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Nav Bead

(2 customer reviews)


Multi-function navigation accessory. Compass, map illuminator, pace counter and personal marker.

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A compact yet highly effective navigation accessory to accompany you on all of your adventures, night or day. The Nav Bead can be worn around the neck, with a simple and rugged design that’s perfect for those who appreciate outdoor gear with form and function.

Featuring a shockproof, military-grade compass; precision luminous dial, fluid-damped and built to keep working in extreme conditions.

Also includes a bright photoluminescent lamp for map illumination and personal marking at night. The ‘pace counting beads’ allow you to record distance travelled. These are features not seen on other small compasses.

An ultra-reliable back-up to other navigation devices such as GPS, which could fail to work due to flat batteries, extreme conditions or damage. The Nav Bead is fully waterproof, with a very durable construction.

The Nav Bead packs a lot of features into a very compact design which is almost unnoticeable when carried.

Very accurate for its size, the 20mm diameter compass was specially designed for the Nav Bead and is a far cry from many other ‘button’ compasses available.
It is tough, shockproof and built to GSA-compliant specifications. The compass will function in temperatures of -30°c to +50°c and pressures of vacuum to 9atm and 80m depth.

Equally capable of both day and night navigation thanks to the very best in photoluminescent GITD (glow-in-the-dark) materials. The compass and direction line are easily readable in the dark, and just a few seconds of light from a flashlight will ‘recharge’ them. The 20mm GITD lamp provides gentle illumination for map reading at night, which will preserve your night-adapted vision, unlike the glare when using a flashlight. When worn around the neck, the GITD lamp acts as a highly visible personal marker, ideal for showing your position to others on a night trek.

Included are 14 ‘pace counting beads’ also known as ‘ranger beads’.
These facilitate a simple military technique of recording distance travelled along a route, by counting your paces and sliding the beads to record every 100m and kilometer travelled. The Nav Bead in this ‘pace counter mode’ can be tied with a wrist loop or easily attached to a rucksack or jacket.

Another feature the Nav Bead packs in is the cord itself, which can be used for map work. For example: to measure curved and straight distances on the map, or to find headings or locations on the map. The cord can also be held out to form a ‘sighting line’ when taking a bearing to obtain more accuracy.

The whole Nav Bead is extremely durable with an oil and seawater-resistant construction.

The Nav Bead comes in a plastic storage case and includes an instruction sheet detailing the uses of the Nav Bead for basic navigation and map work.

Nav Bead dimensions: 35mm x 27mm x 18mm
Cord length: 400mm loop (800mm total)
Weight (without pace beads): 11.5g
Made in the UK by Polymath Products.

2 reviews for Nav Bead

  1. Avatar

    David E Crossley

    I have owned the previous version of the Nav Bead for quite a while now but was impressed by the trial version of the new model when Luke, one of the directors of Polymath, sent me a picture of him testing it in Australia, so I was waiting for its release with some anticipation.

    As soon as I saw it on Polymath’s Amazon.co.uk products page I ordered 2 – one of each type of cord – and, as usual with Polymath, they arrived on the next working day. The kit comes in a useful plastic box with a set of pace counter beads and an easy to follow set of instructions and advice. The following weekend I took one out to a local open area, along with a 1-25,000 map, oriented the map using the compass and then decided on a simple route for testing the kit.

    I laid out the attached cord between each leg of the walk in turn and used the compass to plot the relevant bearings, then used the cord to measure the distances on the map to my target points and against the yardage scale. From much practise over the years, I am familiar with my stride length on differing types of ground and degrees of slope so I then easily converted the distances to paces and made a note of them for each stage.

    Using my notes, I set the compass to the correct bearing for the first leg of the walk, but since the target point was a stream junction and I didn’t want to miss it and not know which way it was from where I’d arrived, I actually aimed off a hundred paces upstream of the junction on the nearest stream, knowing that when I hit the stream I would then need to simply head down with the flow to my target. I stretched out the cord and used it to sight on an appropriate landmark on my chosen bearing, and set off on course. As I walked I used the beads on the cord to note each ten and hundred paces of the 350 required for that leg. When I got to the stream I turned and started to count my paces to the stream junction. It was actually 108 rather than 100 but using a button compass, and since I’m a bit out of practise, I reckoned that was well within the limit of acceptability for the distance covered. Each of the following stages of the walk was similarly accurate; sometimes my calculations were a bit over sometimes slightly under my original calculation but I hit each target point and reached my destination without any problems.

    I later took the set out in the dark to check the luminosity of the compass and bead. Inevitably after several hours of darkness the brightness does deteriorate and I have attached one of the tiny emergency light sources from a Polymath mini survival tin to up the glow when required. I have experienced that this little light can come unscrewed but have found that slipping a piece of 9.5mm rubber shrink wrap tubing over it secures it while not hindering operating it at all. (A tip Polymath’s directors tell me they are going to adopt in an upcoming product)

    After a day worn in the open the luminous bead remains viable for map reading for several hours, so Polymath’s pictures are accurate, and just a short exposure to torch light recharges it enough for more hours use, giving a massive saving on battery life of the emergency light.

    Accurate navigation with a button compass is never as easy or precise as with a larger model, but with proper application of appropriate techniques Polymath’s new product will certainly help you to get safely from one point to another, even in an emergency. The extra features of the NavBead would make that simpler and more reliable under a wide range of conditions and whether you were in a wilderness, rural or urban environment. On my next outing I’ll use one again but over more difficult ground and with at least one walk in the dark. Lack of visible landmarks to aim for while walking can make that much more difficult of course and requires some different techniques but it will be another test of the viability of what, from the results of this first test, promises to be a very effective piece of kit.

  2. Avatar

    Andy Froy

    Yet another great piece of kit from Polymath Products!
    The map illuminator is a nice tool, the beads are very helpful and the large casing of the compass is good for small bubbles!
    Thank you. 👍

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Dimensions: 35x27x18mm
Cord length: 400mm loop (800mm total)
Weight (without Pace Beads): 11.5g
Operating temperature: -30°C to +50°C
Operating pressure: Vacuum to 9atm
Maximum operating depth: 80m
GITD Lamp luminance: 5291 mcd/m2 (1 minute post charge per DIN67510)
GITD materials lifespan: ~20 years
Oil-bath sealed compass
Non-magnetic, non-metallic construction
Seawater and oil resistant
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 body / cord