Best Compass for Kayaking

Brunton Dash Mount Compass

A kayak compass can be a helpful accessory concerning finding your escape on the water.

While you might have a GPS or an additional gadget that can assist you in pinpointing your location, a compass can be an effective device; specifically, your devices fail you. Yet there are some points you should consider in a compass for kayaking.

General practitioner navigating has become so common that you might wonder why you should even bother with a compass. The uneasy truth is that while global placing systems are a godsend for sea kayakers, they can and will fall short.

Dead batteries, malfunctions, interference from solar flares, and weak signals can leave you without this state-of-the-art navigating aid.

It’s always easy to think of. Your GPS dies unexpectedly on a lengthy paddle, equally as a haze bank starts to surround your sight. Blanketed in grey mist, you now have no suggestion of your heading. If you’ve left your compass in the house, that could start a truly dangerous downward spiral.

Exact and reputable compasses are trusted by knowledgeable kayakers for long crossings and inadequate conditions, even when a GPS is available.

As Conor Mihell describes, “While GPS systems are handy for assessing your speed, the range from your destination, and also getting used to the inconsistencies of wind and present, a deck-mounted compass is your best ally in navigating low-vis conditions because of its straightforward, hands-free procedure.”

We concur; to assist you in getting your bearings on compasses, we offer the following guide and evaluations.

Brunton Dash Mount Compass

Brunton Dash Mount Compass

Mounting system: deck/surface/bulkhead install

Dimension: 4″ x 3″ x 3″

Weight: 8.2 oz

This Brunton Dash Mount Compass is developed for kayaking and is created to suit the existing recesses on your boat. This suggests it can be flush installed, which can be optimal if you’re seeking a compass that can be semi-permanently dealt with in position on your deck.

The compass uses graduations of 5 levels for raised accuracy and includes a direct analysis disc that allows you to read the instructions from the side of the compass. This can be available conveniently while paddling, implying you can read it while seated.

It has four screws to install on the compass recess on your watercraft.

Brunton’s compass is the standard for exploration kayaks, and several boats included a deck recess designed to accommodate this model. Per se, that states a great deal regarding this item, and also, if you’re looking for a trusted, robust, easy-to-read enhancement to your navigation tools, this is an excellent area to begin.

If your kayak has such a recess, the setup is simple and entails four screws. If that’s not the situation for you, you’ll need to cut an opening in your kayak and place this compass with much more DIY expertise. Keep in mind that power tools will certainly be essential.

Brunton’s compass provides a black dial with clear, quickly legible white markings. It’s readable at any angle and designed to swivel in a round housing. It’s also durable, durable, and trustworthy– a solid combination, to be sure!

Customers report no concerns with these compasses, and you can expect a dependable solution from Brunton.

Easy to check out
Understandable at almost any kind of angle
Easy to install to the majority of exploration kayaks

Mounting can be hard if your kayak doesn’t feature a deck recess

Why is it better?

  • Direct-reading dial ensures easy-to-see, reliable readouts, no matter the climate
  • The reciprocal bearing makes reading your back bearing a breeze
  • It boasts a high level of precision with 5-degree college graduations
  • Sturdy and also water-tight construction for included toughness
  • Permanent on-deck mounting on the kayak’s bulkhead, dashboard, or deck surface
  • It fits into existing, manufacturer-ready recesses for a flush fit and a factory-installed appearance
  • Inconspicuous layout minimizes possibilities of unintended damages
  • Backed by a restricted lifetime guarantee

Seattle Sports SeaRover Deck Compass

Seattle Sports SeaRover Deck Compass


Installing system: restrain
Size: 7″ x 4″ x 2″

Weight: 12 oz

Seattle Sport’s SeaRover is an easy-to-attach deck compass that links two quick-release clasps to your bow rigging. Its clear situation relaxes in a form-fitting plastic base to which these clasps connect.

It’s very easy to install and get rid of, which is something to consider if those functions are essential to you.

The SeaRover supplies a direct-reading black dial with contrasting white markings. Once again, this can perplex some users, as the noting encountering you is your heading– the reverse of a hiking or orienteering compass.

Nonetheless, numerous users report remarkable performance on expeditions. Yet some have had issues with sturdiness, liquid leaks, and liquid discoloration. These are issues that ideally should not happen with such important gear.

Easy to read
Easy to mount and remove

Fluid leakage
Liquid staining

The Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass can be an excellent selection for installing kayak decks because it includes its straps.

It features adjustable bands with clasp closures that protect the compass straight to your deck rigging or storage bags. It has a difficult, sturdy design with a base plate that can produce a flat surface area for the compass.

The compass itself is designed to be very easy to read from your cockpit and takes advantage of having two collections of markings to ensure that you can read the instructions from the top of it and the sides.

Silva 58 Kayak Compass

Silva 58 Kayak Compass

Placing system: restrain

Size: 3.46″ x 2.16″ x 2.84″

Weight: 4.05 oz

Silva is a reputable name in compasses, and I’ve utilized their hiking and orienteering versions myself. The 58 is a tie-down-mounted compass that affixes to your bow setting up using four plastic clips. If removability is a determining element for you, this model should be seriously considered, as setup and detachment can be performed easily.

Silva’s 58 utilizes a black dial with clear white markings and a yellow bearing marker for easy reading. You should be able to keep an eye on your heading with simply a glance, and that’s precisely what to try to find in a kayak compass.

Like most nautical versions, it’s direct reading, indicating that it’ll direct the heading toward you. For example, when heading north, N will be straightened with the bearing pen at the bottom of the compass.

The top dome of this compass is secured in plastic, and it’s evident that this design was made for hard knocks.

Users report remarkable efficiency, precisely what you would get from a Silva. My only issue is the installation system, which may not be as strong.


  • Tough
  • Trustworthy
  • Easy to check out
  • Readable at practically any kind of angle
  • Easy to mount


  • The placing system could be much more resilient

The most effective overall compass in our testimonial, the Silva 58 Kayak Compass is a solid, well-rounded workhorse for routine paddling ventures.

Utilizing its four-point bungee cord system, this design can be affixed to nearly any type of kayak. Consequently, it’s easy to install before you go out on your paddles without the requirement to pierce holes right into your kayak.

The Silva 58 is additionally lightweight and small, which is valuable if you have a kayak with a narrow bow. Moreover, the compass is made from ABS and scratch-resistant acrylic, so it’s long-lasting enough for any weather.

When it comes to navigation, the Silva 58 doesn’t disappoint. It’s suitable for usage in the northern and southerly hemispheres, so it’s the option for the much more intrepid paddlers amongst us.

That being stated, although the Silva 58 has clear, easy-to-read markings, it does not come with a memory ring for establishing your training course, nor does it have a straightforward means to adjust for declination. However, if you’re in the market for a resilient and flexible kayak compass, this is one model you will intend to take advantage of.

Factors to purchase:

  • Lightweight and also very compact
  • Easy to affix to any kayak
  • Suitable for usage all over the world
  • Made from sturdy ABS and acrylic
  • Clear, easy-to-read markings
  • Reasons to avoid:

No integrated declination support
It doesn’t have a memory ring for course setup

    Ritchie X-11Y Navigation 2-Inch Dial Sport Kayak Compass

    Ritchie X-11Y Navigation 2-Inch Dial Sport Kayak Compass

    Installing system: hand-held or deck mount
    Size: 1 ⅜” x 2 9/16″.

    Weight: N/A.

    This Ritchie X-11Y Kayak Compass is a long-lasting compass with a 2-inch dial that is created to be very easy to check out. It’s housed inside a difficult yellow silicone case, which can be useful on exterior journeys, whether loading it right into your knapsack or using it around your neck.

    The compass features a lanyard and 3 Chem Sticks, enabling you to illuminate the compass in the evening or with reduced light problems.

    You can attach this compass to the deck of your kayak, yet you will need to purchase extra products, consisting of an owner, separately.

    Ritchie is a substantial name in compasses. Its X-11Y is a small, rounded model that can be affixed to an optional deck mount attached to your kayak with screws. Tiny and also simple, this no-frills compass offers a straight analysis dial, meaning that the bearing you see is the bearing you’re on.

    It features a revolving white dial with black markings, and here, its size may not offer all kayakers well. While low-cost and challenging, the X-11Y doesn’t use the most effective readability, and I discovered the dial is cluttered for at-a-glance legibility. But also for its size, it does in addition to what can be expected.

    As a great function, the X-11Y accepts tiny, chemical illumination sticks that come foil-wrapped with the product. These enable evening navigation– a thoughtful touch and something to keep in mind.

    Users report that this compass has served them well and can withstand more misuse than expected.


    • Tough
    • Dependable.
    • Easy to install.
    • Night illumination alternatives.


    • The tiny dial might need to be more complex to review.

    Ritchie XP-99 Kayaker Compass.

    Ritchie XP-99 Kayaker Compass.

    Installing system: deck/surface mount with optional tie-down.

    Dimension: 2 3/4″ x 4 1/4″.

    Weight: 13.4 oz.

    For people looking to take their kayaks out on longer journeys in more remote locales, a deck-mountable compass like the Ritchie Navigation Kayaker XP-99 might be required.

    Unlike the other two versions in our evaluation, the Kayaker XP-99 has a place created to be permanently attached to the deck of your kayak for added safety and security while you paddle. But you can still eliminate the compass for transport and storage space by utilizing its simplified twist-on/twist-off attachment system.

    The Kayaker XP-99 features a high-end CourseMinder bezel with a memory ring that allows you rapidly set your course while you paddle. It’s likewise suitable with the firm’s optional lights package during nighttime paddles.

    That being said, while there’s a lot to like with the Kayaker XP-99, we must keep in mind that it’s reasonably pricey, and installing it involves boring holes right into the deck of your kayak. It’s also made for use in the northern hemisphere, so this is something to consider before purchasing. Regardless of the drawbacks, the Kayaker XP-99 is still a strong deck-mounted compass for the daring paddler.

    Ritchie’s XP-99 uses two mounting alternatives: either a straight deck mount or an optional tie-down. That’s a great option for kayakers who are trying to find removability as well as super-easy installation.

    The XP-99 provides a pivoting black dial with clear white markings. This right away clear dial is direct-reading, implying that the heading you see is the heading you’re on.

    It additionally offers an optional 12v lighting kit for night navigating, a wonderful touch if you run batteries in your ‘yak. However, many exploring paddlers do not, and this choice is probably less beneficial than it seems.

    While not fabulously assessed, customers don’t grumble regarding top quality or performance. You can also expect this clear, trustworthy compass to aid you in browsing your escape from hard places.


    • Tough.
    • Reliable.
    • Easy to review.
    • Legible at almost any angle.
    • Easy to place.


    • Evening lighting needs a 12v battery system.

    Suunto Orca Kayak Compass

    Suunto Orca Kayak Compass

    Installing system: deck/surface install or tie-down.
    Dimension: 3.46″ x 3.46″ x 2.24 “.

    Weight: 4.8 oz.

    Suunto is another trusted name in compasses, and its Orca can be mounted directly or via two big plastic clips connected to an elastic cable. Once again, for kayakers searching for placing choices and removability, this is an element worth thinking about.

    It features a white dial significant plainly in black. It swivels for an accurate analysis approximately 25 degrees from the level. It’s additionally luminescent– a very good attribute– enabling it to be checked out in low light and the evening. Clients report that the efficiency of this compass is outstanding, as well.

    That’s great information, but there’s poor here, too. Some users whine that both attachment choices are weak. The connection downs come loose easily and are obviously vulnerable to breakage.

    And also, the installing brace can’t hold the compass firmly if it’s bumped hard. These are major concerns for such a crucial piece of equipment, as well as watching your compass tumble over the top is a great means to guarantee tough times ahead.

    Easy to review.
    Easy to install.
    Luminous markings.

    Weak accessory systems.

    Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass

    Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass

    Weight: 1.1 ounces.
    Dimensions: 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.

    The Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass is a lightweight, small compass with a lanyard that can easily connect to your equipment bag or kayak. You could also wear it around your neck to avoid walking after your paddle adventure.

    It has a 2-inch diameter dial and includes a TruArc Global Needle System to direct north in both the north and southern hemispheres. The valuable base plate can be positioned on a level surface.

    However, it may not be the best selection if you’re trying to find a compass to be dealt with on the deck of your boat because, while there are openings on the plastic base plate, there are very few.

    Lanyard consisted of.
    Worldwide Needle System.
    Flat base plate.

    Comparison Table: Top Eight Kayak Fishing PFDS

     Model Name
    Our Rating
    USCG Rating
    Brunton Dash Mount Compass Brunton – Dash Mount Compass (70P)Astral Sturgeon 16 lbs.  1.22 lbs.  Type III
    Seattle Sports SeaRover Deck Compass Seattle Sports SeaRover Deck Compass 16 lbs.  1.22 lbs.  Type III
    Silva 58 Kayak Compass Silva 58 Kayak Compass 16-18 lbs.  1 lbs.  Type III
    Ritchie X-11Y Navigation 2-Inch Dial Sport Kayak Compass Ritchie X-11Y Navigation 2-Inch Dial Sport Kayak Compass 16-18 lbs.  1.5 lbs.  Type III
    Ritchie XP-99 Kayaker Compass Ritchie XP-99 Kayaker Compass. 16-18 lbs.  1.9 lbs.  Type III
    Suunto Orca Kayak Compass Suunto Orca Kayak CompassStohlquist Fisherman 16 lbs.  1.9 lbs.  Type III
    Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate CompassNRS Chinook 16 lbs.  1.81 lbs.  Type III


    Kayak Compass Institution: Buying Overview as well as Things to Consider


    If your compass can not take a couple of unexpected paddle strikes, it’s not likely to do you a lot of good. Try to find designs that feature difficult real estate as well as domes. They shouldn’t leak after a few bumps, remove from their mounts when pushed, or break when gone down.

    The fluid must continue to be clear in time, and the dial should spin conveniently as you change course.

    An additional test to consider if you’re into cold weather kayaking: toss that compass in the freezer for a couple of hours and see if the fluid inside the dome relies on ice. If it does, you require to seek another alternative.

    For rough problems– especially cool– you need a compass that can take the worst Mother Nature can give out!

    Toughness can be a vital attribute in a kayak compass or any compass.

    The case should be solid and challenging, adequate to endure your ordinary kayaking experience, as your compass may become a vital navigation device while you’re out. Hence, you intend to make sure it can handle your atmosphere.

    This could be especially vital if you intend to toss your compass in a backpack or use it around your neck for treking journeys.

    Easy to read

    A compass is only useful to you if you can review it. Consequently, it’s vital to evaluate the readability of a compass before buying it.

    Nevertheless, various functions and style selections affect the readability of a compass. For kayak compasses, in particular, you’ll look out for versions with lots and letters signifying your bearing for fast recommendation while you paddle.

    You’ll also ensure that your compass supplies sufficient information to paddle. For instance, a compass that notes every 45º could not be detailed enough for you to utilize when navigating through complicated waters.

    In these instances, obtaining a compass that’s graduated in tiny increments (around 5º) and has clear directional markings can make all the distinctions regarding reducing navigation.

    A compass you can’t check out at a look is useless.

    Reading angle— Many compasses are created to be reviewed at a certain angle– for example, straight-on or from above. You’ll need to recognize where you are preparing to mount it and select a compass that’ll help you at that reading angle. We’ve selected versions that provide optimum convenience.

    A large, clearly marked dial is necessary to navigate hard scenarios. Give that item a pass if the markings are small and easily mistaken.

    Securing your compass.

    Several installing alternatives for marine compasses exist, but just a few help kayaks. Whatever your option, you wish to secure your compass to ensure the situation remains aligned with the keel.

    Deck/surface/bulkhead place: This compass style is installed in your kayak with screws or a mounting brace. The benefit of this system is sturdiness: it’s tough. Yet unless your compass utilizes a detachable placing brace, it’s fixed in place for much better or worse. Some exploration kayaks include an integrated recess to accommodate a Brunton compass.

    Connect downs-– Tie downs enable your compass to be connected to the bungee wires or rigging installed on the bow of your ‘yak. Easy to connect and remove, the weak point of this style of compass place is that it’s much easier to break.

    Dashboard installs, aquatic bracket installs, flush places, and binnacle places will not function well for kayaks. They’re developed for larger watercraft and also pre-formed gaming consoles. Some of these will not work on a kayak; others position the compass where it’s most likely to get damaged or forcibly removed from its place.


    If you paddle greater than one ‘yak, a detachable compass is something to consider. Furthermore, when carrying your watercraft to and from the water, you can subject permanent fixtures too hard knocks. Removability can conserve you a lot of cash as well as difficulty!

    Why Have A Compass?

    A compass can aid you in navigating, whether on water or land and even flying an airplane. Compasses can be helpful because they use magnets and Earth’s magnetic field to establish which instructions are north.

    This differs from several navigational gizmos, which often depend on satellites or mobile signals to determine location.

    A compass can be particularly valuable in a remote location with no mobile service or if your devices lack battery, as your compass will constantly aim north.

    Placing Options

    One key function you’ll need to decide on fairly early in your search for a kayak compass is whether you desire a fixed or adjustable model.

    As the name recommends, fixed-mount compasses like the Ritchie Navigation Kayaker XP-99 are created to attach your kayak’s deck permanently. Doing so eliminates the risk of your compass falling off as you paddle and prevents your navigation device from gliding about in heavy seas.

    The disadvantage to these fixed-mount compasses is that mounting them requires piercing holes into your kayak.

    Alternatively, adjustable-mount compasses, like the Silva 58 Kayak Compass, are made to be attached to almost any kayak. They typically have bungee cables or adjustable nylon straps that you can use to hook the compass onto the deck rigging of your kayak.

    The primary benefit of these flexible compasses is that they’re very easy to move from kayak to kayak. They likewise don’t require boring openings in your kayak and are typically relatively cost-effective. But, no matter just how safe the add-on system is, there’s constantly a danger of shedding among these compasses in bad climates.

    Which kind of compass should you get?

    Well, there’s no one good answer for everybody. A fixed-mount option could be best if you’re all right with permanently affixing your compass to your kayak. On the other hand, folks with several kayaks or people who don’t want to utilize power devices on their kayaks may prefer an adjustable-mount alternative.

    International vs. Hemisphere-Specific

    Arguably, one of the most ignored yet vital factors to consider when acquiring a kayak compass is whether you desire a worldwide or hemisphere-specific design.

    While we often think of compasses as tools that can function anywhere in the world (they point north, right?), the reality is that many compasses only operate in the north or southerly hemispheres.

    This is because the Earth’s electromagnetic field does not have an even flow across the globe. Instead, our Earth’s electromagnetic field tilts considerably into the ground as it nears the poles, ending up being flawlessly vertical at the north and south poles.

    This variant in the Earth’s magnetic field can result in mistakes in a compass, so compass suppliers have to weigh the needle or card in their compasses to execute properly in certain settings.

    Numerous compasses are weighted just to one hemisphere to save money, so they will not be exact if you utilize them elsewhere. Nevertheless, you can get global compasses if you intend to go on international paddling journeys.

    For numerous paddlers, this magnetic weighting concern may not be a trouble. But, if you intend to travel, consider this as you might require an around-the-world well-balanced compass for your journeys.

    How Do You Use A Compass When Kayaking?

    Compasses are designed to indicate the North Pole. However, due to the way the Earth turns on its axis while it rotates, in some cases, the magnetic north and also real north might only sometimes coincide depending upon your geographical place.

    This can mean that you may need to readjust your instructions based on the local variation or declination of degrees of distinction between the magnetic north and the true north.

    If you plan to use maps, regional maps will usually associate the compass because of area, implying you should not need to make any adjustments. Other maps might tell you the declination to utilize.

    Align Your Kayak

    The first thing to do is to straighten your kayak with your compass. To do this, set your kayak to ensure the bow encounters the north and the demand is to the south. This indicates the north-south line on your compass is straightened with the center of your boat.

    Nautical Maps

    Maritime maps are made to be made use of compasses, which can make it simpler to find your bearings. Frequently these maps will associate the magnetic north on the inner line of your maritime compass. This means you can use the maps and compass straight without having to make any adjustments for true north.

    Effect Of Currents Or Wind

    When you’re in a kayak, there will likely be some celebrations where your kayak encounters one direction but is swept another. Maintain this in mind when paddling in the wind or the present, as it could impact your instructions for travel.

    Electronics And Accessories

    Compasses tend to be shaken off by other things, such as phones, gizmos, and steel devices. This can create the compass to differ from the magnetic north.

    You can inspect this by using two items that remain in a line and noting the degrees of these items before aiming your bow toward both challenges. Check the levels on your compass.

    What Features To Look Out For On A Kayak Compass


    There are numerous ways to install a compass in your kayak. The very best method will certainly be the one that is most hassle-free for you. So if you intend to have the ability to eliminate the compass after each journey, you should make sure the one you pick can be quickly removed.

    Some compasses can be placed straight to the deck of your kayak, with some made to be screwed right into the factory recesses on your boat. This can be useful if you plan to have your compass live semi-permanently on your kayak.

    Strap installs can be beneficial if you plan to relocate the compass from a boat to watercraft or if you want to connect a compass to a rental kayak, for example.

    Declination Adjustment Options.

    Magnetic declination, a magnetic variant in specific parts of the world, is the difference between real and magnetic north. This distinction exists because the north post of Earth’s magnetic field does not align exactly with the actual geographical north pole at 90ºN.

    However, our maps are oriented toward the true north (a.k.a. geographic north). This may not seem like a big deal, yet when the distinction between true and also magnetic north is, as an example, 20º, you can paddle in the incorrect direction if you do not make up for this difference.

    Luckily, there are means to change for declination on your compass with loved one convenience just by doing a percentage of mathematics.

    Some kayak compasses include declination settings to save you from regularly making this tiny calculation. These settings allow you to establish your declination adjustment at the start of your paddling day so that you don’t have to bother making these continual computations.

    Nonetheless, declination adjustment tools are unusual on kayak compasses, so you could pay a pretty penny if you want this function. But it may be worth the added cost if you paddle in places with big declination worths.

    Size & Weight.

    Unlike portable baseplate compasses that you could take hiking, the size and weight of your kayak compass aren’t an issue from a mobility point of view. However, it is important to consider the size of your kayak compass because you’ll need to make sure that you’re not obtaining a design that’s as well huge for the deck of your boat.

    While most kayak compasses are relatively small, some are larger than others. For adjustable-mount compasses, this isn’t generally an issue.

    However, for fixed-mount designs, you need to be sure that your compass will fit flush on the deck of your boat so you can firmly mount it without damaging your kayak.

    If you desire a fixed-mount compass, you’ll likely require a kayak with a relatively level compass recess location at the bow. You will also need to determine this area to ensure that it’s compatible with the compass you wish to acquire to prevent any incidents down the line.

    Extra Features.

    Finally, some kayak compasses have a few extra attributes that can boost your paddling experience. While many of these functions enhance the cost of a compass, they might be worth it for your journeys.

    Memory ring: Some compasses have a little flexible ring that you can use to set your preferred course bearing. Doing so allows you to rapidly verify if you’ve diverted off-course so you can change your paddling instructions to aid you in remaining on track.

    Lighting alternatives: If you could do some nighttime paddling, getting a compass with lighting choices can be useful. Some compasses feature integrated, battery-powered LED backlights, while others are compatible with lighting sets to aid you in discovering your method in the dark.

    Welcome to our comprehensive guide,

    where we have tasked our Review Team with a singular objective: to identify and review the top-rated and most sought-after products on the market today. We take great pride in the quality and reliability of our reviews, which are carefully crafted with your satisfaction in mind.

    Our team of experts always takes into account key factors such as durability, price, quality, and overall value when conducting their assessments, so you can rest assured that you are getting the most accurate and relevant information possible.

    Where to Buy


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