Triad Pacing Beads (Ranger Beads)

About: Modifier of most things...

Pacing beads or ranger beads are a ‘dead’ reckoning (i.e. Ded. Reckoning, deduced reckoning) land navigation tool. Each bead represents a pre-determined amount of paces taken by the traveler from their starting point. The amount of paces used is typically an amount equal to 100 meters, known commonly as one’s pace-count. For example, if one takes an average of 67 paces to travel 100 meters, their pace-count is 67. Using pacing beads, this traveler would pull down one bead for every 67 paces or 100 meters they take from the section of their set of pacing beads that has 9 total beads. After nine beads have been pulled down, the traveler would proceed another 100 meters and pull down the bead from the next section. The beads on this section represent 1,000 meters or 1 kilometer of distance traveled. Upon pulling down a bead from this second section, the user would pull the 9 beads from the first section back to their original position, continuing and repeating this pattern to keep track of their distance traveled.

The set of pacing beads that I have designed, which I call triad pacing beads, have three sections:

The first section has 9 beads, each representing 100 meters. The second and third sections each have 4 beads, representing 1 kilometer and 5 kilometers respectively. Before starting over, this set can account for 25 kilometers of distance traveled, whereas traditional designs only account for 5 kilometers.

In addition to the increased capability, the design allows the set to be easily attached virtually anywhere in a traveler’s kit, making their use more convenient.

Step 1: Needed and Helpful Materials

Needed Materials:

1. 218 centimeters or more of cordage.

I use 550 paracord; all that’s important is that two lengths of it may be forced through the hole of a bead, and that the bead will stay in position rather than slide about on the cordage.

2. 24 pony beads.

3. Inner strand from paracord or any cord both thin and strong.

This is used for threading the beads onto the larger cord. (Steps 1.3, 2.1, and 3.1)

4. Scissors.

A knife may be used, but the precision of scissors is preferable. (Steps 1.1 and 4.2)

5. Lighter or any source of flame.

If you are using a synthetic cordage that tends to fray, a flame is useful for singeing the ends in order to prevent this from occurring. (Steps 1.2 and 4.2)

6. Needle-nose pliers.

These are useful for grabbing the end of Fold 1 while tightening Knot 1 of Arm B in Step 2.2, and for untightening knots when they are incorrectly positioned.

Helpful Materials:

1. Metric ruler.

This is useful for measuring the total length of cordage to cut, the space between some knots, and various points along the line of cordage. (Steps 1.1, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2, and 4.1) This tool categorized as helpful rather than needed because the nature of this project has some margin for error, and one can estimate these distances by eye if necessary.

2. Tape that won’t leave a residue.

This is useful for taping down various sections of cordage if you find it to be unwieldy.

3. Marker.

This is useful when combined with the tape, for marking different points along the cordage, such as the ends, or the points mentioned in Steps 2.1 and 3.1. Far from necessary, some people may prefer to use it.

4. Anything rigid and narrow.

This is useful for ensuring that the loop made in Step 3.4 is not too small, and serves as a handle for drawing the cordage taught. A pen will suffice.

5. Carabiner.

The loop mentioned above is intended for use with a carabiner, and it can be handy to have the one you intend to use with you when you size the loop.

Note: The type and size of beads used, as well as the brand of paracord, can all have an effect upon the best measurements to use when assembling a set of triad pacing beads. Another variable is the tension of each knot. I recommend allowing oneself enough extra length of cordage to provide for a margin of error.

Step 2: 1.1

Cut 218 centimeters of cord.

Step 3: 1.2

Singe or knot the ends to prevent fraying.

Step 4: 1.3

Fold the length of cord at its center.

Thread the thinner cord through the loop created by the fold in the larger cord, and join the two ends of the thinner cord, as to make two interconnecting loops, one of the larger cord, and one of the thinner cord.

Thread both ends of the thinner cord through 3 beads.

Pull them down upon the loop of the larger cord, thus threading them onto it.

Slide these 3 beads down near the cord’s ends.

Step 5: 2.1 Fold 1

Find the point 69 centimeters from one of the ends and crease a fold at that point. This is Fold 1.

Using the method described in Step 1.3, thread 9 beads onto the cord from Fold 1.

Step 6: ​2.2 Knot 1 of Arm B

Tie an overhand knot in the cord, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies tight, as close to the end of the loop as possible.

Step 7: 2.3 - 2.5 Knots 2, 3, and 4 of Arm B

2.3 Knot 2 of Arm B: Slide 1 bead up to Knot 1 of Arm B, and the other 8 down and away from it. Make another overhand knot, tightening and repositioning it until it lies tight, with 4 to 5 centimeters of cordage between Knot 2 of Arm B and Knot 1 of Arm B.

2.4 Knot 3 of Arm B: Slide 4 beads up to Knot 2 of Arm B, and the other 4 down and away from it. Make another overhand knot, tightening and repositioning it until it lies tight, with 4 to 5 centimeters of cordage between Knot 3 of Arm B and Knot 2 of Arm B.

2.5 Knot 4 of Arm B: Slide 4 beads up to Knot 3 of Arm B. Make another overhand knot, tightening and repositioning it until it lies tight, with 4 to 5 centimeters of cordage between Knot 4 of Arm B and Knot 3 of Arm B. Arm B is thus completed.

Step 8: ​3.1 Fold 2

Find the point 41 centimeters from Knot 4 of Arm B, and crease a fold at that point. This is Fold 2.

Using the method described in step 1.3, thread 12 beads onto the cord from Fold 2.

Step 9: ​3.2 Knot 3 of Arm A

(Knots 1 and 2 of Arm A are made later.)

Ensuring that both lengths of cordage between Fold 2 and Knot 4 of Arm B are equal, tie an overhand knot, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies tight, with 2 to 3 centimeters of cordage between Knot 4 of Arm B and Knot 3 of Arm A.

Step 10: ​3.3 Knot 2 of Arm A

Slide 9 of the 12 beads down to Knot 3 of Arm A. Slide the other 3 beads up and away, towards the loop at the top of Arm A.

Line up Knot 4 of Arm B and Knot 3 of Arm A side by side, with the ends of the arms pointed in the same direction.

Tie an overhand knot in Arm A, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies tight, and approximately equidistant from Knots 1 and 2 of Arm B, when laid out in the fashion described above.

Step 11: ​3.4 Knot 1 of Arm A

Slide the 3 beads above Knot 2 of Arm A down to it.

Tie an overhand knot in Arm A, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies almost tight.

Thread a thin but rigid object into the loop at the top of Arm A, and tighten the knot against it.

The loop ought to be large enough to accommodate the average carabiner. Arm A is thus completed

Step 12: 4.1 Knot 1 of Arm C

There ought to be two lengths of cord, one running from Knot 3 of Arm A and the other from Knot 4 of Arm B. Hold these together, and tie an overhand knot, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies tight, with 2 to 3 centimeters of cordage between Knot 1 of Arm C and Knot 3 of Arm A, and again, with 2 to 3 centimeters of cordage between Knot 1 of Arm C and Knot 4 of Arm B.

Within 1 centimeter of inexactitude, Knot 3 of Arm A, Knot 4 of Arm B, and Knot 1 of Arm C ought to be equidistant from each other.

Step 13: 4.2 Knot 2 of Arm C

Slide the 3 beads on Arm C down to Knot 1 of Arm C.

Align Arm C and Arm B in the same fashion as with Arm B and Arm A in step 3.3.

Tie an overhand knot in Arm C, tightening and repositioning the knot until it lies tight, and approximately equidistant from Knots 1 and 2 of Arm B, when laid out in the fashion referenced above.

Cut and singe the loose excess remaining after Knot 2 of Arm C, and singe the ends to prevent fraying. Arm C is thus completed, and with it, 1 set of triad pacing beads.

Step 14: Attach Where Convenient.

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