Pace beads are junk.

The concept is great, and like all the land nav stuff I do, I encourage them strongly. But the actual beads that are available today are totally hobby grade, so are brittle and break, especially in the cold. Yes, even the snazzy "ranger" beads with the cone shape are no longer rubber, but the same chintzy acetate bead material that can break way too easily. 

I have seen this. I have had it happen—a bead shattered and fell off—and only because we had more than one distance measuring function going on did I not get lost because I had 8 instead of 9 beads on my 100m counter. 

Cheap pace beads are dangerous.

So for a few years now I have slowly messed with other ideas. I've made a few, given away a few, and they work but there have been issues of cost,complexity, availability, labor, etc. But now I have one that you may all be interested in. 

Left to right: emulation of storebought beads a tween kid made me years ago, custom silicone beads, two sets of Neoprene beads on nylon, Neoprene beads on Kevlar.

 

First, the beads. You can make the beads just like normal, but use these: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...s01?ie=UTF8&th=1

Lasco is just the easy to find brand sold everywhere, but any will do. Any 00 size cone shaped Neoprene will do. Amazon only carries 100 packs, but Home Depot and Lowe's have things like this 10 pack for $1.99: 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Danco...ubber-Washer/3369350

They are, as you see above, the right size for normal assembly on two strands of cored paracord. I suspect that if you like them super stiff you can make on complete paracord, but haven't tried because I like them like this. 

 

 

Because I find some other dumbness about pace bead assembly, I have gone way, way over the top and done two other things, both of which (at the risk of being told to stop promoting myself, I will make you and sell through our little company website: http://centralwar.com/events/P...idualFieldGear.shtml

They are also: 

  • Crimped instead of knotted, so they hang straight down instead of twisting, etc.
  • Slightly weighted, especially at the bottom, to hang straighter yet
  • Longer, so it's easier to tell the beads moved, and avoid small accidental movements causing miscounts 
  • With larger spaces between two bead stacks, which are also thin and smooth so (unlike knots) they cannot be mistaken for a bead even with gloves on 

 

And since I said indestructible, I also make them on Kevlar paracord. Because why not go entirely over the top? 

If anyone really wants to know, ask and I'll share some more about how they are built. It's a 23 step manufacturing process, so I bet you don't actually want to know and would rather just tie in a knot. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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I like how you roll. 

“One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England,”  -George Orwell-

I use zip ties cut off and smoothed.

UV stable, generally stable across widely varying temperatures too.

 

If my gear wasn’t packed and recently moved, I’d show a pic. 

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

I do need those photos sometime. I tried wireties for various parts of this and never worked it out well enough.  

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

You know, that's a nice piece of kit.   I though it was just me that broke those things. 

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Diz posted:

...I though it was just me that broke those things...

Exactly. I have seen several failures, and I guess the simplicity means it seems that most folks blame themselves, don't complain and just go out and buy another crappy one. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

shoobe01 posted:
Diz posted:

...I though it was just me that broke those things...

Exactly. I have seen several failures, and I guess the simplicity means it seems that most folks blame themselves, don't complain and just go out and buy another crappy one. 

Speaking of, are you selling these?   And what type of kevlar 550 do you recommend?  

Yup, selling ones I make, tediously but now reliably and consistently, first item here: http://centralwar.com/events/P...idualFieldGear.shtml

 

And the only all-Kevlar, plain-vanilla-paracord (woven tube, strands inside) I can find is this: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Yeah, on Amazon no less! I did a lot of heavy industrial looking and it ended up  being cheap (ish) and easy to buy on Amazon, dammit. 

They have RED and BLUE but sadly nothing gray, brown, much less OD green. The yellow isn't awful though, and it seems like it can be gotten dirty even if not literally dyed, so will dull up soon enough, or you could try to do it yourself on purpose. 

I am supergluing to replace melting ends, and it works surprisingly well. 

Related: If anyone wants a bunch of 54cm long Kevlar core strands, tell me and I'll keep on keeping them for you. It seems wasteful to toss kevlar but not sure what I am keeping them /for/. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

ADK posted:

Nice! Great idea. I have seen them fail also. Had to ditch them once and resort to rocks halfway through a patrol lol. 

Because knowing is half the battle. Had people who knew of land nav but claimed they totally couldn't do pace as they didn't have beads. Dude: pick up pebbles. Put in pocket, or whatever... Hence: training:

  • Principles always more important than tactics
  • Tactics more important than tools

 

But I'll always take a cool tool if I can  

 

firemission4mortars posted:

Looks good. I never "got" the concept of Pace beads. If I was to preoccupied on patrol to remember the pace count, I certainly wouldn't remember to shift the beads. Whatever works though.

I regularly just count in my head when walking around town, etc.

beads are much more about forgetting once something else happens between marching segments. You make contact, at a halt there's much discussion of frequencies so you loose track of the pace number to resume with, you get to a PB and 20 minutes later the PL asks for pace to check the position, etc.  

I am the poster child for no fucking memory, so will absolutely forget a simple thing like pace, immediately upon shifting tasks. But, I know there are those who do not and: it should be a skills badge. I keep them nearby, use them instead of referring to my notebook for simply everything  

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

"Crimped instead of knotted, so they hang straight down instead of twisting, etc."

 

If you want to try a knot that will hang straight and will give weight to the bottom section, while looking decorative,  try  a snake knot.     Quick and simple to tie, can make any length and leave any sections untied for the bead sections and then start back up for a dividing section, just like your crimped version.

Pictured is a section with eight knots to give an idea,  a section could be skipped, beads added and then a dividing section started back.

 

Image result for snake knot knife lanyard

 

Tutorial  for knot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrzE-QnzuOM

 

I will make a note to try that, but... it may not go well. I do not tie good knots except by accident. 

Back when a Boy Scout, I studied, and studied, and studied for the knot tying badge. Studying and practicing till the moment they called for the exam. It's not hard. Most get 100% of the tests completed properly. 

But there's a bottom threshold. Whatever the threshold is, I passed. By zero points. As low a score as you can get and still get the badge. 

Maybe I can make someone else do this part

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

First of all, I was VERY skeptical about pace count. I'd say I have pretty good "internal compass" and I rarely got lost. Worked for me quite long time, just map, sometimes compass (suunto M9 rocks) and GPS... And it sounded stupid to me to keep some count while I should be scaning/ embracing the suck and scanning tips of my boots on ruck march.

...until I got properly trained on it, and had a chance to run few land nav evaluations with nothing but compass, protractor, pace-counter and map. While searching for exact grids I was amazed how precise this technique can be, even over long distances or at night. Since then I always have my pace-counter on my greenside kit... Never know when my GPS my get damaged/ shut down.

Construction-wise we usually use cord locks instead of beads. Bigger ones with round button. Makes it more secure and tactile (but not as cool as the skulls and spartan helmets though )

 "Anatomy and Physiology is EVERYTHING. It is the difference between being a trained monkey and a medic"

-RESQDOC-

I had not seen the cordlocks. That's another very good idea. I am gonna have to start a whole document on pace count material options for everyone. And yeah, the round ones with the buttons was my thought immediately. 

Do you find you can just slide them, or do you have to find the button and press it to release and reposition each one. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Pressed the button. I suppose it depends on combination of cordlock and cord used, so you might be able to just slide them. But I prefer the process of pushing it and sliding to verify I dragged my ass across another hundred meters (no idea how pacing works for you US guys... must be terrible to pace-count in gallons and stones).

 "Anatomy and Physiology is EVERYTHING. It is the difference between being a trained monkey and a medic"

-RESQDOC-

While I haven't for sure seen anyone loose count from activity — and if a risk, maybe move it elsewhere, put inside a pouch... — but it's a good option to have if you worry about the beads moving on their own. 

Distances are in chains and rods, duh. 

Now, let's talk tactical employment of a measuring chain... 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

This is a very good idea; just ordered a couple of your pace count bead sets.  I can't imagine doing landnav without these.  When I get smoked in the bush, I can't remember my own name.  I don't have one set without multiple beads that cracked and fell off.  My SF buddy was just commenting on this so I'm gonna give him a set.    

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Awesome, though I am out of the country, so it'll be middle of next well before I get them in the mail for you 

Until then, here is a photo of a set in a cafe in Copenhagen. Sorry, plan is to use/photo them in the wilds of Iceland but not there yet. 15366787561248616539025518492714

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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