these knots with the miller's trade. Several knots are known interchangeably by these three names.

Butterfly loop Knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope

The butterfly loop, also known as lineman's loop, butterfly knot, alpine butterfly knot and lineman's rider, is a knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope. Tied in the bight, it can be made in a rope without access to either of the ends; this is a distinct advantage when working with long climbing ropes. The butterfly loop is an excellent mid-line rigging knot; it handles multi-directional loading well and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect. In a climbing context it is also useful for traverse lines, some anchors, shortening rope slings, and for isolating damaged sections of rope.

Constrictor knot

The constrictor knot is one of the most effective binding knots. Simple and secure, it is a harsh knot that can be difficult or impossible to untie once tightened. It is made similarly to a clove hitch but with one end passed under the other, forming an overhand knot under a riding turn. The double constrictor knot is an even more robust variation that features two riding turns.

Truckers hitch

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Marlinespike hitch

The marlinespike hitch is a temporary knot used to attach a rod to a rope in order to form a handle. This allows more tension than could be produced comfortably by gripping the rope with the hands alone. It is useful when tightening knots and for other purposes in ropework.

Heaving line bend

The heaving line bend is a knot for securely joining two ropes of different diameter or rigidity. It is often used to affix playing strings to the thick silk eyes of an anchorage knot in some stringed instruments. In nautical use, the heaving line bend is used to connect a lighter messenger line to a hawser when mooring ships. It is knot number 1463 in The Ashley Book of Knots, and appeared in the 1916 Swedish knot manual Om Knutar.

Overhand knot with draw-loop

A slipped half hitch is a knot in which the weight of the load the rope carries depresses the loop sufficiently to keep it in place until the load item is placed in its location. When no longer required the free end may be pulled and draw the loop through and so release the load.

Noose Loop at the end of a rope in which the knot tightens under load and can be loosened without untying the knot.

A noose is a loop at the end of a rope in which the knot tightens under load and can be loosened without untying the knot. The knot can be used to secure a rope to a post, pole, or animal but only where the end is in a position that the loop can be passed over.

Cats paw (knot)

The Cat's paw is a knot used for connecting a rope to an object. It is very similar to the cow hitch except there is an additional twist on each side of the bight, making it less prone to slipping.

The cat's-paw is the common hook hitch for slings. It is the same basic form as the bale sling hitch but has additional twists. Brady says "two or three altogether," and Steel, who mentioned the name in 1794, says "three twists." It is the best of all sling hitches and is often recommended for a slippery rope. But no hitch can slip when tied in a slings since it has no ends. All that is needed is a hitch that cannot jam, and this requirement the cat's-paw fills admirably. The knot spills instantly when removed from the hook. It is the hitch always used for heavy lifts.

Cow hitch

The cow hitch, also called the lark's head, is a hitch knot used to attach a rope to an object. The cow hitch comprises a pair of half-hitches tied in opposing directions, as compared to the clove hitch in which the half-hitches are tied in the same direction. It has several variations and is known under a variety of names. It can be tied either with the end of the rope or with a bight.

Fiador knot

The fiador knot is a decorative, symmetrical knot used in equine applications to create items such as rope halters, hobbles, and components of the fiador on some hackamore designs. As traditionally described, it is a four strand diamond knot in which six of the eight ends loop back into the knot, thus allowing it to be tied with a single line. While a specific knot is discussed in this article, the fiador knot has also been treated as an entire class of multi-strand knots similarly made with a single line.

Chain sinnet

A chain sinnet is a method of shortening a rope or other cable while in use or for storage. It is formed by making a series of simple crochet-like stitches in the line. It can also reduce tangling while a rope is being washed in a washing machine.

Bight (knot)

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.


Heraklas was a Greek physician of the 1st century AD whose descriptions of surgeons' knots and slings are preserved in book 48 of Oribasius' Medical Collections under the title From Heraklas.

Fiador (tack)

A fiador term of Spanish colonial origin referring to a hackamore component used principally in the Americas. In English-speaking North America, the fiador is known principally as a type of throatlatch used on the bosal-style hackamore. Its purpose is to stabilize a heavy noseband or bosal and prevent the bridle from shifting. It is not used for tying the horse.

Coiling A method for storing rope or cable in compact yet easily attainable form

A coiling or coil is a curve, helix, or spiral used for storing rope or cable in compact and reliable yet easily attainable form. They are often discussed with knots.

Rope are often coiled and hung up in lofts for storage. They are also hung over stakes in farm wagons and on hooks in moving vans, fire apparatus and linesmen's repair trucks. For such active storage coils must be well made.


  1. 1 2 3 Ashley, Clifford W. (1944), The Ashley Book of Knots, New York: Doubleday, p. 208
  2. Day, Cyrus L. (1967), Quipus and Witches' Knots, Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, pp. 87–88, 119–124
  3. 1 2 Hage, J. Joris (April 2008), "Heraklas on Knots: Sixteen Surgical Nooses and Knots from the First Century A.D.", World Journal of Surgery, 32 (4), pp. 648–55, doi:10.1007/s00268-007-9359-x, PMID   18224483, S2CID   21340612
  4. Day(1967), p. 88
  5. Craigin, Harry (1884). A Boy's Workshop. Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. pp.  212–213.
  6. Budworth, Geoffrey (1997), The Complete Book of Knots, London: Octopus, pp. 80–81
  7. Riley, Howard W. (January 1912). "Knots, Hitches, and Splices". The Cornell Reading-Courses. Rural Engineering Series No. 1. Ithaca, NY: New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University. 1 (8): 1449. Retrieved 2011-11-08. As collected in Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, 136th Session, 1913, Vol. 19, No. 29, Part 5.
  8. Grant, Bruce (2004) [1972], Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding, Atglen, Pennsylvania: Cornell Maritime Press, p. 144
  9. van de Griend, Pieter (May 2008), "Hjalmar Öhrwall on Knots (1): Life and Works", Knot News, International Guild of Knot Tyers - Pacific Branch (67), ISSN   1554-1843
  10. Öhrvall, Hjalmar (1916). Om Knutar (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag. pp. 96–104.