Best Kayak Compass

Top 10 Best Kayak Compass: (2023 Buyer’s Guide)

We live in the satellite-tracking era. Nowadays, GPS navigation gadgets are so common that it’s difficult to conceive why anyone would bother with a traditional compass. But here’s the harsh reality, These high-tech gadgets, as handy as they are, are prone to faults, interferences, dead batteries, and poor signals. To put it simply, contemporary GPS technology may and will fail.

In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of using compasses, how to use them, and how to choose the best kayak compass in 2023. So we studied and tested the top kayak compass devices on the market to make navigating on your next kayak adventure as simple as possible.

Buyer’s Guide

How Do You Make Use Of A Kayak Compass?

Kayaking Compass

A compass, although being “old-fashioned” navigation equipment, might come in helpful when paddling in rural places.

A compass, if used correctly, can guide you in the air, on land, and even in the ocean. Moreover, unlike the Kayak GPS and other high-tech GPS gadgets, your compass will never run out of battery power or malfunction due to signal interference.

I don’t even want anyone using a compass as the primary navigation instrument, but it’s nearly vital as a backup.

Compasses sense the magnetic field produced by the Earth’s rotation on its axis, which travels from one pole to another. This magnetic field affects the magnetized needle within the compass, which responds by freely revolving and only coming to rest when it is pointing toward the North Pole.

Now, back to the topic: here are some tips for using a compass for kayaking:

Change the Declination

This step is not usually required. If you do need to change the declination, remember to use the declination value indicated for the region where you’re kayaking.

Orient the Map as Follows

Change the degree scale whenever north is lined up with the experience bolt on the aide after you’re sure it’s going up. Put yourself in a position where the magnetic needle meets the orienting arrow by aligning the baseplate with the chart’s edge.

Think About the Following

Turn the degree dial till the compass needle’s north end is at the orienting point. Then, check the direction that the journey arrow is heading and how it compares to the degree dial. Always remember that bearings are relative to the place.

What Features Should a Kayak Compass Have?

Compass for Kayaking


There are probably several methods to attach a compass to the kayak. The ideal method will be the most convenient for everyone. So, if you would like to be able to eliminate the compass after an excursion, be sure the one you pick is simply removable.

Some compasses are meant to be screwed into factory recesses on the kayak, while others may be installed straight to the deck. This is useful if you want to semi-permanently keep the compass on the kayak.

When moving a compass from one boat to another or when mounting a compass to a rented kayak, for instance, strap attachments can be helpful.

On that subject, these are the two most commonly mounting options for kayak compasses:


This style of kayak compass attachment makes use of bungee cords & deck rigging present on the kayak’s bow and is easy to connect and detach while on the water.

Deck/Bulkhead Installation:

This kayak compass is permanently attached to the deck using screws, in a built-in recess, usually direct to the deck, or via a mounting bracket. Except if the mounting bracket is removable, the compass is permanently attached.


The compass will be useless if you are unable to read it. The clear dial that would be large enough to see from the kayak seat is a good option; otherwise, you may have to strain the eyes or bend over to get a good angle at the dial. Some compasses have lights to help clarify the needle at the night. This seems to be useful if you wish to paddle in low-light circumstances, although it is not required for everyone.


When selecting a boat compass and another compass, durability is an important thing to consider. 

Because the compass could become a crucial navigation tool when you’re out, the casing should be sturdy and strong enough to survive the average kayaking experience.

This is especially vital if you intend to carry the compass in a backpack and wear it around the neck when trekking.


This a self-evident remark, especially given the topic of compasses. A decent compass must be accurate to be useful, and learning how to use one can come in handy when you’re out on the sea.

When kayaking, a minor difference in compass accuracy is unlikely to be an issue, but anything more disruptive will be.

It is crucial to choose a compass from a well and reputable manufacturer in terms of reliability so that you can be guaranteed to always be safe no matter where you have been kayaking.

Lightweight and Sized Suitably:

What counts is how you use it, not its size! With a compass, that’s not true. The most significant aspect to check for is the device’s size.

Note that the compass is basic and easy to use. Something large and bulky would be more of a nuisance than assistance when you’ve been on the water.

Easy Kayak Compass Installation:

Some compasses have screws that must be drilled, whereas others only include straps. Determine which one best matches your ability, expertise, and need.

Make certain that the compass’s straps are properly fastened to your kayak. Some additionally have an elastic cord to assist position the kayak in an easy-to-read manner.

A Good Guarantee:

Look for a device that comes with a decent guarantee, ideally a lifelong guarantee. Because of this, you only need to purchase one item to cover all of your needs.

When the compass is broken, you could have to pay additional money for repairs and replacements because certain less expensive versions and/or smaller manufacturers don’t give this (or any guarantee, for that matter).

Use in All Weather Conditions:

If you love to paddle, even in bad weather, you could go out on a water excursion.

Before purchasing a compass, make sure it is made of thermoplastic (or a comparable) material that can survive extreme cold and heat temperatures.


To begin with, kayaking is not a cheap pastime, and you will need to buy a lot of equipment and supplies to get started. So, if you would like to make sensible financial decisions, pricing is a key deciding element.

So consider your budget first, then decide which compass will fit into it. You don’t have to pay expensive to acquire a good one.


A recognized brand is a simple approach to finding the perfect goods. This should be a company that makes kayaking or sports equipment that is well-known for its high quality across the world.

The best kayak compass we’ve featured in this post are all from well-known manufacturers.

How to Mount a Kayak Compass?

Depending on the sort of compass you choose, you may mount it in one of two ways.

You may temporarily fasten this to the edge of the kayak if you get one with straps. In contrast, a completely mounted compass is fastened straight to the kayak and to the mounting bracket.

Step 1: Removing the Compass from the Packaging:

To begin, unpack the kayak compass and dry-fit the unit into the hull recess to confirm compatibility. Drill through each of the side holes with a bit large enough to accept the bolts you wish to use after placing the black plastic sheet in the recess as evenly as you want to.

Step 2: Insert a Bolt into the Hole:

After that, put the bolt through the first hole you drilled to keep the fascia sheet in place, and then drill the second hole.

Insert the second bolt in the second hole you created, and then repeat with the other holes. The fascia plate and bolts should then be removed and left aside.

Step 3: Uninstall the Brass Attachment Plate as Follows:

The brass plate usually has small holes to suit the self-tapping bolts that come with the kit.

As a result, if utilizing 6-32 bolts, it should be drilled somewhat bigger. The brass plate should be removed from the compass globe, the projecting tabs should be flattened using pliers, and the holes should be enlarged with the 9/64′′ bit.

Step 4: Replace the Brass Plate as Follows:

Replace the plate in the compass globe, then place the installation in the recess then place the black plastic fascia panel on top of the hole works.

Step 5: Insert the Bolts:

The kayak deck, brass plate, and four bolts should all be inserted through the fascia. A quarter-inch bolt should protrude into the kayak’s cargo box.

Then, tighten the nylock bit and secure the bolt with the rubber washer and flattened stainless steel washer. Repeat with the remaining bolts, albeit the self-tapping screws can still be installed loosely.

Top 10 Best Kayak Compass Reviews 2023

1. Seattle Sports Rover Deck Sea Compass for Kayaks


  • Weight: 12 ounces 
  • Length: 2.5 x 7.5 x 2.6 inches 
  • Attachable to a deck bag or deck rigging 

This Sea Rover comes with a large compass featuring legible indications. The Sea Rover is simple to secure to deck lines and looks great perched on a deck bag. Quick-release buckles make attaching simple

With heavy-duty, marine-grade construction, this Seattle Sports kayak sea compass is accurate, waterproof, and simple to use.

This simple-to-install tie-down type has 2-adjustable nylon straps & quick-release buckles that allow you to fasten the base plate wherever on the boat deck with ease – if space is limited on board, it may also be linked to deck bags and deck lines.

Furthermore, this Sea Rover has a robust rubber base that avoids slipping even when paddling in heavy waves. It also includes a tough acrylic casing designed to endure the rigors of daily use.

The direct-reading dial is about 2.4 inches across and features an easy-to-read rubber base and easy-to-read markings. The compass also has 2 sets of markings allowing visibility from the sides and top.

It’s not the lightest compass I’ve tried, but 12 ounces won’t put you over the weight restriction of the kayak.

Reasons to Buy

  • The rubber base is sturdy and non-slip
  • The mounting method is easily adjustable
  • Simple, easy-to-read navigation lines
  • The price is reasonable
  • Construction that is long-lasting and dependable
  • Watertight construction

Reasons to Avoid

  • It is not the lightest kayaking compass
  • It lacks an LED backlight for usage at night
  • The clips don’t appear to be durable

However, if you’re searching for a low-cost kayak compass with great accuracy and two sets of markings for easy readability, the Seattle Sports Sea Rover is a solid pick.

2. RITCHIE Navigation Kayaker XP-99


  • Weight: 12 ounces 
  • Length: 6.9 x 6.2 x 7 inches 
  • Surface Mount Kayak Compass

The dial size & mounting type are the two most crucial factors to consider when choosing a compass. Accuracy, a fluid reaction, stability, and trouble-free operation are all aided by high-quality components. Ritchie Compasses are the Best Marine Compasses in the World because of modern technology

Ritchie Navigation’s XP-99 is the other kayak compass that offers adequate accuracy, reliability, durability, and readability to compete with my top recommendation, but at a somewhat lower price.

This compass is excellent for use in harsh situations due to its super-durable composite construction as well as a diaphragm that widens its temperature operating duration – ideal for sea kayaking.

Furthermore, it has a 2.75-inch straightforward dial with bold markers for easy readability. Another unique feature is the memory indicator on the adjustable bezel; this compass “remembers” where you’re going.

When it comes to mounting, you have two options: strap it down or use a more solid, screw-in mounting method.

For increased security when paddling, the Kayaker XP-99 includes a mount that is meant to be permanently affixed to the deck of the kayak. However, you may still travel and store the compass by using its simpler twist-on/twist-off connection technique.

It’s not the lightest or most compact choice I looked at, but that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Reasons to Buy

  • Strong attachment system
  • Transportable when removed from the mount
  • A memory ring is included to help you plot your path
  • suitable for night kayaking with a lighting system
  • Large markers and a dial that is easy to read

Reasons to Avoid

  • It does not include mounting screws
  • It’s a bit costly
  • Not intended for worldwide usage
  • Needs you to drill holes in the kayak

A reliable deck-mounted compass for the daring paddler, the Kayaker XP-99 is still available. The rising versatility alone makes it worthwhile to consider! If my first selection is a little too pricey, Ritchie Navigation’s XP-99 is a great alternative. 

3- Sun Company Seaturtl Compass for Kayak

3. Sun Company Seaturtl Compass for Kayak


  • Weight: 8.8 ounce
  • Length: 4.1 x 4.1 x 2,9 inches
  • Full-size marine compass

You get a full-size, mounted nautical compass that is simple to see with SeaTurtl, together with four elastic cords that can be adjusted, directly on your kayak deck

If you want a compass that is simple to install and does not require any drilling. This one comes with four sturdy elastic cords that each have a clip at the end so you can attach the compass to the appropriate places on your kayak.

This is handy if you will not have factory recesses and want to attach and remove the compass for use on other boats.

The four adjustable elastic cords plus ABS clips make installation a breeze. And, if you’re like me and have many kayaks, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s suited for both flat & curved hulls – it’ll even fit the paddleboard if you have one.

This Sun Company SeaTurtl Compass could withstand any weather conditions and misuse, and it does not leak – necessary for any serious kayaker. Finally, this compass is covered by a lifetime warranty.

Reasons to Buy

  • The rubber casing is strong and durable
  • Fits both flat & curved kayak hulls
  • The dial is full-sized, liquid-filled, and simple to read
  • Adjustable elastic cords allow for simple attachment on kayaks & paddle boards
  • Adjustable hood for protection while not in use

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bungee cords are unadjustable and may be too lengthy for some boats
  • Not appropriate for night kayaking; a built-in light would be useful

This Compass Sea turtle is without a doubt one of the greatest compasses available to buy if you’re searching for a go-anywhere navigation tool; its affordability, quality, and adaptability make it an option for any sort of kayaking expedition.

4. Brunton Dash Mount Kayak Compass


  • Weight: 8.3 ounce
  • Length: 4 x 3 x 3 inches
  • Deck-mount compass

It offers quick, dependable readings that can guide you to your destination and lessen the tension of your excursion

The Brunton Dash Mount kayak compass is intended to fit into any sea kayak deck with a molded recess. This compass is mounted level with the deck, also with a perspex dome extending above it. A variety of tools are always at your disposal thanks to the 5° increments, bearing, and back bearing readouts.

Although not supplied, a gasket is suggested to tighten the fit of this compass. Some customers have also complained that the screws included have pointed edges that might snag on your equipment.

In any weather, it is extremely simple to read, and mounting it is equally simple. You may also choose to skip the plate and instead put the compass in a recessed slot on the kayak.

One feature that this compass lacks is a glow-in-the-dark and another form of night vision device. Bring a lamp if you’re kayaking at night so you can view the compass. 

Overall, we think this is one of the best paddling compasses money could buy, and we strongly recommend it.

Reasons to Buy

  • Simple to read
  • 5-degree graduations and excellent readability
  • Flush-mounting for a factory-installed appearance
  • Reciprocal bearing for better back bearing reading
  • The design is low-profile and the material is strong

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not budget-friendly
  • Holes must be drilled in the hull for installation
  • A night-viewing device that glows in the dark would have been ideal

This kayak compass from Brunton is perhaps the greatest compass money could buy since it is extremely robust, highly accurate, and easily legible in any condition.

5. Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass


  • Weight: 1.1 oz
  • Length: 2.5” x 3.5” x 0.5”
  • Material: Synthetic

This is an essential item for everyone’s outdoor kit since it has metric & standard scales and tool-free declination compensation. The ideal compass for tourists, hikers, and campers who need a portable, dependable means of determining their whereabouts anywhere in the globe.

This Brunton TruArc3 Base Plate Compass is a compact compass with a lanyard for simple attachment to the kit bag and kayak and it is lightweight. If you wish to go on a trek after the paddle experience, you might put it around the neck.

The TruArc Global Needle System, which is intended to point north both in the southern and northern hemispheres, is a feature of the 2-inch diameter dial. A flat surface can be used to install the beneficial base plate.

Although the plastic bottom plate has holes, they are quite little, so it might not be the ideal option if you want a compass that can be fastened to the deck of the boat.

Reasons to Buy

  • very easy to read
  • good Reliability
  • fantastic value for the money
  • Needle with many zones
  • Small and lightweight

Reasons to Avoid

  • The bezel lacks cardinal directions
  • The base plate has no UTM grid tools

This Brunton TruArc 3 is a low-cost, dependable compass that may be taken anywhere on the planet. This compass’s worldwide needle can withstand a high degree of tilt, so even if your hands are trembling, it still functions as a good survival compass.

6. Ritchie Navigation X-11Y Sport Kayak 2-Inch Dial


  • Weight: 4 ounce
  • Length:  2 ½ x 1 ¼ inches
  • handheld compass for navigation

Richie Navigation’s sport-around portable compass has a 2 inches direct reading dial. It has a sapphire jewel movement with a hardened steel pivot, a constructed roller diaphragm for a wider temperature working range, and a yellow international safety casing

The Ritchie X-11Y Kayak Compass is a tough compass with a two-inch dial that is simple to read. It comes in a sturdy yellow silicone casing that may be beneficial on outdoor trips, whether you put it in your bag or wear it around the neck.

The compass includes a lanyard with three Chem Sticks that may be used to highlight the compass at nighttime or even in low-light settings.

You may attach the compass to the kayak’s deck, but you’ll need to purchase extra components, including a holder, separately.

The X-11Y Ritchie Navigation kayak compass is a basic, portable compass that shows you don’t have to mount a compass to the upper deck to navigate.

The downside of this setup is that you are not able to hold both the compass and the paddle at the same time. This compass may be attached to the deck using screws or velcro, but it is intended to be held in your hand.

Reasons to Buy

  • A dependable portable compass
  • Simple lighting system
  • Simple lighting system
  • It includes a lanyard

Reasons to Avoid

  • The reading is less clear
  • The tiny light sticks don’t work very well
  • Inside the compass, air bubbles may form

You shouldn’t anticipate any cutting-edge features. However, this Ritchie Navigation X-11Y is simple to use, affordable, and illuminates; rather outstanding for a low-cost kayak compass!

7. Ritchie RA-93 Angler Compass


  • Weight: 6.4-ounce
  • Length: 6 x 6 x 6 inches
  • Surface-mount compass

 It is reliable and reasonably priced, and the compass is precise, sensitive, and long-lasting. Push buttons are also included for simple storage and security

This Ritchie RA-93 Angler has a gray finish and a bright blue dial that is meant to boost readability due to its anti-glare capabilities. As a result, seeing bright sunlight may be preferable. It also contains a green LED light for reading the dial at the night.

Another good aspect of this compass is the adjustable sun cover, which aids in readability and protects the dial from direct sunlight.

This compass may be fitted directly onto the deck of the kayak, and the base can be mounted using screws or an adhesive pad. The compass may be removed from the mount using push buttons on each side of it.

The compass has a no-glare gray finish and an easily viewable 2.75-inch direct-reading dial. It also features an adjustable sunscreen and built-in green illumination for vision at night.

The RA-93 has outstanding readability in addition to being very user-friendly overall, starting with the integrated compensators for deviation corrections. It mounts straight to the deck, yet the push-button release makes it easy to rapidly remove the compass when necessary.

Reasons to Buy

  • Built-in compensators for adjusting deviations
  • A big, easy-to-read dial
  • LED backlight for usage at night
  • Push the buttons to quickly remove them
  • Sun shield that moves and anti-glare qualities

Reasons to Avoid

  • It’s one of the most expensive kayak compasses on the market
  • The lighting can only be used when it is connected to a 12V battery

If you enjoy kayak fishing and want a dependable, easy-to-read maritime compass with high-end capabilities, this Ritchie RA-93 Angler is an excellent choice.

8. TurnOnSport – Suction Dashboard Kayak Compass


  • Weight: 11.3 ounces
  • Length: 5.5 x 4.7 x 4.4 inches
  • surface mount compass 
  • Material: Plastic

It is one of the most dependable and in-demand compasses. It is simple to read the boating compass that is positioned within the vessel for use while traveling. A boat compass is made for use with boats and marine ships.

If money is an issue, the TurnOnSport boating compass might be just what you need. Surprisingly, it does not appear to make many sacrifices to keep inside the budget-friendly pricing range.

A full-size waterproof nautical compass with an easy-to-read dial that lights up when needed and huge markings. It also has a detachable top cover that protects the dial from direct sun.

Simple to install – there are two options for mounting it: two screws or an EVA sticker. As a result, it may be put on almost any flat surface.

It also includes two power cords for attaching the kayak compass to a power 12V-  source, which I dislike.

Reasons to Buy

  • Surface mounting with an EVA sticker and a screw
  • For usage at night, the dial illuminates
  • Allows for true north declination modifications
  • A sunshade that can be moved
  • Kayak compass for under $10

Reasons to Avoid

  • The two power wires are inconvenient for kayaking situations
  • The backdrop illumination include requires a 12V power supply
  • Drilling through the hull may be required for installation

TurnOnSport’s compass can only be described as inexpensive. It’s a good option for those on a tight budget, but it’s not the most kayak-friendly.

9. Suunto Orca Kayak Compass


  • Weight: 4.8 ounce
  • Length:  3.94 x 3.94 x 3.54 inches
  • Material: Stainless Steel & Plastic

Its sturdy thermoplastic rubber and ease of mounting make it suitable for kayaks of almost any size and form. Its elastic bungee cord & supplied clamps allow for an easy, rapid installation. Its tilting angle enables precise, efficient measurements up to plus or minus 30 degrees for simple readings

That’s the compass for you if you prefer to get out of your kayak and go exploring and camping on the land. This Suunto Orca Compass was designed to be readily detached and reattached using elastic cords.

If you’re kayaking after dark, the thermoplastic mount, which shields it from bad weather, will light. This function alone makes it extremely valuable, as it is not seen in many compasses.

On the negative side, you may have leaking concerns (in rare cases). So, once you have it, make sure it isn’t broken and damaged in any way. Another drawback is that the warranty is only valid for five years.

We still suggest this Suunto Orca Compass for the affordability, ease of detaching, and illuminating capsule.

Reasons to Buy

  • Suunto offers a 5-year warranty
  • There are two attaching systems
  • Floats and glows
  • Includes a mesh storage bag
  • Card with a luminous compass

Reasons to Avoid

  • it is difficult to attach their deck using the bracket and screws.

This Suunto Orca Kayak Compass is a simple-to-install kayak compass that will suit any type of kayak. The yellow Orca compass is one of the better options for kayakers since it has a variety of mounting options and is tough enough for practically any outdoor use.

10. AOFAR AF-4580 Military Lensatic Sighting Kayak Compass


  • Weight: 7.9 ounce
  • Length: 3.1 x 1.8 x 4.3 inches
  • Material: Thermoelastic

The military metal compass is durable. Liquid-filled thermoelastic capsule. High precision and water resistance. works great no matter the weather. A floating dial with a 360° scale is included.

This AOFAR AF-4580 Sighting Compass is at the top of the list of best kayak compasses. The compass has an optical eyepiece for precisely recording azimuth or bearing. You may take both backward and forward bearings thanks to the reversed 360-degree scale as well as a conventional one.

Additionally, it contains a ruler and a measuring wheel so you can measure straight and curved distances on maps. Even while the kayak is moving, the needle can consistently point to magnetic north thanks to a thermoelastic dampening liquid-filled capsule.

Finally, the lighted arrow & dial, magnifier, adjustable prism lens, plus aiming line improve visibility and dependability.

This military-grade compass is built of a heavy-duty die-cast Zinc alloy, which makes it waterproof, shake-proof, and weatherproof. The waterproof bag, tripod screw hole, and lanyard complete the features.

Reasons to Buy

  • Measures both straight & curved lines
  • Capable of taking both forward &  back bearings
  • There are several characteristics
  • Quisque lectus blandit tempor

Reasons to Avoid

  • There are almost no drawbacks


Q1- How Do You Attach A Compass To Your Kayak?

Various kayak compasses have bungee cords, straps, and clips that may be fastened to your kayak using existing spots on the boat without the use of additional hardware.

Some compasses can be flush-mounted into deck mounts and recesses, which may need the use of screws and drilling.

Q2- Is a Compass Useful for Tides and Currents?

Some compasses have functions that allow you to read tides & currents. In general, ordinary compasses cannot provide this information.

Q3- What is the purpose of a compass when kayaking?

The kayak compass will come in helpful while exploring unfamiliar waters. While GPS or satellite tracking still can function, electronic gadgets can fail at any time, necessitating the use of a backup navigation aid such as a kayak compass.

Q4- Are compasses water-resistant?

A decent compass will have an excellent magnetic needle, and declination adjustment, plus moderately waterproof.

Q5- Does a bubble have any effect on a compass?

A decent compass will have an excellent magnetic needle, and declination adjustment, plus moderately waterproof.

Q6- Why are compasses filled with liquid?

The chamber, known as the compass housing, is full of liquid. The liquid permits the red north-facing pointer to freely revolve while limiting oscillations, keeping it stable as it points to magnetic north. This improves the accuracy of your readings.

Final Verdict for Best Kayak Compass

There are other compasses available for paddling, but we feel this Brunton Dash Mount kayak Compass is the best option. This one may be flat-installed on the kayak’s deck and is easy to read.

While purchasing a kayak compass, make sure it is simple to install, accurate offers a declination adjustment option and is easy to see even when paddling through choppy seas and inclement weather.

But keep in mind, Your option is determined by your tastes, the design of your kayak, and the mounting type that works best for you.

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