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Ranger Pace Counter (pace1)

Ranger Pace Counter (pace1)
Ranger Pace Counter (pace1)
Ranger Pace Counter (pace1)


Ranger Pace Counter: The time-tested way to keep track of distance you’ve traveled in difficult terrain or conditions. Military personnel have used such simple devices for decades as an easy way to keep track of distance traveled during terrain navigation. This becomes essential during night time movement. The beads work by separating them according to a reached pace count to calculate the distance you’ve traveled. (It’s not as hard as it sounds).

1. Place the beads on an easily reachable but secure place on your equipment, such as a shoulder strap.

2. Find your pace count(s): The average used is 65 paces on flat terrain for 100 meters. However, you will want to know your own pace count. A “pace” is counted by every time your left foot strikes the ground while walking at a reasonable stride. (Yes, you can use your right foot if you prefer).
  • Measure out 100 meters on flat terrain.
  • Walk this distance counting your paces (again, every time your left foot strikes the ground).
  • The number you reach at the end of 100 meters is your pace count for 100 meters of flat terrain.
  • It is suggested that you get your pace count in several ways: 1) flat terrain, lightly equipped; 2) flat terrain, heavy equipped; 3) medium-steep terrain, lightly equipped, and; 4) medium-steep terrain, heavy equipped. Thus, 4 pace counts are made under these conditions. (Very steep terrain tends not to work well with pace counting). Remember your pace count for each.
  • As you age or your physical condition changes, your pace count will likely change as well.

  • 3. Using the Pace Counter:
  • Pull all of the beads in the up position.
  • The bottom half of the pace counter has 9 beads. Each of these 9 beads represents 100 meters.
  • When your pace count for the terrain you are on reaches the mark for 100 meters, draw down one bead from the bottom half of the pace counter.
  • When all 9 beads are down, you have traveled 900 meters.
  • The top half of the pace counter has 4 beads. Each of these beads represents 1,000 meters (1 kilometer).
  • Thus, after you have traveled 900 meters, and all of the bottom 9 beads are down, the next 100 meters traveled will be 1,000 meters of travel (1 kilometer). When that mark is reached, you pull one of the top beads down to mark the 1 kilometer of distance traveled, and pull the bottom 9 beads back to their up position.
  • Continue to do this process until all 4 top beads are down, representing 4 kilometers of travel, and repeat the process by moving all of the beads back to their up position.
  • Now, the only number you need to keep in your head is the total kilometers traveled after the sequence is complete (4k, 8k, etc.)
  • NOTE: Some use the technique whereby the down and up position of the beads is used to determine whether you are on the first set (4k) or second set (8k) – and variations of this. Whatever the method you choose, the beads will enable you to keep very few numbers in your head while you continue to travel, while maintaining an accurate pace count related to distance traveled.
  • ALSO NOTE: This method is best used in conjunction with a topographical map. If your map is in “standard” or English / Imperial measurement (feet/miles, etc.) then be sure to know the conversion between metric and English, or, perform your pace count measurements in the format best used in conjunction with your maps.
  • FINAL NOTE: This method works best on direct azimuth traveling (straight line distances). If changing direction, it is best to mark the position on your map where you change direction in order to not only measure the distance traveled, but where you are precisely in relation to your map. It will not help you much to perform pace counts while traveling in variable directions without notating the changes on your map.



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