A photo collage of hiking boots and measuring tape.
How far is two metres anyway? We’ve measured it out in hiking boots, so you don’t have to. Photo: Stuart Kenny

During these tough and trying times in quarantine and self-isolation, we are allowed but one daily jaunt outside for exercise (in the United Kingdom at least) and, even when we do that, we’re being advised to keep at least a safe two metre distance from any other people around.

That’s all very well, but judging how far two metres actually is without carrying a measuring tape around with you is easier said than done. Even if you did carry a measuring tape around with you everywhere, you’d then have to be continually measuring a two metre radius around you as you walked, which would be frantic and unsettling for both yourself, and no doubt for all those people watching you with curious expressions (and likely camera phones). Well, either that or the measuring tape would go all floppy, like measuring tapes tend to do, which is just a sad sight – certainly something we don’t need more of right now.

“The downside is that using a ski to measure two metres of distance on your daily exercise means that you’ll have to bring a ski with you on your daily exercise.”

So, with that elongated thought process about a measuring tape running through our minds (look, we’ve all got to think of something when we can’t sleep at 3am) we’ve put together a quick guide that we hope will help outdoor adventure enthusiasts work out just how long two metres (200cm) actually is. Next time you go out, why not carry, wear or imagine one of the measures below – and then you should be able to work out your two-metre distance no problem!

1. 8 x Hiking Boot

A hiking boot with a measuring tape below.
A hiking boot; the essential companion of the hiker, leaves a lot of the two metres to the imagination. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 25cm.

Two metres is: Almost exactly eight, size 9, men’s hiking boots lined up.

Convenience: The convenience is good, given that when you go outside, you’ll presumably have to wear shoes anyway, so you could wear two of the hiking boots and keep your hands free. You’d have to imagine the other six though. That said, it’s nice that the 25cm length of the boot divides neatly by 200cm.

Compatibility: Hmm, not so good, for that aforementioned point. If you’re not a man with a size nine foot then the maths becomes a lot trickier, too. It’s all very well being able to wear two boots out, but even then you’re leaving yourself to, at best, still imagine the remainder of the 1.5 metres of social distancing you should be keeping. This is a good one for those social distancing adventurers who don’t like to draw attention to themselves (given how obscure this list is about to get), but not so good for actually getting the two metres measured.

2. 3.5 x Bike Wheel (27.5”)

A close up of a bike wheel with a measuring tape measuring the spokes.
We have used a 27.5 inch inch bike wheel and will not be entering the “wheel size” debate in this caption. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 27.5 inch wheels are 23 inches in diameter. 23 inches works out as 58.42cm.

Two metres is: 3.42348511 of your finest 27.5 inch wheels.

Convenience: Well, if you’ve got a bicycle, and the wheel is 27.5″ inch, then it’s not hard to whip the wheel off and take it on a walk with you. You could always just cycle the bicycle. Then you’ll have two wheels with you. While we appreciate that carrying a bike wheel around on your daily walk is a bit odd, we don’t think people will actually look at you weirdly or judge you for doing it, either. They’d probably just assume that you’re a bike mechanic, or that you have a purpose for the bike wheel. Non-cyclists don’t really get cyclists. They don’t know what they’re up to. So that’s good, we suppose.

Compatibility: You can round that nasty 3.42348511 number up, leaving you to just imagine 3.5 bike wheels length. That feels a bit more doable. Compatibility quite low if you take one singular bike wheel. A bit higher if you take the whole bike.

3. 0.9 x Kayak Paddle

A close up of a kayak paddle with a measuring tape across it.
Possibly not easily accessible, but a good length, the kayak paddle is a solid option. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 220cm.

Two metres is: 20cm less than our kayak paddle.

Convenience: In terms of safety, and actually being able to judge the length of two metres, the kayak paddle is possibly the best option on this list! It’s the only option that runs over two metres, so it’ll make sure you keep your two metres social distancing. To get two metres, you just have to take off 20cm, which is a lot easier than imagining a full two metres. However, have you ever tried to hold a two metre plus kayak paddle by one end? It’s quite heavy. So you’d maybe have to lie it on the ground to measure out the distance, which is a bit of an inconvenience. You’re also more likely to get rejected by supermarket security if you try bring a paddle in – though like the bike wheel, it’s likely people will presume that you have a canoe or kayak, and are heading to it shortly. Rather than just kicking about the neighbourhood with a paddle for no real reason.

Compatibility: The length is great, but the inconvenience is also very high, so it’s a tough one. If you’re going for a walk, then sure, why not we suppose? Just be careful going through door frames and round corners. Don’t want to clock someone with one of these by accident.

4. 1.16 x Yoga Mat

The top of a yoga mat with a measuring tape across it.
Give strangers the impression that you’re one with yourself by going with this option. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 172cm.

Two metres is: One standard yoga mat + 28cm.

Convenience: Well, people carry yoga mats all over the place, all of the time. So you won’t look particularly odd carrying one. You might look like you’ve just been at a yoga class though, which could bring a few scorns from those who think that a yoga class is still running somewhere within walking distance of wherever you’re standing. You can roll the mat up too which is good. Pretty convenient.

Compatibility: To actually get your two metres from your yoga mat, you’ll have to dramatically unfurl it in front of you (and then imagine an extra 28cm). This is bound to draw the attention of many people around you as let’s face it – it’s the behaviour of a psychopath. That said, it will probably keep other people away from you, and since distancing is the point of all this, that’s a… good thing? You’ll then have to roll the mat up every time after doing this, though. So it loses a lot of compatibility points there.

5. 1.66 x Walking Stick

A walking pole with a measuring tape across it.
Hiking poles help take pressure off the knees, but could also be used for social distancing purposes. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 120cm.

Two metres is: roughly one and three-quarters of a hiking pole.

Convenience: The convenience for using a hiking pole is extremely high. Rather than hinder your daily exercise, as a lot of the other options on this list may do, these could actually support you on your walk. It’s a bit odd to use hiking poles for a stroll in your local park, but a lot less odd than bringing a kayak paddle. It’s also super easy to swing the poles up and measure your 120cm in front of you. Then you just have to add an imaginary 80cm on the end. Doable!

Compatibility: The compatibility is high, with the main draw back being that 80cm of distance to imagine is still quite a lot.

6. 1.08 x Ski

A close up of a ski with a measuring tape next to it.
Not everyone has a set of skis, and you’ll look odd carrying it, but the distance is pretty good. Photo: Stuart Kenny

Length of One: 184cm.

Two metres is: An 184cm all-terrain ski plus a mere 16cm.

Convenience: There are two sides to the convenience of using a ski to imagine the length of two metres. The first is that a ski usually comes with the length of the ski already written on it, as pictured, so you won’t have to measure it. That’s good. Very convenient. The length is also pretty good. You just have to imagine an extra 16cm. The downside to the convenience though, is that using a ski to measure two metres of distance on your daily exercise means that you’ll have to bring a ski with you on your daily exercise. So you’ll need to be careful you don’t accidentally hit someone in the head or put the ski through a parked car window.

Compatibility: You know what? If you’ve got a ski, it’s not the worst shout ever. It’s easier to hold than the kayak paddle, and, like the unfurled yoga mat, is bound to keep people away from you anyway. Very easy to imagine two metres from, too.  People might question your sanity a bit, though. Looking back at this article, we’ve definitely started questioning our own.

Stuck inside and dreaming of adventure? Check out our 2021 adventure holidays and give yourself something to look forward to!