Our Favorite Kayaking Apps | The Best Kayaking Apps To Maximize Your Trip

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You’ve bought the kayak, upgraded your seat and paddle, packed your dry bags and now you’re ready for an adventure on the water. Or are you? Pull out your smartphone or tablet my friend because kayaking apps are the next best thing to maximize your trip.

Tides, Weather, and Currents

Whether you’re in a bay, the ocean, on a river, or a lake, water conditions, tides, and currents can be complicated and dangerous. You don’t want to hit the water only to be dragged out to sea, stranded on a dry river bed, or trapped in rising flood waters. Having an app that can let you monitor and even forecast conditions when planning your trip can be invaluable. These weather-based or related apps let you monitor and watch the weather, tides, currents, flooding and water conditions. Weather apps can also alert you to driving conditions you’ll encounter while getting to or from the water as well.

NOAA Weather Alerts App kayaking apps

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

The NOAA Weather Alert App is a no-nonsense app for quickly notifying users about severe weather alerts in a chosen radius from their current location. Alerts include weather conditions like tornadoes, hurricanes, snow storms, frost advisories, flood/fire warnings and hundreds more. Alerts you with sound even when the phone is lying unused with screen off.

Important: When you install and launch for the first time, the app will ask to turn on push-notifications and location services. Please choose YES to avoid the hassle of having to manually enable them later. Alerts will not work without either of these.

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Once the app is set up it runs in the background so you will never have to open the app again. You can browse current advisories on a map as well as get push notifications whenever an alert is issued within a distance you have specified. You can choose a radius from three to 100 miles.

  • Choose type/severity of events you want to receive, including tornado warnings
  • Check the current weather and forecast for any spot on the map
  • Your phone will make a siren sound when there is a tornado warning nearby
  • Will automatically transition to your new location as you travel, no need to reconfigure anything.
  • National UV Alert map and Radar map.
  • The system will not miss an alert issued by the NWS, will not deliver a false alert, and will not deliver duplicate alerts.
  • Alerts marked as “Severe” or “Urgent” by the NWS are prioritized by the system for faster delivery to end-users.
  • Even though defaults have been tested to be appropriate, you can configure maximum alert frequency to your taste, or turn them off altogether.
  • Share weather related pictures with other users.

Simple TidesBest kayaking apps

Cost: $1.99

iOS

Simple Tides is a basic, no-nonsense app that lets you see tide graphs and tables from monitoring stations near you. This is a U.S. based app only. However, it does:

  • Let you browse stations on a map
  • View Tide Chart & Table for a station in one concise screen
  • Current weather + forecast at every tide station
  • Have a calendar that allows you to jump to any desired date
  • Save frequently accessed stations to a Favorites list for quick access
  • Check the current weather and forecast for any spot on the map
  • Let you get fast support from within the app

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The list of tide-monitoring stations in the app is fixed. A tide monitoring station is where there is a constant actual measurement of water levels. Users cannot “add” locations. You must choose the nearest tide monitoring station to get tide-predictions. This app is user-friendly and you don’t have to be an experienced sailor or kayaker to use it or understand the information. 


Accuweather App for iOS and AndroidBest app for kayak

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

AccuWeather Weather Tracker. Whether you paddle occasionally, weekly, or daily, this is an app you’ll use every day no matter what you’re doing.

  • Track rain, wind and temperature: get your minute-by-minute forecast for the next two hours with the MinuteCast® weather tracker and rain radar.
  • AccuWeather’s GPS tracker and radar widget sends you live wind speed, extreme temperature, severe rain and storm alerts, wherever you are.
  • The current temperature sometimes feels colder than the forecast, even in the sun. Once you start paddling you’ll quickly learn you dress for the water temperature, not the weather, but The RealFeel Temperature® widget shows you how the weather today actually feels outside.

Social Media and Trip Journal Kayak Apps

There’s always Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media for sharing your photos and videos of your trip, but what if there were apps just for kayakers, paddlers, and their trips? There are. Here are our favorites:

Kayak Log – a Social Media App for Kayakers Best kayaking app

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

Sharing your trip with your best friends is fun, but sharing your photos and videos with other kayakers is even more fun. If you’re part of a kayaking community, you enjoy hearing about the details of other paddlers trips to help you plan your next trip. Kayak log makes it easy to compare data, automatically logging your trip’s wind speed, air temperature, duration, and even photos. The app lets you know what the chill factor is, lets you track your route, and more. After your trip, upload your data to the Kayaklog website where you can compare with your friends or share it via your favorite social media sites. KayakLog is both an application and online service developed by a team of passionated kayakers in cooperation with kayakers worldwide.


Paddle ReadyBest app for kayaks

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

If you’re a parent, or you’re just getting started with kayaking, canoeing, or water sports, and you’re wondering about how to stay safe, Paddle Ready is your app. Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards were involved in nearly 20 percent of all boating-related deaths last year. The Paddle Ready app is a tool for paddlers that will also present them with important safety information in a fun and engaging way.

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Produced by the American Canoe Association, Paddle Ready provides you with all the safety and educational content you need. Features include the ability to share your route with friends before you paddle – in case they’re curious, or just so someone knows where you were in case you go missing. The app also gives you access to an invaluable database of information about tides, river conditions, and weather. The app includes:

  • Surf Forecasting
  • Tide forecastingRiver levels
  • Float plans
  • Where to find instructors near you
  • Safety and gear checklists
  • Accident reporting

Trip Journalapp for kayaks

Cost: FREE for the first three trips, then $3

iOS

The Trip Journal app won an Android Development Challenge for its ability to document your experience and share them with your loved ones. It offers geotagging on photos and waypoint recording, which makes social sharing super easy when it comes time to do so.

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And we all do love to share, right? But who likes the work of creating a trip journal? No one. Too much work. Trip Journal does much of the work for you, by recording waypoints, geo-tagging photos and videos, and dropping your pictures into a travel journal that you can customize more later. Share details, like photos, videos, and comments, of your trip as it unfolds. Post your images and videos to your Facebook wall. Get your friends to download the app and you can send a journal to them to enjoy vicariously. One feature automatically tracks your movements via GPS, but have a solar charger or energy backup as this feature sucks the energy out of your phone.


Polarstepsapp for kayaking

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

Polarsteps occasionally checks your phone’s GPS location and creates a travel log, plotting your location on an attractive and colourful map that can be easily shared. If you’re a global or world traveler, or on a cruise it makes for a colorful map, but kayakers enjoy it too.

You agree to decisions the app makes itself about the steps you take on your trip. You can add photos and comments, then share via Instagram, Facebook, or via a link you can paste into an email, WhatsApp or SMS.


River Run Locators and Water Level Apps

Love to paddle but hate to paddle the same river twice? Maybe you’re traveling, or are on vacation and just don’t where the best water is. These apps will help you find the best runs, the quietest water, or the most gnarly rapids no matter where you are. Some will help you pinpoint where you are when all you can see are rocks and water and more rocks and water.

Polaris GPSapps for kayaking

Cost: FREE In-app purchases

iOS and Android

Like cell phones, GPS devices have gotten smaller and smaller. But who wants to carry a GPS device when you can download an app? The Polaris GPS only not only great for kayaking, it’s great for hiking, biking, camping, and more. This app has the ability to track coordinates, magnetic heading, altitude, speed, distance, and time through NOAA charts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. NOAA marine charts are some of the most frequently used and valued charts by sailors and kayakers because they allow users to view depth and marine features. The app also offers marine navigation through the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).

When you’re not on the water, use the app’s USGS TOPO maps to find hiking trails and campgrounds, even offline, with their Map Library. Draw a trail to mark your adventure and follow driving directions on your way home.


Go Paddling Appapps for kayakers

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

Maybe you’ve been down that same stretch of water a hundred times and are looking for something different. Maybe you’re attending a wedding, or graduation, or are going on vacation and want to take your kayak with you – but don’t know the area. Go Paddling is an app that give you access to over 22,000 paddling locations worldwide, including launch locations and take out points.

Share your tips, read comments from other paddlers about rivers and runs. Who knew there were over 63 rivers in New Jersey? The GoPaddling app has guides for planning your own kayaking trip to New Jersey, or any other state. You can also search for an outfitted trip, connecting with other New Jersey paddlers, and many other resources, including:

  • The Atlantic Ocean
  • Manasquan Reservoir
  • The Delaware River
  • Cape May Harbor
  • Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge

Whether you have a kayak, canoe or paddle board (SUP) you can find a place to get on the water with this app.


River Dataapp for going kayaking

Cost: FREE

iOS

If you like geeking out on data, download River Data. This app does exactly what it sounds like: It provides data on rivers, over 14,000 sites to be more exact. And, the data is updated every few hours! That’s why it’s hugely valuable in choosing where to kayak and why. Know what you’re getting into before you get on the water. The dissolved oxygen reading feature is very useful for fishing, but for general kayakers, knowing what the readings are also allows you to avoid areas of stagnant, mosquito-filled waters.

Other bonuses include yearly historical peak stream flow readings, National Weather Service data for all sites, the ability to store the best sites under ‘favorites’, navigation app compatibility, and social media sharing options.


RiverAppkayak river app

Cost: FREE In-app purchases, premium available

iOS and Android

This is the most widely used application to monitor river conditions at more than 20,000 sites in Europe and North America. RiverApp is the ideal application for kayakers, water sports enthusiasts, fishermen and anyone with river-related activities. More than 2500 kayak sections referenced with their current navigability according to the water level and their geographical position. Quick map display of 25,000 river gauges and spot or river sections for paddlers

Some of the features:

  • Water levels of 15,000 rivers in the USA and around the world
  • Anyone can participate by editing or adding river sections and posting hazards
  • Historical data up to several years ago (Premium)
  • Water level and flow forecasts for many stations (Premium)
  • Map view of runnable kayaking routes and gauges
  • Water level and flow forecasts of the hydrological institutes
  • Custom river level alert by Push notifications
  • 2000 river sections for paddlers, Freestyle spots and Whitewater Parks with display of put in and take out locations.
  • Display of the navigability of kayaking routes (low water, medium water and high water)
  • Advanced Favorite Features: favorite rivers, favorite stations or favorite courses with water temperature in many rivers and lakes
  • Display / insertion of the navigability conditions of rivers (trees, dangers… etc)

Fishing and Kayaking Apps

Not everyone in a kayak is out to explore the water. More and more people are taking to their kayaks to fish and hunt. If you fish, you know how important it is to be at the right place at the right time. Currents, moonrise, sunset, sunrise, and tides – even what the fish are eating, all play a part in a successful day on the water. These apps help you plan your schedule so you hit the major and minor feeding times the day you’re headed out. Even better, if you’re planning a trip in advance you can fast-forward to the day you want to be on the water and see what the conditions are expected to be that day as well.

FirstMate Kayak Fishing App

Cost: $4.99

iOS

FirstMate is an all-in-one app that gets you the information you need to plan a fishing trip without opening several different apps. Find out the major and minor feeding times, moon phase, barometric pressure readings, and get access to tide charts and color weather radar, as well as weather forecasts and conditions for any location you’re planning on fishing. FirstMate® was created and produced by former touring pro angler and host of the syndicated radio fishing show “Tight Lines® with Sammy Lee.” 


How-To Guides

Whether you’re a new kayaker or an experienced pro, there are some apps that are just handy to have in case you need to know first-aid, how to tie a knot, or you wreck your kayak, wash ashore and need to know how-to-survive until you’re rescued or fix your boat. We recommend these apps for the kayaker who likes to be prepared for anything! You may have to depend upon your first aid knowledge and skills to save yourself or someone you love. You may be able to save a life, prevent permanent disability, or reduce long periods of hospitalization by knowing what to do, what not to do, and when to seek medical assistance.

Knot Guidebest Kayaking app

Cost: FREE

iOS and Android

Everything you ever wanted to know about knots – when to use them, and what they do. Whether you’re tying your boat to your car to transport it, or tying up to a tree to fish and need a quick release knot in case you need to leave quickly, this is your app. With 103 knots and continuous new additions, you’ll never be at a loss to know how to tie any kind of knot for any kind of purpose. 


Pocket First Aid and CPR App

Cost: $1.99

Phone: iOS and Android

The recently redesigned Pocket First Aid and CPR app now reflects the updated American Heart Association’s guidelines on CPR and emergency cardiovascular care. We hope you never need it, but if you do, this app has clear and concise instructions for adult, child and infant CPR. As well as 34 videos and 46 high-resolution illustrations to help you survive a variety of emergency situations. The company says a man survived for more than 60 hours under a pile of rubble during the 2010 Haiti earthquake with just this one app. Don’t worry about being out of cell phone reach. All videos, articles, and illustrations are stored on your phone so you can provide first aid even when out of cell phone range.

Enter your loved one’s medical information on the My Info tab. For each individual, you can save doctor contact information, along with hospitals, emergency contacts, allergies, medications, and more. You can also save insurance information for quick access.

  • Easy to learn, easy to use, right there when you need it.
  • Manage your first aid kit checklist, to be sure you have what you need in an emergency.
  • Save your medical information for quick retrieval.
  • Look up your doctor or emergency contacts with a single click.
  • Create a custom wallpaper that includes your medical information.
  • Store your insurance information for easy access.

Pocket First Aid & CPR includes:
Hundreds of pages with illustrations, including topics such as CPR, choking, bites, bruises, burns, seizures, diabetic emergencies, and more.
High-quality and detailed videos, showing how to respond in critical first aid situations.

  • Videos include:
  • Choking
  • CPR
  • Seizures,
  • Cuts and wounds, and more.

Army First AidBest type of kayaking app

Cost: $1.99

iOS and Android

Who better than the U.S. military to know how to keep someone alive under the worst of conditions. This app is really an Army First Aid manual for a quick source of critical medical information. With over 600 pages of information, the Army First Aid app brings the Army’s First Aid manual to you.

Army First Aid contains information on:

  • Basics of first aid
  • Rescue breathing techniques
  • Stop bleeding
  • Checking for shock
  • Dressings and bandages
  • Signs and symptoms of fractures
  • Heat and cold injuries
  • Bites – snake, mammals, humans
  • Rescue carries
  • Transportation
  • This app has been supplemented with the following critical references:
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Health and Fitness Calculators
  • Dangerous Fish and Mollusks
  • Dangerous Insects and Spiders
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Poisonous Snakes and Lizards