5 Best Kayak GPS in 2023 (Buying Guide & Review)

Photo of author
Last Updated:

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.

5 Best Kayak GPS

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

Best GPS for Kayaking

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

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.


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.


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! 

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube

are inflatable kayaks good for fishing

Are Inflatable Kayaks Good for Fishing?

Inflatable kayaks have been causing quite a stir in the angling community lately. But are they worth the hype? We’re here to help you chart a course through the world of inflatable kayaks for fishing. In this article, we’ll weigh them against their traditional counterparts, explore their advantages and disadvantages, and steer you toward making
how to transport a kayak without a roof rack

How to Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack: Practical Solutions and Tips

There might be times when you don’t have a roof rack to carry your kayak. Fret not! You can still transport a kayak without relying on a roof rack for your vehicle. In this article, we’ll unveil simple, practical solutions, tips, and methods that enable you to transport your kayak without a roof rack. This
what to wear for kayaking

What to Wear Kayaking: A Comprehensive Guide

Dressing for your angling adventures is crucial for both comfort and safety on the water. Choose quick-drying, moisture-wicking materials like synthetic or merino wool. This will keep you dry and comfortable in varying weather conditions. A lightweight, long-sleeved top and shorts or pants are perfect. These offer protection from the sun and shield you from

How to Prevent Sea Sickness While Fishing

To prevent seasickness while fishing, you can try taking seasickness medication (non-drowsy Dramamine, with doctor’s consent), staring at the horizon, getting fresh air on your face, drinking some ginger ale, or wearing a seasickness band. I remember the first time I got seasick; it was the worst feeling ever. What triggered it was a lack
best fishing apps

The 10 Best Fishing Apps of 2023

A.N.G.L.R. tops our list of the best fishing applications of 2023. You can log your information into the system to track your previous catches and where you retrieved them. Moreover, this app lets you know your location, the time of the day, and baits and lures ideal for fishing in that specific spot. It can
types of kayaks

Different Types of Kayaks

Being in nature can be one of the most peaceful and exhilarating experiences. Paddling through glassy waters with only the sounds of wildlife can fill you with a sense of wonder. And kayaking is one of the best ways to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. But before heading out on your next kayaking