Tracking Distance

The pace cord is a very useful item seen in military land navigation. This is a simple technique to calculate and keep track of distance traveled during land navigation. These can be purchased or made yourself. 

The only items you will need are mil spec 550 cord and craft store beads. 

First cut your 550 cord to approximately 22". Lets then gut the 550 cord (removing inner strands). 

Use any beads that will stay put when slid up on double gutted 550 cord. 

You will place 4 beads at the top and separate 9 beads at the bottom by a knot. Essentially 13 beads total.

You will use this in conjunction with your pace count.

How to get your pace count:

  • Measure out 100 meters
  • Walk the entire length (100 meters) counting every time your left foot hits the deck (sorry ground- can't stop using the Marine terminology)
  • Use a normal stride
  • The average is about 65 paces on flat terrain

So how do we use this system.

  • Each of the bottom 9 beads represents 100 meters traveled (when all beads down means you have traveled 900 meters)
  • Each of the top 4 beads represents a kilometer traveled (when all 4 beads are down you have traveled 4 kilometers)
  • Every time that you travel 100 meters (using your pace count) slide one bead from the bottom section down (the bottom section contains 9 beads)
  • Once you have slid all 9 beads from the bottom section down you will then slide one of the top 4 down after you travel another 100 meters. Meaning you have traveled 1 kilometer.
  • 1000 meters = 1 kilometer
  • So when you have the top 4 down you have traveled 4000 meters

Why is this beneficial? It gives you one less thing to remember during intense land navigation, it will help with you getting closer to your target area, and it makes keeping track of distance during night navigation (distance can become skewed at night time due to limited night time visibility and perception).