One of the guys I coach with was asking me how I kept track of how far I hiked or backpacking trips, hunting, or just on random hikes. I told him that I honestly didn't know how far I was walking/hiking but I usually used Google Maps to guesstimate how far I hiked after I finished a trip. He told me that when he was in the military, they used what they called Ranger Beads to keep track of how far they walked when venturing off base. He had one on his backpack and showed me what it looked like.
A typical Ranger Bead set consists of 9 beads on the bottom half and five beads on the upper half with a knot separating the two sets of beads. The confusing part for this concept is that you will be keeping track of the distance you travel in meters rather than feet and miles. You can however convert the meters or kilometers into miles after you return from you trip if you desire. One thing you will have to do prior to using Ranger Beads is measure how many paces it takes you to walk 100 meters. What I would suggest is to go to your local high school track and walk exactly 100 meters counting how many steps you take with your right (or left) foot. By counting the number of steps for just one foot you are able to keep track easier and count less. The typical "step" for a human is around 2 1/2 feet or .762 meters. This would equal out to roughly 131 total steps in a 100 meter stretch (around 66 steps per foot). Knowing how many steps you take in 100 meters is the key to keeping accurate record of the distance you travel using the Ranger Beads.
So as I mentioned, you have 9 beads on the bottom and 5 on the top. When you begin your hike/trip/adventure be sure that all the beads on the top are pushed all the way to the top of their section and all the beads on the bottom are pushed to the bottom of their section. At the beginning of your hike the Ranger Beads should look like this.
|Starting my hike|
|Ranger Beads showing 500 meters|
|My Ranger Beads showing I have walked 1300 meters|