Counting Paces

Determining Your Pace

A pace is equivalent to two natural steps.

For example, starting with your right foot as the first step, when your left foot hits the ground -- that is ONE pace.

Your pace can be used to estimate distances traveled while hiking, choosing a campground, or for the 6 Ds of Human Waste . Most people won't use pacing to record long distances, but it is possible if you have a system (Racing or Ranger Beads, etc.) to help you keep a pace count.

How many feet are in a pace?

The average length in feet of a pace will vary between people and will also vary across different types of terrain. Most people will have a pace somewhere around 2-4 feet.

How to determine or "calibrate" your pace:

Step 1: Accurately measure out a course that you will pace over several times. 30 feet is a good distance.

Step 2: Walk the 30 feet with a natural stride and count each pace (double step).

Step 3: Calculate your pace by dividing the length of your course by the number of paces it took to travel it. (If your course was 30 feet and you counted 10 paces then that equals a 3-foot pace.)

Step 4: Walk the course multiple times to figure your average pace.

Your calculated pace is an average, not an exact measurement.

What will impact your pace:

Your paces will be longer while:

  • going downhill

  • hiking with a strong tail wind

Your paces will be shorter while:

  • going uphill

  • hiking against strong winds

  • wearing a full backpack

  • hiking on loose surfaces like sand, gravel, etc.

Scout's Pace - Alternate Walking and Jogging

One way to cover distances quicker without over-exertion is to use a "Scout‘s Pace," alternating walking and jogging. A Scout's Pace is especially helpful when traveling in areas with both clear trails and areas needing careful travel. Scout’s Pace is simply running or jogging for 20-30 paces, then walking the same distance in a repeated pattern.

Pacing / Ranger Beads

Here is one strategy for making Ranger Beads - Where each bead represents 100 meters travelled.