One of the first things I learned during Infantry AIT (Advanced Individual Training) was how to keep track of distance using a pace count. In its simplest form your pace count is the number of steps it takes to go 100 meters.
You can figure your pace count one of two ways, after you have measured and marked 100 meters count the number of steps it takes you to walk that distance. Do this three (3) times and use the average of the three (3) as your pace count. The other, and I think easier, way is to only count the number of times your right (or left) foot hits the ground. Do this three (3) times and use the average of the three (3).
You know your pace count, now what?
In order to keep track of how far you have gone using your pace count, and how far you have left to go, you can try and keep track of the number of times you have hit your pace count in your head, which can be done I am sure, though I nearly always lost count at some point. You can carry pebbles in your pocket and move them from one pocket to another every time you hit your pace count. Or you can use pace count or Ranger beads.
And that is where this article comes in!
Long before we could just go online or head to the surplus store we had to make our own “Ranger Beads.” This for sure isn’t the most complicated thing you can do with 550 cord but it is one of the best ways to keep track of how far you have traveled using your pace count.
The style of pace count beads I am making here is the same one I used throughout my service and beyond!
What You’ll Need
- 12”- 16” of 550 Cord
- 13 Beads with a 3/8” hole (You can use any color or style of bead you choose, I used plain, Ivory colored beads for clarity.)
- Knife or scissors
- Lighter or matches
Gut it, Heat it, and Tie it!
Pull all the inner strands out of the 550 cord and discard them.
Heat the ends of the sheath and roll the ends into a point.
Then double the 550 cord over and tie a “granny knot” making a loop large enough that will fit over a button or that you can pass the whole thing through when you are done so you can secure it to yourself.
Just Bead it, bead it!
Start threading beads onto the 550 cord making sure that you thread both ends through the beads.
Once you have four beads (4) threaded on the 550 cord tie another “granny knot” below those beads, making sure to leave enough space that you can slide the beads either up or down about 3/4 – 1 inch.
Now thread the other nine beads onto the 550 cord in the same way. Once you are finished putting the beads on, yep, you guessed it tie another “granny knot” making sure you leave the same 3/4 – 1 inch between the last bead and your knot so the beads will slide either up or down like you did with the first four (4) beads on the 550 cord.
The set of nine (9) beads are the 100 meter beads and the set of four (4) beads are your 1000 meter (1 kilometer) beads. Now each time you walk your pace count (100 meters) pull one of the 100 meter beads down indicating you have traveled 100 meters.
Each time you walk your pace count pull another bead down. When you have walked you pace count the 10th time you pull one of the 1000 meter beads down indicating you have traveled 1000 meters (1 kilometer), slide the 100 meter beads back up and start the whole process over again.
If you travel more than 4000 meters (4 kilometers) simply continue walking your pace count and pulling 100 meter beads down until you have done so 10 times and then slide ALL of the 1000 meter beads back up noting that you have gone 5000 meters (5 kilometers) and start the whole process of pulling them down again indicating 6000 meters (6 kilometers), 7000 meters (7 kilometers), etc. until you reach the destination you have picked out.
I look forward to seeing your comments.
As always, Train to Survive!