Best Kayak Compass in 2021

premium pick

I’d fitted my previous fishing kayak (also an Adventure… but not an Adventure Island) with a Ritchie panel mount kayak compass in the only place the seemed to make sense at the time, which was in the front panel towards the bow. 

It did actually work pretty well there, although my vision of it was obscured with every pedal stroke of the right leg. Not that it ever bothered me at all, but what did bother me about installing this compass was that it means drilling out a fairly large hole of about 5cm across and this isn’t something you want to get wrong.

That’s why choosing the right kayak compass is so important.  Get it wrong in the beginning and it can lead to a lot of headache down the road.

To help steer you in the right direction (pun intended!), I’ve compiled a list of my top kayak compasses for 2021.

Here’s a quick table highlighting some of the features each compass offers.

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass
  • Made of: Heavy Duty Material
  • Highlight: Attaches Easily to Deck line or sits
  • Price: $
Check Price
Brunton Dash Mount Compass
  • Offers: Accurate Readings
  • Highlight: Easy Installation
  • Price: $
Check Price
Sun Company SeaTurtl Kayak Compass
  • Made: Durable Material
  • Highlight: Suitable for Multiple Canoes
  • Price: $
Check Price
X-11Y Ritchie Navigation 2-inch Dial Sport
  • Specialty: Easy to Read
  • Highlight: Positions Easily on canoe
  • Price: $
Check Price
Silva 58 Kayak Compass
  • Comes with: Sturdy Construction
  • Highlight: Easy to Read from Distance
  • Price: $
Check Price
Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99 Surface Mount Compass
  • Offers: Easy Installation
  • Highlight: Stays at the Exact Viewing Angle
  • Price: $
Check Price

Working at Hobie (as I was at the time) there was a full suite of tools available for me to use, so it was a fairly simple operation. 

And admittedly, I do like the way the Ritchie compass mounts and it always worked perfectly. Not all kayaks facilitate the Ritchie compass being mounted too well, however, which would be my other word of warning to anyone considering using the Ritchie compass. 

If you’ve got the right yak, tools and confidence to mount it, by all means go for it – it’s a great compass.

Equally reliable, however, is the Suunto kayak compasses. There are two that I’m aware of, both of which could be mounted pretty easily on almost any kayak. The Pioneer model is the one I opted for, and it’s designed as a direct hull mount and is supplied with 2 self-tapping screws for the job (although I used thru-bolts instead). 

The Orca is much the same compass, only with a removable bungee cord mounting system (which would work nicely for many kayaks). Both of them are simpler to install than the Ritchie. 

I’d hazard a guess that they’re equally accurate as well, as the compass business is and always has been Suunto’s main game; they’ve always made good compasses. 

Although it was a bit of a tight fit, I was able to mount the Pioneer nicely into the Adventure’s spare drink bottle holder. I rarely used this spot for drinks anyway as it doesn’t serve as a bottle holder as well as the larger and deeper rear one, which is perfect for your typical wide-mouth bottle. 

So by mounting the compass here it’s not in the way, I have clear line of sight vision to it and now I always know which direction I’m pointing (again) which is a nice luxury to have.

Ok, now that we’ve got the list and my personal picks out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at each compass and what they offer.  Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, but after reading this article, you’ll no doubt find a compass that meets your needs.

Reviews of the Top 10 Kayak Compasses


Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass

Features of the Seattle Sports Sea Rover
112 Reviews
Features of the Seattle Sports Sea Rover
  • 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
  • Dimensions - 2.5" X 7.5" X 2.6"

Kayaking is fun when you know you are moving in the right direction. To assure this, the Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass will play a key role. It is a big-sized compass that is quite easy to read. The markings on it are quite visible that lets you track the right direction you are traveling.

With a user-friendly on and off button, it becomes quite easier to operate. It comes equipped with a base plate that can be attached quickly and easily fastened to deck bags.

With dimensions of 2.5 x 7.5 x 2.6 inches, this one is a new-age kayaking compass that has been designed to withstand touch marine situations. Having quick-release buckles, it makes attachments easier. Durability is not at all questionable for this compass.

Mounting it on the kayak is not at all an issue. The two-point mounting system makes it quite effortless to set up against your boat. Even if you have plans for multi-day expeditions, you can consider installing this compass and set out for kayaking. Well-designed and affordable, this marine Compass would be worth considering for kayakers.

  • Easy to read
  • Made of heavy-duty material
  • Easy to install
  • Webbing straps are thin


Brunton Dash Mount Compass

If you always had mounting issues with your compass while setting it up on your boat, switch to the Brunton Dash Mount Compass this time. Being a standard compass for long kayaking trips, it scores high on reliability, navigational abilities, robustness, and readability.

What makes it easier to install is its four screws. However, if your boat lacks such a recess, you need to cut out a hole separately on the kayak and mount the compass. Well, you can do it yourself by taking the help of the power tools.

As far as the look goes, the Brunton Dash Mount Compass features a black-colored dial with white markings that are absolutely visible. This would not create difficulty in identifying the readings during the journey.

As it weighs only 8.3 Oz, it would not add extra weight to the boat. Having 5-degree graduations and Reciprocal Bearing, reading the back bearing becomes swifter and more reliable.

Although the Brunton Dash Mount Compass is easy to mount and install, it needs to be done in the right manner. One can always opt for professional assistance to set it up correctly on his boat. The markings on the compass will be easily visible from the seat on the kayak, making it worthy for regular rowers.

  • Hassle-free installation
  • Sturdy and gives accurate readings
  • Durability is questionable


Sun Company SeaTurtl Compass

Features of the Sun Company SeaTurtl
73 Reviews
Features of the Sun Company SeaTurtl
  • FULL-SIZE MARINE COMPASS - SeaTurtl provides you with an easy-to-read standard-sized mounted marine compass right on your kayak deck.
  • ADJUSTABLE HOOD - Use SeaTurtl's adjustable hood to protect compass when not in use or prevent glare while in use.
  • ATTACHES ANYWHERE - SeaTurtl comes equipped with four adjustable elastic cords which allow for a snug mount on most kayaks and paddleboards.
  • MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS - Perfect for sea kayaking, paddleboarding, or any other watersport.

Sun Company brings you a full-size marine compass that will now make your water trips worth like never before. This Seat Turtl canoe compass features a black dial with white markings that are quite easy to understand. It simply needs to be installed on the deck from where you will find it easier to track the right direction.

The adjustable hood that it includes serves as protection to the compass when not in use. Also, it prevents glare and makes you identify the readings while in use.

What lends it a snug fit are the adjustable elastic cords, making it perfect for the Canoes. Being a heavy-duty compass for kayakers, it takes no effort to be installed with the help of those UV-resistant nylon clips.

A big advantage of this SeaTutrtl canoe compass by Sun Company is that it works well on almost all types of Canoes. Many users have even found it so easier to put on and take off.

The Sun Company SeaTurtl canoe Compass would be a great companion of yours whenever you will plan to hit the sea. Just make sure the mounting has been done correctly. The installation process is not at all difficult or time-taking and rather quite hassle-free.

  • Flexible to use on multiple canoes
  • Quite durable
  • Does not always give the right direction


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

Features of the X-11Y Ritchie
25 Reviews
Features of the X-11Y Ritchie
  • Package length: 14.986 cm
  • Package width: 11.684 cm
  • Package height: 4.318 cm

Accurate navigation will now make your kayaking trips more enjoyable with this X-11Y Ritchie Navigation sport compass. What you will love is its bright yellow color that will sit right in front of the deck and give you accurate readings.

It is a handheld device and comes equipped with two direct-read cards. The dial measures 2 inches and makes it quite visible for anglers to identify the readings. The compass has a protective, impact-resistant covering made of pure quality silicone that assures a fair performance against turbulent waters.

With the help of its green lanyard, it is quite easy to transport. As far as its weight goes, it is only 0.25 pounds. Its dimensions of 7 x 2 x 5 inches make it perfect for installing on any type of kayak. This X-11Y Ritchie Navigation sport compass is perfect for hitting those large lakes or the coastal waters. Even during the night, it would never make it that difficult to read.

The set-up process of this compass is not complex at all. Once it is done, you will find it so easy to use and can even position it wherever you want. Getting this for your next water adventure might let you come up with new stories.

  • User-friendly and easier to read
  • Positions easily on canoes
  • Chances of bubble formation are there


Silva 58 Canoe Compass

Features of the Silva 58
7 Reviews
Features of the Silva 58
  • Compact design is small and lightweight; will not weight down kayak
  • Rubber straps provide secure mounting, even in rough conditions
  • Kayak adapted - highly suitable for its purpose and perfect for the activity
  • Robust and durable - will withstand tough treatment/conditions

Kayaks get a new life when they move along the waters with a compass, and Silva 58 is just outstanding. Regular paddlers will just love installing it since it is small and compact and hardly adds weight to the boat.

What is also great about this compass is that it is waterproof and made of scratch-resistant glass, which means it has the ability to withstand adverse weather conditions. The mounting system is also quite secure and stays tight at one place even when the weather condition is unfavorable.

The Silva 58 canoe compass involves no hassles to install it. With the help of rubber straps along with clips, the attachment can be done quite swiftly and securely. In fact, this does not need any drilling on the deck and can be attached easily to the deck lines.

The compass, when installed on the deck, makes it easier to read from a distance. Believe it or not, this does not necessarily require you to leave your paddling seat.

Durable and robust, the Silva 58 canoe compass weighs just 115g. So, if you have plans to prepare for your new voyage along with your dog, go for it and make it worth enjoying.

  • Easier to read from a distance
  • Easier to install
  • Sturdy construction
  • The mounting system not so durable


Kayaker by Ritchie Navigation XP-99 Surface Mount Compaas

Features of the Ritchie navigation XP-99
33 Reviews
Features of the Ritchie navigation XP-99
  • 2 3/4 Inch Direct-Reading Dial
  • Directive force Magnets
  • Extended Temperature Operating Range With Composite Construction & Diaphragm
  • Package Dimensions: 6.9" ( H ) x 6.2" ( L ) x 7.0" ( W )

The perfect kayaking session is yet to come with this XP-99 Surface Mount Compass by Ritchie Navigation. Having known to provide pinpoint accuracy, this compass is quite efficient to bring the most accurate readings to anglers.

Compact in size and easier to install, it is no doubt a perfect direction teller to every kayaker. No matter how adverse the weather conditions are, this compass will give the most accurate readings without any hassle.

With dimensions of 6.2 x 7 x 6.9 inches, it takes no space to install. Moreover, it is quite light in weight as it weighs just 12 ounces. In terms of display, the dial measures 2.75 inches, which makes it easier for the anglers to identify the readings.

Having made of good quality components, it helps in achieving accuracy, assures stability, provides smooth response and operates without any trouble. If you ever had long-distance kayaking in mind, this Ritchie Navigation XP-99 Surface Mount Compass will do complete justice.

With sturdy construction, it would not be subject to wear and tear easily. Just make sure to drill at least two holes so that the compass can be mounted on a base. A couple of Velcro strips would, however, assure security.

  • Easy to mount on a deck
  • Stays at the exact viewing angle
  • Difficult to read at night


Suunto Orca/Pioneer Compass

Features of the Suunto Orca/Pioneer
11 Reviews
Features of the Suunto Orca/Pioneer

Suunto is one of the world’s most popular brands dealing in electronic accessories and devices for years. Its category of compasses for voyaging purposes is just fabulous, and the Suunto Orca/Pioneer compass is no exception.

What makes it worth considering is that it is flexible in terms of installation on different water vehicles. For instance, if you are having a canoe or even a small boat, this compass will have no set-up issues. The unit is made of rubber and this helps you to squeeze its sides for detaching it from the mounting plate.

Having alternative mounting systems, anglers will find it easier to fix it. One can either install it with the help of rubber cord and hooks or make use of the permanent mounting bracket for surface mounting.

The floating construction comes with elastic housing lends it proper support. The tilting angle it has stands effective up to +/-25 °. A mesh pouch has also been provided to store the compass safe and protected.

The compass should be assembled precisely so that it doesn’t fail to show you accurate readings during a journey. Just don’t worry about the splashes it would face as you will have no issues in cleaning it later.

  • Easy to install with a mounting plate
  • Rugged and robust for kayaking
  • Assembly is a bit complicated

Things to Consider while choosing the right kayak compass

If you are geared up to paddle for the first time on your brand new kayak, you might be a lot excited and a bit perplexed at the same time. The reason for this perplexity is nothing but wondering whether you will row in the right direction.

So, what you will need is a functional compass that will do its job with pinpoint accuracy. But how to ensure what’s best for you? Whether you are a beginner or a pro, here are a few considerations to keep in mind while choosing the canoe compass:

The most suitable carts are those which take on a heavy weight, while still remaining light enough got you to move and transport unaided. Most kayak carts are made from stainless steel and aluminum, and will use the scupper holes of your vessel for extra security.This helps to prevent slippage and movement, and reduces the chances of damage to your boat while you move it from place to place, and head into the water.

Check the Size and Weight

If you are a regular kayaker, you will know how to sustain the right balance during a trip. This definitely counts on the size and weight of the compass that you will be installing on your boat.

Most rowers ignore this fact whereas it’s very crucial to ensure that the compass is extremely light in weight and handy. On the contrary, a weighty and huge compass will rather add hassles to your journey, making it riskier than you can imagine.

Check the installation process

Installing compasses on canoes needs to be done properly. You will come across some compasses that require only screws for installation. Some, on the other hand, need the help of straps. Now, if you are choosing a compass requiring straps, you must check subsequently whether they are great for fastening up against your kayak.

Also, the straps should ensure complete security otherwise, the compass might slip and fall. Some compasses come with elastic cords that help in positioning the compass on the boat. So, it all depends on the type of installation you feel is convenient.

Check Flexibility in all Weather Conditions

kayak compass flexibility

Regular paddlers are aware of diverse water conditions. If you have been kayaking for quite some time, you will know the hardships to row in severe weather conditions. However, if you are completely new to the waters and kayaking as well, it’s advisable to talk to regular rowers about the right type of compass to be used for adverse weather.

Despite, it would be great if you can consider buying compasses made of high quality thermoplastic material or something equivalent.

Check the Durability

A canoe compass has to be rough and tough. It has to gather the power to withstand constant splashes of water and yet stay strong and accurate. In other words, the compass should be able to survive the test of time and guide mariners in the right direction.

In this respect, it’s better to avoid using those age-old compasses. With time, they might lose durability and not be able to give you accurate readings. Go for the modern ones that come in silicone and impact-resistant bodies.

Check the Power of Reading

This is a very crucial consideration when it comes to choosing a marine compass. Remember, you need to be seated for paddling and still, the compass should be easy to read.

Therefore, you should be able to identify the readings without any difficulty right from the seat. The face of the compass should have crystal clear markings and not those that would strain your eyes.


Now, it’s time to lay hands upon the right compass that would bring you the amazing kayaking experience. Out of the ones listed above, the Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass pulls off the flag.

Bigger in size and easy to read, this compass gives crystal clear readings, makings voyages hassle-free. Most importantly, it is so easier to operate and so effortless to install. Even in terms of functionality and declination adjustment, it involves no complexity and lets paddlers sail smoothly. The base plate that it comes with helps in making the attachments quicker.

So, it definitely deserves to triumph over others. The next time you are planning to take your kayak along the waters, pack this marine compass without fail.


When you will be heading to buy a kayak compass, you will be provided mounting brackets. The manufacturers usually provide these for easier installation.

These bracket mounts are actually very flexible in giving anglers accurate tilt angles. Moreover, you will not find it difficult to store those separately. So, mounting brackets play a key role even in installing the compass.

Before you start using the compass, you will need to ensure that it has been calibrated correctly. Every compass is accompanied by a line on the glass. A good idea would be to start using this lubber line that would let you know the right direction on the compass card.

using a compass on the boat

Now, this compass card will be easier to indicate in the right direction. Then, you need to utilize the marine chart and start tracking your starting position.

Once done, choose the destination where you want to go. To keep things clear, draw a line between two places so that you can interpret the angle in degrees. Now, everything is set and you are good to go.

Fortunately, when it comes to care, a marine compass does not need high maintenance. Just after you return from a journey, clean it well with freshwater and wipe it thoroughly with a soft and dry cloth. Once done, make sure there are no dirt and salt spray deposits.

Last update on 2021-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Scroll to Top