speed measure-GPS

I would like to be able to measure my kayak speed while underway. Will any GPS provide this basic information? Which model would be a cheap source for this informational need. I would like to thank you for taking the time to help me.

Any GPS will show your actual and average speed.

Many, many options available. I only would consider a waterproof model for kayaking.

If you want a basic model you should find one in a $100/150 range. Be ready to spend more if you want a map screen.

I’m personally very happy with my Garmin GPS 76 MAP.

how big is color?
the 76Cx is a nice hunk of change.

I alway though I could do without - but the color screen is a LOT easier to see. Many different display schemes/options. The newer 76c units also get more time of a set of batteries.

With online discounts/sales/rebates I can find a color unit for around $300. Same as replacing my B/W GPSMAP76.

West Marine has the B/W GPSMAP76 for $199 (100 off) now though - which makes it tougher to decide. If price is a big thing - I’d recommend this. If you can spare another hundred or so - the color really is better.

Garmin Etrex
Can be had for less than $100, works well for kayaking. Gives average, current and max speed.

Garmin forerunner
is what I use for training. Displays speed, time, and distance simultaneously, has auto-start and stop so you don’t have to let go of the paddle to start and stop the clock. Has a light for night paddling. No color though.

GPS for speed
Yes, any GPS will measure your speed. Keep in mind that GPS will measure your speed over ground. A knotmeter will measure your speed through the water. For example, if you are going 4 knots into a 4 knot current (standing still), the GPS will read 0 knots, the knotmeter will read 4 knots. Likewise, if you are just drifting with a 4 knot current and not paddling, the GPS will read 4 knots, the knotmeter 0 knots. Either a GPS or a knotmeter will let you use the units you want, if you don’t want to see knots.

I prefer a knotmeter for training, but unless you really need to know speed through the water, or need to see the immediate cause and effect of small changes in technique, then a GPS is much more versatile. On a trip, I’d much rather have the GPS (tide info, mapping, etc).

Greg Stamer

West Marine has a no name brand
one now for $69 dollars.

The basic yellow Garmin Etrex ($100 +/-) will give it to you, but the read out is very small.

The Garmin Map 76 ( on sale at West Marine now for $199 gives a good large readout and you can have a split screen with speed and mileage at the same time or even more.

I have been training with the Map 76 and never use my Etrex any more.



I got a new Magellan Explorist 100 on Ebay for less than half the cost of one at the store,which is still fairly cheap. very useful,decent battery life and robust feeling case.Supposedly waterproof but i keep mine in a drybag style pouch with a big clear window.

For touring i am a big fan of the gps because it tells me actual travel speed and instantly makes it clear if i am going with or against a current even if theres no landmarks to accurately eyeball.

Don’t buy anything
that is so expensive that you will agonize over it when it gets wet or fried.


Read it. Learn it. Live it.

Garmen Foretrex 201
Wrist worn, or in this case on the deck rigging worn. Interesting to paddle with & against current to see what effect it has on your progress. Costs about $185.

See you on the water,



Are those
foretrex units really waterproof? I can see the 201 being possibly better that the 101 due to the rechargeable battery, but does it seem more waterproof that the 76 series which everyone appears to keep in a sealed bag?

“West Marine has a no-name brand …
now for 69 dollars.”

Which one is that? I went to the website and couldn’t find it. Could you provide a link? Thanks!

Still ticking
I use mine all the time on the deck of my kayak. On trips and classes I lead I’m always asked “How far is it?, How far did we go?, How fast are we going?”. Beats guessing all the time and it works well as a training tool. Been right side up & upside down, in boat and out of boat experiences with it attached to me or the kayak and it’s still ticking. If I can’t kill it by drowning then I’d give it a waterproof rating.

See you on the water,



It was in a flyer, that came in the mail
which has been thrown away.

Possibly give them a call?

When I say “No name”, the reason being I had never heard of it before, and I am familiar with just about all of the big named ones



I use an eXplorist 210 in a pelican 1040 case with foam, one of the best things Ive bought for trips. Keeps a log of where I go and I mark all my camping spots.