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7 Best Kayak Compasses in 2020

Mann mit Kajak Kompass in St. Petersburg macht einen Kajak Kompass Test in der Praxis.

At the latest since the meteoric rise of smartphones, compasses are no longer seen very often. On the other hand, a mobile phone with a battery that is about to run out is pretty stupid. Especially on longer tours, in sparsely populated areas or places with poor network reception, kayak compasses are therefore still used.

If you want to be on the safe side, get one of the models listed below. These compasses are equipped with the most necessary functions and offer good value for money. Furthermore they could already convince in practice or in a kayak compass test. Following the list of best compasses you will find more information about the individual models and some tips for choosing a suitable kayak compass.

The selection of available kayak compasses is quite large. Especially when it comes to compasses many people are not sure what to look for. But there is nothing wrong with the models presented here. These compasses are all well suited for kayaking.

The best kayak compasses

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass for Kayaks and Paddle Boards Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck
  • Easy to read - large compass with easy to read markings allows you to clearly see your direction of travel
  • Easy on and off - quick attach base plate fastens easily to deck rigging, deck bags, and wherever you can securely lash it
  • Specialized - built for tough marine use
Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass - Full-Size Mountable Marine Compass with Adjustable Hood Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass
  • FULL-SIZE MARINE COMPASS - SeaTurtl provides you with an easy-to-read standard-sized mounted marine compass right on your kayak deck.
  • ADUSTABLE HOOD - Use SeaTurtl's adjustable hood to protect compass when not in use or prevent glare while in use.
  • ATTACHES ANYWHERE - SeaTurt'l comes equipped with four adjustable elastic cords which allow for a snug mount on most kayaks and paddleboards.
Orienteering Compass - Hiking Backpacking Compass - Advanced Scout Compass for Camping and Navigation - Boy Scout Compass for Kids - Professional Field Compass for Map Reading - Best Survival Gifts Orienteering Compass - Hiking
  • Acrylic Baseplate Compass with Azimuth Bearing and 360 degree rotating bezel. For cartographic map navigation and reading with Field Compass located Magnifying Glass, compass Ruler and 1:24000 compass Scale.
  • Durable and Lightweight Compass for Hiking Backpacking. Best Cub Scout compass for Kids. BSA Compass Best Gifts for Beginners Boy Scout Boys and Girl.
  • Professional Advanced Compass for Camping - Orienteering - Hiking - Hunting - Survival - Navigating - Mountaineering - Outdoors - Field Trip.
BRIGHTLINES Roof Rack Crossbars Compatible with 2018-2020 Jeep Compass BRIGHTLINES Roof Rack Crossbars
  • Sturdy aluminum bars and die-cast mounting brackets
  • Aero wing shape, literally reducing wind noise to zero.
  • High clearance to roof top, suitable for all kinds of accessories.
Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99 - Black Housing with Black 2.75-inch Direct Reading Dial Surface Mount Compaas Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99
  • 2 3/4 Inch Direct-Reading Dial
  • Directive force Magnets
  • Extended Temperature Operating Range With Composite Construction & Diaphragm
Brunton - Dash Mount Compass (70P)
  • MOUNTABLE - Fits into manufacturer-ready recesses to flush-mount on kayaks or boat bulkheads for a smooth factory-installed look.
  • EASY READOUT - Reliable reading and heading with direct reading disc.
  • ACCURACY - 5 degree graduations.

Guide: Buying the right kayak compass

In the following we will discuss the factors to consider when choosing a compass for a kayak.

long life

The same applies to kayak compasses as to the rest of the kayak accessories. A design that is trimmed for durability is important, because when kayaking the material is exposed to high loads. Water, wind and weather demand a lot from the equipment. As far as kayak compasses are concerned, they are at best embedded in a silicone cover.

Such a construction is particularly stable and protects the compass from damage caused by a fall. However, the compasses presented here are all very stable and give the impression that they will last for many years.


A high degree of accuracy is of course also important. Otherwise, effective use and accurate navigation is simply not possible. Most kayak tours take place on rivers or lakes. A few degrees do not make a big difference here and are therefore tolerable. However, when kayaking on the open sea, even more meticulous attention must be paid to accuracy.


Most kayak compasses have a similar size. There are only minor differences concerning the diameter of the dial. Therefore, if you are on a large Fishing Kayak or a very long Touring Kayak, it is better to choose a larger kayak compass.

It should be determined if you find it easy to read the numbers on the compass. This is directly dependent on the size of the dial. Depending on whether the compass is screwed firmly onto the boat, and if so, how far the compass is from your seat, the size must be adjusted accordingly.

Test on the boat to see if you can read the numbers easily and if the needle is still clearly visible from a distance. This will ensure that you can also quickly determine the direction of travel on the water.


There are two different types of kayak compasses. Either the compass is mounted directly on the kayak or it is attached to the kayak with elastic bands. The easiest way to mount the compass is to use the straps, because this gives you the most possibilities.

The other type of compass is screwed to the kayak or to a more special mount. In this way the kayak compass is firmly attached to the boat. Usually this type of compass is more durable.

Other kayak compasses come with a simple neck strap and are simply hung around the neck. This way these types of kayak compasses are always handy.

local defiance

The position declination describes the phenomenon that due to the inclined axis of the earth the geographic north pole does not correspond to the north pole of the earth’s magnetic field. Over time, the magnetic pole shifts, but at the moment it is about 2000 kilometres away from the actual geographic north pole.

If you are not kayaking in the ice-cold waters of the far north, you will hardly notice this difference. On tours in Germany, Austria or other European countries, the measuring error is within a slight tolerance range. There are compasses that always point north, but for kayakers this is rarely necessary.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about kayak compasses answered

A kayak compass is a compass specially designed for mounting on a kayak. It is connected directly to the kayak. Usually the dial is slightly larger, so that the direction of travel can be easily determined even when the kayak is moving.

How to mount a kayak compass?

A kayak compass can be attached in two ways. Firstly, there are models that are attached to the boat by means of flexible straps. This method has the advantage that the compass can be attached quickly (temporarily) and to almost all types of kayaks.

On the other hand, there is the option to screw the compass directly to the boat. Modern kayaks also often have a bracket that is designed to permanently mount the compass there.

Who needs a kayak compass?

Most of the kayakers have a smartphone and for these there are numerous (partly pre-installed) applications available to help with navigation. Other devices like a GPS may be another option. The disadvantage of all these solutions, however, is that they rely on a charged battery. If the power goes out, the technical devices do not help at all.

For touring paddlers or kayakers, who often travel in new regions, a kayak compass can therefore be a good purchase. Furthermore, it should be considered that mobile radio is not available in every corner. If there is no reception, even a modern smartphone is only a better screensaver.


A kayak compass is a useful gadget for touring paddlers and kayakers who travel a lot on open water. You can rely on the compass. Poor mobile phone reception or a dead battery will be the downfall of all the technical gadgets, while the kayak compass still serves its purpose.

When choosing a model, the most important decision is whether or not the compass should be permanently attached to the boat. In the case of an easily removable kayak compass, the best choice is a compass with elastic bands or a lanyard. Fixed compasses, on the other hand, are fixed to the boat with a bracket.

With the information in this article and especially the list of best kayak compasses, in which we have presented a number of good models, it should be easier for you to decide on a compass.

Instead of always relying on the latest and supposedly best technology, sometimes the simplest solution is the best of all…

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