Best Fitness Watch for Kayaking 2019- Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

It’s easy to lose track of time while exploring the great outdoors, especially with the many activities you can choose. There are a lot of people who go hiking, surfing, or fishing during their days off but a recent trending favorite among outdoor sports junkies is kayaking. 

Like many other outdoor activities, kayaking requires careful planning and preparation; whether it’s through physical training or purchasing the right gear and equipment. Apart from bringing the essential kayaking gear such as paddles, life jackets, and helmets, it’s also a very good idea to wear a fitness watch for kayaking

If Mother Nature is your escape from stress and worries, the last thing you would want is the inconvenience of being outdoors without a watch. Many watches nowadays aren’t just for timekeeping but they are also capable of providing other information such as your location, the temperature, and even your fitness efforts. 

Below is a list of our favorite fitness watches for kayaking and why we think they are a must-have for your next kayaking adventure. 

7 Best Fitness Watch for Kayaking 

#1 Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire

The Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire is one of the most popular fitness watches out there and we think that it is perfect for kayaking as well.  At first glance, this premium multisport GPS watch looks nothing like the typical sporty watch you’d see athletes wear.

The Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire is neat and elegant which is great for everyday wear when you aren’t going kayaking for the day. But don’t let the minimalist style fool you, this watch is actually built for adventure. It has a certain ruggedness to it with a stainless steel bezel, buttons, and rear so you know that this watch isn’t just stylish but durable as well. 

Our favorite feature of the Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire is its Elevate Wrist Heart Rate Technology. It monitors your heart rate accurately and it even has a performance widget that displays the progress of your training or workouts. And if that doesn’t take fitness tracking to the next level, perhaps the Garmin Connect feature will inspire you. 

With the Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire, users can receive notifications as well as upload progress updates to Garmin’s online community. Other impressionable features of this watch include GPS tracking, GLONASS satellite reception and a 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter. Simply put, this watch can tell you everything from your location and the weather to sunrise and sunset times – which is pretty neat if you’re spending time outdoors. 

PROS

  • Sports a clean and minimalist style; great for casual wear 
  • Has advanced GLONASS GPS technology and a 3-axis compass
  • Features Garmin’s Elevate Wrist Heart Rate Technology 

CONS

  • The battery life gets drained after running several programs 
  • PC connectivity is faulty; randomly gets disconnected 
  • The altimeter is not very accurate

#2 Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR Monitor Running GPS Unit

If you are looking for a fitness watch with the longest battery hours, then the Suunto Ambit3 is one of the most competitive options in the market today. This smartwatch has 100 hours of power which should last your whole kayaking adventure and more. But that’s not all there is to love about this watch; our favorite feature is the Suunto Smart Sensor. 

The Suunto Ambit3 is all about delivering accurate performance records. It tracks your speed, the distance you’ve covered, and even your heart rate. Moreover, Suunto is continuously developing new features to add to their Suunto App collection which will also be compatible with the Suunto Ambit3. Additionally, you can also connect your Suunto Ambit3 to your smartphone so you are always on track with your activities. You can also set up your watch to view calls and other notifications. 

Lastly, we know that staying connected to the internet may not be your idea of a great kayaking getaway. But thanks to the Suunto Ambit3, you can add photos and even create a movie of your adventure to share when you get back home. It just goes to show that staying connected to technology while being outdoors isn’t all that bad. 

PROS

  • Has a beautiful and elegant design
  • One of the most accurate fitness trackers in this list 
  • Features photo and movie sharing capabilities 

CONS

  • The interface is a bit complicated to navigate in 
  • Sizing may be off for users with larger wrists 
  • Comes with a very short cord for charging

#3 Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

The Polar M430 was specifically designed with runners in mind but there’s no reason why kayakers can’t benefit from some of its features. First of all, this watch has got all the basics covered. Everything you might need from a basic fitness watch, the Polar M430 has it. 

It has a wrist-based heart rate system to capture accurate recordings of your fitness efforts. It also has a GPS integrated within its system which is always great for anyone who spends time outdoors. It also has an automatic 24-hour activity and sleeping tracker for those who also want to track down their hours of sleep. 

To top it all off, it of course also comes with indoor running metrics and the Polar Running Program for those who want to keep up with their running progress. Now, you might be wondering why we’ve included this watch on our list when it was specifically made for runners – not kayakers. We think that this watch is great for kayaking because it is a great waterproof watch. If you are a runner and a kayaker, then this option may be your best bet.

PROS

  • Tracks 24 hours of your activities whether you’re active or sleeping 
  • Has amazing waterproof quality which is perfect for kayakers 
  • Simple, straightforward, covers all the basics of a fitness watch 

CONS

  • The initial set-up of the watch is complicated 
  • Frequent syncing errors without proper installation of the app 
  • Battery life gets shortened when running too many programs

#4 Magellan Switch Crossover GPS Watch

If you’re looking for a smartwatch that has it all, from from the essentials of fitness tracking to all the latest features in the industry, then you might want to consider getting the Magellan Switch Crossover GPS Watch. Although the watch was designed primarily for runners, athletes and trainees of other sports such as swimming and cycling will also find many good things to love about this watch. 

But if you ask us, our favorite part about this watch is its super-advanced GPS function. The Magellan Switch tracks with location with precision like no other using GPS satellite data. It also does all the basics right from recording time and distance to pacing and elevation. So whether you’re kayaking or mountain climbing, you’d know exactly where you are at the moment. 

Speaking of being in the moment, the Magellan Switch adapts to your environment. Its high-resolution display reads easily no matter what the lighting conditions may be. And for those who like to challenge themselves, this watch has 8 hours of power in workout mode and 3 weeks in watch mode! Users can even opt for a Battery Extender Pack to double the battery life. 

If all the features listed above aren’t enough to persuade you, then you might be inspired by the Switch’s customizable activity screens. It has over 80 data fields to choose from, 9 activity profiles to help you truly personalize your watch according to your fitness plan. 

PROS

  • Packed with interesting and useful features for kayakers 
  • Has a very long battery life with an option to extend 
  • Comes with customizable activity screens 

CONS

  • The design is big and bulky 
  • Often gives inaccurate results without proper set-up 
  • Poor reception while in certain areas

#5 Garmin Vívoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a state of the art watch best used by the techie turned fitness junkie. This watch is robust and durable with chemically strengthened glass for the lens and high-quality stainless steel for the bezel. The case is made with fiber-enforced polymer and stainless steel rear cover. In short, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is more than prepared for a kayaking adventure. But that’s not all there is to love about this watch… 

If tracking your fitness progress is your first priority, then you will love Garmin’s super accurate VO2 max technology. Not only are you able to keep a record of your physical activities, but you can also measure your stress levels with this watch! Apart from this, users also have access to a wide variety of apps and widgets through the Garmin Connect IQ store. 

To complete the whole package, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 also comes with 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps which includes swimming, running, and even yoga! But if you ask us, the number reason why you should consider getting the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is its long battery life. Believe it or not, this watch can survive through 13 hours in GPS mode with no problem. 

PROS

  • Made with great quality components; extra durable 
  • Contains accurate trackers for recording your fitness progress 
  • Has one of the longest battery life in this list 

CONS

  • Wristbands run smaller sizes
  • Does not display well under full daylight 
  • The backlight is also not very bright

#6 Amazfit BIP Smartwatch

If you’re in the market for a stylish smartwatch for kayaking, then you might love the Amazfit BIP. Not to mention, it is also one of the lightest watches in this list weighing only 32 grams, making it a great casual watch for when you aren’t out kayaking. 

The Amazfit BIP is recommended for those are contented with having just the basics. If you go kayaking often but not regularly enough to buy a more advanced watch, then this might be the best option for you. It’s affordable and it has all of the basic functions of a fitness tracker. 

Kayakers can certainly benefit from the built-in GPS of the Amazfit BIP as well as the optical heart rate monitor. These systems allow users to track real-time steps, overall distance covered, the number of calories burned, and the quality of sleep. And if synced with your phone, you can also receive notifications or alerts from your social media accounts, weather forecasts, and more. 

PROS

  • Sports a minimalist style – looks great for users with smaller hands and wrists
  • Packed with plenty of features but it is lightweight and not bulky 
  • Very responsive touchscreen, also readable even in full daylight

CONS

  • Has limited backlight settings 
  • Does not run stopwatch in the background 
  • Relies heavily on phone settings

#7 SUUNTO Traverse GPS Outdoor Activity Watch

The Suunto Traverse Watch is a stunning piece that’s been built for the outdoors. If you’re looking for an option specifically for kayaking alone, then this is the one for you. In our opinion, what’s most impressive about the Suunto Traverse is its state-of-the-art GPS technology. You’ll have no problem getting through the wilderness with the help of this watch.

To accompany its advanced GLONASS GPS capabilities, the Suunto Traverse boasts a beautiful display with topographic maps in Movescount as well. This watch also leaves automatic breadcrumbs of your track so you can always retrace your steps whenever you need it. Additionally, the Suunto Traverse packs a lot of power so you don’t have to worry about losing battery life even after long hours of exploring the great outdoors. 

PROS

  • Sports a youthful and casual design
  • More affordable compared to most watches 
  • Features advanced GPS technology 

CONS

  • Contains limited trackers for fitness – only has the essentials 
  • The face of the watch may be too large for users with smaller hands

Buyer’s Guide

HOW TO BUY THE BEST FITNESS WATCH FOR KAYAKING

There are hundreds of high-quality fitness watches for kayaking out there but unfortunately, plenty of them do not come cheap. 

If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a watch anyway, then it should have all the features that you need. Of course, it should also be able to withstand the rigors of kayaking and it should also be something that you find beautiful enough to wear and show off to others. 

Buying a fitness watch for kayaking can easily become a very confusing process. But if you follow the tips below, then you are one step closer to finding your dream fitness watch. Read on below to learn more… 

1. FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED

The first step you need to take is to make a list of all your needs. Watches these days have an extensive list of features. While most of those features may sound very interesting, they aren’t always necessary. As you know, the more high-tech a watch is, the more expensive the price tag will be. If you are on a budget, then you might want to stick to the essentials. 

Most fitness watches monitor your physical activity such as your steps, the number of calories you’ve burned, and the distance you’ve covered. All of these are great to have and they do come in handy even if you aren’t kayaking. 

But as a fitness watch for kayaking, it would be very useful if it could help you monitor your pacing and your heart rate. These trackers allow you to keep a record of your progress which will eventually help you perform better in kayaking. 

2. WATER-RESISTANT VS WATERPROOF

A lot of people tend to mistake water-resistant properties for waterproof qualities and vice versa – and yes, they are totally not the same thing. 

As the name suggests, water-resistance refers to the ability to resist water from penetrating. This means that there is no 100% guarantee that water will not come through. If you’re looking for a guarantee, then you might need something waterproof. In other words, a waterproof object is impervious to water and it is perhaps the more durable option. 

We believe that it is best for a fitness watch for kayaking to be waterproof. A lot of tech devices, smartwatches included, are quite fragile to water damage. Because kayaking is a type of water sports, you might want to be careful about choosing between water-resistant to waterproof. 

3. DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET

Nobody likes to talk about the cost of an item but in this case, you need to know how much you’re willing to shell out for a kayaking fitness watch. They say that you get what you paid for, and that is, more often than not, a fact about purchasing items. 

A watch that costs a bit more may have a better display, longer-lasting batteries, and even a GPS. All of which may be worth the big one-time investment instead of constantly having to repair or replace a chapter fitness watch. 

4. CHOOSE A STYLE

Who says that the watch-buying law should always follow the function over fashion rule? With a wide array of styles and designs, why stick it out with a watch that uninspires you?

The last tip in finding the best fitness watch for kayaking is to choose a style that not only fits your kayaking lifestyle but also your personality. This way, you’ll never forget to wear it out to your next trip.