measuring distance

Is there a device that I can use to measure distance while kayaking? Will a handheld GPS do the job?

Some will
My old Magellan will show the distance from my location to the place I move the cursor.

Some will
My old Magellan will show the distance from my location to the place I move the cursor.

smart phone
Do you have a smartphone? And a signal where you paddle? MotionX and Endomondo are a couple of free GPS apps that will measure distance and much more. Distance, time, current speed, average speed, current lat lon position etc. All can overlayed on a variety of maps. MotionX on my iPhone is all I use for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and paddling measurements. The big weaknesses of this system are: picking up a satellite signal and phone battery life. But if you already have a smartphone it’s worth a try in your area.

Waterproof and does not need recharging

Yes, but not as the crow flies
We use them all the time to track how far we paddle.

If you want a straight line distance from point A to ;point be you need to plug in a set of coordinates at each point and then do a “Go To” and it will give you the straight line distance between A and B

A hand held GPS is a great paddling tool for tracking distance, speed, time paddled, average speed and lots more.

One of it’s best features is the fact that it leaves a track to follow back the way you came so it is impossible to get lost even in a thick fog.

Jack L

garmin forerunner
Many open water kayak and surf ski racers use Garmin Forerunners. I have a 205 and used to have a 305 until I lost it. No need for waterproof case, they are made for swimmers. I have had one on the deck of my kayak or surf ski for the last 6 years in salt water and have never had a problem - I rinse it with fresh water after every use.

This seems to be one of the latest versions,

Small form factor
Bia-Sport Watch

Time/Distance Covered/Pace

Once paddle is done sends info to the Bia website like SPOT for later perusal or download. Now also has the option for live tracking for fans to follow along via link.

Utterly waterproof, rechargeable internal battery. About the 1/2 the thickness of a pack of gum and a gps stick thats about the size of a full pack of gum. 17 hour run time. Days of run time with a battery pack hooked up to the Stick.

Been using mine for training and during Watertribe races.

Good quick info to correspond with chart and compass.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

My old old magellan 315
Will give a trip log and distance as the crow flies if you input a point. I used it mainly to display speed as it mounts on deck. That is back when speed was more important…

Distance - Find My Distance

– Last Updated: Nov-22-14 12:28 PM EST –

If you have an iPhone or iPad, get the (free) "Distance - Find My Distance" app. It opens up similar to Google Earth. Once it does, find your road, river or other winding and twisting route, and trace your finger along it. The app provides the distance.

I'm not sure if it's available for Android phones, but I suspect there are similar apps if not.

Screen easy to read in sunlight?
Is the Garmin Forerunner easily read in sunlight?

Have been looking at GPS trackers for the past weeks. The Bia-Sport is very attractive, but I can’t justify the price. On the other hand, the Garmin eTrex 20 is on sale for $150.

my wife and I tried out the free version of the Kayaklog app on her iPhone.

It worked very well. It gave us time, distance, average speed, maximum speed, temperature and a map of the area we paddled showing our course.

We just put the iPhone in a dry bag after we started the app.

thank you

– Last Updated: May-24-16 7:03 AM EST –

Thank you all for the smart phone but the gps recommendations will help...
finally entered the iPhone world. downloaded kayaklog can't wait to use it. recuperating from knee replacement.

I can’t find that app.
Might you provide a link? Thanks for your trouble.


To the website. I found it on the App Store by searching for “kayak log”

I have a cellular iPad, but am too much of a coward to take it on my kayak even with a waterproof bag. Murphy’s law.

I use a Polar RS300x
I use a Polar RS300x heart rate monitor watch with the optional GPS unit on my bike and in my canoe for actual distance traveled and speed information (and heart rate).

They are under $100 for the watch these days on amazon, the GPS is also about $100.