Best Backpacking Fishing Pole | Rods for Outdoor Enthusiasts [2019]

Whether you are a seasoned fishing pro, or just trying to make the most of a new hobby, undertaking a fishing trip or holiday is a great way to hone your skills, get back to nature, and enjoy a peaceful and relaxing activity.

A backpacking fishing pole is essential to help you enjoy this—these are smaller telescoping poles which can be neatly folded down and stored, ready to whip out wherever and wherever you see the slightest chance of a nibble.

This aspect makes them ideal for hikers, travelers, and anyone who wants to experience the great outdoors in its full glory. To help make life easier, we have embarked on a quest to locate the very best backpacking fishing pole of all time— feel free to thank us later.

 

 

Our Top Pick

If we had to settle on just one of these rods, it would be the Ronco Pocket Fisherman. This option is the ultimate in portability. It’s durable, compact, and even has a tackle box in the handle! We’ve reviewed it first for your convenience.

 

 

Review the Top Products

Ronco Pocket Fisherman Rod

This rod is small enough to fit anywhere you need it to, from a compact backpack to a storage space in the side of the car. It is lightweight, portable, and the perfect choice for backpackers. It even includes an automatic anti-reverse which prevents the handle from turning backward and makes sure it is super comfortable to hold!

 

Key Features

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Automatic anti-reverse
  • Shaped handle for improved grip
  • Includes lures
  • Tackle box handle
  • Lanyard attachment

 

What I Like

This option is the ultimate in compact rods and is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to get their hands on something small, sleek, and practical. It is also super comfortable even after a long and patient wait.

 

What I Don’t Like

While there are many positives, it seems likely that this rod was mainly designed for still water, such as ponds and creeks, rather than faster running currents.

 

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable – perfect for backpacking
  • Includes a mini tackle box to keep all equipment safe
  • Includes bobber, hook, weight, and swivel
  • Super comfortable to hold and use

 

Cons

  • Can be quite hard to cast with the rig in moving water
  • Seems entirely unsuitable for fast currents and water, such as rivers
  • The line is quite thin and weak

 

There is no doubt that this model has earned its place in our roundup of the best backpacking fishing rods. While there are issues, the price and compactness of the rod mean that it ticks all the boxes and is an ideal option for those looking to embark on their first backpack fishing adventure.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Eagle Claw Trailmaster Rod

This pick has the bonus of offering two aspects for the price of one and is commonly touted as one of the best fishing rod and combination sets. Easy to use and simple to set up, it is ideal for anglers of all experiences, but especially novices. Even better, it is super lightweight and easy to transport while still offering durability and long-term reliability.

 

Key Features

  • Seven-foot length
  • Breaks into seven pieces
  • IM-7 complex composite blank
  • Reliable and durable
  • Includes travel case and a hook

 

What I Like

This model is an excellent choice for those who are new to backpack rods, or angling in general. It is lightweight but durable, and fast and easy to set up even if you have limited experience. A fantastic first or starter rod for anyone keen to hone and practice their skills.

 

 

What I Don’t Like

The tip of the rod is very flimsy and breakable compared to other models within the same budget— it is very likely to break when trying to hook a larger fish or a fighter.

 

Pros

  • Easy for beginners to use and set up
  • Very portable and lightweight – ideal for traveling
  • Can fit perfectly and discretely into a backpack until needed

 

Cons

  • The tip is quite flimsy and delicate
  • Quite thin- unlikely to be a good choice for larger, stronger fish

 

For the price, this is a great choice and would be perfect for beginners and novices. If you are looking to catch larger and stronger fish; however, you would be better off investing in a more expensive product.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Plusinno Telescoping Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Available in an impressive five different sizes, this is the perfect rod if you are looking for total flexibility and individuality. You will be able to choose the size that best fits your fishing preferences, depending on the type of fish, your location, and experience level. This rod also comes with a handy carry bag, as well as all the accessories and extras you need to get started in no time.

 

Key Features

  • Telescoping blank
  • Durable with high-quality construction
  • Comfortable EVA foregrip
  • Available in a range of sizes

 

What I Like

The comfort of this pole is a major plus point, and this means it is ideal for whiling away long, lazy afternoons waiting for a nibble. I also like the fact that it includes everything you need to get started—this makes it perfect for beginners who are still getting to grips with the best bits of essential kit to invest in.

 

What I Don’t Like

It does tend to feel a little cheap compared to other models within the price range, and this is a disappointment. In addition, the reel handle is quite stiff, even after a few uses.

 

Pros

  • Variety of sizes available
  • High-density carbon fiber combined with fiberglass allows for a sturdy yet lightweight design
  • EVA foregrip offers ultimate comfort
  • Steel hooded rear seat is anti-corrosive – perfect for any type of water
  • Comes with all the accessories you need to get started

 

Cons

  • Reel handle can be quite stiff and difficult to manage
  • The material feels quite cheap compared to other models
  • The tip is quite delicate and easy to break with a large fish

 

This rod is an excellent choice for beginners, or those still working on their skills and confidence, but more advanced anglers will need something a little more robust.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Dragontail Tenkara Rod

This model comes in two main options—as a standalone rod or as a complete starter kit. The latter is undoubtedly a strong contender for the best backpacking fishing rod, as it comes with everything a new angler could need to get started. This pack includes a storage tube, rod sock, three soft hackle flies, premium Moonlit line, and tipper. The design is easy to assemble and a perfect introduction into backpacking fishing rods.

 

Key Features

  • Lightweight, compact, and collapsible
  • Good-build quality
  • Collapses to 20.5 inches
  • Easy to use

 

What I Like

One of the main advantages of this kit is the convenience. It comes with everything you could possibly need to get started, and that is a real bonus. The materials are also good quality, and this makes it feel like a solid investment no matter your skill level.

 

What I Don’t Like

This model does feel quite easy to snap and break, even with a very small weight on the line. It is unlikely to be suitable for those who are aiming for larger fish or use in stronger currents.

 

 

Pros

  • Comes with everything you need to start out
  • Comfortable to use
  • Very lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Made from quality materials

 

Cons

  • Quite easy to snap
  • Feels quite thin in some places
  • Has been known to arrive without some of the advertised extras – this is very frustrating

 

This model would be a good choice for anyone looking for a spare rod, or who is new to the sport and looking for a low cost. For bigger fish and more opportunities, however, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Daiwa Executive Travel Pack

This option from Daiwa offers everything you could need from a backpacking fishing rod. It is super lightweight and easy to transport, but the inclusion of graphite results in a strong, durable rod which will withstand a pretty fierce fish!

The EVA foam grip ensures that you will be comfortable no matter how long you are waiting, and the whole thing comes packed in a handy case to keep your kit safe and protected. Ideal for anglers of all levels and abilities, this is a convenient and useful bit of kit which could prove a serious investment if you are a keen backpack fisher.

 

Key Features

  • Durable, compact, and lightweight
  • Comes with accessories and hard case
  • smooth retrieval reel
  • Six-foot, six-inch length

 

What I Like

This rod is very small and transportable—it hardly weighs a thing and can almost disappear for secure storage. This rod is truly the ideal choice for a backpacker or hiker who needs something lightweight.

 

What I Don’t Like

My only real criticism with this rod is the lack of additional storage— a feature which is becoming increasingly common in rods of this type.

 

Pros

  • Super small and compact – ideal for backpacking
  • Very lightweight and easy to manage
  • Strong and durable
  • Comes complete with a protective case to keep your equipment safe

 

Cons

  • Lacks some additional storage compared to other similar models

 

A serious contender for the best backpacking fishing pole, this really does tick every necessary box.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

This nine-foot four-piece offering is ideal for those who are on the hunt for the ultimate and very best backpacking fishing pole. It does everything you could possibly ask for from a backpacking rod, and has the bonus of a waterproof, floating fly box that can hold up to 372 flies. Even better, this comes pre-filled, allowing you to head out and get started on your next adventure straight away!

 

Key Features

  • Lightweight design
  • Quality materials
  • Includes accessories such as various flies
  • Waterproof, floating fly box

 

What I Like

The best thing about the rod is the extras—the inclusion of a fly box and flies is a definite plus, as it allows you to get started straight away with the fishing!

 

What I Don’t Like

The main issue with this option is the reel. Compared to similar models, it does feel quite cheap, and as though it will be easy to break. In addition, it is tricky to adjust the tension; it tends to slip, making it harder to use the rod.

 

Pros

  • Comes with flies included – fantastic for saving time and allowing you to get started more quickly
  • Includes a waterproof, floating fly box for the ultimate convenience
  • Lightweight yet durable – a great combination
  • Ideal for those looking for a higher-level backpacking rod

 

Cons

  • Quite hard to tighten and adjust the tension
  • The reel feels quite cheap and easy to break

 

A good choice for newbies, especially thanks to all the extras and additions. It is likely to prove frustrating for more experienced anglers, however.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Rod Combo – Best Budget Buy

This rod is our very best pick for those on a budget, and you will be pleased to know that the lower price tag does not mean you are compromising on quality. There are three telescopic rods in a variety of sizes, and the high-density carbon fiber and fiberglass combination work together to create a sturdy, durable yet lightweight rod which is an absolute dream for those who like to fish on the go.

 

Key Features

  • Telescoping
  • Comes in a variety sizes available
  • Includes accessories
  • Corrosion-resistant reel
  • Left or right-handed interchangeable spool

 

What I Like

This is a great price for a backpacking rod, and this price point makes the sport far more accessible, even to those on a tight budget. I also like the ability to customize the spool, making this suitable for both left and right-handed casters.

 

What I Don’t Like

The screws and components tend to show signs of rust very quickly, which is disappointing considering the materials. The rod also feels as though it could break quite easily.

 

Pros

  • An affordable price for all anglers, without having to sacrifice quality
  • Comes in various sizes, allowing you to choose the best for your needs
  • Left or right-hand spool makes it more personalized and customized
  • Corrosion-resistance reel helps to ensure longevity
  • Lightweight yet long lasting

 

Cons

  • Seems very prone to rusting
  • Quite breakable and fragile

 

Overall, this is a great choice for those looking for an affordable backpacking rod and could be a good pick for those who only require occasional use.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

This rod is one of the rare pieces of kit which is equally suitable for novices and experienced anglers. It is an ideal starter set and can also work well as a spare or backpacking option for those who are looking for a backup just in case. It is powerful, precise, and affordable, and can be customized and adapted depending on your dominant hand. No doubt—this is a fab find!

 

Key Features

  • Powerful and accurate
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Inline drag system reel
  • Reel comes preloaded
  • Includes a case

 

What I Like

The lightweight and portable nature of this rod are two of the major plus points, and it is super customizable depending on your needs.

 

What I Don’t Like

There is a feeling that some of the parts feel a little cheap, and a valid argument that higher-quality pieces could be picked up for a fraction of the cost.

 

 

Pros

  • Super lightweight and easy to use
  • Comes with a preloaded reel for ease of use
  • Can be customized to left or right depending on your needs and preferences
  • Ideal kit for starters or as a spare

 

Cons

  • Some of the pieces do feel slightly low quality compared to competitors

 

If you are just starting in your fishing adventure, this could be the ideal rod for you to choose.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Troutboy Black Warrior Rod

An ideal budget option, this pick from Troutboy has everything you could ever need to get started at a price even the newest anglers can afford. This rod and reel combination is perfect for those who are looking for a budget rod which doesn’t ask you to compromise on quality.

 

Key Features

  • Offers a complete kit which is ideal for walkers, hikers, and backpackers
  • High-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass
  • The telescopic design is perfect for folding down to a small and portable size
  • Includes a spare graphite spool
  • Precision-matched gears
  • High gear ratio

 

What I Like

This pole is a great option for those who are looking to fish only occasionally and are unwilling to spend large sums of money on expensive equipment. This kit includes everything you could need to get started, making it ideal for newbies. The telescopic design is compact and portable enough for travelers, but it offers enough strength and durability to be genuinely useful.

 

What I Don’t Like

The main issue with this option is that it does the job very well—until suddenly it doesn’t. The rod tends to snap and break quite quickly, meaning the lifespan is very short. In addition, it is quite stiff and hard to collapse— a vital feature of a telescopic rod.

 

Pros

  • Can fold down super small to be more convenient
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Affordable for all budgets and price ranges
  • Ideal for walkers, hikers, backpackers and travelers

 

Cons

  • Quite stiff and tricky to collapse
  • Tends to break after a few good sessions of fishing – not much longevity

 

This option would be a good pick if you are only planning to use the rod briefly, for example on a vacation or fishing trip, or if you were looking for a spare backup to add to your kit.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Backpack Fishing Pole Buying Guide

As you have seen above, we have made it our dedicated mission to bring you the very best backpacking fishing rod, and the options we have selected stand as some of the top choices. You can also check out this roundup post if you’d like to read about other great fishing rods.  In addition to finding the right match, there are several factors you will need to take into consideration before making a decision.

Considering these essential attributes is an important part of helping to narrow down your selection and can save you considerable time and effort.

 

Power

Rod power is one of the main considerations to make when picking your rod, and it can have a huge impact on your overall enjoyment and success while fishing. The power of a rod is the resistance it takes to bend and is a key factor in deciding which size, type, and weight lure is best to use with the rod.

 

There are ascending levels of power:

  • Ultralight is used with the smallest lures, and are usually compact rods

 

  • Light is used with lightweight lures

 

  • Medium is something of a ‘universal’ rod power and can be used in a hugely broad range of fishing types, species, and environments

 

  • Heavy should be used for lures which approach an ounce

 

Action

The action in regards to fishing poles refers to the part of the rod which bends when under pressure. There are two main types of rod: fast action and slow action, and these affect the rod in different ways.

A fast action rod bends only near the tip of the rod, and that means that movements from the rod to the lure happen more quickly, making it easier to feel the fish bite. A slow action rod, on the other hand, will bend most of the way right back to the grip, and the movements from the rod to the lure are delayed.

Fast and slow are the two ends of the spectrum, and there are a variety of options in between which can be a good choice depending on your own needs and preferences. The action of your rod can have a major impact on the way your rod acts and behaves, and so it is an important consideration when choosing the best to buy. You will need an idea of your preferred fishing method, as well as the type of lure which is required for this type.

Power and action can have the largest impact on your rod and its performance, so do your research carefully in advance.

 

Length

Length is another important element of choosing a rod and is another area which can have a major impact on your fishing. It is measured from grip to tip and will affect the types of fish you can catch, the water you can fish in, and a range of other factors.

Longer rods can reach over large obstacles such as piers and other objects and will offer faster and longer casts. They can also have better and increased leverage, making it easier to get a good hold on larger fish. They are heavier in weight and naturally tend to be less portable. These typically fit poorly in backpacks, but there are a few innovative designs out there that pull it off.

Shorter rods, on the other hand, will have less of a reach and are better for smaller, more enclosed spaces. This makes them ideal for use in dense vegetation and trees and are great if you are planning to fish in a wooded area or forest. They are also lighter in weight and easier to transport in a backpack or on a traveling trip. It is crucial that you consider the area you may be fishing in before you make your choice— a smaller range may be an ideal choice if you will be short on space.

 

 

The Types of Rods and Reels

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there is a range of types of fishing rods and reels to choose from, and these include options such as:

 

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels sit upside down, with the reel underneath the rod. They are some of the easiest rods to use, especially if you are fishing in a tight and confined space, such as dense woodland or vegetation, or even bushes along a tightly packed riverbank.

Spinning reels are popular due to their combination of performance and ease of use, as well as their low friction and ease of casting. They can, however, be subject to line kinks. They also tend to be a little bulkier than other options, so are sometimes not popular with backpackers. These use a ‘spinning rod’ which has the reel seat and the line guides along the bottom of the rod.

 

Baitcasting Reels

If you are looking for the ultimate in distance cast and control, baitcasting reels are your new best friend. They work by allowing you to control the spool with your thumb as you cast and offer some of the highest levels of control over your casting—perfect if you are surrounded by overhanging foliage or dense, leafy cover.

They can, however, be tricky to use and make a mess if you do something wrong, so make sure you are experienced and confident before popping one in your backpack for a backwoods trip and ending up in the middle of nowhere with no pole! These reels use a ‘casting rod’ which has the reel seat and line guides along the top of the rod.

Both of these types of rod— baitcasting and spinning reels—come with a wide variety of power and action combinations to suit your needs perfectly.

 

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio is another important aspect of choosing your rod and is something you will be able to choose when you buy your new rod, while a reel and rod combo may be outside of your control. Gear ratio affects the speed at which the line is pulled back in while you are using the reel and directly affects how easy it is to crank a heavy fish fighting the lure.

 

Telescoping or take-apart?

Many backpacking poles either telescope—meaning they slide into themselves to become shorter—or they disassembled into multiple pieces to be packed away in a smaller space.

 

A telescoping rod has the benefit of being one easy-to-keep-track of piece. However, the telescoping mechanisms are also often a sticking point—literally— the poles often get stuck in or out, so if you go this route, it’s important to find a quality option.

Take-apart rods obviously have the disadvantage of having multiple elements to keep track of, and they do sometimes take up a bit more space than their telescoping cousins. They don’t stick, though.

 

Which is best is really a matter of your preference. If you want quick-use and maximum space saving, a telescopic rod may be best. If you are willing to deal with a little more set-up, a sectional pole may prove more reliable.

 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best backpacking fishing pole is an important decision and can make or break your trip. It is important that you bear in mind a considerable range of factors, as all of these can have a considerable impact on how your rod acts and behaves. Picking the right power and action are the most crucial elements, as they can have a significant impact on how your fishing trip goes, and whether it ends in success or failure.

Our top pick, the Ronco Pocket Fisherman, ticks all the boxes you could ever need from a top-quality backpacking fishing pole. It is compact and portable and can easily be stashed away in a bag or backpack, or even in the back of your car so that you are ready for any fishing opportunities that crop up unexpectedly.

Backpacking is a great way to experience new fishing areas, and the chance to see new species and types of fish you may never have previously encountered. It also allows total freedom— you can spend hours just focusing on the fish whenever you feel like it, and this is an incredible feeling.

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