Pace Count (Old School Land Navigation)

Pace Count: Old School Land Navigation

The American Backpacker

Pace count is a land navigational skill that every Wilderness Backpacker should know an understand.  What is pace count?  Pace count is a technique that gives you an estimated distance on how far you traveled on foot.  Knowing your pace count is an old school technique that goes hand in hand with land navigation.  Many Wilderness Backpackers use modern technology to determine how far they have travelled in a Wilderness Area.

I also use modern technology to determine my distance but when technology fails you need to know how to calculate distance using your pace count.  When I calculate Wilderness distance I use the metric system.  I use meters and kilometers.  100 meters equal about 328 feet, and 1 Kilometer equals about 3280 feet (6/10 of a mile).  I learned my  pace count while serving in the military.

To determine your pace count, you first need to stake out 100 meters on a relatively flat terrain.  You walk the 100 meters 4 times getting an average of your 4 splits, (Add your 4 pace counts together and divide that number by 4).  When you watch the video you will see that you take 2 steps which equate to one pace.  Once you have your pace count tape it your compass so you ill have it when needed in a Wilderness Area.

There are a few ways to keep track of your distance.  One way is using Pace Count Beads or Ranger Beads.  The other way is to put a small stone or stick in your pocket every 100 meter until you have 10, which is 1 kilometer, or 1 click.  The other way is to tie a knot in a piece of 550 cord for every 100 meters.  You can be as creative as you want on how you want to keep track of your distance.  I find that using a length 550 cord is the easiest way for me to keep track of my distance.


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