I have a $30 Polar Heart Rate Monitor and a Garmin Etrex Venture GPS that a friend loaned me. I’m getting ready to buy my own GPS, and thinking about a retrun/exchange of my recently purchased HRM.

The HRM seems to stop working when the GPS is turned on while paddling.

Anyone had this happen?

Any suggestions on brand/model of HRM and GPS that will work well together.

What are the best ways to mount and view both items on the deck of my QCC 700?


Lots of options

– Last Updated: Mar-29-05 1:48 AM EST –

For GPS I have been very happy with a Garmin GPSMAP76. Check archives for reasons why I and several others like this particular unit for paddling. I have attached a Garmin mount for it to my Q700. When the GPS and cradle is removed - only a low profile rounded mount remains. I hesitated to glue this on deck, but after rigging something temporary for a while I decided I like having the GPS there enough to commit (the permanent adhesive disk is VERY strong). Pictures here:

For HRM I had a Polar A5 (which after 2 years I sent back to Polar for new battery and is good as new and now being used by a friend). I have an M61 now. Both are fairly basic units and work well. The cheaper A5's strap was at least as comfortable, lighter, and being sealed plastic is easier to keep clean. The M61 strap is coded (less interference with other HRMs) but has woven contacts that must be wetted first and tends to hold odors. I was going to just get another A5, but the local stores were out, and I thought the coded unit would be a good idea as we run together sometimes and might have had some interference trouble between 2 A5s that close together. Not a problem paddling together or near other HRMs as they're generally out of range.

I never noticed any interference from either with the GPS. I have noticed that if I put the HRM watch near my quarts wristwatch it reads a very steady 60 BPM...

I am using routinely my Polar HRM and Etrex Vista GPS mounted on deck or in a pocket of my pfd and I haven’t noticed any interference. When one of my devices dies I may considered Garmin Forerunner 301 combining GPS with HRM as a replacement:

Do you have any experience with that unit?

HRM and Speed on Land vs on Water

– Last Updated: Mar-29-05 6:01 PM EST –

I haven't had any interference with my Polar and GPS, but I haven't used them very close together. The Polar in my wrist and the GPS two feet forward.
To me, the HR is only to measure my progress over a long period of time, but I don't consider it as useful for a paddler as for a runner.

For two years, I used a Garmin GPSMAP76S. Great piece of equipment with 20mb, electronic compass, barometer etc. etc... Great for Sea kayaking but not as great for training. Therefore, I no longer use it. If one is not training on a lake/pond where there is no current interference, the GPS is a truly pain in the B**t. One never is able to see the real speed of the boat which (to me) is very important to be able to target a specific energy system in conjunction with stroke rate and HR. With the GPS, I used to train too hard or too soft, but never at the right speed.

Since last December, I started using a SpeedCoach Gold ( and I wish I have gotten it before. After a very good calibration the speed is perfect. It never loses signal (like GPSs) and never has interference with underwataer power cables and/or bridges (like SpeedMate).

The greatest advantages of SpeedCoach is that one is able to program workouts! I don't need to momerize anything, I paddle when I need to paddle and rest when I need to rest.

Note: I wish I had never paddled a boat with a SpeedMate 2 years ago. Because it was a pain (quite a few interferences in the ICW), I bought the GPS. I thought that speedCoach has the same problem. What a mistake!


PS: Don't spend a lot of money in a fancy HR, save for a system that measures speed on the water.

Home Made Mount

– Last Updated: Mar-29-05 5:55 PM EST –

JackL came up with the homemade foam holder idea. I secure the GPS with the deck bungies and the lanyard that came with the GPS.

Forerunner is interesting. Let us know how you like it if you get one.

I have no experience with it. I generally do not like multipurpose devices though. Usually the worst of both worlds.

Since I also use my HRM for running, bike, and other exercise too - and often paddle with just HRM and no GPS - I prefer a light simple HRM watch. Also serving as a waterproof watch it already performs multiple functions.

When I do want GPS, I want one I can see easily and is designed for marine environs (big screen, easy single push large buttons, floats, and is reasonably waterproof with no additional protection). Small size is not really a benefit for me on the water.

Given that, I’ll keep them separate for now.

GPS Reasonably Waterproof???
We won’t find it.

Every single handheld GPS for all manufactures I know of use the same IPX-7 standards (submersible in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes). A truly piece of garbage because even though it may be submersible in one meter of water of water, it will fail on a heavy rain or surf zone. My first 76s, died after a serious training on the surf. I received a new one, but I had to protected because according to Garmin the GPS wasn’t made to be used on the rain/surf, and they most likely would not exchange it twice.



I’ve never used the Speedcoach,
but I can vouch for the company that makes it: NK. I’ve used their windmeters for years, in the worst possible conditions, and couldn’t be more satisfied. They make the Bruntons and Skywatch units seem cheap.


Foam mount looks interesting…
… but I can’t tell from your picture how it works in back. Is it a solid, triangular block of foam? And if so, how are the bungies attached?

Thanks. --David.

JackL ran a bungie through the base of the foam and attaches the two ends to the deck lines. Like some compasses that are not permanently mounted. Orca?

I was in a hurry so I just cut a slit in the foam and lift and slide the deck bungies into the slit. I wrap the GPS lanyard around the bungies just forward of the foam block to secure and stabilize the block.