17 Best Watches For Kayaking In 2023:Super Reliable Options

Are you looking for the best watch for kayaking?

Choosing the best kayaking watch is helpful to monitor your performance from the beginning. You can see whether you are improving or not.

You might have planned a kayaking trip with your friends but still aren’t sure which is the best smartwatch for kayaking.

Or maybe you’ve recently come across kayaking and are Googling about the best kayak gps, best touchscreen gps for kayaking, and best watch for paddle boarding before going on your first kayaking trip.

Not all smartwatches can be used for kayaking because this water activity is not common.

Here are the 17 best watches for kayaking that you can consider to help you keep track of your kayak.

Best Watch For Kayaking


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Top Picks:

Our PickGarmin Fenix 6Rugged construction perfect for kayaking. Premium features with lasting battery life. Precise fitness tracking.
Best Budget Friendly OptionAmazfit BIP by HuamiLightweight and comfortable. Amazing battery life. Fast GPS and multiple sports modes.
Best Display Garmin Epix Pro Gen 2Bright AMOLED display with higher resolution. Touchscreen. Advanced sensors and fitness trackers.

17 Best Watches For Kayaking In 2023:Super Reliable Options

1. Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 6 for kayaking is one of the best Garmin for kayaking because the design does not make you look like you are wearing a GPS watch.

The rugged yet sophisticated design is tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance, and the premium materials fit the look of your lifestyle with a stylish stainless steel bezel, making it the best Garmin for paddling.

Garmin Fenix 6 comes in 3 different case sizes (42 MM, 47 MM & 51 MM) and 3 editions (STANDARD, SAPPHIRE & SOLAR). The case size represents the diameter of the watch house. 

As for the editions, Sapphire editions feature a scratch-resistant sapphire lens, while Solar editions have Power Glass lenses that harvest solar energy.

You can also choose whether to have the premium feature or not on the watch. These features include ski maps, PacePro, Trendline Popularity Routing, and the ability to preload music.

Features included in this watch:

  • Clock
  • Health monitoring
  • Sensors
  • Daily Smart Features
  • Safety and tracking features
  • Activity tracking
  • Gym and fitness
  • Training, planning, and analysis
Get a battery boost by solar charging

Long battery life (Up to 9 days or more with solar)

Solid and robust design

Accurate activity tracking

Very expensive

Connect IQ store is still a bit impractical

Not many new features over Fenix 5

Solar charging requires 3 hours of strong sunlight to fully charge

Complicated map navigation

This Garmin watch kayaking is made for adventurers who are very serious about their fitness and if you are one of them, you should consider investing in this device.

2. Fitbit Charge 5 

The best watch for kayaking under $200 is the Fitbit Charge 5. This paddle smart watch is a no-brainer if you want the best GPS watch for kayaking but dislike the bulky types.

Fitbit Charge 5 comes in 3 different colors:

1. Black strap with graphite stainless steel

2. Lunar white strap with soft gold stainless steel

3. Steel blue strap with platinum stainless steel

Difference between Fitbit Charge 4 and Fitbit Charge 5:

Fitbit Charge 4Fitbit Charge 5
DesignOLED touchscreenAMOLED always-on color touchscreen
SpecsNo EDA sensor

No ECG readings
EDA sensor included

ECG readings included
Features No Daily Readiness

No Stress Management
Daily Readiness included

Stress Management Score included

Not only can you track your steps, but the Fitbit Charge 5 can also track over 20 different workout types from yoga to cycling.

Other features included:

  • Smart notification
  • Silent alarms & smart wake
  • Sleep tracking & sleep score
  • Active zone minutes – This will guide you to your target heart rate zone and help you keep up the intensity.
  • Heart rate notification

It also has built-in GPS to monitor your distance and pace on the screen.

A 6-month Premium Membership is included, complete with personalized insights, advanced analytics, and guided programs.

The battery life is up to 7 days which is longer than other Fitbit watches.

Suitable for small wrists


Easy to use

Supports Google Fast Pair

Battery life lasts up to 7 days
Cannot store & play music

Cannot connect with Alexa & Google


Cannot count stairs

Battery lasts 3 full days if the always-on display is enabled during the day

If you buy this watch for kayaking during the sale, you can get it for as low as $129.95. 

3. Suunto 9 Peak Pro

Best Watch For Kayaking

If you’re looking for a watch with best GPS tracker for kayaking then Suunto 9 Peak Pro is the watch for you.

With 4 systems connected with 32 satellites, the GPS accuracy of this watch is quite unrivalled. Coupled with military-grade durability and modes for 97 sports, this will be a great investment if you’re a regular thrill-seeker.

Fully Charged In 1 hour.

Supports GPS/QZSS/Galileo/Beidou/GLONASS

Water-resistant, up to 100 m

Can connect with 200+ fitness apps

Battery lasts 40 hrs in full GPS mode,
70 hrs in endurance mode

More responsive interface

Doesn’t have multiband GNSS chipsets

Can measure depth only up to 10 m

Doesn’t have storage for music

Doesn’t have color map with turn-by-turn navigation

4. Polar M430 

The Polar smartwatch is one of the best smartwatches for kayaking due to its excellent functionality and reasonable price.

Plus, Polar brand is a trusted brand globally and it is an excellent series of Polar vantage M.

Not only does it have functional sports tracking features for land sports but it also works for water sports like kayaking.

The good part about this kayak watch is if the option to track a specific default type of sport is not available, you can select option “other” and look for the sport through the Polar Flow app.




Has up to 130 different sports-specific profiles including kayaking
The design is outdated

No navigation features or compass

Uncomfortable to wear for a long time

5. Amazfit BIP by Huami

The design of this kayak GPS watch is like the Apple Watch but this one is affordable. You can get it for less than $150.

Despite the affordable price, the features are as good as other best watches for kayaking. 

Amazfit BIP Smartwatch can receive notifications for messages, incoming calls, and emails as well as other alerts from your mobile phone.

Can detect GPS fast

Can map your kayaking routes

Excellent battery life


Comfortable to wear overnight

12 Months replacement warranty
Unable to reply to messages directly

Cannot talk using the smartwatch

Cannot play music

Unable to detect muscle training

6. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS

This best Garmin watch for paddling is simple to use and comfortable. 

The good part is it is water-resistant with built-in GPS that accurately tracks your paddling. Other than that, it has all-day tracking such as steps, heart rate, and calories.

If you pair this Garmin kayaking watch with your phone, you will receive notifications through your watch, track Garmin kayak activity, and sync all of your fitness data to the Garmin Connect app.

One of the advantages of this best fitness tracker for kayaking is that it supports external ANT+ sensors which means you can use it with Garmin’s Foot Pod or a chest-strap heart rate monitor to accurately track indoor workouts.

Simple and easy to set up


Lightweight and comfortable
Unreliable GPS and heart rate tracker

Limited activities tracker

Limited battery life

Does not have a touch screen feature

7. Suunto Traverse

Suunto Traverse is integrated with GPS navigation and GLONASS navigation that helps you plan your way into the wild.

GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) is a Russian space-based satellite navigation system that operates as part of a radio navigation-satellite service.

This best GPS device for kayaking is one of the easier watches to figure out and is equipped with a few buttons. This means that this watch is not a touch screen watch.

In addition to the traditional features which are compass, timekeeper, altimeter, and barometer, it also includes many GPS-enabled options.

Good accuracy

Built-in flashlight mode

Very durable

Poor battery life

Strap pins are not durable

Lack customization features

Button control is not user friendly

8. Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS 

If you are looking for the best smart watch for kayaking that can make your day easier, you might want to consider this watch as it has a contactless payment solution that will let you pay for purchases with your watch.

The GPS function of this Garmin kayak watch is very good, it can collect pace information, distance and location while kayaking.

You can use this Garmin for kayaking watch for up to 13 hours of GPS tracking and can customize the data fields that suit your preference.

Durable and lightweight

Water-resistant (5ATM)

User-friendly display
with backlight for night vision

Has paddling mode

Stress measurement

Design not updated

iOS users cannot reply to texts

Cannot support music playback

Cluttered Garmin Connect

9. HUAWEI Watch GT

Huawei Watch GT has excellent functionalities that can meet almost everything you require. It acts as a self trainer assistant to help you reach your desired goal in different ground sports including kayaking. 

To give your wrist comfort and anti-friction, the bezel is coated with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon). The design doesn’t look like you are wearing a smartwatch.

It comes in 2 different sizes (42 & 46 mm) and multi-designer kayaking watches to allow you to match your style.


Suitable for light water activities

Long battery life

Solid design
Cannot withstand high pressured water sports

No contactless payment

10. Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness

Simple yet futuristic design, the Fitbit Blaze Smart Watch is one of the best watches for kayaking.

You can use it for multi-sport tracking like biking, running, and cardio. Smart Track will automatically record your workouts on your dashboard.

The SmartTrack mechanism will automatically update the records of your energy-burning rate, heart rate monitor, and others.

It also performs general daily activities such as alerts, alarms, and accepts messages and calls.

Easily syncs with the phone

Easy to use

Very responsive touch screen

Cannot play music

Not suitable for slim hands

No built-in GPS

11. Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness

If you are looking for a small-size watch for kayaking, this one’s for you.

Although the size is small, it can measure calories burned, read heartbeats, and has up to 15 exercise modes like swimming, running, biking and yoga.

You can get real-time statistics while working out to see how your performance is.

Fitbit Charge 3 can connect with your phone to get texts, calls, and other notifications.


Strap easy to change

Female health features

Long battery life

Sleep tracker
No built-in GPS

Cannot play music

Monochrome display

Proprietary charger

Cannot download apps

12. Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Garmin Vivoactive 4S can keep track of your energy levels, oxygen pulse, stress level, sleep tracker, and menstrual cycles.

You can also download or play songs from Deezer, Amazon Music, or Spotify and connect with headphones.

Unlike other smartwatches, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 kayaking watch has safety and tracking features like incident detection and assistance which will send your real-time location to your emergency contact. These features absolutely make it worth buying. 

It also has other common features such as being able to connect with your phone to receive incoming calls, text messages, and receive notifications.

Has contactless payment mode

Water-resistant (5 ATMs)

Full GPS

Good for triathletes

On-screen animations
Short battery life (up to a week)

Doesn’t work well with other apps


13. COROS Vertix 2

If you’re looking for kayak watches with good battery life, COROS Vertix 2 is a great choice. With a rugged make, titanium alloy bezel and scratch resistant sapphire glass screen, COROS Vertix 2 makes a perfect fit for an adventure sport like kayaking.

Waterproof up to 100 m, it can also operate well at sub-zero temperatures.

Pros Cons

5 tracking systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS)

Battery lasts 90 hrs with all 5 systems

Dual Frequency

Heavy duty

Quite bulky


Maps without navigation

No online music streaming

Additionally, this watch can integrate multiple fitness apps, has 30+ activity modes and can track heart rate, HRV, steps, and sleep 24/7.

14. Garmin Instinct 2

Best Watch For Kayaking

Another great Garmin watch for kayaking, the Instinct 2 is a rugged watch with high water resistance. With high contrast displays, thermal and shock resistant properties, this watch is perfect for your adventurous lifestyle .

Lasting Battery

Multi GNSS Support

Trackback Routing

Accurate tracking

Durable design
Might feel bulky


Watch strap might be small.

15. Amazfit GTR 4

Best Watch For Kayaking

Amazfit GTR 4 is another fantastic options if you’re looking for a GPS smartwatch with AI assistant and turn-by-turn navigation.


Dual Band GPS

Built in Alexa assistant

AI Zepp coach for personalized training

Responsive UI
Size might feel huge.

App might be slow occasionally.

16. Garmin Epix Pro

With a resilient construction and superior AMOLED display, the Garmin Epix Pro is definitely one of the best watches for kayaking.


Lasting Battery

Built in LED Flashlight

Upgraded heart rate sensor

Advanced training features

Multi band GPS + SatIQ technology
Garmin Connect app glitches at times.

Quite expensive

17. SUUNTO Vertical

Quite a durable watch, the SUUNTO Vertical is an adventure GPS watch perfect for kayaking, given its GPS and tracking accuracy, and heavy duty design.

Best Watch For Kayaking

Dual band GNSS tracking

Offline maps

Lasting battery life

Quick charge in 10 mins
No offline music

UI might lag sometimes


4 Things To Look For In A Good Watch for Kayaking

There are a few things to look for in a good GPS watch to ensure that you do not make a redundant purchase. 

Let’s take a look at the criteria you need to consider when looking for the best watch for kayaking.

Best Watch For Kayaking

1. Practicality

The most important thing is that you have to know how to use the smart watch for kayaking. No matter how good the watch is, if you don’t know how to use the features, the watch will be useless to you.

Also, go for watches that can be used with wet hands or gloves. Usually, a button-based interface is the best choice 

It is better if the watch display can be customized so that it can suit the the environment in which you are kayaking.

2. Water Resistance

Look for a kayaking GPS watch that has high water resistance which can withstand downpours, splashes, and little submersions.

It is impossible to find a waterproof GPS watch, so look for one that has a water-resistant rating of 50 meters or 5 ATMs (atmospheres).

3. Display & Size

best watch for kayaking

The display should be large and clear enough for you to read the data inside the watch but it cannot be too big that it’s uncomfortable and looks bulky on you.

Make sure the watch display can be seen under bright sunlight because you will be kayaking under the sunlight.

Pay attention to the band’s length too. It should be nice for your wrist size.

4. Memory & Battery Life

Most GPS watches’ battery life drains quite fast. The best watch for kayaking is the one that has a long battery span. At least it can last through your kayaking expedition. You should not be stranded in the middle of your journey. 

The internal memory should be big enough to accommodate all the tracks, apps, and maps that you will need. Better if the watch can insert a cable or a memory card so that you can transfer some of the data into another device.

Does the Apple Watch Track Kayaking?

The Apple Watch is one of the best GPS watches but I would not recommend the Apple watch for kayaking. The reason is that the Workout app on the Apple watch does not include this activity as the main activity type and other GPS watches are more kayak-friendly.

You have to choose “Other” as the activity type and the accuracy of the activity will not be as good as other best watches for kayaking.

If you have an Apple watch already and want to use the Apple watch while kayaking, I suggest you download the Paddle Logger for Watersports app in the App Store.

Is There An App For Kayaking?

best watch for kayaking

YES! There are plenty of apps for kayaking. Mobile phones have been essential to us nowadays. So, why not make full use of it by using apps for kayaking? You are making your life easier!

Here are some of the apps for kayaking that you can download on both Android and iOS.

1. Strava

2. Paddle Ready

3. Go paddling

4 .RiverApp (iOS only)

5 .Crewnerd

Can I Use Strava For Kayaking?

Yes, you can use Strava for kayaking as it’s a great app to track the time spent in the kayak, distance you travelled, as well as the pace of your kayak.

You can use Strava to time yourself, record, and regulate your paddling if you’re training.

Can You Put A Tracker On A Kayak?

Yes, you can put a tracker on a kayak to secure it. Aside from wearing a smartwatch with a GPS tracker, you can place a tracker on your kayak as an extra security measure to track it.

If you’ve shared your kayaking location with your family, it will also act as a double check.

Best Watch For Kayaking

How Do I Wear My Garmin Watch For Accuracy?

Wondering how to wear your Garmin watch for accuracy? You should wear your watch above your wrist bone for accurate readings. It shouldn’t be too tight, but secure enough so it doesn’t move or slip from its place.

How Do I Protect My Phone While Kayaking?

How to protect your phone while kayaking? You can place your phone inside a dry bag and tie it to the kayak securely to protect it from water. Additionally, you can use a waterproof phone case to ensure water doesn’t get inside your phone while kayaking.

What Sports Does Garmin Instinct Track?

Garmin Instinct tracks a wide range of outdoor and adventure sports, such as kayaking, skiing, cycling, snowboarding, paddle boarding, swimming, mountain biking, among others.

It has a rugged build and supports multiple activity modes for a variety of sports.

Which Wrist Should I Wear My Garmin Watch On?

Wondering which wrist to wear your Garmin watch on? You can wear it on either of your left or right wrist.

You might have to customize the screen settings on the Garmin Connect app if you wear it on your right wrist as the watch is originally set to face your left wrist.

Best Watch For Kayaking

Can Garmin Track Without Phone?

Wondering whether Garmin can track without phone? Garmin watches have a feature that allows you to track your location or retrieve data through the Garmin Connect website. This makes it easier for people to access information from their watches without using their phones.

Does Garmin GPS Work Without Internet?

Yes, Garmin GPS works without internet. You don’t need cellular data or Wi-Fi to browse maps or navigate throughout your trip. as it is powered by the GPS signal.

However, Wi-Fi or cellular connection are needed in order to display the map overlay or sync your data.

Does Kayaking Count As Cardio?

Yes, kayaking can count as cardio workout, because of the continuous paddle movement. The consistent exertion and steady pace promotes cardiovascular fitness.

Kayaking also helps to develop muscles, enhance blood circulation, and burn calories owing to the repetitive physical activity.

Best Watch For Kayaking

Can You Wear Water Shoes For Kayaking?

Yes, you can absolutely wear water shoes for kayaking since they can protect your feet from injury, stabilize your feet when kayaking, and provide traction on slippery surface.

Lightweight water shoes also help to keep your feet dry and promote breathability.

Best Watch For Kayaking: Ready With Your Gear?

Having the most suitable watch for kayaking is the best investment for yourself, especially if this is a water activity that you frequently indulge in. 

Apart from using the smartwatch for kayaking, you can use it for other things such as a health tracker and connect it with your phone so that you will not have to always bring along your phone.

As long as you fully utilize the best smartwatch for paddle boarding, you can make your life easier and happier.

That is why it is important to look at all the features when choosing the best watch for kayaking.

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