A string of baronies

I want to create a sparsely settled area where the largest political units are baronies, similar to the idea of a borderland, and using the Outdoor Survival map. When placing these baronies, do they have to settled to each other in adjacent hexes, or could they be placed apart some distance, with the idea that they claim larger tracts of land but only patrol the hex they’ve settled. Is it a dumb question?

No, good question.
When placing baronies, there’s no requirement that the baronies be adjacent. A realm can consist of widely dispersed domains.
And as you surmised, the baronies can “claim” as large a territory as you’d like. Game mechanically only the hexes they patrol and inhabit count.

Thank you for your answer, but I am afraid I have another question on this topic.
It seems feudal society was made through dividing large parcels of land among loyal vassels. And this whole issues confuses me because of this point: say a duke has several barons as vassels (for the sake of example), would his land be considered his own parcel plus the parcels of the barons for the sake of determining his political boundries, or does he have his own land and the barons have his land? Would the duchy incorporate the baronies or not, is what I am asking, I guess.
Also, if there are a string of baronies (from my last question), does there need to be higher political units, or could it just be a string of baronies? Could there even be no king to hold them together?

To accommodate the feudal practice of parceling land, we use the concept of the “domain” and the “realm”. In your example, the Duke’s “domain” is the duke’s own parcel. The Duke’s “realm” is his parcel plus the parcels of his baronies. Each baron’s “domain” is his own parcel. Each baron belongs to the Duke’s “realm.”
There does not need to be a higher political unit. You could just have a string of baronies, absolutely.