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The Best Ranger Beads for Pace Counting and Survival

It is not difficult to learn navigation skills, but it can be hard to master them. Pace counting is a popular technique for determining the distance traveled once you have mastered map reading and compass use. The pace counting beads or ranger beads are simply an abacus attached to a string. They allow you to count very large numbers depending on how many steps you take. These beads are very simple to use and can be mastered with some practice.

When it comes to pace counting beads, there are many brands and options. Here's where we come in. After researching the best ranger beads and testing them all, the final results are in. One of our suggestions can help you keep track of where you are based on how fast you move.

Contents (Jump to a section)

  • The Best Ranger Beads

  • Budget Ranger Beads

  • Upgrade Ranger Beads

  • We Recommend

  • We compared Beads

  • What should you look for

  • Ranger Beads

  • Do You Need Ranger Beads for Your Project?

The Best Ranger Beads

Lethalife Ranger Beads

Tight Action, Matte Color, and Lightweight

All you need from pace counting beads without any fluff.

Amazon $11*

*Price as of publication; please check for price changes and sales.

Lethalife was started by a few US military veterans who run a small business. It's quite remarkable that their top performer ended being their ranger beads. You can see that they pay attention to details and their beads are consistent. The matte black beads are not reflective and the stringer made of true 550 paracord is gutted for weight and bead tension. They are easy to hold in place but can be moved with one hand.

Get the best Lethalife Ranger beads to complete your kit.

Budget Ranger Beads

Green Omega Ranger Beads

Strong, reliable, and inexpensive

These ranger beads are affordable and will help you keep up with your pace.

Shop eBay for $4*

*Price as of publication; please check for price changes and sales.

These ranger beads are the most affordable you can find anywhere, unless you have the paracord and beads and you make them yourself. We were surprised at how well these ranger beads performed. They are made by veterans and they donate 10 cents from every sale to the VA National Center on PTSD. They are not expensive, but they are still very affordable.

You can also get bulk quantities discounts if you really want to stretch your budget.

Upgrade Ranger Beads

TNC Ranger Beads

Convenient, compact, and versatile

These beads are versatile because they can be slapped anywhere you like with hook and loop fasteners.

Amazon: $13*

*Price as of publication; please check for price changes and sales.

These ranger beads are unlike anything you've ever seen. These beads can be used anywhere that you would use Velcro patches, thanks to the hook and loop patch at the back. Because of their larger shape, the beads are strong and easy to move.

TNC Ranger Beads make a great addition to your survival kit. They will be the talk in your survival group.

We Recommend

Lethalife Ranger Beads

All you need from pace counting beads without any fluff.

Where can I buy

$11* on Amazon

*At the time of review

Green Omega Ranger Beads

These ranger beads are affordable and will help you keep up with your pace.

Where can I buy

$4* at eBay

*At the time of review

TNC Ranger Beads

These beads are versatile because they can be slapped anywhere you like with hook and loop fasteners.

Where can I buy

$13* on Amazon

*At the time of review

We Compared

We narrowed down the field to the following pace count bead brands that we tested: RedVex. TNC. Green Omega. Tac Shield. Coopers Bay. Wardog.

See our complete list of review criteria in the what to expect section. Each item is explained.

Simple abacus-based pace count beads were all that we considered. While GPS and pace counting apps are great, they are not ideal for all survival situations.

We are always on the lookout for better gear, so let us know if you have any pace counting beads you love. Most of our gear is reviewed annually so that we can include it in the next roundup.

What should you look for

There are several key features that you should look out for in the best ranger beads:

  1. Value
  2. Functionality
  3. Durability
  4. Size and Weight
  5. Versatility

The right combination of these features can make a reliable pace counter that allows you to keep track of your position quickly and without any fumbling. We'll explain below what each feature means to you so that you have a reliable counter that you can trust in your daily life.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

Your budget shouldn't be strained by the amount you spend on things like rope or beads. Both paracord and beads can be inexpensive so don't worry too much. Spending extravagantly is not a wise way to budget.

You don't want it to be too expensive or you might end up with the wrong thing. You can find many cheap imitation pace clocks where the beads slip all over and make it difficult to count. This is something that could be useful in survival situations. We recommend you avoid our advice and buy the cheapest item you can.

It is not a good idea to spend too much on one resource, particularly ranger beads. To ensure you're prepared for all scenarios, it is better to have a variety of tools and equipment. Our top pick is the one that offers high-quality features at a low price.


A pace counter's effectiveness or how it works is the most important thing. The beads should be snug, but not tight enough to make it difficult to move one hand.

You can make pace counters a little easier by using matte, textured, or bell-shaped beads. They are easier to pull and are easier to see which direction they are going.


Durability can be improved by using higher quality materials. Although most beads are made of plastic, the quality of the plastic will affect their durability. Beads can be used in many environments, so it is important to have UV resistance and weather resistance.

Paracord is a good choice for pace counters. It should be flexible. To ensure that there is no unravelling, melt knots and ends.

Size and Weight

Ranger beads should be as light as possible. They are meant to be carried long distances, and measured. When hiking with equipment, ounces are important. Keep everything light-weight, even your pace counter.


Because of its versatility, one of our top picks rose to the top. It is possible to attach pace counters in many different ways, increasing their versatility. Although pace counter bracelets are technically more versatile than others, we believe this reduces their functionality. Practically, we found that beads can be easily jostled or brushed on the wrist. This can lead to losing count.

Ranger Beads

The pace counting beads are very simple. It's just a rope and some beads. You can use it like an abacus for long distances to count very high numbers.

However, it takes some knowledge to use them. You can use them in two ways: to count pace and distance.

  • Counting pace: Count the paces (10 paces is usually 20 steps) then slide one of nine beads. If all nine beads are down when you try to move one bead, then move one of the four beads instead. Then return the nine beads back up. To calculate the distance traveled per pace (or per beads), you will need to know the distance covered per pace.
  • Counting Distance. Every 100m you travel, slide down one the nine beads. This is just like counting. This will allow you to count up to 5000m with your ranger bead “abacus” – however, you must know how far 100m is in different terrains. While you'll still need to count your paces, you must also know how many paces it takes to cover 100m in different environments.

Craig does an excellent job breaking down the use of ranger beads to keep up a pace count.

Do You Need Ranger Beads for Your Project?

Although they are not a survival or prepping staple, ranger beads can be very useful. They won't be in our essential items lists but they will be a recommended addition to almost all of the mobile kits we cover.

Ranger beads are very lightweight and can be used for other purposes than pace counting.

We recommend that you add for:

  • Bag

  • Home Bag

Before you place it in your kit, you must know the pace count. Ranger beads like the upgrade suggestion are more versatile and can be tacked onto any kit using the hook and loop fastener.

How we review products: We do extensive research before choosing the best products to review. Experts in the field are consulted to gain a better understanding about the gear's strengths and weaknesses. Gear is tested in harsh conditions and hours are spent testing it. We evaluate each item and assign performance criteria. Some of the items we review end up in our giveaways.

References and Sources

Our experience and testing to find the best ranger beads are useless without listing all of our research sources and references. These were our reference books, which we combined with our practical military and prepping knowledge, gave us the foundation for our research.

Elliot, L., Redden, E., Pettitt, R., & Carstens, C. (2006). Tactile Guidance For Land Navigation. ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN HUMAN RESEARCH & ENGINEERING DIRECTORATE. (Source)

Kojima, T. (1954). Japanese Abacus Use and Theory. Charles E. Tuttle Co. Tokyo, Japan (Source)

Elliot, L., Redden, E. (2011). Field-Based Validation for a Tactile Navigation device. IEEE Transactions on Haptics. Volume 3. Volume 3. Pages 78-87. (Source)

The Final Word

When you're on the road, it is essential to be able to find your way quickly and accurately. Relying on technology might not be possible, but basic land navigation can be learned. Ranger beads are a popular choice for survivalists and preppers.

You should consider other tools that can be used in conjunction with ranger beads to aid your survival navigation.

  • How to get a free survival map of your local area
  • The Best Paracord For Survival and Prepping
  • The Best Duct Tape For Emergencies and Survival

Although we have provided a lot of information, please let us know if there are any questions. After extensive research and testing, we found that Lethalife Ranger beads were the best choice due to their functionality, durability and size/weight.

Make sure to get one of the ranger beads we recommend and learn how to use it. You shouldn't leave your survival gear in your bag without using it. It is essential to familiarize yourself with your survival gear before you can set the pace.

Continue to explore, be prepared, and stay safe.

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The first TruePrepper article was The Best Ranger Beads For Survival and Pace Counting appeared on TruePrepper.


By: Rusty Collins
Title: The Best Ranger Beads for Pace Counting and Survival
Sourced From:
Published Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2022 00:36:08 +0000

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