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How do you keep track of your Pace Count - PACE BEADS?

How many times have you been out in the woods or off road somewhere and stopped to ask yourself. HOW FAR HAVE I GONE? Perhaps you have not often asked this question because in todays modern digital world most of you have some sort of GPS system that gives you that critical information. However, what happens when that device fails? Hopefully your answer is - "In that case I simply pull out my topographic map, compass, and my trusty PACE BEADS. What are Pace beads? Pace beads are a non technical, old school tool used to assist in determining how far you have traveled. Pace beads are designed to work with your individual "PACE COUNT."

Your count is nothing more than how many "paces" you have walked in a 100m distance. For most average sized humans, carrying a moderate load, your pace is determined by the number of time your left (or right) foot strikes the ground as you move in your direction of travel. Typically around 70 but varies by individual. Here is an example: Step off with your left foot. Count 1 Do not count the next step with your right foot

Step again with your left foot Add 1 to your count (now its 2) Continue for 100m. The number of times your left foot strikes the ground is your pace count. Now! What happens as you travel on foot over distance? You continue this simple process keeping track of each 100m you travel as you go. This not a complex idea to understand but can be difficult to execute over time. It is very easy to become distracted and lose track of you pace count.


You can purchase your pace beads (the image shows a set. about $7) or you can simply make your own. If you decide to make your own here are the steps to take.

STEP 1. Gather your supplies -paracord -beads - 14 beads. One for each 100m you travel (up to 900m) and 1 for each 1 kilometer traveled (up to 5k) -ruler -cutting tool

-fire STEP 2. Cut your length of paracord. You will be trying 3 knots into this cord. 1 knot at the trailing end, 1 knot at the working end and 1 knot in the middle (the knot in the middle will separate your 100m beads from your 1k beads) so ensure you plan for enough length. I used 40" length. You can always trim the excess

STEP 3. Thread your beads onto the Pace Counter cord. This can be a little challenging as your beads should fit snugly and slide with slight friction. sometimes the paracord it to thick to easily slide the beads onto the this case you may want to "gut" the cord. Here are the steps I use for that.

a) Remove the inner Cordage from your Paracord. I simple trick. Pull one strand out of the outer sheathing a few inches. This will loosen all the other inner strands. Hold the inner strands and pull the outer sheathing away. Save the inner strands for future use.

b) use the paracord outer sheathing as your pace bead cord. Fold the Cord in half and tie a simple over hand knot connecting the ends and creating one big loop c) Using one of the inner strands you saved, run it through one end the paracord loop you created...we will call this the working end. Load your 100m beads onto the inner strand and then feed/pull them, one at a time onto the pace bead cord (See images below)

STEP 4. After all of your 100m beads are in place tie an overhand knot in the middle of your pace bead cord. Keep it loose, do not cinch it tight as you may need to adjust its position before you are finished. This middle knot will not only secure your 100m beads onto the Pace Bead cord, but will also act as the separator/divider between your 100m and 1k pace beads.

STEP 5. Now that you have a knot at the tail end, 9 beads loaded onto the cord and a knot in the middle acting as a separator, you can now add the 1k beads (5 each) onto the cord. Use the same method as before and when finished loading the 1k beads tie an overhand knot creating a loop/bite on the working end of the cord. This loop is used to assist in securing your pace beads onto your gear if desired.

STEP 6 Make adjustments to you all of your knots if necessary. the goal is to create enough space on the cord to allow your beads to move up and down like an abacus, but you don't need a lot of EXTRA space on the cord

STEP 7 Use fire to melt all of the knots into place and thereby preventing your knots from becoming loose or untied


NOTE: You will notice that I used two different types of beads for my pace beads. This is simply a personal preference and not required for creating a quality set of pace beads. Another trick is to paint the beads with a color of choice or even "GLOW IN THE DARK" paint. Do this before you load them onto the cord.

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