Written by 4:43 pm Best & Top

Best Compasses for Kayaking

Best Compasses for Kayaking

Imagine you’re enjoying your day out in your kayak in the warm waters, and suddenly, you realize you’ve lost your way – not a pleasant situation to be caught in, right? Well, then, consider getting a compass to help you find your way when lost.

For paddlers, the know-how of land and maritime compasses is essential, so they do not lose their way in the waters. Then, you can navigate via water routes and explore beyond the shorelines – all without losing your way.

Surely, owing to GPS technology and satellite tracking, you can navigate smoothly. Though, getting savvy with traditional compasses is an absolute must when traversing through the waters in your kayak.

Now, compasses have an edge over GPS because the battery of your GPS devices can die while leaving you stranded on unknown lands – sounds scary, huh? While with compasses, you need not worry about your battery dying. Though, you should consider some important aspects when shopping around for compasses when riding in your kayak, so you make the right choice among the various options.

So, here, we have listed all you should know about using compasses and the aspects to consider during their purchases.

Best 6 Compasses for Kayaking

1. Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass for Kayaks

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass lets you paddle in a straight line while you are surrounded by fog. Unlike its cheaper versions, Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass does not make much noise and it is large enough to see it in action from a distance. It sits perfectly still on the deck and the installation process is dead simple. It has got a heavy-duty dome and the markings are easy to read. No need to squint your eyes hard to see the markings which is a great relief. You can get it placed on the deck bag or you can get it to attach to the deck lines. Its elegant base adds to its overall grandeur.

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass comes equipped with Quick-release buckles and is built for the marine environment.

2. Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass

Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass is a heavy-duty and truly versatile compass specifically designed to offer superior performance in the marine environment. It will not fall off that easily even in the case of a boat capsize; all you have to do is to make sure that it is clipped on to the braces.

Easy to read from a distance, Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass can be easily mounted on the deck of the kayak. Built for paddleboarding, kayaking, and other similar water sport activities, Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass comes fitted with adjustable elastic cords that make the mounting process fairly simple and straightforward. When not in use, you should use its adjustable hood to protect your compass from dust and debris.

3. Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99

Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99 is heavier than most people tend to believe. It stays stable even when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Ideal for those kayakers who love to paddle for long hours and love to cover a long distance. Armed with this compass, you will be able to travel long distances without losing your way. No matter how bad the situations get, you can still find your way out with this Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99.

Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99 has made its mark in the industry by providing accurate information in times of need and by simplifying its operation process to a great extent.

4. Brunton Dash Mount Compass

Brunton Dash Mount Compass can be fitted easily on the bulkhead of your boat or the flush-mount of your kayak easily and effortlessly. Once installed, it looks almost like a factory-installed. The labels are easy to read and the installation process is very simple and straightforward. The alignment of this kayak compass can be changed at will. To get proper fittings, you should purchase a gasket kit.

Trust me, Brunton Dash Mount Compass is not an overkill. It is better to have access to a high-quality kayak compass than not having it when you need it the most. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty which is good.

5. Orienteering Compass

Orienteering Compass is beginners friendly and is known for its precision and speed. Extremely lightweight, Orienteering Compass is ideal for outdoor use. It is a magnetic needle that is extremely precise when it comes to showing the direction. Reading topographic maps will not be an issue anymore with this Orienteering Compass.

Orienteering Compass comes equipped with a magnifier for geological maps and has got a 360-degree rotating bezel. Its magnetic needle works really fast and points to the North in the blink of an eye. Extremely durable, Orienteering Compass can withstand a lot of abuse. Be it hiking, kayaking, or Mountaineering, Orienteering Compass will not let you get lost.

6. Detuck TM Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass

Detuck TM Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass is a versatile compass that can stand the test of time. Do you love kayaking at the night? Well, Detuck TM Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass has got you covered as it stays lit in the night. All you have to do is to get it connected to an external 12V power source.

Detuck TM Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass shows the direction you are going and therefore, it should not be confused with any other ordinary compasses that point to the North. This marine compass is easy to mount. To secure it to the dashboard of the boat, you just need to use the double-sided tape.

To improve the overall accuracy of the compass, Detuck TM Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass has got two holes that you can use to make adjustments in it.

7. Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass

Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass is another versatile compass that has got Internal Green Night Illumination to facilitate night excursions. It comes fitted with 12 Volt Green Power light. Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass can be read from a distance. Deviations can be checked easily and effortlessly by harnessing the power of its built-in compensators.

To ensure smooth dial, Triple Cup Sapphire Jewel Movement and Steel Pivot are microscopically matched with utmost precision and care. No matter how extreme the situation gets, Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass will continue to offer optimal performance. Fast heading lock-on is made possible thanks to the inclusion of Directive Force Magnets in it.

Kayak Compass Buying Guide

The important aspects to consider when purchasing compasses for your kayaking trips are shared below:

1. Surface or Deck or Bulkhead Mounts

Upon selecting such types of compasses, you need screws to mount them on your kayak. You can do the needful directly or through a mounting bracket. Though, these varieties are deemed to be durable. Even so, your compass will be fixed unless you’re using detachable mounting brackets.

Besides, some models of expedition kayaks have built-in recesses for accommodating Brunton compasses.

2. Durability

Opt for compasses that can withstand a couple of inadvertent paddle thwack. All the same, go with the ones featuring domes and tough housings. Also, over time, the fluid must remain clear and you should be able to spin the dial easily upon changing routes.

Avoid models that leak after few bumpy rides or break if dropped or separate from their mounts.

One more test to consider if you’re planning on going kayaking in cold weather includes keeping the compass inside the freezer for some hours and check if the fluid inside the dome becomes ice. If yes, do not take that model. Because when gliding over waters during rough weather, you need a compass that can endure nature’s fury. So, the durability of compasses becomes an important consideration.

3. Tie-Downs

With tie-downs, your compass can be connected to bungee cables or rigging installed on your kayak bow. The pros of tie-downs include their easy to attach and remove qualities; and under cons, they break easily.

For kayaks, mounts such as the marine bracket, binnacles, dash and flush mounts are not advisable. They are more suitable for larger-sized vessels and pre-designed consoles.

4. Easy to read

Compasses that are easy to read should be your pick.

Securing Your Compass

Marine compasses can be mounted in kayaks in different ways. The general recommendation is to secure your compass such that they are in line with the keel.

Dial Clarity

You want a compass with a dial that clearly indicates the directions. Avoid the models having minute markings for they are not easy to read.

Assess Reading Angles

Compasses have to be read from particular angles – for example, from above or straight. As such, beforehand, know where you plan on mounting the compass and only select compasses that are readable from the chosen angle.

5. Removability

If you paddle several kayaks, then consider getting a removable compass. Additionally, removable varieties are useful when carrying your boat from one place to another – for your permanent fittings can get damaged in the process. In short, removable compasses can help in saving money and avoiding trouble.

Though, the downside of removable mounts is that they are not as robust as the permanent variants.

Furthermore, the Internet is flooded with a lot of incorrect information and you may come across posts that suggest adjusting your compass for declination. The reasoning behind this is embedded in science and misconceptions.


Due to the Earth’s magnetic field and true north varying as per your latitude, using magnetic north for navigating can propel you to go the wrong way.


The above holds true but only when navigating through land – and especially if you’re orienteering or hiking. Though, nautical charts have two compasses rose markings: one showing true north and the other magnetic north.

Importantly, the above-listed points denote that when using nautical charts, you need not adjust your compass to know the variance between true and magnetic north. However, only read the chart using the magnetic north rose and you’ll get a similar reading from your compass.

Last modified: July 13, 2020