Top 5 Best Kayak Compasses for Better Navigation

There is no fun getting lost on a water body. This is because everything seems the same, and you would not know how to trace your way back to the shore. So, how do you avoid this while kayaking? In such a case, I would recommend getting the best kayak compass.

Such compasses would also be versatile for other applications such as paddleboards and so much more. What is important is that you get the best model among the many available. This guide talks about the top models and which ones you should consider picking. So, continue reading to understand about the best options.

Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Kayak Compass

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AOFAR Military Compass AF-4580 Lensatic Sighting Navigation, Waterproof and Shakeproof with Map Measurer Distance Calculator, Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Hunting, Backpacking (Camo)
Brunton - Dash Mount Compass (70P)
Top Pick
Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass - Full-Size Mountable Marine Compass with Adjustable Hood
DETUCK Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass for Boat Compass Dash Mount Night Lighting
Compass, Surface Mount, 2.75" Dial, Blk.
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AOFAR Military Compass AF-4580 Lensatic Sighting
Brunton Dash Mount Compass
Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass
DETUCK Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass
Ritchie Navigation Compass Surface Mount
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AOFAR Military Compass AF-4580 Lensatic Sighting Navigation, Waterproof and Shakeproof with Map Measurer Distance Calculator, Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Hunting, Backpacking (Camo)
Title
AOFAR Military Compass AF-4580 Lensatic Sighting
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Brunton - Dash Mount Compass (70P)
Title
Brunton Dash Mount Compass
Top Pick
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Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass - Full-Size Mountable Marine Compass with Adjustable Hood
Title
Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass
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DETUCK Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass for Boat Compass Dash Mount Night Lighting
Title
DETUCK Boat Compass Dashboard Marine Compass
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Compass, Surface Mount, 2.75" Dial, Blk.
Title
Ritchie Navigation Compass Surface Mount

In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!

Why You Need a Kayak Compass

There is no doubt that the primary reason for getting a compass is to help with navigation while on water. Even those who are hiking would also benefit from using a compass to ensure they are on the right track.

Some would be wondering, why not use your phone, considering it already has Google Maps or other navigation apps? The problem is that sometimes the cellular signal can get lost when you are kayaking deep into the water body.

So, each time you are kayaking in a remote area where there is no cellular service, or the other navigation devices’ batteries are flat, a compass will come in handy to help with navigation.

How To Use A Compass While Kayaking?

Whenever you use a kayak compass, you rely on the needle to point to the North Pole. However, sometimes the magnetic north and the true north might not always be aligned. It is why you may have to align the compass to work better and improve its accuracy.

If you plan to use the local maps, ensure that you make the necessary adjustments as pointed out on the maps. These maps will indicate the declination to use to improve accuracy.

The first thing is aligning the kayak. Set the bow to face the north and the kayak stern facing the south. This means that your north-south line of the compass will be aligned together with the kayak center.

In addition to a compass, you will also need to get yourself nautical maps. Such maps will help you get your bearings in case you get lost. You may have to improve your map reading skills before using the nautical maps.

You also have to consider the overall effects of currents and wind on your navigation. There are times when the kayak might be facing one direction, but the wind sweeps it in another direction. It is vital to always understand how the wind and currents can affect the travel direction.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes compasses can be thrown off by other electronics you might be using. This includes phones, metal accessories, and other gadgets.

How to Choose a Kayak compass

Weight and Size

You need a compass with a great balance between size and weight. There is no doubt you would benefit from a lightweight compass. If you end up with a big and cumbersome compass, sometimes it might be hard to use it better.

Installation

Different compasses might be needed for installation if you are going to use them. This might mean drilling your cockpit and installing the compass using screws. Others might have straps or tapes for ease of attachment to the kayak.

You will have to look at your skill and knowledge in installing the compass to make that decision.

Declination adjustment

Declination is described as the difference between the magnetic north and true north in terms of degrees. When the difference is too much, then it affects the overall accuracy of the compass. It is then essential to set the declination each time you visit a new place to kayak.

Not all models might have this feature, but I feel like it is necessary.

The warranty

You would always want to get yourself the best warranty when buying such products. A good warranty gives you the confidence you are buying a high-quality product.

Some might even offer a lifetime warranty. You may not get the best warranty with smaller companies or cheaper compasses. However, after reading several reviews on a product, you would know if it is the right one for you or not.

Weather use

Where you get to use the compass is also important. Anyone who is an avid paddler will require a compass to use in different weather conditions.

Before getting the compass, look at the materials used to make it. If it is made of thermoplastic materials or something similar, it means that such a compass can withstand cold and hot temperatures.

Durability

The kayak compass you buy should be designed with durability in mind. It should be able to endure too much wear and tear, considering some people might be using it several times a year. If you can find a durable model, it should be an excellent compass for years.

However, you should always upgrade to something newer after a couple of years to have a newer and accurate compass.

Product Reviews of The Best Kayak Compass

It stands out as the best kayak compass, thanks to its several features. For the price, you will get a durable and compact compass. It can remain durable for many years to come to use during the various kayaking trips.

Other than durability, it still features a thermoelastic liquid-filled capsule. This type of capsule construction makes it highly accurate and still waterproof. It will work well in different weather conditions without much of a problem.

Another thing that makes it a great choice is the unique design. This design includes having a luminous magnet arrow and dial. Other notable design elements include an aiming line, tripod connector, heavy-duty zinc die-cast, and more.

The manufacturer made the kayak compass to be multifunctional too. This is thanks to having a floating compass dial with a 360-degree scale. It also has an adjustable prism lens to suit every user’s needs.

Because of the many desirable features, it is ideal for many different activities. Such include camping, hiking, mapping, kayaking, and most outdoor adventures.

Pros

  • Easily portable
  • Durable and compact
  • Waterproof compass

Cons

  • Customer support is not the best

This is another top option for those in the market for the best kayak compass. Since it is a mountable kayak compass, it will not be easy to lose it. Once it is set up in the kayak cockpit, you will take it out with your kayak without worrying you might forget it.

The design also makes it recess flush onto the bulkhead of your kayak or boat. The idea is to give it a smooth factory-installed look.

Another reason to get the compass is that the model offers an easy readout disc. You will not have to get too close to the compass to read the direction better. With its 5-degree graduations, the accuracy is further improved.

The back bearing will make reading your back reliable and fast. As such, you should enjoy using this type of compass all the time.

The design also makes it a durable option to get for yourself. It will ensure that you do not need to buy new compasses all the time.

Pros

  • It is easy to read
  • Offers a flush mount on the kayak
  • It offers impressive accuracy

Cons

  • Not everyone is comfortable drilling their kayaks for installation

This a full-size marine compass you can get for yourself as the best kayak compass. The brand is known for making impressive kayaking accessories, and this one is one of them. Since it is also within the affordable range, it will get more people interested in getting it.

The model is easy to read. Even if you are new to using a kayak compass, this one will be generally easy to use. Since you can also mount it onto the kayak deck, it will always be within reach so that you can use the compass whenever you want.

Its hood is adjustable as a way of protecting the compass when you are not using it. Also, the hood is suitable for preventing glare while using the compass.

You will find it easy to attach it anywhere because of its four adjustable elastic cords. This ensures that you do not need to drill into your kayak to set it up. Many people find it is ideal for most paddleboards and kayaks.

Pros

  • It is a highly versatile compass
  • It easily attaches to different kayaks
  • The adjustable hood protects the compass while not in use

Cons

  • Some might find it too small for quick readouts

This is another top consideration as the best kayak compass because of the read-out scale. The scale reading has a red indicator that indicates the forward direction. As such, even if you are new to using the compass, you should be in a position to start using the marine compass faster.

There is a night light option that will also be an excellent option for those who might get into the water kayaking early in the morning. The model has wires that you can attach to a power supply to illuminate the red light.

There is also the magnetic declination adjustment option. This is where you can adjust the magnetic declination in the east-west direction and also the north-south direction. This function will generally improve the compass accuracy.

Mounting is also easy as the model comes with double-sided tape and screws. You will simply need to fix it on the cockpit with the double-sided tape, and you are ready to use it.

Pros

  • It has impressive durability
  • It is easy to mount
  • The model has a night lighting option

Cons

  • The double-sided tape is not strong

This model is on my list because of its many features. One of them is the 2 ¾-inch easy to read dial. The dial will make it easy to read the direction from a glance. This is better than some models that might need a lot more time to understand the direction.

It still has built-in compensators. These compensators are important for dealing with any deviation problems you might have experienced with the other compasses before. The compensators also have non-interactive magnets that help in improving the model’s overall accuracy.

You will also like it for being 100% repairable. In case there is something you need to repair, the manufacturer can help. The best part is that all models are backed with a 5-year assurance from the manufacturer. This should quickly tell you it is a durable kayak compass to get for yourself.

Pros

  • It is easy to read
  • The model is 100% repairable
  • It has built-in compensators for accuracy

Cons

  • Some feel it could use more features for the money

FAQs

Are kayak compasses easy to read?

Yes. Most of them are designed to be easy to read even from a distance. This is because some models might need installing on the deck. So, the model you choose should be easy to read even while sitting rather than leaning in all the time.

How accurate are the kayak compasses?

The accuracy can vary depending on how the manufacturer made it. To learn more about the compass accuracy, look at the reviews about it. It is vital to read more about the compass from the experience of other people.

Are kayak compasses expensive?

You are likely to come across different types of compasses in the market. They will cost differently. Some will be cheap, while others might be expensive. At this point, you need to look for something worth the money.

Conclusion

Kayaking is interesting and fun; however, you would not want to get lost all the time. It is why you need to get yourself the best kayak compass to ensure you have a great time enjoying kayaking. All the models reviewed above will give you the benefit of navigating better the next time you are kayaking.

Always consider the accuracy before making up your mind. The last thing you ever need is to get a model that would not be accurate and make you get lost further.

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