Accurate Distances with No Measuring Tape

Having religiously used a measuring tape for a long time I have recently started practicing without one sometimes, but with no loss of the lie detector effect. Here is how it works. As a long time hiker I am pretty tuned in to my stride length and producing it consistently. My normal rhythm and stride length is the easiest to use and I’ve measured it enough times now to know it doesn’t change significantly on flat ground.

So, with the tape laid out I walk up to the same point and then back again at normal pace and count my steps. Having done this enough times to check, my standard step comes in 2.86 feet. That’s 3.5 steps for 10 feet and 35 steps for 100 feet.

When I use a tape I often mark distances with fluoro golf balls on spikes at a mixture of 5 and 10 foot intervals from 50 feet to 100 feet, odds on one side of the tape, evens on the other. Small targets encourage accuracy. Casts can be made straight up the tape or from off to one side at various angles.

When I don’t use a tape I can get very much the same set up with just three golf balls, a step count and some simple arithmetic. Stick one in the ground, walk off, stick another in 3.5 steps away and the third at the same distance. Walk away another 21 steps and the balls now mark out 60′, 70′, 80′.  Obviously, the distance can be changed as desired without a significant loss of accuracy and I find the spread of 3 targets less “noisy” than several times that number.

Setup and knockdown times are minimal. Can’t fault the ease of transporting the kit.