Everything you should know about GPS Watch for Kayaking

gps watch for kayaking

GPS watch for kayaking – A GPS watch typically displays the user’s current speed and distance from a finish line, typically determined by a set of coordinates. Some GPS watch for kayaking display one’s altitude, but this is rarely accurate, so it should not be relied upon for navigation. Still, other models have mapping software built-in or can link with a smartphone app to pinpoint one’s location on Google Maps. GPS watches are great for runners, cyclists, skiers, and more.

 They offer instant feedback without the need to look at the device during a workout. The devices also display how many miles you have covered, the time elapsed, and your average speed. Some GPS kayaking watch also keeps track of calories burned during workouts, but that information is not always accurate. The devices may also display how many hours you sleep at night and your activity level throughout the day. You can use these tools to help you monitor your progress or motivate you to take up a new activity.

GPS watches are built with either internal or external batteries. Still, the device’s battery life is not long enough for marathon training workouts, and cyclists may need to replace them monthly. The watches also use up a lot of power when the screen is on, so if you plan on using a GPS watch during a race, bring it along in an energy-saving mode that disables all unnecessary functions except timekeeping and speed display, or have it charging in your car or at home during races. GPS watches are not recommended as a replacement for an altimeter. 

An altimeter is a tool used to determine altitude, an essential equipment for skiers and climbers. However, a GPS watch can only provide route-based distance and direction, which may not be accurate enough for navigating above tree-lined or in the mountains, or over large valleys. For example, a device can calculate your distance from your starting point and show you that you have traveled about 100 meters since leaving your car. However, it cannot tell if you’ve reached the summit and are within sight.

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How to choose the best Kayak GPS Watches?

Key Features and Breaking down the Jargon:

The screen size is one of the most important considerations when buying a kayak GPS watch. The smaller the screen, the more functions you can do. The best kayak GPS watches usually have about 1.5″, 2″, and 3″ screens.

Some of these critical features are:

1. Screen Diameter & Resolution:

The smaller it is, the better it is for a GPS watch for kayaking to show detailed information on your route in a clear and readable way. With this, you will be able to make better route choices for your voyage through water and also see the precise accuracy of starting and ending points on a map or chart. The screen’s resolution is also essential because this will determine how crisp and clear everything is on the screen. The higher resolution means better picture quality.

 2. Battery Life:

You want to ensure the battery life is adequate for you to use it throughout your kayaking trip. Usually, the battery life should be at least 5 hours. If your battery dies early, you need a spare unit so that you can extend the length of your trip.

 3. Sensors:

GPS watches are equipped with various sensors that provide a rich database for the user. Here is more about the most critical sensors in kayak GPS watches:

a) Altimeter:

It is essential because it will help you know precisely how high or low you are above sea level. It comes in handy while travelling across glaciers and through mountain passes and valleys, where there could be an elevation change of several thousand feet. It provides precise information about altitude and very accurate navigation results.

b) Barometer:

This device measures atmospheric pressure at ground level, which also helps to measure wind speed and direction at ground level. 

c) Compass:

The compass is a fundamental tool for surface navigation but can also be used for kayaking by indicating which way you are facing.

d) Chronometer:

This device keeps track of the time, helping you track the distance and speed between two places.

e) Speedometer:

This device measures your speed in miles per hour, indicating how many minutes or hours it will take to get to your destination. 

f) GPS receiver:

With this feature, you can know the exact location of your kayak down to your Milepost number on a map at all times.

4. Heart Rate Monitor (HRM):

Heart rate monitors are vital for kayakers because they will tell their heart rate, which is directly related to the stroke rate and, consequently, their rowing performance. So if you are looking for the best Garmin watch for kayaking with a heart rate monitor, make sure that the watch has this feature with a chest strap that goes around your chest to get an accurate heart rate reading.

5. Oars:

They provide greater power and control than paddling alone can offer. It also helps you get off sandy beaches when your boat becomes stuck in mud or sand. They give you the steady grip of a paddle and the ability to hit what you want, giving you speed and power.

6. Calendar:

The calendar on a GPS watch is your exclusive timepiece. It gives you the timing of your journeys, races and other activities. The calendar will even record all these events so that you can enjoy good references for later use 

7. Accessories:

A kayak GPS watch can be helpful in many other ways than providing navigation to your kayaking trip. The best kayak GPS watch can provide valuable features such as distance measurement, heart rate monitor, and cadence. The best thing about these features is that they are combined in a single package and allow the user to benefit from them when they are on a kayaking trip.

The color of your GPS watch for a kayaking watch is essential because you want to get one that matches your taste and your kayaking gear or clothing. Although it does not make much difference if you are buying the best kayak GPS watches for men, for women, there are some pretty colors available that attract more picky buyers like women.

8. Gyroscope:

A gyroscope is an instrument used to measure the angle of rotation. It helps you to know when it’s time to stop and turn around while kayaking. Because it uses the earth’s magnetic field, your watch uses the compass to help you know how fast or slow you are going, even underneath trees or cliffs. You will also be able to make sharp turns without getting lost in a small area.

9. Light Emitting Diode (LED):

LED light is bright enough to illuminate the minor feature on your kayaking map with high contrast in the dark. A magnifying lens could be more effective than a bright LED light, but it is not water-resistant and should not be used. You can easily track your boat’s speed, position, and course and observe the route exactly as it happens on your computer screen. Even though it’s beneficial and provides good utility, there are occasions when you do not have a usable signal. I.e. Your GPS watches are useless in a kayak if you are too far from an open sky to get a signal.


GPS watches are a convenient replacement for carrying a phone in your pocket. Yet, they do not offer all the essential features that phones provide, such as text messaging, phone calls and the ability to send and receive pictures. In addition, many of the apps that are available for smartphones provide features that are not available on GPS watches. A GPS watch is also more expensive than an inexpensive smartphone, and there is no way to transfer data from the watch to your smartphone. 


The first GPS watches were not so high-tech. If you wanted to know your relative location, you needed to know the coordinates of a fixed point at least a few miles away. Since most people could not carry a compass and some didn’t have a watch, they would ask someone where they were supposed to be going and provide the answer. With that in mind, some early GPS technology was based on the Global Positioning System (GPS). 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Are GPS features necessary for kayaking?

GPS watches are the best accessories that you can carry while kayaking. These watches are most helpful while on the sea, where they can provide you with accurate instructions to reach a particular destination. However, if you are going for hunting or fishing purposes, then having a GPS feature would be nice to have since it will help you locate the best hunting spots or fishing areas. Adding more features to your kayak GPS watch that would make the kayaking cycle much safer and more efficient is also ideal.

What different features should you look for in a smartwatch for kayaking?

Though GPS watches are helpful, you should ensure that the kayak GPS watch you choose has the most appropriate functions that suit your needs. The essential features of a kayak are a compass, an altimeter, a barometer and a clock. These features will help you determine your exact location, which is very important if you get lost in hazy weather, foggy weather or snowstorm conditions. 

What are the benefits of the best watch for kayaking?

Because the technology of the GPS is relatively new, many features have not yet been widely implemented. Those features include its more advanced technology and a GPS watch that can be used for navigation on a bike or foot. In addition to being a timepiece, it acts as an altimeter and a compass.

The direction indicator on a GPS watch is often very accurate in allowing you to follow your path’s direction and make good decisions about which way to go next. The watch face generally has two methods for indicating direction: 

The compass method and an arrow with the direction of your current heading superimposed over the compass face. Some GPS watch for kayaking come with a method for estimating your running speed provided information is coming from a satellite (rather than from being tracked by the watch), and you are in a location with good coverage. 

However, it can benefit those who do their training runs or races on roads or paths frequently used by motor vehicles and which aren’t constantly observed. GPS watches typically include a stopwatch function which can be used to time two runners crossing the finish line. It also can keep track of elapsed time during other races. The watch can also keep track of mileage and pace information.

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