Bluetooth item trackers - Apple Airtag, Tile, Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, etc

I’m curious If anyone here keeps any of these bluetooth item trackers hidden in their kayak or other gear in case of theft?

In the warm months, I keep my kayak in my detached garage and I do worry about theft.

And also if we wanted to travel with our kayaks, etc. I have cable locks for them, but it seemed like a potential backup plan?

I have a Tile so I can find my car keys. The range is less than a hundred yards. You want something besides blue tooth to track stolen items.

Look into pet trackers. Small, waterproof, and some have unlimited GPS tracking capability. Like this:

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I’ve been thinking about this too for when we travel. FYI… it requires a monthly subscription.

It may make more financial sense to insure your kayak for full replacement value.


Tile promotes their products as being able to help in case of theft, but I’m dubious. If your kayak (or whatever you’ve “Tiled”) is out of Bluetooth range from your phone, and you report it missing, then if (and this is a really huge if) someone else with the tile app on their phone is near your kayak, it will report to you the location. That’d be great in a crowded area where almost everyone is using the Tile app (their dream come true!), but in reality I’d expect these things to be pretty unreliable in finding a stolen kayak.

Also, I bought a set of tiles (fob for keys, and card for wallet) for my wife who’s always misplacing things. It only works about 50% of the time, even when we later find the missing object was in the same room. So even if someone with the tile app on their phone walks by your stolen kayak, it might not pick up your Tile’s signal.

I also think Tiles are a waste. I bought some as Christmas gifts some years ago and none of the recipients found them useful. And the batteries seem to be impossible to replace so the cost is way too much for the limited utility they provide.

$5 to $7 per month subscription is probably less than insurance would be for a higher value boat. I had done some preliminary checking on kayak or canoe theft policies and they typically start at $100 per year.

And I would certainly prefer tracking and recovering any of my boats to filing an insurance claim. Most of my favorite boats are difficult to impossible to replace, being extinct, even one of a kind, models.

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I just renewed my homeowners policy and marine riders. The $4,000 cash value coverage for my Prana is $15 for the year.

Eddyline Fathom replacement value is $2575 and that runs $10 annually. The Samba coverage is $8.

Good point. I hadn’t considered homeowners insurance. Probably also a premium option on renter’s insurance.

I’d still rather get my own boat back so it’s all relative to what one wants to risk. Not a single boat I own is still in production.

The dog trackers seem pretty good although I’d think I’d want something with a long battery life.

There are systems available like this:
Trak 4

Has 18 month battery life. You could hide it in a foam bulkhead or a block of foam added into the nose or tail. Pull it once a year to charge or replace battery.

Something to look into more…

I totally get what you mean about wanting a dog tracker with a long battery life. I’ve actually been using an AirTag as a dog tracker, and it’s been a game-changer. The peace of mind it brings is amazing, and I don’t have to worry about the battery running out all the time. If you’re interested, I found this article on Do Apple Airtags need to be charged? - Any Tech Stuff that shares some cool insights and tips about AirTags.

Have a family member starting down the road to dementia, so we looked into these tracker tags as a way to track him.

My understanding is the Apple Air Tags do pretty well, as anyone with an iPhone nearby (whether they use Air Tags or not) will connect and provide location. So the Air Tag will get picked up pretty often.

Tile requires a phone with the Tile app on it (so just other people using Tiles). Most people it is their own phone that does it. We sent a Tile around as we were running errands in a medium sized city, and about 50-50 that it would get picked up by someone else’s phone in a few hour errands run.

In the end, we did go with Tiles, as my family member will hopefully always have his phone with him.

I had a great experience with Tile. I lost a key ring with Fobs to 2 cars, house keys and a variety of padlocks in Maine. They slipped off a trailer which was backed up into the woods.

I didnt realize it until I was 5 hrs away. I have a press to start car. I managed to start it without the fob because the car was sensing the backup fob I keep wrapped in glad bags in my PFD.

So that was mid August. I set the tile tracker to lost.

Sometime in October, around 11PM, the tile app started beeping that someone had found my keys. I kept hitting the button to thank them, so they would know the keys were “wanted”

Then they started moving and ended up in the Bar Harbor Police complex according to google map the next morning.

I called the Bar Harbor police, explained the situation, connected with the list and found person. They verified that I owned the 2 vehicles for which there were fobs. Then they dropped them off at a shop that ships gifts from Bar Harbor. I called the shop, pre paid the shipping, and got my keys back.