Whether it’s figuring out how far to get to a destination or sizing up a location to build a survival shelter, survivalists need to know about areas, spaces and distance. Being able to visualize how big an acre is can be helpful to anyone reading maps or understanding where they are.
An acre is a unit of land area measurement that was traditionally used by farmers in the United Kingdom. Today, it is used in the USA, UK and some former British colonies.
Campers, hikers, survivalists and preppers should know how big an acre is so that they’re always well prepared to be able to judge an area for its approximate size and correctly understand its dimensions.
We’ve searched high and low to source the best comparisons to help you visualize how big an acre is. We understand that traditional descriptions of what an acre is can be confusing and hard to equate to real life measurements.
Let’s start with the key numbers to understand how big an acre is in different forms of measurement.
The best way to visualize an acre is as a square – this means that it will have the same width as its length.
- 1 acre is: 43,560 square feet (208 feet wide, 208 feet long)
- 1 acre is: 1/640th of a square mile
- 1 acre is: 4,047 square meters
- 1 acre is 4,840 square yards
- 1 acre is: 0.404686 hectares
If you want to convert square miles into acres, it’s useful to know that
- 1 square mile is: 640 acres
So those are the official stats, but now let’s focus on some visual comparisons which might help you to judge the size of a space in an emergency or help survivalists to figure out their location or how far they need to travel.
How big is an acre compared to a football field?
Many survivalists and preppers may also be football fans, so let’s use the dimensions of a football field and compare them to how big an acre is.
An American football field is 360 feet by 160 feet which means that the total square footage is 57,600 square feet.
If we know that 1 acre is 43,560 square feet and a football field is 57,600 feet, it’s clear that an acre is 75% of the size of an American football field.
In comparison, an NBA basketball court is much smaller than a football field and has a total square footage of 4,700 square feet. If we do the calculations, we can see that just over 9 basketball courts would fit into 1 acre of space.
Using familiar, everyday comparisons such as a football field or a basketball court is a good technique to help you accurately measure a distance or to describe it to someone else- either a rescuer or a member of your team.
An acre can be an abstract concept for many people so comparing their size to a football field makes it much easier to relate to.
How do you visualize an acre?
An acre has the same length as its width so it’s a good idea to visualize an acre as a square.
When visualizing the size of an acre, try to switch the measurement into a format that you’re familiar with. Survivalists and preppers often work in feet, meters and miles. It could be helpful to see an acre as 208 feet x 208 feet in your mind rather than the overall square footage.
It’s important though to remember that land is often not perfectly square with straight edges so these types of visualizations will always be approximate.
How many houses fit in an acre?
To calculate how many houses fit in an acre, you need to first work out the average size of a house in this country. This varies hugely from state to state and between rural and urban areas.
If you consider an average size house in the USA to be (very) approximately 2,300 square feet, it would mean that 18 houses could fit into a single acre of land (when closely packed with minimal space in between).
Fitting 18 houses into an acre wouldn’t leave much room for anything else such as driveways or backyards so you wouldn’t want to use these calculations for planning purposes.
However if you’re in an emergency situation or trying to estimate the distance or space around you having these types of visual comparisons can be really helpful.
Parking Lots and Tennis Courts: How many acres?
A football field and a basketball court are relatively familiar for most Americans, but what’s a good visual comparison that may be a little more universal?
A tennis court is 2808 square feet around the world so survivalists from most countries will be able to understand this as a sizing comparison. You can pack 16 tennis courts into one acre.
Wondering how many cars could fit in to one acre?
That’s an interesting question especially as American cars are amongst the biggest in the world!
One of the easier ways to visualize the dimensions of the number of cars you could fit into 1 acre would be to work in terms of parking spaces.
Approximately 100 parking (standard size) spaces can fit into a 1 acre parking lot. This would leave some extra space between the cars so it’s not entirely accurate but it gives a good general idea.
If it helps you to visualize an acre as a square, you might find it useful using this parking lot comparison. Or, think of approximately 145 cars tightly packed with no space between them into a square – that’s roughly a 1 acre comparison too.
The World in Acres
Check out these fun facts about the world in acres – it’s a great way to help your brain start to visualize sizes and dimensions differently.
- Did you know that New York City measures approximately 300,000 acres (including water)? This is in comparison with Greater London which measures approximately 388,000 acres.
- The surface area of the moon is over 9,300,000,000 acres
- The White House sits on 18 acres of land
Using acres as a unit of measurement
Generally acres are not the most common unit of measurement. In the USA and other Western countries, we usually use miles, kilometers, meters or feet.
However it’s really important to be aware of different ways and methods that people around the world have to measure spaces and distances.
Understanding how big an acre is can help you communicate with people from different industries (acres are most commonly used in agriculture and real estate) as well as in an emergency situation with rescuers who may be from another country.
Survivalists and preppers know that being prepared and having as much knowledge as possible is crucial. You never know when small pieces of knowledge such as the size of an acre and how to visualize it, may come in use.