What You Will Get Here
- Why Use a GPS for Kayaking?
- Who Are This Product For?
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Things to Consider When Buying a Kayak GPS
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Best Overall : Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
- Also Great : Garmin GPSMAP
- Best for the Money : Garmin eTrex10 GPS
- List Of 6 Other GPS We Reviewed
- Can Mobile Phone Be Used Instead of Gps?
- Are Kayak GPS Fish Finders?
Why Use a GPS for Kayaking?
The kayak GPS is a handheld radio-navigation system that uses the position of satellites, and accuracy of time to locate places, objects, and people for the receiver. While kayaking in the ocean or lake, the receiver is a paddler that uses the coordinates from a water-resistant GPS to track routes and record waypoints. During adventures, you'll need guidance on directions because the route on water is not detailed like lands.
Generally, what the GPS device does is to help you get signals from the satellites that provide accurate coordinates of locations. You might be thinking of cutting cost and using your mobile phone-assisted GPS. Well, unlike mobile phones maps that need internet connectivity to work, the GPS handheld device doesn't need network connections. Instead, the handheld GPS device provides a continuous signal from multiple satellites. These satellites are in outer space and have links with land-based satellites too.
So, you don't have to pay for this service after buying a GPS device, and it's free to use from any part of the world. Apart from your location details, the GPS device can also confirm your kayak's speed, track distance, and how far you have traveled. These pieces of information allow kayak paddlers to manage their journey during adventures. Additionally, the batteries of mobile phones are less efficient than what a dedicated GPS device has. So are more appealing reasons to buy a GPS device than use your mobile phones for navigation purposes.
Who Are This Product For?
Who can benefit from the GPS for kayaking? The kayaking-friendly GPS devices are land and sea adventurers. Ideally, these navigation tools allow you to travel on the water with confidence. The products with high-end features are user-friendly, weather-proof, reliable, and accurate.
People Who like to Plan a Journey Effectively
Do you enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking? It doesn't matter whether you love to trek, hike, or ascend mountains. Kayaking involves journey management like other adventures. So, the GPS kayak should be the top choice in your safety gear compartment. As portable safety equipment, the GPS tool is outstanding and has been ranked as one of the must-haves for water adventures. Also, you'll find the features of this crucial piece of kit easy to use.
Travelers : Regardless of your hobby, traveling is an essential aspect of life. It involves direction, planning, and speed to have a rewarding journey. So, travelers on solo trips will find the GPS device as the best companion. The tool can provide real-time updates on coordinates, names of places, and information of landmark features.
Hunters : Hunting in the wilderness can be the most tricky concern for hunters. While mapping out areas with specific games, the hunter needs a GPS to guide his quest.
However, at night it could be dangerous to run into a safari of wild elephants. Without using the GPS device, it is very difficult to know the restricted areas of a game reserve.
Competition: If you are buying a GPS device for water sports competitions, then our kayak GPS review can help. It might be an uphill task to compete in large lakes or a wide ocean when visibility is poor. So, this navigation tool helps to enjoy your hobby and competitions as smoothly as possible.
Novices : Most experts started as novices. So, it was also difficult for them to track location during adventures. There's no need of being shy because this navigation technology can ease your anxiety while practicing your paddling skills. You'll find many products in this buyers' guide as better options for beginners.
Professionals: Expert paddlers, climbers, hikers, and bikers often look forward to a memorable experience. However, their level of skill might not achieve much without effective tools. A kayak GPS with automatic features can assist professional adventurers in making the right, and timely decisions that can increase their popularity. Our product review contains the best kayak GPS for experts.
How Did We Pick These Products?
As discussed in the introductory segment of this article, navigation tools are designed to prevent users from getting lost while having fun. The earliest military navigation devices from Russia and America were built to locate and guide submarines.
However, the technology has been improved, and civilians can use them as safety tools. Usually, it's amazing to experience the process that our team of navigation experts uses when they test products.
The activity involves volunteers and owners of these products. While sampling the claims from manufacturers against the performance of these products, some of them might surpass or fail to meet expectations.
According to the test results from our top picks, none of these products was found to be perfect. Instead, some of them have more features, and reliability than other kayak GPS.
I'll advise novice and professional users of kayaks to choose the GPS that's compatible with their needs. Regardless of how ergonomically designed the GPS for kayaking is, it must offer value that keeps you safe.
Things to Consider When Buying a Kayak GPS
I wouldn't advise anyone to use a GPS device for kayaking when it's not waterproof. Apart from route tracking and provision of accurate coordinates, your preferred GPS model should offer more features like data recording and high megapixels. Here are some important features that kayak users should consider before buying a GPS tool.
1. Water Resistance
Saltwater, and moisture from fog can affect the durability of a GPS device. Ideally, the screen of handheld devices like GPS is sensitive to touch and water. A water-resistant GPS model is suitable for kayaking. Practically, you know it's difficult to avoid splashes from water when you paddle, or when it rains. In extreme cases when a waterproof GPS falls overboard, if the water is shallow you retrieve the device and use it without hassles.
It's not the same for GPS devices that are not water-resistant. So, check the IP code system before you buy a GPS device for kayaking. A higher IP rating like 'IPX7' makes any GPS device protected when it's submerged in water.
2. Display Screen Size
The proper way to measure screen size is across the screen diagonally. Usually, a portable GPS device will fit into a pouch or the kayak's cockpit.
Also, some lightweight GPS tools with high-end features are worn like wrist watches. You might be lucky to get a kayak that has space to mount the GPS. In this case, the screen size should be large enough for the paddler to review any information.
Usually, GPS devices come with pre-installed maps of all regions. However, you can download maps with more features like fishing contours, current arrows, tidal graphs, and marine cartography. It only requires the GPS owner to sign-up or pay online subscriptions for advanced mapping software.
Also, it's important to download maps with coastguard locations for security. The default map might include only basic features, but high-end GPS models process more data, show routes. A good GPS device has ports for USB or Bluetooth connections. Additionally, they can display maps with shaded relief, mountains, canyons, valleys, and other landmark features.
There's every reason to choose a kayak GPS device that's compatible one of the best satellite navigation systems. The Russian GLONASS uses 24 satellites, but the U.S model runs on 31 satellites for GPS. However, GPS devices with high-end features are compatible with both the U.S GPS and Russian GLONASS satellites. This high level of compatibility ensures more accurate data from devices that can use both systems.
Most buyers of kayak accessories are attracted to cost-effective solutions and durable products. Usually, GPS products with rock-hard glass touch screens have high resistance to damages. A durable GPS device shouldn't be affected by moisture from saltwater, whitewater rivers, and choppy seas. The device could also come with anti-slip covers that ensure a firm grip. Also, their rubberized guards can minimize impacts when GPS device drops accidentally on hard surfaces.
6. Battery Life
A GPS device with long-lasting battery ensures peace of mind even when you're lost at sea. The battery life is a valuable feature of handheld device when it stays for a significant length of time. Most GPS buyers prefer lithium-ion batteries because they are very durable, but they don't come cheap. However, buyers with low budget can opt for AA batteries. An advantage with GPS tools with long battery life is that with a little charge, they can hold up when you’re out and about. Get a GPS device with a high-quality battery instead of buying spare batteries to assist a GPS tool low-quality battery.
There might be slight margins of error with a GPS device because of signal transmission. However, the Wide Area Augmentation System (WASS) technology is a feature on GPS devices for rounding-off (correcting) units readings and data. Similar to the US WASS system, the Russian GLONASS provide also corrects imperfect measurements. Usually, devices with both support systems will provide higher degrees of data accuracy that might save lives at sea.
8. The Receiver
It's important to consider where you'll be navigation before choosing a receiver. Water paths with thick vegetation and tall foliage might impact on the connectivity of the GPS device. Radio navigation systems are two-way communication gadgets. The receiver gets data from land and space satellites, processes, and uses the information to make decisions. However, the device can receive network and data with ease when you mount it on the kayak with the GPS. Also, the receiver can sync incoming data with the built-in micro SD memory card.
9. Navigation Speed and Accuracy
The GLONASS and GPS satellites support the navigation speed of high-sensitive GPS receivers. With 31 and 24 satellites for the U.S and Russia's navigation systems, a device that supports both features will have more navigation speed and accuracy.
10. Additional Features
You might need additional features after buying a kayak GPS device. Before paddling, get a plastic mount that can hold the GPS device firmly. Also, you'll need a camera for geotagging locations with images, and paperless geocaching software that supports automatic downloads.
Regular GPS devices cost less than $100, but those with high-end features cost between $200 to $500. The price of GPS devices depends on their features and quality. However, kayak navigation tools come in different designs, sizes, and shapes. Also, their processing speed and compatibility features can affect their prices too.
Our Top 10 Product List
While considering the best kayak GPS device, there are many features to check. Generally, these features are technical, and you might have to be knowledgeable to make a good choice. It's risky to take an adventure into the sea without having a radio navigation tool. However, the GPS device with basic and additional features can guide you safely.
Additionally, the best GPS for kayakers should be more adept at mapping, have an impressive IP rating, anti-glare screen protector, and the ability to track locations accurately. Our team of navigation system experts has to offer your GPS models that fit your budget.