The Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod & Reel Combo is the ideal fly fishing travel setup. It is affordable, of great quality, portable, and comes in all weights to match most species.
The Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod is made to slot into your backpack. It is the perfect companion on camping trips where catching panfish and trout is on the menu.
The Penn Regiment III Boat Travel Rod does it all from saltwater to freshwater. This is a travel rod you can take and use on pretty much every trip you go on. It performs excellently too, no matter whether you are lure or bait fishing.
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Choosing the Best Travel Fishing Rod – A Quick Guide
Choosing a good travel rod isn’t so easy as they come in many forms. Here is a quick guide to help make sure you pick the best one for your needs.
Rod Type: Multi-piece or telescopic? It can be a confusing choice but I recommend always going with a multi-piece as there is a lot less to go wrong on the road.
Size & Weight: A travel rod should be small and light. Look for 4 piece rods with intelligent builds to make them lighter but still strong.
Materials/Construction: Graphite and carbon fiber rods with solid construction are the name of the game here.
Action/Power: A fast action rod with medium power will have you covered for most fishing scenarios.
Portability: Make sure it breaks down small and comes in hard travel case so you can move the rod around easily and safely.
Cost: You pay for what you get in the fishing world. Luckily travel rods are quite affordable but don’t buy the cheapest one. Look for mid-pricing and you will find quality.
If your travel rod has all these features, then you are onto a winner that will last. For a more in-depth buying guide, check out the section below the reviews.
For the price and popularity, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to start than the famed Okuma Voyager freshwater fishing rod.
This is a complete travel kit that comes with some handy fishing accessories for your next fishing trip, including a custom case and tackle box for fishing lures.
The size 20 reel is ideal for a variety of species, including panfish, walleye, bass and trout fishing, while the rod itself offers a nice, light action with comfortable cork grips.
Are there better fishing rods out there? Sure, but for the money, this could easily be considered the best travel fishing rod available.
Great price point for what you get.
Rod and reel combo.
Padded foam bag with carry handles.
Spinning reel with ball-bearing drive system.
Ceramic guide inserts.
Not the best for big fish.
When considering this setup as the best travel fishing rod, you must always remember the price. You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck here, and for a fishing rod and reel combo – you can’t go wrong with the Voyager.
The Daiwa Ardito-Travel Rod is perfect for taking on the road. But why?
Well, firstly it breaks down into 3 pieces into the included travel case. You can put it in a suitcase, clip it to a backpack, or lay it on the back seat of the car.
The rod’s fast action, medium-heavy power, and 7’6 length make it an ideal all-around rod for casting lures on lakes, rivers, and inshore. It will literally work almost everywhere making it ideal for most fishing trips.
Built from a durable graphite blank, it is made to last and provides solid casting performance in both accuracy and distance.
It also features quality Fuji Aluminum Oxide Guides, a reliable reel seat, and comes with a V-Flex Ferrule Joint System so it won’t come apart on the cast.
To top it all off, this rod is super affordable for its quality. But, there is one issue, the tip is a little delicate and can snap so treat it with care.
Affordable for the quality.
Great graphite blank.
Super light and portable.
Comes with a travel case.
Ideal all-around length.
Great power and action.
Perfect for all-around use.
Tip is delicate.
The Daiwa Ardito-Travel Rod is an awesome all-around travel rod. Light, compact, and super portable, you can take it anywhere. Plus, its length, action, and power make it perfect for a range of fishing situations, from lakes to rivers and inshore saltwater.
Penn are known for their awesome saltwater rods. If you are looking for a travel rod for both saltwater and freshwater, then this might just be it.
The Penn Regiment III Boat Travel Rod comes in 4 pieces in its own cordura tube. You can take it anywhere safely from on a boat to a plane, to hiking up the coast on a camping trip.
The rod is made from a quality 30 ton carbon blank featuring SLS3 tech, making it thinner, lighter, but still super tough – exactly what you want from a travel rod.
It loads excellently to ensure accuracy over both short and long distances. The sensitive tip makes it perfect for both lure and bait fishing too, so you are not restricted in any way.
The rod is also durable, made for both braid and mono, and you can put a lot of pressure on a fish with these thanks to the strong but section.
Overall, it is a hard rod to beat, as it literally works in all scenarios from saltwater to freshwater. To top it all, it is very affordable too!
Great casting distances and accuracy.
Sensitive to bites.
Light but very strong.
Packs down small.
Includes a hard travel cases.
You can pull fish hard with these.
Affordable for the quality.
None I can find.
The Penn Regiment III Boat Travel Rod is the perfect travel rod for both saltwater and freshwater. It performs across the board with regards to casting performance durability, portability, and strength, plus is great for both bait fishing and lure fishing too!
The Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod is designed for one thing – catching trout and small panfish while camping in the wilderness.
It is just 5’6” in length and breaks down into 4-pieces, making it tiny when packed. You can slip it into your backpack and barely notice it is there as you hike to lakes and rivers.
The rod is made from quality IM-7 graphite so it will last, and being ultralight, is designed to cast small lures perfectly. It has a relatively stiff action which lets you get a solid distance with light lures.
The only negative about this rod is that it only has one purpose, catching small fish. It is not an all-around travel rod like some of the others.
Also, the travel case is a bit too big for the rod, reducing its portability a bit which is a shame.
Overall though, it is a high-performing travel rod that is both affordable and super portable.
Perfect for camping trips.
Made for trout and panfish.
Super small and fits in your backpack.
Lightweight and durable.
Great for short accurate casts.
Comes with a travel case.
Only for small fish.
Bulky travel case.
The Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod is the perfect rod for camping trips. Designed to catch trout and small panfish while slotting in your backpack, it is ready for every mountain adventure.
Okuma is a global leader when it comes to fishing gear and will need little introduction for those in the know.
This is a top-quality four-piece spinning travel rod that is a total of seven feet in length, made with IM8 graphite blank construction.
The grip has split EVA foam to reduce weight, with APLS stainless steel guide frames, durable zirconium line guide inserts for use with braid or mono lines, and a Pac Bay minima reel seat that also helps to keep things lighter and well-balanced.
This is a solid, well-made option that just might be the best travel spinning rod there is.
Outstanding price for the quality.
Durable build construction.
Travel tube included.
None immediately apparent.
You’ll pay double and sometimes triple for other brands offering this kind of quality, which is why it’s a very popular choice for anglers on the go, and a contender for the best travel fishing rod around.
Designed to be the ideal size for small luggage and carry-ons, this rod is from travel fishing store Rigged and Ready.
The clue is in the name, and this will easily fit into or as part of one of these excellent fishing backpacks, so you’re kitted out for a moment’s notice.
Made with premium-quality nano-carbon, it’s a seven-piece kit that offers a choice of set-up lengths depending on your preferred style of fishing. The fiberglass tip is “unbreakable,” with a casting weight of 5-20 grams and 15-40 gram fast action.
A graphite reel seat is durable and well-balanced, and the interchangeable tips give you the option to fish the way you want.
Durable, carbon-fiber construction.
Four interchangeable tips.
Attractive, rugged travel case.
Not actually “rigged and ready,” so be aware of that.
A well-designed travel rod from a company that specializes in travel fishing. The choice of set-up lengths and tips to cater for your preferred fishing style means you only ever have to take one rod with you.
If you purchase the aptly-named Flying Fisherman Passport travel rod, you’re actually getting two rods for your money.
You can select your preferred weight, and you will receive a fly and spinning rod in an attractive travel-friendly case.
The fly rod is four-piece while the spinner is three, each made with high-strain, Japanese graphite with nano-resin, while the grips are high-quality Portuguese cork.
The reel seat and guides are made by Fuji, and the blank taper of each rod has been designed to improve sensitivity, as well as their overall strength and performance.
Two rod options.
Reinforced carbon-fiber connections.
Premium-quality materials and parts.
Durable carry-case and black velvet rod bags.
This would make the perfect gift for the traveling fisher-person in your life (and it’s perfectly fine if that’s you). Two excellent rods for fly and spinning, this is one of the best travel fishing kits out there. But maybe a fishing rod and reel combo would have been nice, too.
Next up we have this three-piece, 7.3 foot travel spinning rod designed for spin fishing with medium power.
It’s been made with a combination of IM carbon-fiber and proprietary lightweight scrim, which ensures the rod is very easy to handle, with decent sensitivity and a nice, medium-fast action to cover most bases.
With an attractive sky-blue finish, the rod has premium-quality cork grips, TFO’s skeletal reel seat, and with Fuji’s corrosion-control K-frame guides, this is a beautiful travel rod that offers a lot of versatility no matter where you’re heading.
A contender to be the best travel fishing rod for spinning.
Suitable for fresh and saltwater.
Airline-friendly rod tube.
Premium materials and parts.
A little on the pricey side.
There’s a lot to like here from TFO, a travel spinning rod that has been well-designed and thought out, with an attractive aesthetic that’s sure to turn a few heads when you unveil it by the water. Unless you’re on your own, of course – then you can just admire it yourself.
On to the first of our telescopic fishing rod options now, with the famous Blackhawk II from KastKing.
With a great range of 14 lengths and actions cater to all types of fishing, you’re certainly not short of choice when it comes to probably the best backpacking fishing rod there is.
Made with durable carbon-matrix blanks and solid fiberglass tip, it offers a superfast setup, with stainless steel line guide, graphite reel seat and comfortable EVA handle for performance and control.
Whether fishing in salt or freshwater, for bass or trout, on shore, on a kayak, or anything and everything in between, the Blackhawk II range has you covered.
Excellent price point.
Very highly rated.
Consistent, smooth taper.
Eyelets can be tricky to align.
A fishing rod and reel option would have been nice.
Probably the best telescopic fishing rod there is – or at least one of them. The Blackhawk II has garnered a great reputation as a product that will leave you pleasantly surprised.
Another world-class fishing brand that produces some top-quality gear and equipment, St Croix were always going to have a place somewhere in this review.
This is one of their excellent travel spinning rods, with a premium SCII graphite construction, and available in a choice of lengths and actions to suit your preferred style.
The Fuji DPS reel seat is strong and durable, with a frosted silver hood, while the high-quality cork handle ensures a firm grip and unbeatable control.
And two-coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish improves the rod’s already excellent strength, sensitivity and hook-setting power.
Name to trust in fishing.
Travel spinning rod.
Hard carry-case included.
Beautifully designed and made.
One of the finest fishing tackle manufacturers in the world, you know you’re getting a quality rod with St Croix, and that’s exactly what this is. Up there with the best travel spinning rods available.
Made with a 30-ton carbon matrix, this four-piece travel fishing rod from Goture has been designed to offer the perfect balance between sensitivity, strength, and power.
Another brand that offers a great choice of rod lengths and styles, you can pick your poison to suit the type of fishing you do.
The reel seats are made with tough ABS material, while the EVA grips are super-comfortable to hold and offer nice balance and control.
Corrosion-resistant guides have ceramic inserts for durability, and well-spaced to offer the best casting experience and free-flowing line action.
Spigot ferrule construction.
Finely tuned action.
Hard carry case included.
Reel seat isn’t the best.
Balance might be a bit questionable for some.
You get what you pay for, and this rod is a decent option considering the price, but just don’t expect to be blown away by it. For more stuff that won’t blow you away (thanks to great weather protection), check out this review on the best fishing jackets around.
Now, I think this is a cracking travel-friendly fishing kit that comes with just about everything you need to get yourself in the game.
Available in a choice of lengths, the Plusinno telescopic fishing rod comes with its own aluminum spool that fits in the stainless steel hooded reel seats, while the rod itself is made from a combination of carbon-fiber and fiberglass.
Tough and durable, the rod has EVA grips for comfort, and the reel has anti-reverse and power-drive gears for extra strength. And line and lures are also included, so there’s no time wasted for catching fish with this all-in-one package.
Super compact design.
Rod and reel combo.
Very highly rated.
Not the best reel – but still decent for the price.
A one-stop-shop for all your fishing needs, this set makes a great kit to throw in the back of your car. You don’t need anything else to get going – and as a travel fishing option, you can’t say fairer than that.
You want travel fishing? You’ve got travel fishing! The Ronco pocket fisherman might not land you that dream bass, but it can fit into your glove compartment, backpack, or even a larger jacket pocket.
You can also hang the ingenious device from your belt, ensuring it’s a great option to take camping and hiking, or anywhere you might need to catch your dinner in a hurry.
The automatic anti-reverse prevents the handle from turning backwards, and there’s even a mini-tackle box hidden in the handle for added convenience and portability.
Perfect for smaller fish, it might not revolutionize the fishing industry, but it might help you survive!
Super compact and portable.
Bonus lures included.
Very easy to use.
Great for kids/fun/emergencies.
Not suitable for larger fish.
Not actually a standard rod.
An indispensable little fishing gadget that you can store just about anywhere, and whip it out at a moment’s notice to fish a spot you might otherwise have missed.
And even if you’re not on a dedicated fishing trip, keep this to hand, and you’ll be able to throw a line in wherever you go.
Buyer’s Guide to Travel and Backpacking Fishing Rods
But there are other considerations when it comes to choosing the best backpacking fishing rods, so check out the buyer’s guide below for some insider tips and advice on what to look for.
Type of Fishing Rod
Rods come in a variety of types to suit a variety of fishing styles. The same is true for travel fishing rods.
Casting rods, spinning rods, fly fishing rods, surf-fishing rods, trolling rods, telescopic rods… the list can be mind-boggling if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
It would take too long to explain everything here, but with regard to travel rods, you’re mainly looking at casting, spinning, telescopic, and perhaps the odd fly.
Do your research carefully to choose the one that’s right for you.
Telescopic Fishing Rod vs Collapsible Fishing Rod
When it comes to travel rods, the debate of telescopic versus collapsible rages on. Which is actually better for travel and fishing?
There isn’t much in it when it comes to which one is more travel-friendly, although at a push, I’d say a telescopic will have a smaller profile and save you a bit of space.
But for the actual purpose of fishing, collapsible rods are much better. They’re stronger, more durable, and are much simpler to set up.
That’s not to say telescopic rods don’t have a place in your backpack or the trunk of your car – and they’re certainly the preferred choice for hikers, or whenever storage space is a concern.
Size and Weight
By their definition, travel rods really should be as light and as compact as possible – but when it comes to rod length, you should be able to pack a six to nine foot pole at the very least.
The best backpacking fly fishing rods might be a little longer, but for the most part, a decent travel rod will be somewhere between that sweet spot, with a seven-foot rod recommended as a beginner, or all-purpose option.
You don’t want the rod to be too heavy for travel purposes, and as such, most rods in this review have been made with that in mind, and are super-lightweight in their design.
Fishing rods are most commonly available in three distinctive materials. Fiberglass, graphite (carbon), and bamboo.
Bamboo rods tend to be more old school and traditional, and they don’t make good travel rods at all.
You’ll be choosing between fiberglass construction and graphite, but most travel fishing rods utilize a combination of both materials for durability, strength, and performance.
Check out the video below for a brief guide to choosing the right rod material and the advantages of each.
Action and Power
A fishing rod’s action and power are important factors when choosing the right tool for the job.
Rod action refers to where the rod flexes when pressure is applied to the tip.
Rod power is how much pressure is required to bend the rod at the action point.
It’s quite a complex topic with a lot of science and tech behind it, and so it makes more sense to watch this excellent video below that goes into the differences in depth – but still keeps things understandable.
For travel rods, you’ll probably be happy choosing a medium-weight rod that offers a nice, smooth action and balance of power.
However, you can purchase rods that come with a choice of different tips, so you can cover all the bases and get the best of both worlds.
Aside from the rod itself, a reel is a very important and necessary addition to your fishing set up. And this is where your budget can be seriously stretched.
Good-quality reels can be eye-wateringly pricey, which is why it’s often a good idea to look for the best travel fishing rod and reel combo, so you get everything you need in a set.
Unfortunately, they’re few and far between (mostly consisting of the telescopic variety) and even then, the reel is rarely up to standard.
Still, it’s important to bear this in mind when budgeting your fishing gear, and if you can find a quality rod and reel combo then it’s well-worth considering.
It stands to reason that travel fishing rods should come with some sort of carry case, bag, tube, or box in which you can safely transport your new acquisition.
This is often overlooked when it comes to choosing a fishing rod, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. How you carry your rod is, after all, very important when you’re traveling.
Look for products that come with good quality carrying options, and keep an eye out for those that specifically say they’re carry-on/overhead locker friendly.
The final (or perhaps the first) consideration will be to do with your budget. Travel fishing rods vary wildly in cost, and you can spend as much or as little as you like.
I would encourage you to select a rod based on how much you’re actually going to use it.
If you’re traveling regularly, then you might want to go for something more high-end, whereas if you think you’ll only use it once or twice a year – maybe go a little cheaper.
Of course, you could easily use a good travel rod as the main weapon in your fishing arsenal, and as such you should spend accordingly. There are prices out there to suit everyone’s pocket.
How do you carry a fishing pole while hiking?
There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – depending, of course, on the fishing pole itself.
Many rods in the review above come with their own carry bag, and it’s possible that you’ll be able to fit this directly into your backpack, depending on its size.
A more common solution is to attach the rod to the outside of your pack using D-rings, webbing, bungee, straps, or whatever else your setup offers for carrying gear externally.
A telescopic fishing rod is often the preferred choice when hiking, as they can pack down much smaller than a two piece rod, for example.
How do you pack a fishing pole?
While this is similar to the question above, if you’re looking for a more detailed answer, I would watch the video below that gives you some great advice on how to pack and travel with multiple fishing rods.
Are collapsible fishing rods any good?
Yes, they are. Unless you’re getting a one-piece, most rods are collapsible anyway, and you can easily find two, three, and four-piece rods that will give comparable performance, all things being equal.
In the end, you need to understand that a quality one-piece rod is still likely to outperform anything that collapses – but it’s not going to be the best choice for travel.
Just don’t go too cheap when you’re in the market for a rod, and you won’t have any problems finding a good quality option, regardless of the style you choose.
What is the best backpacking fishing pole?
For backpacking, I would be tempted to lean towards a compact telescopic rod, and I personally believe that the KastKing Blackhawk II is one of the best on the market.
Having said that, this is still a subjective question, and what’s the best for me might not be the best for you. So long as you can fit it on or in your pack – you should be good to go.
Can I carry a fishing rod on a plane?
Yes, of course – providing that it meets with the airline’s carry-on luggage restrictions. So long as you adhere to them, there’s no issue in bringing a fishing rod on board.
Obviously, it will need to be a collapsible or telescopic rod, as you still have to fit it into the overhead bins. Look for rods in the review above that specifically say they’re safe for air travel – if you’re in any doubt.
Anything larger than that, and you’ll need to check it in. Contact your chosen airline directly for full confirmation.
What do I need for backpack fishing?
I think a fishing rod and a backpack would be a great start.
All jokes aside, you can keep things relatively simple when it comes to backpack fishing, in order to travel as light as possible and keep plenty of space for all your other gear and equipment.
Take a look at one fisherman’s backpack set up in the video below to give yourself some ideas.
How do you travel with a fishing rod?
There are all kinds of ways to travel with a fishing rod – but it helps a great deal if you’re traveling with a good travel rod in the first place.
A compact fishing rod will be easy to carry in your luggage, or strap it to your backpack. Just make sure it’s securely fastened and not sticking out anywhere that you risk putting someone’s eye out!
Never miss the opportunity to fish on your travels again by choosing one of the best travel fishing rods of 2023.
Let me know which one you’ve gone for and why – and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more top tips, advice and reviews.