Even professionals get lost in the water on occasion, which is why having a solid GPS watch for kayaking is so important. In addition to helping guide your way, GPS watches made for kayaking come with other great features too. While there are many different brands available today, Garmin seems to deliver the best GPS watch for kayaking.
When you’re out on the water knowing where you’re at can be the difference between a great day and a dangerous day. GPS can give you the comfort of knowing just where you’re at, no matter where you’re at.
The Best GPS Watch for Kayaking
Weighing only 2.9 ounces and only needing one lithium ion battery, the Garmin Fenix GPS Navigator watch is incredibly convenient and took the lead spot on our list of the best GPS watch for kayaking.
The Navigator watch also has a 3.1 inch display size and a 70 x 70 display resolution, making it a fan favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. Essentially, the Garmin Fenix GPS Navigator Watch comes with everything you could possibly need when kayaking. It’s also super durable and should last you a long time, keeping you on track for all your future paddling.
Fēnix GPS Highlights
- GPS Navigator for outdoor enthusiasts
- Performer bundle includes Premium HRM and orange wrist strap
- Wrist-worn watch that is accurate and stylish
- Altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass with automatic sensor calibration
- Up to 1,000 waypoints and store up to 10,000 track points
As somewhat of an added bonus, the Garmin Fēnix GPS Navigator Watch comes with a performer bundle, which features premium heart rate monitor (HRM) and an orange wrist band. According to the company’s official website, a built-in altimeter, barometer, compass, temperature sensor, and wireless communication is also included.
Far and away our favorite on the list of the best GPS watch for kayaking is the Garmin Fēnix 3. This watch is used by tons of experienced kayakers and is widely regarded as one of the best GPS watches for kayaking.
This watch is much thicker than the 920 model, however, it’s still fairly lightweight and slim. Compared to the newer Apple models which cost upwards of $500, the Garmin Fēnix 3 is a steal.
The display on this watch is incredibly colorful, vivid, and whether you’re in the water, biking, running, or hiking, both the 3-field and 4-field look great. Another great benefit is that you can access the compass, air pressure, and altitude directly from the watches face, without needing to go into any watch activity at all.
One of best reasons it made the best GPS watch for kayaking? This watch stays as good as new no matter how wet it gets, and can also connect to your phone with through Garmin’s proprietary Connect technology. With Connect your watch will let you know as soon as you receive a new email, text, call, etc. This is extremely beneficial for those unable to get to their phone when kayaking, and those who’s phones are not waterproof. Essentially, this watch acts as a phone as well, taking care of everything you need all at one time.
In addition to navigating you through the water each and every day, the setup screen found on the Garmin Fēnix 3 displays a lot of information. In order to let you know how you are doing the Fenix includes step counting, bike tracking, speed, distance, heart rate, smartphone notifications, and more.
Even for novice GPS watch users, the navigation on this watch is quick and easy to figure out.
Setting up the screens and information you want on your watch can be done in just a few seconds and is very intuitive. By simply going into the watches IQ store, all of the watch faces and custom data fields needed for you workout can be found.
The battery life is also great and can last for multiple days at a time. You are also able to change, adjust, and customize the back light for added battery life time or overnight use.
In fact, the battery lasts far longer than that of the Apple, FitBit or Android watches, and has a lot more features included with it too. For the very reasonable price that the Garmin Fenix 3 commands it’s packs a significant punch.
The only downsides to the watch are it’s size, it’s app store, and the fact that it can not store it’s own music. Though it can connect the music from your phone pretty easily and let’s face it if you’re looking for the best GPS watch for kayaking you’re not going to need tons of music space.
As for it’s size, the watch can sometimes get caught on long-sleeve shirts, since it is taller than most watches. Wearing this watch with a dress shirt can be somewhat aggravating. Women with rather small wrists may suffer too since the watch may be too big and uncomfortable to wear on a regular, day-to-day basis. To be exact, any wrists above two-and-a-half inches wide should be ok, however, any wrists under two and one-fourth inches may find the watch dangling, even when being warn on the tightest setting.
Though the watch itself comes with some amazing features, the app store is rather small and does not feature nearly as much as the Apple and Android watches do. However, most individuals using this watch as a GPS for kayaking are not buying it for the app store, so this really isn’t too much of an inconvenience.
Fenix 3 Highlights
- 1.2” sunlight-visible high-resolution color Chroma optically-bonded display
- Water rated up to 10ATM / 100 meters1; suitable for swimming
- Omni-directional steel EXO antenna, when paired with GLONASS and EPO, provides an even faster fix and accurate position than GPS alone
- Utilize one or more Wi-Fi hot spots to automatically sync your data with Garmin Connect and update software (when in range)
- Rechargeable battery; up to 20 hours in training/GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTrac mode, and 6 weeks in watch mode (depends on settings)
Every kayaker knows that losing your way while out on the water can be detrimental, so having a GPS watch that can keep up with your every move is certainly top priority.
The navigation system is able to keep up with even the fastest, most rugged kayakers, and never misses a beat. While many lower-line GPS watches used for outdoor sports and activities fail to keep up with sharp turns, the Garmin Fēnix 3 stays on track at all times and is rarely found buffering.
The Sapphire Edition
The Sapphire edition of this watch is just an extra $100, and also comes with a lot more features than the standard version does. The Sapphire edition includes a steel metal link band, a standard black rubber watch band, and hi-quality tools for swapping your bands in and out, whether out on the water or at home.
Since Sapphire edition buyers also get a sapphire crystal band for added security out on the water, this is hugely beneficial. Additionally, if this band is too heavy on your wrists when paddling over the current, it can be switched out for a much lighter band in just seconds and is extremely easy to do.
Best GPS Watch for Kayaking – Runner Up
Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch
Another product that made our list of the best GPS watch for kayaking is the Polar M400. In addition to coming with an excellent GPS tracker and Polar Flow app and web service, the Polar M400 is also very durable and extremely waterproof.
The M400’s built-in GPS keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude. With the “Back to start” feature you can confidently explore new routes on land or in the water.
Smart Notifications allow you to see notifications from your phone directly on the screen of your M400. The watch is not too big or heavy either, so using it while out on the water is not strenuous, and your arm does not get tired even after wearing it all day on a regular basis.
This watch is preferred by many kayakers and has seemed to only been spoken of positively. This is because the Polar M400 offers kayakers great features, and is incredibly convenient.
Polar M400 Highlights
- Built-in GPS technology keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude
- Tracks your workouts, steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and activity 24/8
- Use the fitness tracking watch to keep an eye on your running cadence to improve your running efficiency and avoid injuries in all weather conditions
- Compatible with H7 Heart Rate sensor to train at the right intensity with target heart rate zones
- Plan, sync and share your training using the Polar Flow app and web service
Well there you have it! These GPS watch choices will ensure that you get the most out of your next paddle and not have to worry about taking the long way around. With their waterproof properties and rugged design you’ll be paddling and not worrying about your watch. These are the best GPS watch for kayaking that we found and we think that you’re going to be stoked with any on the list.
See you out there!