Pace Count and Ranger Beads (Land Navigation)

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Brokor, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    PACE COUNT (using Ranger Beads)
    As users walk, they typically slide one bead on the cord for every number of paces taken to equal ten meters. On the last pace for each ten meter interval, the user slides a bead in the lower section towards the knot. All 9 beads are against the knot when the user reaches his/her 90th meter mark. On the 100th meter pace count, all 9 beads in the lower section are returned away from the knot, and a bead from the upper section is slid upwards, away from the knot.

    In this manner, the user calculates distance traveled by keeping track of paces taken. To use this method, the user must know the length of his pace to accurately calculate distance traveled. Also, the number of paces to be walked must be pre-calculated, or the distance traveled has to be calculated from the walked paces by means of a pace count.

    Setting up your pace count:
    Mark out a single meter by measuring, then walk normally to see how many paces it takes you in stride. I suggest doing this several times to gauge an accurate pace. Most people will have a varied stride, and covering a full meter (or if you prefer yards) will take a different amount of steps. Once you have your pace count, remember it, just like you would your battle-sight zero on your rifle.

    The ranger beads can store up to 400 meters, or to the 500th meter mark if preferred. If you are counting in 100 meter increments instead of 10 meters, this multiplies by ten.

    Ranger Beads

    Extended information:
    The pace count can be upscaled from single meters to ten meters, and even 100 meters (or yards). As long as the user knows their pace count for each set of distance, it will be a simple matter of remembering to set the beads accordingly. Take note that walking on flat terrain will give you an ordinary pace count, while traversing woodlands and rough terrain will give you a significantly different result. Some have a pace count for flat terrain and for mountainous terrain. Your pace count in rough and mountainous terrain will increase, as there are valleys, obstacles and hills to traverse. Finally, this is not an exact science. Establishing a solid pace count takes practice.

    Why a pace count is necessary:
    When you factor in distance on a map for land navigation, you must be able to know your exact position. In military terms, this also comes into play when calling in coordinates for grid locations. But, for the average hiker it may not be as serious. Perhaps you may like to know the distance from one location to another and plot out reference points in order to better time your routine. You can also check your map and measure the distance by scale and compare it with your pace count to see if the terrain has changed, or to get a more accurate measurement.
    Dunerunner, CATO, Mountainman and 4 others like this.
  2. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    One thing I know about myself is when I am pacing something off for the job, my step is more deliberate vs. normal walking. I do wonder if I am hiking/walk and counting will I slip into job pace or normal, like you said it will vary. I wonder if I need to take an average of the two, there is not that much of a difference but I know there is one.
    Ganado, KAS, Brokor and 1 other person like this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Try just pacing off one hundred paces, and mark your place, then measure that distance, and do the math.
    ( in 100paces you went how far?)distance divided by 100, will average your pace.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Ranger beads are an important tool to use in land navigation.... especially long range movements. Learning to use the beads, establish an accurate step/distance count, knowing where you are on the map, and being able to correctly read the topographical maps to double check your location are essential basic task to know.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @Motomom34. Your point is well made. The key is to mark off 100 meters or feet and walk it a few times. Then average your steps. You have to walk it enough times so that your thinking mind gets bored and your body takes over
    That will normalize your steps.

    I know from personal experience my steps on a hill up or down are 2-5 inches shorter depending on the incline of the hill

    If you are walking with kids then one person has to pace and the other mind the kids. You can't do both.

    (Too many summers as a girl scout councilor)
  6. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I don't know how it was standardized, but 1 Roman mile was 1,000 paces, right foot touching, and the history channel showed a "standard " wheel with a peg sticking out that clicked against something and the rotations were counted to give a standardized measurement of the mile. So I guess all clicks aren't klicks?
  7. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Klick = Kilometer in military jargon...
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  8. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Was totally awed when I saw the cockpit of a German F-104 and then they totally bummed me out when they explained that they hadn't upgraded the aircraft, but that the air speed indicator now read in klicks.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    A long time ago, I learned that paying attention to counting steps/paces meant you missed other, perhaps more important stuff than distance. It turned out (in my case) that it was too inaccurate to use anywhere but on level, more or less smooth ground. The least hill, the least roughness, the least distraction, and it's all out the window, so to say.

    Counting paces to an IED, pungi pit or trip wire just might be hazardous to your health.

    I am NOT counting steps after I know how many there are in the house on each set of stairs.
    (But that's just me. YMMV)
  10. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    In a tactical sense I would definitely agree with you Ghrit, if you are the man on point. But someone in that moving element has to keep track of where they are at, in case of need of medevac, air-support and so on. That is of course why all the different skills of map reading including terrain navigation and even step count come into play.... knowing where you are going, how far from the objective you may be or where your unit link up is, will be vital to any teams survival.
    Brokor and Dont like this.
  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    There's a reason why the Army Rangers are sent out to find lost soldiers. Trust me, it happens a lot more frequently than it should.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  12. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    If travelling with a unit and I am on point, I am pretty much navigating to a landmark and letting someone else worry about our exact coordinates. When by myself, I do the same. For the purposes of any coordination or communication I may need to engage in, I can estimate my distance between landmarks close enough without pace beads.
    Brokor and Yard Dart like this.
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    When having artillery set up Def Cons; one had better know where one's position is located.
    For the curious:
    When a position was set up, def cons or defensive concentrations or known markers were set up. Artillery was fired and the impacts were numbered. If the unit was attacked; the FO could adjust the artillery from those known points.

    During Vietnam, Special Forces had teams called Bright Light Teams. They did personnel recovery; one example was when an Air Force aircraft went down in enemy territory.
  14. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    When on point, calling in arty or fast movers is the last thing I am worried about. When in a fixed position, I don't need pace beads to tell me where I am it. FYI, don't expect to be calling in either arty or fast movers anytime in what remains of my life. You?
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Nope, however learning how taught me land navigation quite well.

    As a person can walk miles in circles; the beads are useless without land navigation. Land navigation is useless without a topo map, compass and a basic knowledge of the stars for night movement. The tools and knowledge or training to use them are part of the package. Have all the pieces or how far you walked is irrelevant.

    Being on point usually meant quite a few well armed and trained folks following. I doubt that will happen again in my life; how about you?
    Leading a bunch of people to the promised land isn't on my agenda either.
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  16. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Exactly. I learned land navigation without the need of a faux rosary to keep track of where I am...and see no need to adopt them now. ;)
  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    To some that are not good with distances and just learning, this is a tool that is useful to many. I would think in a hostile or unknown area, the beads would come in very handy. They have been used by professionals and such for years so they IMO are more useful then not.
  18. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Like anything else, what is useful to one may not be for another. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  19. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    As terrain varies greatly; it takes a lot to develop a consistent pace count. Plus, unless one lives in the flat lands and travels in a straight line; the count can be relative. Take a walk in the woods.

    Learn to use a compass and a map. A topographical map is best as it warns of terrain one would not want to attempt crossing.

    As @chimo said there is no one size fits all. To his words, I'll add the time to learn is now; not when you need the knowledge.
    chimo likes this.
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