Best Backpacking Fishing Rods- 15 Portable & Lightweight Fishing Rods Reviewed!

Best Backpacking Fishing Rods

Last Updated on July 15, 2021

Many people who enjoy outdoor activities like to combine several of their passions when they spend time outdoors. For example, there are hikers and backpackers who also enjoy seeing aquariums or fishing as a leisure activity, and they may choose to take a fishing rod along with them when they set off on a hike.

One reason for this is to make the most of the outdoors and enjoy their surroundings by experiencing a true outdoors lifestyle. There are also practical reasons why hikers and backpackers take along a fishing rod as it is one of the best of ways of sourcing fresh food that you can cook and eat outdoors. If you decide to buy a backpacking fishing rod, there are many considerations to make, and this guide gives you an overview of these. We also included reviews of 15 of the best backpacking fishing rods on the market now to help you make your decision.

Best Backpacking Fishing Rods- Our Top Picks

Reviews of the Best Backpacking Fishing Rods

With some many rods to choose between and so many factors to consider, you may find it tricky to make your choice. To help you make your decision, here are reviews of 15 of the best backpacking fishing rods on the market now.

1. Ronco Pocket Fisherman

Small enough to fit into the glove compartment of your car or neatly down the side of your backpack, this is a compact and lightweight fishing rod that is ideal for backpacking in terms of its size. One of the best features of this fishing rod is the automatic anti-reverse that prevents the handle from turning backward. The shaped handle of this fishing rod means that it is comfortable to hold, and you will have a secure grip. Another great feature is the mini tackle box that is hidden in its handle. This is perfect for keeping your lures, and there are two bonus lures included with the set. Also included with the set are a bobber, a hook, a weight, and a swivel. There is a lanyard attached to the handle of the fishing rod, and this gives you the option to carry the rod on your belt or on the outside of your backpack.

Key Features:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Includes bonus lures
  • Shaped handle for a better grip
  • Tackle box hidden in the handle
  • Automatic anti-reverse
  • Lanyard for attachment

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2. Eagle Claw Trailmaster Medium Rod

This is one of the best backpacking fishing rod and reel combination sets. It is suitable for both novices and those who have lots of experience of fishing as it is easy to use and performs well. All the parts included in this set have been filed tested by the manufacturers to ensure that they stand up to the competition and that they are strong, durable, and reliable.It has rod power of medium to light and a lure weight of 1/8-1/2. The backpacking spinning rod is a six-piece, seven-foot fly model, which features an IM-7 complex composite blank. This lightweight part gives the rod incredible performance and it is built to last for a lifetime. The bronze reel seat is beautifully engraved, so this is a nice-looking rod. This spinning rod comes with one hook and a durable travel case for the safe storage of your rod and for convenient transportation.

Key Features:

  • Six piece, seven-foot spinning rod
  • Field tested
  • Engraved bronze reel seat
  • IM-7 complex composite blank
  • Strong, durable, and reliable
  • One hook and a travel case included

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3. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

These rods are available in five sizes, including 5.19-feet, 6.89-feet, 7.8-feet, 8.6-feet, and 9.84-feet. Therefore, you can get the exact length you need to suit the type of fishing you enjoy and the locations where you will fish. There is also the option to get the backpacking fishing rod and reel only or the full kit. The latter included the fishing rod, one fishing reel, fishing line, fishing hooks, various fishing lures, some extra accessories, and the carrier bag for storing and transporting your fishing pole. Regardless of which option you choose, the backpacking fishing pole is hard, durable, and made from high-quality materials. These include a combination of high-density carbon fiber and fiberglass for the main rod and a steel hooded reel seat that is anti-corrosion. The rod also features EVA fore grip for comfort. These are telescopic fishing rods that fold-down neatly and they are ideal for those who want a compact fishing pole for backpacking.

Key Features:

  • Telescopic design
  • High-quality materials
  • Hard and durable fishing poles
  • EVA fore grip for comfort
  • Length and kit options available

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4. DRAGONtail Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod

You can choose to buy either the rod only or the complete starter kit. The latter includes the backpacking fishing rod for tenkara fly fishing, premium Moonlit line, tippet, three soft hackle flies, a storage tube, a stylish rod sock, and an EVA foam line holder. Whichever you choose, you will get a high-quality rod that is 12-feet in length that is made from strong yet lightweight IM-10 graphite. The simple design of this fishing rod means that you can set up your rod ready for fishing in under three minutes, so you can start enjoying your fishing without lots of fiddly assembly first. Weighing 2.6-ounces with nine pieces rod action of 6:4, this fishing rod gives plenty of play but is strong enough for you to reel in medium to large fighting fish. This is a collapsible fishing pole for backpacking that collapses down to 20.5-inches. Therefore, it will hardly take up any weight or space in your backpack.

Key Features:

  • A lightweight and compact collapsible fishing pole
  • Good-quality materials
  • Kit options
  • Long rod
  • Easy to set up

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5. Daiwa ETPSF200-CF3Bi/WN Executive Travel Pack

The main feature of this travel pack is the light action backpacking spinning rod that is six-feet and six-inches in length. This is made from a sturdy graphite construction and features an ABS machined aluminum spool. These materials mean that the fishing rod is both durable and lightweight, both of which are features that a backpacker should look for in their fishing rod. The reel of this rod achieves smooth retrieval, which is thanks to the three ball bearings plus the roller. An interesting feature of this fishing rod is the EVA foam grip with an unlocking reel seat. Also included with this kit are lures, hooks, and swivels. Everything is packed neatly into a briefcase-style hard case that has extra space for spare spools of line. The case protects all your fishing tackle and keeps everything together ready for when you need it. Therefore, it is perfect for both storage and transportation.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight and durable materials
  • Accessories included
  • Briefcase-style hard case
  • Reel with smooth retrieval
  • Compact fishing rod

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6. Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Included in this backpacking fishing rod and reel set is a nine-foot four-piece fishing rod, preinstalled line, a large arbor reel, a rod sock, backing and leader, flies with a fly box, and a rod case. Spares that are included are a leader, a zinger, and a nipper. Furthermore, the set comes with a detailed instruction manual. The fishing rod in this set is a slow action, mid-flex IM8 graphite design with an aluminum reel seat and a stainless steel stripper guide with a SiC ring. The single foot snake guides and the hook keeper are also stainless steel, while the seven-inch Western-style grip is made from high-quality cork with compressed cork trim rings. An unusual feature of the set is the waterproof, floating fly box, which can hold up to 372 flies. This comes prefilled with three each of Parachute Adams, Nymph, Black Ants, and Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear flies. All the flies included with the set are size 14.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight rod
  • Good quality materials
  • Accessories included
  • Waterproof, floating fly box
  • Various size 14 flies included

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7. Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combos

Although this is a low-cost fishing combination set, it includes everything you need to get started fishing on your backpacking or hiking trips. It is available with telescopic fishing rods that extend to three sizes; 5.91-feet, 6,89-feet, and 8.7-feet. The hard and durable telescopic fishing rods are made from high-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass. This means they are lightweight and durable. Each fishing rod comes with a fishing reel, a carrier bag, some fishing line, a range of necessary fishing accessories, and three fishing lures. The guide rings on the poles are made by SIC Ceramic and they offer improved heat dissipation, lower friction, and greater durability. They feature a resin adhesive that makes the rings more solid. The corrosion-resistant reel is ultra-smooth, thanks to the ball bearings and the precision-matched gear. It has a powerful gear ratio of 5.5:1. There is an interchangeable right or left-handed spool with a lightweight yet strong aluminum honeycomb design. If you have a limited budget, this is one of the best backpacking fishing rod and reel sets on the market now.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight telescopic fishing rod
  • Various sizes available
  • High-quality materials
  • Accessories included
  • Ultra-smooth-corrosion-resistant reel
  • Interchangeable left or right-handed spool
  • Innovative guide lines

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8. Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit 905-4

Regardless of whether you are experienced and simply looking for a new rod or a novice that needs a starter set, this affordable and lightweight package is suitable for you. The Orvis Clearwater rod casts with power and precision because it is built with Helios tapers and profiles. It even has enough power to throw out straight into the wind. They come with a large arbor and a cast aluminum Clearwater reel that boasts a powerful Rulon-to-stainless-steel inline drag system. The reel comes loaded with backing and floating fly lines. You can switch the flywheel retrieve direction to suit left-handed people and there are instructions included on how to do this. Included with this rod and reel set is a protective case. Not only will this protect your fishing rod and reel from damage during transportation, but it is also the perfect place to store your fishing gear when it is not in use.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight and durable fishing rod
  • Powerful and precise
  • Reel with inline drag system
  • Interchangeable flywheel retrieve direction
  • Preloaded reel
  • Protective case included

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9. TROUTBOY Black Warrior Fishing Rod

For those who want to spend as little as possible on a fishing rod for backpacking, this is one of the best backpacking fishing rod and reel combinations sets on the market. If you plan to only use your fishing gear occasionally while hiking or backpacking, then it makes sense to save money by choosing this low-cost backpacking fishing kit. This kit includes a telescopic fishing rod, a spincast reel, and a free spare graphite spool. The spinning rods are made from a high-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass, so they are tough, durable, and lightweight while also offering good elasticity and great power. As they have a telescopic design, these spinning rods are ideal for backpacking because the fold down small. The stainless steel hooded real seats feature anti-seawater corrosion, while they handle is coated with comfortable EVA foam.Features of the reel include a unique body design, a high-strength T6 double anodized aluminum spool, and a lightweight and stable construction. The reel has precision-matched gears and a powerful gear ratio.

Key Features:

  • Telescopic spinning rod
  • High-quality materials
  • Free spare graphite spool
  • Precision-matched gears
  • High gear ratio
  • Lightweight and durable

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10. Okuma Voyager Spinning Travel Kit

The main feature of the fishing travel combo is the six-feet, five-piece travel rod. This is a lightweight and light action fishing rod that easily breaks down into five pieces for compact storage and hassle-free transportation. Made from composite materials, this durable rod is outfitted with comfortable cork grips and a stainless steel hooded reel seat. There are also durable ceramic guide inserts. The size 20 Voyager reel features a ball-bearing drive system within a corrosion-resistant graphite frame. It has a one-piece anodized aluminum spool and a machine-cut brass pinion gear. You can switch the handle from left to right-handed retrieve. Included with this kit are a tackle box and a travel case. The tackle box allows you to take along all the accessories you need for light tackle fishing, while the travel case is a great way to transport your rod, reel, and tackle box along with you while hiking or backpacking.

Key Features:

  • High-quality materials
  • Five-piece, compact, and lightweight rod
  • Comfortable cork grips
  • Corrosion-resistant graphite reel frame
  • Switchable retrieve handle
  • Tackle box and travel case included

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11. St Croix Triumph Travel Spinning Rods

This four-piece set is available with options for ultralight/ fast, light/ fast, medium/ fast, medium-heavy/ fast, or medium-light/ fast. These options mean you can find the perfect rod to meet your needs, regardless of your experience and where you are fishing. A high-quality backpacking fishing pole, it is made from a premium quality SCII graphite. This is a lightweight and durable material that is ideal for backpacking fishing rods. The guides are made from a hard aluminum-oxide with black frames, while the reel seat has a frosted silver hood. The premium-grade cork handles give you a secure and comfortable grip of the rod, even when using it for prolonged periods. Each rod comes with a padded nylon case. Not only will this protect your fishing rod from damage when not in use or during transportation, but it also gives you an easy way to carry the rod while out hiking or backpacking.

Key Features:

  • Rod action and power options
  • Four-piece graphite rod
  • High-quality materials
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Padded nylon case

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12. Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Pole

This is one of the best backpacking spinning rods because this lightweight rod is telescopic. This means that you can retract the rod to make it compact enough to fit in your backpack without taking up lots of space or adding extra weight. This is important for hikers and backpackers as they try to keep the weight they carry to a minimum. The rod is made from high-density 24-ton carbon fiber with E-glass composite. This gives the rod strength, power, durability, and sensitivity. It has a corrosion-resistant CNC machined aluminum reel seat and three-point welded stainless steel guides that are also rust-resistant. The high-density EVA grips give you all-day comfort, and the carbon cloth texture adds beauty to the rod. There are various sizes available, so you can choose the best option to suit the type of fishing you enjoy and the most suitable for the locations where you fish.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight, strong, and durable
  • Compact telescopic design
  • High-quality materials
  • Visually appealing
  • Comfortable grip
  • Various sizes available

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13. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tenkara Telescoping Rod

The lightweight design of this tenkara fishing rod allows for accurate and smooth casting. It has nine sections that collapse so that the fishing rod measures a compact 21.3-inches. The combination of the lightweight and compact features of this fishing rod mean that it is ideal for hikers and backpackers who are keeping the weight they carry to a minimum and want to save space in their backpack. This telescopic fishing rod is made from IM8+10 carbon fiber, which is an extremely strong material, and this makes your fishing rod durable and long-lasting. It also means that the rod can withstand the fight of larger fish. The AA-grade cork handle is very comfortable to hold, and this section of the rod measures 11.75-inches. This rod has a smooth and sensitive 7:3 rod action. There are various size options for this fishing rod, so you can choose the most appropriate one to meet your needs. The rod is packed with a soft cotton sleeve and a light and durable carbon tube.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight and durable materials
  • Telescopic design
  • Smooth and sensitive 7:3 rod action
  • Size options available
  • Storage tube and cotton sleeve included

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14. Daiwa Multipiece Travel Trigger Rod

A collapsible fishing pole for backpacking, this rod consists of three pieces that collapse to become a compact item that will hardly take up any space when you pack for your next backpacking trip. It has a unique x45 bias graphite fiber construction with a V-flex ferrule joint system. This gives the rod flexibility, strength, and virtually zero blank twist.It is also notable for its sensitivity. When this fast-action rod is fully extended, it measures seven-feet. It is a medium power rod that has the capacity to hold a line weight of between seven and 17-pounds. The rod comes with a semi-hard travel case that is perfect for both the storage and the transportation of your rod. The combined weight of the fishing rod and the travel case is 1.3-pounds, so this is a relatively lightweight option to take along with you for a hiking or backpacking trip.

Key Features:

  • Collapsible travel fishing rod
  • Medium power and fast action
  • Semi-hard travel case included
  • Strong and durable
  • Virtually zero blank twist
  • V-flex flexible joint system

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15. Emrod Packrod Fishing Combo

In terms of all-around performance, this is one of the best backpacking spinning rod combos available. This is a six-coil rod that is intended for use catching fish weighing up to 15-pounds. At 24-inches, this is a short rod and the advantage of this is that you know when you get a catch and there is no lag time. The short length of the handle also means that casting and reeling are easier as you can hold your arms and the pole closer to your body. A further advantage of the short length is that these are a compact rod and they are ideal for backpacking or hiking. This rod is just as easy to use from in a kayak or a canoe as it is to fish from the riverbank. You can use this spinning rod with most open face reels, although it comes with Emrod’s high-quality DCM open face reel.

Key Features:

  • Six coil fishing rod
  • Short-length for easy fishing
  • Compact and lightweight
  • DCM open face reel included
  • Great all-around performance

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A Backpacking Fishing Rod Buying Guide

Understanding the different options and the main features of fishing rods for backpacking will help you to make the right choice. Here are the main factors to consider when making your decision.

Rod Type

The first and possibly most important decision is the type of fishing rod you need to buy. Some of the options include:

  • Casting rods- These rods have line guides and a reel seat along the top of the rod, and it uses a baitcasting reel. There are various power and action combinations available.
  • Backpacking spinning rods- A spinning reel is used with a spinning rod. The reel seat and line guides are along the bottom of the rod and there are various action and power combinations.
  • Tenkara rods- These are a long and lightweight fishing rod that has a short, fixed length of line fixed to the end of the rod. They fish with an action like a fly rod.

Reel Type

Next, you should consider your reel options. The two main options are:

  • Spinning reels- These are the reels that sit upside-down under the rod. They are easy to use and perform well because they have low friction and allow great casts. The main downside to these reels is that they are usually a little bulkier than baitcasting reels, which is not ideal for backpacking. They can also cause a kink in the line over time.
  • Baitcasting reels- These are harder to use than spinning reels, so they are not ideal or fishing novices. You need to control the spool with your thumb when you cast and getting it wrong can make a mess of your line. However, if you have experience, they are a good choice for backpacking because they are lighter weight than spinning reels.

Rod Power

The term rod power is used to refer to how much resistance to bending the rod has, and this indicates the weight and size of the lure you can use with a fishing rod. Whether you are using the correct rod action with the most appropriate rod power can make a big difference in how well your rod works. Rod power is graded as follows:

  • Ultralight- These are usually compact rods and are used with the smallest lures.
  • Light- Lightweight lures are used with fishing rods with light rod power.
  • Medium- A fishing rod with medium power is often considered a universal rod and you can use it for a broad range of fishing.
  • Heavy- This is the rod power for lures that are close to one ounce.

Rod Length

The length of the rod you use is important and longer rods are best for some activities, while shorter rods are the better choice for other situations. In relation to the length of the rod, think about the following:

  • The length of the rod can impact on how you pack.
  • The location in which you plan to fish can dictate the length of rod needed.
  • Longer rods are heavier and will take up more space in your packing.
  • On the other hand, longer fishing rods have more leverage, can reach over obstacles, and can achieve longer, faster casts.
  • Smaller rods are lighter weight, easier to carry around, smaller in a backpack, and easier to cast in dense vegetation.
  • The downside of smaller rods is that they have less reach than longer rods.
  • Collapsible and telescopic rods are a good choice for backpacking as even longer rods can pack up small so that they are not clumsy to carry and they do not take up space in your backpack.

Reel Gear Ratio

Another factor that you may need to consider is the reel gear ratio. Some points to think about are:

  • You may not get a choice of reel gear ratio if you buy a rod and reel combination set. However, some kits do offer options.
  • When you are using the reel, the gear reel ratio affects how quickly you can pull back in the line.
  • Gear reel ratio also affects how easy it is to reel in heavier fish or fish that are fighting against you.
  • When you are backpacking, you will probably fish for smaller fish. Therefore, a moderate to high ratio is a good option as these are relatively quick.


You will find that there are significant variations in the prices of backpacking fishing rods. While for some people the price is not an issue, others have a limited budget, or they want to get the best value for their money. Think about these points in relation to the price:

  • The price of a backpacking fishing rod can depend on the materials, the type of rod and reel, the components, the size, and the brand.
  • You can often get a good-quality backpacking fishing pole for a low price.
  • It is possible to save money on a fishing rod by buying one online instead of from a bricks-and-mortar store.
  • You can compare the prices, product descriptions, and customer reviews if you buy a fishing rod online, and this will allow you to get the best value for money.
  • You should consider how often you intend to use your fishing rod when deciding how much you are willing to pay for this piece of gear.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Use Fishing Rods While Hiking and Backpacking?

There are two main reasons why you would want to use a fishing rod while hiking or backpacking. The first is as a leisure activity to enjoy during your time backpacking or hiking. Spending time fishing allows you to appreciate your surroundings and to get the full experience of the outdoors. The second is to source your own food and not rely on packaged food you have brought in your backpack.

How is a Backpacking Fishing Rod Helpful?

The predominant reason that a fishing rod is useful for backpacking or hiking is so that you can fish as a source of food. Not only is this enjoyable for many people, but it also means that you can pack less dried food in your backpack for your trip. This reduces the weight you will carry, frees up space, and costs you less money.

The Final Verdict

If you decide that you would like a fishing pole for backpacking, you will find plenty of different options available. Each of the fishing poles will have features that appeal to different people, so you should choose something that best suits your needs after considering all the options.

Overall, the best backpacking fishing rod is the Ronco Pocket Fisherman. This is a compact and lightweight option that has a tackle box hidden insider the shaped handle of the fishing rod. This rod comes with all the accessories you need to get started fishing during your next hiking or backpacking trip.

A fantastic choice if you want the best backpacking rod and reel combo is the DRAGONtail Tenkara Shadowfire 360. This lightweight tenkara and reel set has various options with kits including a range of useful accessories. Each rod also comes with a rod sock and a protective storage tube.

For those with a limited budget, the best option is the TROUTBOY Black Warrior Fishing Rod. Despite the low cost of this fishing rod, it is made from high-quality and durable materials. It also comes with a reel and a range of accessories.



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