What are Pace Count Beads?
Pace count beads or pacer beads as they are more often called, are to help you keep track of how far you have traveled, usually at night. By pulling down a bead every time you have walked 100 meters, and with the way the beads are arranged you can keep track of 5000 meters traveled and you “reset” the beads.
How the Pacer Beads are Made?
They are nothing more than a piece of 550 para-cord about 18” long with the inside threads usually pulled out. The piece of cord is folded in half and you first string four small beads (any kind if you are making your own) the beads must be a little snug on the folded cord. The beads should be a different shape on the bottom or top just to make it easier to tell in the dark which end is which, but is not mandatory. Leave about 5 or 6 inches to the top where the cord is folded and tie a knot under the four beads.
Now take nine more of the same beads and string them onto the loose end of the para-cord, then tie a knot (a figure 8 knot or a simple overhand knot works best) in the end of the cord to keep the beads from coming off. That’s all there is to making one, now how to use it.
Getting Your Pace?
As you probably already know we all walk a little differently, not everyone has the same stride. So for you to make the pacer beads work for you, you have to get or figure out what your own pace is. You first have to find a known distance of 100 meters, 100 yards will work but all maps are set for meters and you will always be off if you use yards. So not sure how far a 100 meters is, look for a local soccer field (from goal to goal should be 100 meters, usually, but find out first).
Now that you have the known distance of 100 meters, start walking from one end of the goal line to the other goal. Take “NORMAL” size steps and count the number of steps it takes to get to the other end (goal), turn around and do the same thing again. If you want to be sure you have really good count do it one or two more times and remember the number of steps it takes to walk the 100 meters. The number you get is your pace count or number of steps you need to walk 100 meters.
How the Pacer Beads Work?
Now that you have your pace count down you can start to use the pacer beads. Now take and attach the pacer beads to either your clothing or field harness, and pull all of the beads either up or down (your preference but do it the same way all the time). At nighttime you will not usually be able to tell how far you have gone. And if you are using a map and a compass and are trying to get to a certain point then it is important to know how far you have traveled.
So find the place you need to get to (in meters), get your compass heading and start moving. Every time you reach 100 meters (by counting your steps) you pull one of the beads from the bottom set of nine beads up (or down) and start your pace count again. After you have all of the nine bottom beads pulled up you will have traveled 900 meters, count your next 100 meters.
Now this time you pull up (or down) one of the four beads that are in the top section, these beads represent 1000 meters traveled. You now pull down the nine beads in the bottom section and start your count again, pulling one bead in the bottom up each time you have gone 100 meters. Each time you get all nine beads pulled up you go another 100 meters and pull one of the top beads up. This will allow you to keep track of 5000 meters that you have traveled.
Not too hard is it? Try it and you will be surprised at just how
simple it really is to do. And you will always be able to tell how far
you have gone at night or even in the daytime if you have very few landmarks
to judge distance. Happy trails.
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