So you love to go fishing on your kayak? A lot of people does. Some even use trolling motor to go to remote lakes for fishing on their beloved kayak. Everything sounds ok, till you get lost in the remote area.
This could be a nightmare if you don’t know the way back home or if you don’t have an active GPS system with you. If you are kayaking on a remote area or you are just new to the place, a kayak GPS would be very helpful on such occasions.
Even though I am well aware of the places I visit, I always bring a kayak GPS to face such accidents. So if anyhow I forget the way back to home, I will just open the GPS system and get back easily. Sometimes I mark my favorite fishing spots on the GPS, so I can always come back later to the same place to stow the biggest fish on my kayak catch cooler.
- 1 Best Kayak GPS Comparison Chart
- 2 What is GPS?
- 3 The Best Kayak GPS On The Market
- 4 How to Choose the Best GPS for Kayaking?
- 5 Final Verdict
Our Top Choice
WAAS and GLONASS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix satellite prediction, Oregon 600 can precisely locate your position
Best Kayak GPS Comparison Chart
|Garmin Oregon 600||3-inch||4.8||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|Garmin eTrex 10||2.2-inch||4.6||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|Garmin Montana 680 GPS||4-inch||4.7||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|Garmin GPSMAP 78||2.6-inch||4.5||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|Magellan eXplorist GC||2.2-inch||4||Shop now at Amazon.com|
What is GPS?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It’s a network of the orbiting satellites which sends precise details of the position to a GPS receiver. GPS system can be available at a lot of types of devices. Some devices are solely used for only GPS features.
Why Do You Need A Kayak GPS?
There are several reasons why you may need a GPS for kayaking. The main reason to get a GPS is safety. There are some portable fishfinders with GPS too. Instead of providing a brief, I am going to share the reasons on bullet points
- Safety: Safety is the main reason to own a GPS system. As I have mentioned earlier, you may love to explore new and remote places. Thus, there are chances that you might get lost or forget the way back to home. Or you may want to share the location with other to easily find you.
- Storing points: A lot of fisherman loves to go back to their favorite fishing spots. It’s much easier when you get the location listed on your GPS system. The Same thing also applies for sightseeing.
- Exploring: Sightseeing is an activity loved by the kayakers. So exploring an unknown place is much easier when you have a GPS system on your hand.
Why Do We Prefer GPS system over Smartphone GPS?
Yes, you can use your smartphone to get GPS features, but there are something more on a GPS device than a smartphone. Let’s see few of the important reasons to choose GPS system over smartphone GPS feature.
- Battery: Unless you are living under a rock, you probably have a smartphone of your own. You know how poor battery supports these smartphones provide. A kayak GPS system will last for a long time, while a smartphone won’t.
- Durability: GPS handheld systems are more rugged than most smartphones. A lot of kayak GPS are waterproof and can handle harsh marine environments
- Mapping: A smartphone requires network connectivity for mapping, while a GPS system does not. This is crucial when you are exploring places where network signal is not available or poor.
The Best Kayak GPS On The Market
Best GPS For kayaking: Garmin Oregon 600 is a worldwide handheld GPS with 3-inch sunlight readable display. This little GPS device has touchscreen functionality with multi-touch capability. You can take this device to kayak through the mountains or heavily treed areas, and it will still provide great support.
By the utilization of both GPS and GLONASS, this device has very good reception ability. It is also WAAS compatible. One of the coolest things about this device is very easy to maintain and understand.
You can share routes, tracks, waypoints or geocaches with the ANT or Bluetooth technology. You can switch between portrait or landscape views for easy reading. Three sensors are used on this device: 3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter. For battery purpose, you can use either the rechargeable NiMH pack (which you need to purchase separately) or with the traditional AA batteries.
This GPS device is packed with lots of features like the BaseCamp, where you can plan your trip by creating Garmin Adventures to share with your buddies.
- Easy to maintain and operate
- Dual band GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning for better reception
- Share waypoints, routes, tracks, custom maps and more with Bluetooth
- Dual battery system: NiMH battery pack (bought separately) or traditional 2AA batteries
- Different sensors
- Easy to add maps
- Easily load Geocaches
- Water drops might cause trouble to touch sensitivity. However, a few drops didn’t cause trouble to me
- Display is small
Worldwide Handheld GSP Navigator
Best Bang For Your Buck: Garmin eTrex 10 is the best cheap kayak GPS in the market. Garmin eTrex 10 is an incredible GPS navigator which comes at a very low price. For kayaking, you need a rugged and waterproof GPS device. Garmin eTrex 10 has a rugged body with a waterproof level of IPX7 standards. So it can withstand splashes, water drops, rains, etc.
There are several variations of this device, but the basic one is sufficient for more kayakers. The device comes with a 2.2-inch monochrome display and it is preloaded with worldwide basemap. The device is WAAS-enabled GPS receiver with HotFix & GLONASS support. Thus, the positioning is fast and the signal is good too.
You can power up this device with two AA batteries for up to 20 hours of use. So, if you like small devices which are easy to manage, Garmin eTrex 10 is a fantastic GPS for kayaking for you.
- Low price
- Rugged design
- Waterproof IPX7 standard
- WAAS enabled GPW with HotFix and GLONASS support
- Supports paperless geocaching
- Two AA batteries power it up to 20 hours of use
- Compact design for easy operating and managing
- small 2.2-inch display
Garmin Montana 650 is a famous GPS device for outdoor explorers. If you can remember, the Montana 600 was hugely popular, and the Montana 650 kept all the features and improved them for better performance. You get a lot of map overlay option to easily get the necessary information.
Like a good GPS device, it allows you to share waypoints and images with other compatible Garmin devices. Since we the kayakers are close to the water, Montana 650’s shock and water-resistant body is very beneficial for us.
Garmin Montana 650 comes with a 4-inch color screen. The backlit color screen can be easily seen on both day and night. It’s small enough to manage easily and big enough to see the data quickly.
There are lots of other advanced features like it can be loaded with TOPO 100k maps, bluechart marine maps, CityNavigator maps, etc. You can even use the MicroSD card port to use custom maps. What’s more, you can download geocaching.GPX file for accessing more hidden caches. Please note that for using different Maps, you may have to buy theme separately.
In my opinion, Garmin Montana 650 is the best kayak GPS you can find in the market. I completely love the features and rugged body of Montana 650 GPS.
- 4-inch perfect display for kayak GPS
- color display can be seen on sunlight or in night
- Share waypoints
- Preload 250,000 worldwide geocaches from geocaching.com
- GPS and GLONASS
- WASS enabled receiver
- Quickly and easily locates your precise position
- Organize and navigate through the waypoints, routes, and track logs
- Can be loaded with TOPO 100K maps, BlueChart marine apps, custom maps via MicroSD card (You may have to buy Maps separately)
- GPS and HotFix technology even detects at you kayaking on remote and heavy tree zones
- Camera isn’t that great
- Display resolution could be better
(2.6 inch Marine GPS Navigator and Worldwide Chartplotter)
This is a small yet highly efficient marine GPS navigator at a very decent price tag. Garmin GPSMAP 78 comes with a small 2.6-inch display with easy to access keys. The TFT display has a 160×240 pixel resolution.
Despite the small size, this GPS navigator came with a MicroSD card slot to load additional maps. The built-in worldwide basemap is very efficient, though. You can also use the Garmin Connect to send your activities and send tracks to other outdoor devices.
Since we are talking about kayak GPS, it’s worth mentioning that this is waterproof to IPX7 standards. It even floats in the water. There are tons of other features like geocaching GPX file to download geocaches to deliver straight to the Garmin GPSMAP 78.
- MicroSD Card Slot for additional maps
- Built-in basemap
- Garmin connect to share activities with outdoor devices
- Waterproof standard IPX7
- Floats on water
- Download geocaches
- Slim and lightweight compact design
- High portability
- Small Display
Waterproof Geocaching GPS
Magellan eXplorist GV is a geocaching GPS with a 2.2-inch LCD display. The display can be seen on direct sun-light. The main functionality is it can easily connect with the Geocaching.com user community. You can do various stuffs like perform a “Send to GPS”, create and sync pocket queries. The device is pre-loaded with the most popular geocaches in the world.
The user interface is pretty easy to understand. The intuitive interface can be handled with the simple controls and menu. You can easily navigate the menu with the rich graphics. The device is WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS supported.
You can download more than 20 unique characteristics of each cache and view, search, filter on the device. Up to 10,ooo geocaches on the can be stored on the device.
The device is rugged and waterproof to IPX-7 standards. 2 AA batteries provides 18 hours of battery life to the Magellan eXplorist GC.
- Compact design
- 2.2-inch LCD display
- Paperless Geocaching
- Easily connects with Geocaching.com user community
- Easy intuitive user interface
- Easy controls and menus
- Display readable in direct sunlight
- High-sensitivity SiRFstarIII GPS
- Waterproof standard IPX7 standards
- 2 AA batteries give 18 hours of usage time
- worldwide basemap
- Screen is very small
- Reading on direct sunlight is not that easy
- Takes time to understand the system
- No manual provided, had to read online
How to Choose the Best GPS for Kayaking?
Choosing the best Kayak GPS for your next journey is easy and simple to do. Kayaking or Fishing is different than hiking or other ground activities. For kayaking or fishing, you need a GPS device which is rugged and has the ability to face tough marine environments. In that way, it will be very beneficial to you. There are some factors to look to, before landing the best handheld GPF for fishing or kayaking.
Durability is one of the most important issues while choosing a GPS device. Most of the previously designed GPS devices had poor materials, which could easily break down. Nowadays manufacturers are offering metallic finish to the GPS devices for improved durability. These devices are stronger than ever and offer impact resistant.
Since we kayak on the water, a good kayak GPS device needs to be waterproof. When we fish, we are close to the water, and thus a waterproof device is better. You can also use screen protectors, waterproof casing to prevent water from getting into a regular GPS device.
As I have mentioned earlier, a good kayak GPS device will always come with excellent battery support. Assume, you are exploring a new place and suddenly your smartphone or GPS device shutting down. You don’t know the place; you don’t know how to get back and you stuck there for an uncertain period of time. It sucks, right?
This is why you need to choose a GPS device which comes with enough juice to provide direction for a long time. We have mentioned some kayak GPS devices with a better battery. Besides the more extended battery, it needs to be easily rechargeable and has fast recharging time. Things to consider when buying a kayak GPS system is:
- Lithium batteries tend to offer better battery life
- Inbuilt batteries to make it portable
- For economic purpose, rechargeable batteries are better
Coverage and Reception
The main reason of getting a GPS device is to receive the data from the satellites. Most GPS devices use WAAS (Wide Augmentation System) receiver to locate the route, landmarks, coastline while on the water etc. Your kayak GPS need to have fast reception because you might be using a trolling motor for high speed.
A good kayak GPS device will be able to receive data on a very dense forest too. I am not suggesting you to go to forest, but a lot of kayakers go.
There might be other systems, but the point is the GPS device need to have better reception and more coverage to places.
You will find different GPS devices with different display sizes. The resolution will very upon devices. A good resolution will allow you to see data more clearly. A kayak GPS might be between 2.2 inches to 5.7 inches. A small screen would be hard to read, while a big screen GPS device would be hard to carry. My suggestion is to choose a GPS device with 3.5 inches to 4 inches. Thus, you get to see the data more easily and quickly.
Ease of Use
A GPS device should be easy to control and read. I tried to mention the ones with easy reading and mapping. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and that’s totally ok. You need a device which requires less time to understand the readings.
Let’s acknowledge, not matter whether we are professional or just a noob explorer, we get lost at sometimes at some of our kayaking trips. This is why it is wise to grab the best kayak GPS for your next endeavour. My suggestion is to get the Garmin Oregon 600. I have personally used the Garmin Oregon 600 for a lot of my outdoor activities, and I am perfectly happy with it. For fishing purpose, Garmin Montana 680 is my favorite for taking pictures. However, if you are low on budgets, you should grab the Garmin eTrex 10. I have used Garmin eTrex 10 for few of my kayaking trips, and it delivered what it promised. If you have any suggestions or opinion regarding kayak GPS, you can leave them in the comments section below. I hope these great kayak GPS device will help you to improve your next journey. Happy kayaking.