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5 Best Kayak GPS in 2022 (Buying Guide & Review)

The best kayak GPS is a must for any paddler.

If you want to get the most out of your next kayaking excursion, then you need the best kayak GPS.

New technology has made it easy to find the right one for your needs and budget with this guide on how to choose the best kayak GPS.

We’ll tell you what features are important when choosing a GPS unit, how much they cost, and which ones we recommend!

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Our Top Picks

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Best GPS for Kayaking
Garmin 010-01733-00 Fenix 5X Sapphire - Slate Gray with Black Band
Best Recording GPS
Magellan TX0510SG3NA eXplorist 510 Summit Series Topo Map Bundle
Best Basic Mapping GPS
Simrad Cruise 5-5-inch GPS Chartplotter with 83/200 Transducer Preloaded C-MAP US Coastal Maps
Feature 1
Full-color mapping of different outdoor navigation
Has microphone, and speaker, which enables the user the record the experience
Has dual beam and LED backlight
Feature 2
With a battery life that would up to 12 days 
Built with a combined 3.2-megapixel camera
Fish ID, A-Scope, Bottom Lock, and Auto Range that can be used in kayak fishing
Best GPS for Kayaking
Thumbnail
Garmin 010-01733-00 Fenix 5X Sapphire - Slate Gray with Black Band
Feature 1
Full-color mapping of different outdoor navigation
Feature 2
With a battery life that would up to 12 days 
Best Recording GPS
Thumbnail
Magellan TX0510SG3NA eXplorist 510 Summit Series Topo Map Bundle
Feature 1
Has microphone, and speaker, which enables the user the record the experience
Feature 2
Built with a combined 3.2-megapixel camera
Best Basic Mapping GPS
Thumbnail
Simrad Cruise 5-5-inch GPS Chartplotter with 83/200 Transducer Preloaded C-MAP US Coastal Maps
Feature 1
Has dual beam and LED backlight
Feature 2
Fish ID, A-Scope, Bottom Lock, and Auto Range that can be used in kayak fishing

5 Best Kayak GPS

1. Garmin 010-01733-00 Fenix 5x Sapphire

Best GPS for Kayaking

Sale
Garmin 010-01733-00 Fenix 5X Sapphire – Slate Gray with Black Band
  • Ultimate multisport GPS watch with full color Topo U.S….
  • Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless…
  • Built in navigation sensors include GPS and Glonass…

Key Features:

  • Full-color mapping of different outdoor navigation
  • Sturdy design made from stainless steel 
  • Made with a built-in navigation sensor including GPS systems and GLONASS 
  • Waterproof kayaking GPS with 10 ATM waterproof as water resistance
  • With a battery life that would up to 12 days 

Garmin built most kayak GPS units for outdoor activities with longer battery life. It has the most kayak GPS reviews among the five. 

More so, it also has detailed maps that are perfect for kayaking. Although it’s a  little expensive, it is worth the price as it serves its purpose.


2. Magellan TX0510SG3NA eXplorist 510 Summit Series

Best Recording GPS

Key Features:

  • Powered by two AA batteries that would last up to 16 hours
  • It has a high sensitivity GPS tracking and reception 
  • Made with a user-friendly feature touch screen with two customizable buttons
  • Built with a combined 3.2-megapixel camera
  • Has a microphone, and speaker, which enables the user the record the experience

This handheld GPS unit is the new generation of GPS that helps wanderlust fulfill their outdoor adventure at a less price but with valuable features. It also comes with an internal memory! 

Just pack extra AA batteries in case your device dies while using it.


3. Simrad Cruise 5-5-inch GPS Chartplotter

Best Basic Mapping GPS

Sale
Simrad Cruise 5-5-inch GPS Chartplotter with 83/200 Transducer Preloaded C-MAP US Coastal Maps
  • CRUISE CONFIDENTLY: Simrad Cruise is the most intuitive,…
  • ALWAYS ON COURSE: Preloaded with a US coastal map, Simrad…
  • EFFORTLESS CONTROL: Intuitive menus let you quickly find the…

Key Features:

  • A GPS with basic mapping that has a display of 800H x 400V pixel resolution
  • Has dual-beam and LED backlight
  • Fish ID, A-Scope, Bottom Lock, and Auto Range that can be used in kayak fishing
  • Supports WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, EGNOS, and MSAS data

This WAAS-enabled GPS technology offers basic mapping, fish finding, and chart plotting. Although it does not have network features such as NMEA or Ethernet, it has a microSD memory card slot that stores Navionics and C-MAP charts.


4. Garmin GPSMAP® 78sc Marine Handheld GPS Receiver

Best for Marine Use

Key Features:

  • A marine-friendly device built with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver 
  • Waterproof and has a built-in floatation device
  • Has coastal chart, electronic compass, and barometric altimeter
  • Can share your waypoints, routes, tracks, and geocaches with a compatible device user

Garmin Marine Handheld GPS Receiver is a marine-friendly device built for your exciting water adventure.

Although it isn’t the latest model of the said brand, this device offers various features and functions such as internal memory which can be of help in uncalled times.

 It would surely make your kayak adventure still exciting, right?


5. Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Communicator

Best Communicating GPS

Key Reference:

  • Has an SOS or Emergency Messaging accessible thru Garmin App
  • Easy to use, with a variety of features to choose from
  • Can send weather forecast, current location, and waypoints you cover
  • Less expensive and portable
  • Offers Bluetooth connection, a quick connection establishment and low power consumption

Garmin inReach Explorer is a fully-featured and functional GPS with a messenger and TOPO maps.

It is also portable and straightforward, with its messaging, navigation (preloaded maps with coastal charts that the user can upload before your trip), and emergency features.

Additionally, this GPS  can also function as a normal topographic map.


best kayak gps
Source: Canva Pro

Things To Consider When Buying a Kayak GPS

Battery Life

The battery life of a GPS  is essential. By knowing your GPS’s battery life, you can understand that you can use it to its limits. Additionally, you also need to check if it can withstand a full daytime outdoor activity.

Water Resistance

As you will face the waves of different water forms in kayaking, getting a waterproof GPS device would guarantee your device’s safety and life. For instance, when you are on a massive water adventure, marine GPS units will help you locate your location.

Accuracy and Coverage

Knowing the correctness of your GPS tracker is also crucial. You should be able to tell if the device gives legit and accurate navigation and primary mapping data. Its route tracking feature should always be valid on your end.

Style

Even as an angler or a kayaker, you should never get out of style. Nowadays, GPS manufacturers have developed a sleek and modern style of GPS tracker.

But if you want a small and portable device, there would be a lot of GPS tracker devices that you can choose from.

Screen Size

Screen size will tell you the vividness of the text from the tracker and if it’s readable or not. It can also show the birdseye satellite imagery of the location you are going kayaking.

As you go to an open and outdoor place, you should need a device that offers vividness with its purpose.

Mapping

It’s also important to know the basic mapping and data that the GPS would show during your trip.

By also being aware of your tracking device’s basic mapping and coastal charts, you can also know if that device is for the area you’re going to go kayaking. 

Custom maps found in GPS navigation devices are also a good thing to consider, especially if you are a kayaker into customizations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do kayakers need a dedicated GPS unit?

If you are familiar with the place you are going to, it is fine without any dedicated GPS unit.

But if you are new to the site and are more into exploring the whole area, like finding the nearest hidden bays, islands, coastlines, and other remote spots, you need to have one.

Getting lost out on the water is no joke, though, and you should invest in getting one.

Do I need a GPS for the kayak?

If you are new to kayaking, you are most likely to lose track and navigation which would confuse you on how to get back to the place you’ve come from.

Even professionals have the same problem as you do, especially when you are kayaking on oceans or a big lake. One dedicated GPS device can surely help you conquer these waters.

Never Get Lost in Kayaking Again

A kayak is an invitation to explore and discover. Every time you do, there is always an island, coastline, or even a new bay waiting for you. Imagine getting lost in these waters? GPS devices should offer you the best feature when conquering the waters.

Whether you want to enjoy the scenery or just get entertained by the things you have found, you will never get lost again when kayaking. So remember to purchase the best kayak GPS device, and run free as you explore the great outdoors! 

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor
Johanes is a talented Editor for Cast & Spear. She's helped edit and write hundreds of articles on fishing and the outdoors. When she's not editing, she's exploring the world and documenting it on her own blog.
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Articles » Gear Reviews » 5 Best Kayak GPS in 2022 (Buying Guide & Review)