On your kayaking expeditions, finding your way around with paper maps is not the best way forward. Instead, GPS watches are more suitable for navigating through the waters in your kayak.
The different GPS watch models come with various features. You can use them to track your whereabouts, monitor your heart rate, fix waypoints, control your speed, among others. However, amongst the varied options in GPS watches, selecting the ones that are best suited to you may not be as easy as it seems. Some are packed with jargon that you could find it difficult to understand.
Best 5 GPS Kayak Watches
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Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire has got a premium look and feel. Its LED backlight ensures great readability in low light conditions. Chroma Display adds to its elegance and overall appeal. Even under direct sunlight, you will be able to read the texts clearly and the credit must be given to the Transflective technology. You can even get it connected to your wifi network when you are not kayaking obviously! The sapphire lens is scratch resistant.
This multisport GPS watch is available for the cheap and it comes equipped with a number of cool features that are hard to ignore. Like for say, we simply can’t stop talking about its amazing Elevate wrist heart rate technology. Designed for the adventure seekers, Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire has got stainless steel bezel that adds to its impressiveness. Some of its coolest features are – 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, GLONASS satellite reception, automatic uploads, smart notifications, and more.
Amazfit Bip Smartwatch is an extremely popular GPS enabled smartwatch. Designed for fitness freaks, Amazfit Bip Smartwatch is definitely going to help you keep track of your current location while kayaking in the middle of nowhere. It has got an impressive battery life; on a single charge, it can operate for 30 days which is impressive by any standard. It comes with a number of cool features like – sleep tracking modes, e-mail, PPG heart rate sensor, GPS, always-on display, and more. Made from premium quality material, Amazfit Bip Smartwatch is not fragile at all. You will have a massive 15 hours playtime, what’s more, you can expect from a GPS enabled smartwatch?
Weighs just 32 grams, Amazfit Bip Smartwatch is extremely comfortable to wear for long hours. Amazfit Bip Smartwatch is water-resistant too and that means, you can take it with you on whitewater kayaking and it will not get damaged in the process. Perfect for everyday use, Amazfit Bip Smartwatch has got 4 different sport modes. You can count how many steps you have done or how many calories you have burnt so far.
Apple Watch Series 5 is more than what meets the eye. Its display stay lit all the time and that means, you can always check on time without having to unlock interface by swapping or doing any other fancy trick. However, the credit must be given to its Always-On Retina display.
Apple Watch Series 5 allows you to keep track on your menstrual cycle. All you have to do is to install the Cycle Tracking app and it will do the trick. Noise app will alert you whenever things start getting a bit louder and thus preventing any damage done to your inner ears. Apple Watch Series 5 has got numerous customization options. You can choose whatever material you want to have on your smartwatch. Ceramic, stainless steel, or Aluminum, it is your call after all.
Apple Watch Series 5 is designed for those who love to spend more time outdoors. It is water-resistant too and that means, you can put this watch on while going on a kayaking expedition. Apple Watch Series 5 allows you to have quick access to Apple Music library, audiobooks, and podcasts.
Apple Watch Series 5 has got a fully functional compass that will allow you to have complete control over your movements.
Suunto Traverse GPS Watch lets you navigate the water or concrete jungle with confidence as it will never allow you to get lost. Be it hiking, canoeing, or backpacking, Suunto Traverse GPS Watch could be a perfect companion. Suunto Traverse GPS Watch uses both GPS and GLONASS systems to allow its users to move around without losing their way. This smartwatch will track your ascent, descent, vertical speed, and other similar information without fail.
Suunto Traverse GPS Watch has got nice barometric trend information that alerts you whenever a storm approaching nearby so that you can make proper preparation. You will get a shiny digital compass in it. You can keep a close watch on your workout routine with its step and calorie counter feature. Suunto Traverse GPS Watch will notify you whenever there is an incoming call or SMS. The vibration is not that jarring rather it is soft and rarely will it interfere with your outdoor schedule.
Suunto Spartan Ultra HR GPS Watch is powered by a super durable battery that will last really long. It has got an impressive 26H battery life. Easily customizable, Suunto Spartan Ultra HR GPS Watch can be operated by using three simple buttons.
Suunto Spartan Ultra HR GPS Watch comes equipped with 80 different sport modes. It can measure heart rate, calories burnt, total distance covered, your speed and pace with meticulous accuracy and preciseness. You can put this on while swimming as this smartwatch is waterproof.
Suunto Spartan Ultra HR GPS Watch is basically designed for the sports fanatics. To help you navigate easily and effortlessly through unchartered territory, here you will get a digital compass. Ideal for outdoor use, this smartwatch has got a wide viewing angle and a highly responsive touchscreen.
GPS Kayaking Watch
Now, to help pick the ones that are right for you, taking into consideration some important aspects becomes important. So, here we have prepared a buying guide to help you during the selection process, from the numerous options in kayak-friendly GPS watches.
1. Battery Lifespan
Note that batteries drain quickly in cases of watches having GPS tracking. So, opt for the ones which have long battery life when set to GPS mode, so they can last throughout your kayaking trips. Then, you do not have to worry about your watch battery getting exhausted midway and, in the process, lose your way in the wilds.
2. GPS tracking mode
Taking a giant leap forward in advanced technology, GPS watches are commonly used and can turn out to be lifesavers when you’re hiking in the wilderness; this applies when you’re indulging in snow sports like hunting, hiking, snowboarding, and skiing – where you could get in trouble upon losing your way.
However, with GPS watches, you can set up base camps and, in turn, track the distance you’re traveled in a day. And if things take a turn for the worst and you get lost, you need not worry if you have access to GPS.
Among plenty of options in GRPS watches available these days, the best-rated ones are Garmin Fenix GPS Navigator and Polar M400, so consider them before making your purchases.
The most important consideration is the water-resistant aspect. Yes, the watch must be able to endure downpours, submissions, and splashes. Surely, you do not want your watch to stop working after you carelessly dropped it in the waters, right?
Though finding 100% waterproof GPS watches is impossible, yet you can avail varieties with a water-resistance rating of minimum of 5 ATM / 50 meters; they will suit your purposes.
Many kayak-friendly GPS watches are compatible with Android-based and iPhone smartphones. With such connectivity, you can send data from your watch to your phone for storage purposes. More so, you can receive important notifications and manage music on your phone with your watch. So, it is better to opt for GPS watches that are compatible with your phone’s operating systems.
5. Dependable Maps
Navigation watches having add-on features such as precise and comprehensive maps are a wise buy. Go with GPS watches that come with premium maps and have room to load more maps as well. Then, you can find your way easily through unknown territories.
6. In-Built Compass
For an afternoon trip or when you’re going camping, having a basic set of tools can make life really easy, and we are not indicating only towards a Swiss Army knife or treats.
Rather a watch with an in-built compass is an invaluable tool. Sure, you may be good with directions, but even then, having a compass helps.
Additionally, watches with compasses are readily available and you can purchase good quality ones for around a hundred dollars.
Besides, you can avail watches that have altimeters and barometers; they may come in handy if you’re camping away from the hustle-bustle of cities and in the varied nature settings.
Most kayakers are satisfied with watches which include compasses as a bonus. For a weekend away, such watches are good enough. Though, for those groups who love to spend their days in the waters, they may prefer the hi-tech ones.
Check whether the watch display is visible in all types of conditions – notwithstanding whether you strap the watches on decks or your wrist. A wide interface with high resolution, sunlight visibility, and backlight for low-light views are vital. So look for these features before taking your pick from the available models.
8. Internal Memory
Choose GPS watches with sufficient internal memory for storing apps, tracks, and maps. Then, you can collect data, call for help, and respond quickly, whenever the need arises. Moreover, you should be able to insert cables or memory cards in the devices for facilitating data transfers if required.
Yeah we understand that some people treat wristwatch as a fashion statement but believe me GPS watches have more to offer other than making you look cool and casual. GPS watches can be a life saver in time of crisis. You simply can’t reply on smartphones to help you keep a track of the road if you are an outdoorsy type like me. smartphones are highly unreliable and their batteries don’t last for more than a day or two. And on top of that, smartphone if dropped in water become junks. They are designed for city goers and not for paddlers like you and I. Since you will be wearing the GPS watch on your wrist, chances of dropping them accidently is very slime. And even in some worse case scenario, if you do drop them in water, they can survive. Most GPS watches that are commonly available in the market are waterproof. This is the reason why having a GPS wrist Watch makes perfect sense if you are passionate about paddling.
10. Easy to use
GPS watches are easy to use are a recommended buy. As such, when drifting in the waters in your kayak, you want to be able to operate your GPS watch with both wet or gloves in hand. That said, the button-based interface models are easy to use if your hands are wet or when you’re wearing your kayaking gloves. Also, you want to be able to customize the display as suited to your kayaking trips.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.