Calculating distance covered while hiking or in back-country

Calculating distance covered while hiking or in back-country is mostly used when disorientated or trying to calculate distances covered.


Calculating distance covered while hiking or in back-country is a blog intended for anyone who wishes to approximate their distance travelled, while hiking on trails or in back-country.

“I am not a survival expert and information in this blog should not be used in an un-safe, un-controlled or dangerous environment. “

Tally and Pace system to measure distance

Tally and Pace system is based on a standard 75cm walking pace or a ‘stride’. 75cm is the standard distanced stepped for most people.

When you wish to calculate your distance covered you will need to count each pace.

Simple formula : 75cm x number of paces = distance covered

Example 1 – Tally and Pace – Rock count

Grab a small handful of pebbles and place them in your RIGHT pant pocket. Every time you count to 100 paces take a pebble and place it in your LEFT pocket. Then start your pace count over again from 1. Repeat this process. If you had for example 10 pebbles in your LEFT pocket the calculation would look like this.

Number of pebbles in left pocket x 100 = number of paces taken


10 (pebbles in left pocket) x 100 (number of paces per pebble) = 1000 paces taken.

1000 paces at 75cm per pace = 750 metres covered.

Don’t over-complicate how you tally your paces. Just find a method which works for you. Remember its just counting rocks, no need to over-think it!

Example 2 Tally and Pace – Knot count

The same as example 1 you count your paces out to 100. Each time you have taken 100 paces tie a knot in a piece of string. Separate each knot so as to be able to distinguish how many knots there are later on.

Number of knots x 100 = number of paces taken

5 knots x 100 = 500 paces

500 paces at 75cm per pace = 375 metres


Uphill: People walking uphill often take a longer stride

Downhill: People walking downhill often take a shorter stride

I hope this blog helped just one person.

Want to keep reading? You may also like

These blogs are aimed at helping readers through their personal development journey by expanding their comfort zones and positively improve quality of life through a growth mindset. Blog topics may include travel and adventure, mindset and mentality, or physical development.

You may also like these podcasts:

TreadWiser Podcast:

Huberman lab podcast

BBC Radio 4 Podcast with Brian Cox – Physicist