Whether you’re in for the serenity and peace of getting lost in the moment or a heart-stopping roller coaster exhilaration, kayaking is an activity that will not let you down.
Kayaking definitely offers you the chance to get close to nature and be with friends, but it’s also easy to ruin a vacation on an island. That’s why it’s important for every kayaker or water sports enthusiast to consider wearing a smartwatch on their adventure.
GPS watches are not just timekeepers but are equipped with features that will make your kayaking or canoeing adventure more fun. For instance, GPS watches are more kayak-friendly than a paper map.
The tricky part, though, is to choose the best watch for kayaking that will suit your needs. A notable sports smartwatch brand we can recommend is Garmin. They have specific functions meant for outdoor sports and utilizes metrics to read the weather or serve as your compass.
Using a GPS watch for your kayaking expeditions will likewise help you determine how far you’ve traveled, what your pace is with the allowance for currents and tides, or simply as your backup aid for navigation.
So, if you’re looking for the best GPS watches for kayaking, we listed below some ideas and suggestions of the best Garmin watch for kayaking to learn everything you need to know before you buy.
Top 5 Best Garmin Watch for Kayaking
The Garmin Fenix 5 is a rugged and premium multisport GPS smartwatch that is ideal for kayaking. Thanks to its outdoor sensors, including the GLONASS and GPS navigation system that provides a position on your adventure.
Its full-color, high-resolution, and bright Garmin Chroma Display ensures great sunlight visibility and in all ambient conditions. The Sapphire series of this Fenix 5 watch likewise feature a scratch-resistant sapphire lens, meaning it is extremely durable and can stand in harsh environments.
As a performance widget, this GPS Fenix 5 watch also shows the progress and effects of your workouts. The case material of this watch is a fiber-reinforced polymer and it has stainless steel (rear cover).
- Fit for adventure
- With outdoor sensors and a 3-axis compass
- Sunlight visible
- Can withstand harsh conditions (Fenix 5 sapphire lens)
- multisport GPS watch
- With wrist-based heart rate
- Smart notifications
- Advanced fitness features
- Good battery life (Up to 24 hours in GPS mode and up to 14 days if in smartwatch mode)
- Heavy than other kayaking watches
The Garmin VivoActive is also one of the best kayaking watches out there in the market. It has about a 13-hour battery life if you use the GPs the whole time but can last up to seven days of normal smartwatch mode.
Its activity tracking feature records the distance you traveled, your daily step count, calories burned, intensity minutes, as well as your sleep statistics. In short, it is a sports watch that is ideal not just for kayakers but fitness lovers too.
- Wrist-based heart rate
- Connected smartwatch features
- Stylish design
- Smartphone compatibility
- Pre-loaded indoor sports apps, including swimming, running, and more
- Monitors fitness level
- Lacks advanced metrics than other Garmin smartwatches
- Wrist heart rate technology not very detailed
Kayak, run, sprint, race, swim, bike, spin, tri, or row with Forerunner 35. It is intuitive to use and has a simple interface. In just a few minutes of wearing it, you will feel comfortable navigating its features.
Worth mentioning is its Move IQ® feature that captures various activities, like running and walking. It also has a built-in GPS that tracks how fast and how far you traveled or ran.
You also get access via desktop or mobile app the Garmin Connect to see the Move IQ captured data in more detail, compete against others, and join challenges.
The wrist-based heart rate moreover monitors your heart rate 24/7 as you paddle without a chest strap. Furthermore, when Forerunner 35 is paired with a compatible device, it can pull social media and text notifications.
- Built-in GPS
- Smart notifications
- Live to track
- free access to online fitness community
- Wrist-based heart rate tech
- Good battery life (up to 9 days for watch mode, 13 hours for GPS training mode)
- It may be a little bit challenging to plan a workout program in the Garmin app
- Few users find the screen quality not as impressive as other Garmin watches
Garmin Forerunner 15 has various functions and some work better than other kayak watches. It maps out your route not just in terms of kayaking trips but runs too!
As you save these activities, you can classify or name them. Then, it has an activity breakdown that allows you to view how your day spent doing activities and what their intensity levels are, whether those are high activity, active, or sedentary.
- Up to 8 hours of battery life (training mode) or 5 weeks when used as an activity tracking or watch mode.
- Fair price
- Does not track sleep
- No wireless syncing
Interested? Check it out on this link!
If you want to make the most out of your time in the water kayaking, then pick the Garmin Quatix® 6X Solar. It is a multisport GPS smartwatch that allows you to leave the cord at home, take the helm, and solar charge.
To follow a GPS route, engage pattern steering, and change heading, you may use the autopilot app from your watch. Another interesting feature of this smartwatch is the Fusion-Link audio system that enables you to take control of your onboard entertainment system when used in boats.
This smartwatch does not just work for water but is also pre-loaded with applications for contactless payments, workouts, and more!
- Solar charging (24 days of battery life)
- Boat data function
- Comprehensive connectivity
- Autopilot control
- Waypoint marketing
- Sailassist capabilities
- Has integrated Navionics data
- Few users find it difficult to set up the watch at first
What to Look for When Buying a Garmin Watch for Kayaking
Paddlers need to look for these specific features when buying the best GPS watches:
1. Excellent Battery Life
Having a kayaking GPS watch with an excellent battery life sure matters, especially if you journey out into the water over a long distance or you kayak frequently. Garmin watches usually have 13 to 20 hours of battery life although it may lessen when used in GPS mode.
Smartwatches are not 100% waterproof, but you can find one that is water-resistant. It is always worth checking the depth to which a GPS watch is water-resistant.
3. GPS Technology Sync
A reliable smartwatch with a built-in GPS tech is vital for your navigation and safety. It will help you determine your exact location or how far you’ve traveled.
The GPS data will likewise help you understand better your paddling pace and other factors that affect your kayak, like the type of paddle you use, sudden changes in angle and direction, and the sea conditions.
4. Multi-Sport Tracking Ability
When choosing the best watches for kayaking, it would be better if it has a multi-sport tracking activity so it can gather data from your activity and display it in graphs or figures.
This feature is important if you are a triathlon or multisport athlete since you can fine-tune your activity, making it easier to achieve your fitness goals.
Final Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?
Garmin is truly one of the most trusted names among athletes who want to track their progress. And if we are to pick which one should you buy in the list we provided above, then it would be the Quatix® 6X Solar.
Once you get accustomed to the buttons, it is easy to use and it synchronizes with GPS satellites and with your phone.
We also consider it as a superb multisport watch that is jam-packed with features and takes control of your kayak from your wrist. The watch itself is pre-loaded with apps for kayak, boating, autopilot control, tides, and fishing.
So there you go! Enjoy the outdoors when any of these watches but remember to also stay safe on the water.
If you liked this article, you might want to check out our other reviews such as Best Garmin Watches for Walking, Best Garmin Watches for Hunting, and Best Garmin Watches for Trail Running at EvesWatch.com.
My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.