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Best Kayaking Apps for Kayak Enthusiasts

Many of us use apps in our daily lives to track physical activity, like steps, heart rate, or maybe how many miles you run. There are a lot of apps out there for different activities. In this article, we will focus on the best kayaking apps. If you want to track speed, distance, strokes, etc., while you are on the water, kayaking apps can help.

There are many kayaking apps to choose from, and it may be confusing to find the best one. If you are an angler, you might have different needs than someone who is out for a leisurely day on the water.  Never fear. We will guide you through the process.

If you are looking for the next place to paddle, check out this post for great kayaking spots in your area.

Best Kayaking Apps

When you plan your next kayak trip, take a look at these apps to see which one will suit your needs.  Kayaking apps can help with navigation and safety as well as tracking your physical effort. With that said, let’s talk about these apps.

Strava

Strava is one of the most popular apps on the market, with millions of downloads. Strava has a free and paid version of the app.  The paid version gives you more metrics, and you can dive deeper into analytics.

Strava tracks your distance well, and it can track your time on the water. Strava also helps you know the pace at which you are moving and helps you increase and maintain the same pace as you paddle. It also can record your training summaries in full.

You can save and review your trip, and there is a vast community of Strava users. You can compete with your friends!                                                         

Go Paddling 

Go paddling is a free app that works for both IOS and Android. There are many kayaking locations, and this app features thousands of paddling spots in the US. Go Paddling gives you detailed information about each spot.

You can see each kayaking launch site’s features, and users can add details of each location for other people to see. The app continues to improve its service and advance with updates.

Polaris GPS           

Polaris GPS is at the moment available for Android, but the good thing is that it’s a free download.  The app helps track your route, and it also very useful in planning. This app uses the GPS signal on your device, and also most of its features are usable offline.

The app has access to marine charts and is good at enabling its users to determine water depth.  Most importantly, the app allows its users to download detailed maps for use offline.

RiverApp

RiverApp is an excellent kayaking app that always keeps you up to date with the latest water levels. The app also gives you map views of different routes, the navigability of those routes, water temperature, and more. 

Depending on your needs, the app has a free and premium version.  RiverApp can be used in several different countries, so you can take your kayaking adventure to all kinds of places.

RiverApp is an excellent kayaking app for checking water conditions before you head out on your trip.

Go paddler/Utter paddler

The Go Paddler kayaking app combines the GPS on your device with a professional tool that will guide you to improve your performance. This app is also found on both Android and IOS, and it’s free to use.

This app is designed to help improve your performance on the water. If you paddle long distances and want to track your stroke rate, this is an excellent option for you. The app uses your cell phone accelerometer to calculate your stroke rate. It uses GPS to determine how far the paddler moves the boat with each stroke.

RiverFlows

Available on Android, RiverFlows is easy to use, gives accurate, real-time river details, and it’s free. RiverFlows gathers data from various public sources, including NOAA AHPS (Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service) data which is very useful for floating on the water.

The app is excellent for all things related to kayaking, canoeing, fishing, etc. Basically, any activity that requires you to track river and lake levels in the US, RvierFlows has you covered.

Once installed, you can search by state or type in a location.   You can also save locations to your favorites for easy access anytime.

Navionics

This is an excellent app for kayaking and fishing, and it has detailed marine nautical charts and advanced features. You can use the app for free for two weeks. Then you have to choose a premium pricing option. Prices vary depending on what features you want to use.

The app is available on both iOS and Android and works well for tides, weather, currents, etc.

FishBrain

FishBrain keeps track of your kayak fishing activities for future reference. There are millions of fishing spots in the database, complete with bait used and fish caught.  This is a great app to reel in your next big fish.

FishBrain is available on iOS and Android. You can log your kayak fishing activity, including a picture of your fish, what kind of fish you caught, where you caught it, the bait you used, rod, reel, etc. You can upload a ton of information. It’s kind of like a FaceBook feed for fishing.

There are premium pricing options as well, from one month to twelve months. You can try the premium options for 14 days before billing starts.  You can use the app for free and upgrade if you choose.

CrewNerd

CrewNerd is available on Android and iOS. It’s a perfect kayaking app for training and workouts.  CrewNerd is one of the top rowing apps available. 

CrewNerd tracks all kinds of things for you, including stroke rate, speed, distance, and monitors your heart rate along the way.  This is an excellent app for kayaking, canoeing, SUP, etc. 

One nice feature is you can create your own workout or use a pre-programmed workout. The real-time display shows all your metrics, how you want to see them displayed. This is an intuitive, easy-to-use app.

Why you need a kayaking app

Kayaking apps are essential for many reasons, including navigation, building community with others, and, of course, finding the next great fishing spot.  Let’s take a deeper look at how a kayaking app can benefit you as a user.

Fishing

If kayak fishing is your jam, then a kayaking app can be a big help.  You can store your favorite fishing spots, keep track of what bait you used, time of day you caught fish, etc. Some apps can even serve as a fishfinder. 

An app like FishBrain is excellent because there is a large community of people sharing their experiences. There is a ton of information available within the app to help you find and catch fish.

Connect with others on social media platforms

Some kayaking apps let you connect with other kayaking enthusiasts via social media.  You can share pictures and videos and help others to know what they should expect in different kayaking journeys.

You can coordinate meetups to kayak with your friends.  Some apps will let you compete with other people if you choose to do so.

Tracking

Keeping track of your heart rate, stroke rate, speed, and distance is available with many kayaking apps on the market. Some folks love to have all of this data available in real-time while training or storing and reviewing later.

Navigation

Through these apps, you can plan where your next kayak trip will be, where to launch, and what you will do once you are on the water. You can track your position and share with other people where you are going to be.

With kayak navigation, you can explore areas and get back to your launch point without having to worry too much about getting lost.

How to choose the best app for kayaking

There are many things to keep in mind when you are choosing the best app for kayaking.  You need to think about features like battery life, connectivity, whether you want a paid or free app. Let’s discuss all these options next.

Battery life

Different kayak apps require different battery usage. Some apps are more battery-friendly than others.  One thing to look for is whether you can download maps, etc., for offline use.  Try to find an app that won’t destroy your battery while you are on the water.

An app that conserves battery life means you won’t have to bring a charger with you.      

Compatibility

Of course, the first thing you have to do is make sure the kayaking app is compatible with your phone’s operating system (Android, iOS). If there are other devices you want to use, like a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or Garmin device, for example, be sure the app is compatible with those.

Connectivity

Connectivity is essential so the app can do what you want it to do. It’s also advisable to choose a kayaking app that can even be used offline.  There are times when you might not have a cell phone range.

Check to see if the app uses cell phone data, or GPS, or maybe both. If the app only uses cell data, you might want to check out a GPS unit instead or use it in conjunction.

Paid or free?

Many apps will let you use the app for free, which can work for many people. Typically if you want additional features or more data about your activity, you will need to pay for a premium version of the app. 

Some apps come with a trial to test the app before you subscribe to the premium features.  Also, some apps will show ads. If you want to avoid the ads, then you will probably have to pay up!

Updates

Updates are critical in today’s world. You want an app with a history of correcting problems as they arise and an app that is up to date. The latest and greatest information is vital if you check water levels or paddle to a specific fishing spot.

Conclusion – Best kayaking apps

Best apps for kayaking - Phone with apps showingPin

Choosing an app for kayaking can be a bit overwhelming. Hopefully, this guide will help you find the app that is right for you.

There are apps specific to fishing and some more geared to training, so there are various apps for different situations. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Steve Morrow Founder of Paddle About
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve is an avid kayaker and founder of Paddle About. When he is not on the water, Steve enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, and hiking with his family. Read more.

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