Are you planning a backpacking trip anytime soon and want to test the waters, then you’ll need the proper gear. It’s difficult hauling heavy gear, especially the long fishing rod, one of the biggest necessities. No one wants to hassle themselves carrying a long fishing rod, risking damage as they hike around and leave it on the ground when living in the rough!
But that’s where the best backpacking fishing rods come along, being more convenient to store and bring around no matter where you go. If you’re going to invest in backpacking rods, check out my guide to help you narrow down your options and select from one of my reviews!
Quick Comparison: Top Backpacking Fishing Rods
|The Best for Beginners||The Best for Beginners||1. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos||
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|The Best For Light Packing||The Best For Light Packing||2. TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combos||
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|The Best for Portability and Convenience||The Best for Portability and Convenience||3. FISHOAKY Fishing Rod Kit||
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|Best for Traveling and Sensitivity||Best for Traveling and Sensitivity||4. Goture Travel Fishing Rods||
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|Best for Those on a Budget||Best for Those on a Budget||5. CAPACI Spinning Bass Fishing Rod||
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|Best for High-Performance and Grip||Best for High-Performance and Grip||6. St. Croix Triumph Travel Fishing Rod||
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|Best for Lightweight Material and Strength||Best for Lightweight Material and Strength||7. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tenkara Fishing Rod||
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|Best for Premium Quality and Smoothness||Best for Premium Quality and Smoothness||8. Magreel Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Set||
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|Best for Compactness and Balance||Best for Compactness and Balance||9. Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel||
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|Best for Sturdiness and Longevity||Best for Sturdiness and Longevity||10. BlueFire Fishing Rod Kit||
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|Best for Novices and Easy Operation||Best for Novices and Easy Operation||11. Lixada Pen Fishing Rod||
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**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The 11 Best Backpacking Fishing Rods
Are you stuck on what kind of backpacking fishing rod to get, among the many brands available? These are the 11 best ones with my personal reviews:
1. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos: The Best for Beginners
The PLUSINNO Fishing Rod is one of the best for all types of anglers, whether beginner or advanced. It only includes the rod and reel, but for its price, you get something of high-quality! It’s built with fiberglass for a tougher and more durable fishing rod, with the anti-seawater corrosion frame to keep it working well despite exposing it to the water’s elements.
As for its convenience, the telescopic rod is easier to use and store backpacking, with the portability and strength suitable for the adventurer who need something long-lasting and able to withstand harsh elements.
- Offers a high gear ratio and line capacity for farther distances
- A portable telescopic rod that’s easy to collapse and store in a backpack
- Anti-seawater corrosion made best for saltwater fishing
- It might be a little bulky for a few backpackers
- Some complaints of not getting everything included in the package
2. TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combos: The Best For Light Packing
The TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is a one-piece fishing rod, though having the telescopic design for its convenience and easy use. It’s one of the lightest fishing rods I’ve used, which isn’t just suitable for backpacking, but also for those who want something smoother and sensitive.
They are made best for the average fish like bass, made with the composite materials to give you the benefits of both graphite and fiberglass. For its ease of carrying, backpackers will appreciate its ultra-lightweight features and sensitive feel.
- Provides a more sensitive feel to sense the bite
- One of the lightest fishing rods for ease of carrying
- Still stays strong after years of use with its composite material
- May be too light for heavier fish, made best for average-sized fish
- Some complaints of an uncomfortable grip
3. FISHOAKY Fishing Rod Kit: The Best for Portability and Convenience
The FISHOAKY Fishing Rod Kit is made for beginners or novices since you receive everything you need for your fishing trip. You just need to prepare for your camping essentials, as it comes with the carbon rod, spinning reel, line, lures, hooks, and baits! So you’re ready to fish for the typical species like stripers.
The graphite composite blank is corrosion-resistant and feels lightweight, so there’s the little hassle of bringing it around even when camping in the rough.
It doesn’t come with an instruction manual
- Made with graphite composite blanks for better durability
- It can retract to adjust the size to your height and fishing method
- Has the complete package for beginners to appreciate
- Better to use as a starter’s kit, not for expert anglers
4. Goture Travel Fishing Rods: Best for Traveling and Sensitivity
The Goture Travel Dishing Rod is a multi-part fishing rod, offering slightly better performance compared to the telescopic rod. But don’t be intimidated by its 4-piece build, as it feels similar to a 1-piece build without it being as hassling to set up compared to other multi-part rods.
Besides this, I like its excellent construction, made with high-quality ABS material for its reel seats, EVA split grips and corrosion-resistant parts for saltwater fishing! Furthermore, you get your money’s worth with its lifetime guarantee, ensuring you get a rod made for the long-term.
- Includes a lifetime warranty to ensure its long lifespan
- Has corrosion-resistant guides for smooth performance
- Multi-part rod for better performance and sensitivity
- Might be a hassle setting up the lines every time you use it
- Some anglers think the reel seat is made of plastic
5. CAPACI Spinning Bass Fishing Rod: Best for Those on a Budget
If your main priority is the budget, then you’ll love the CAPACI Spinning Fishing Rod. While it comes at such an affordable price, it still offers a great balance of affordability and strength for backpacking and fishing in the rough.
The drawback is that it comes in a 6-piece construction, so it might take some time to assemble or disassemble for storing. But if you can get past the slight inconvenience, you can get a suitable rod without breaking the bank. It has the sensitivity and strength to last and can help you feel that bite and a quick retrieve.
- One of the most affordable rods for its quality and lifespan
- Good guides and strong reel seats for sensitivity and smooth performance
- Multi-part rod that feels like it has a 1-piece construction
- 6-piece construction that may be a hassle to assemble
- Takes time and fiddling around to get the rod straight
6. St. Croix Triumph Travel Fishing Rod: Best for High-Performance and Grip
St. Croix is a reputable brand known for their fishing equipment, with the Triumph Travel Spinning Rod being one of the top rods for backpacking. This is thanks to its premium construction and high-quality specs for traveling.
It has the SCII graphite construction unique to the brand, with a mid-modulus graphite fiber and a higher strain rate. This makes the rod much more durable and lighter compared to others.
While it may be at a higher price compared to other rods I’ve reviewed here, you’ll be surprised with its amazing performance and sensitivity, as well as its further casting!
- Made with premium SCII graphite for excellent performance
- Sensitive rod, you can always feel the slightest nibbles
- Flex-coat for better durability even during saltwater fishing
- It comes at a higher price compared to other backpacking rods
- There are a few complaints of missing rod inserts
7. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tenkara Fishing Rod: Best for Lightweight Material and Strength
The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tenkara Fishing Rod Is a specialized rod that can collapse to a mere 12.6 inches, making it easy to fit in any backpack. The mini Tenkara rod is telescopic, making it easier to collapse for storage or to set up for quick fishing setups. Furthermore, it comes with the extra tip section and a combo package to get you started with your next fishing trip.
For its price, you get great value, as it’s made with IM8+10 carbon fiber, so the rod still stays light while keeping its strength to catch bigger and more aggressive fish. Furthermore, it has a higher gear ratio for smoother and sensitive performance.
- High gear ratio for quicker retrieves and sensitive action
- Lightweight design for smoother casting
- It has an extra tip section as needed
- Some people have had issues with the blank
- The tip feels stiff at first, takes time to get used to
8. Magreel Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Set: Best for Premium Quality and Smoothness
The Magreel Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Set is moderately-priced, but offers amazing value for its quality materials and complete package. The fishing rod is made with 24T Carbon fiber with a stainless steel hooded reel seat and line guide ring. All its parts are built for corrosion-resistance and performance, so you won’t have to worry about bending and damage during the intense fishing situations.
Plus, I really love how comfortable it is, thanks to its lightweight feel and soft EVA handle! For its comfort and durability, I highly recommend it to anyone focused on these two factors.
- No fatigue felt with its lighter weight and soft EVA grips
- Comes with an extra smooth reel and high gear ratio
- Portable to carry and easy to collapse for storage
- The case can’t hold other accessories but the rod
- Some issues with tackle line holding a fisherman’s knot
9. Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel: Best for Compactness and Balance
The Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo are made best for those who are always on-the-go. This 5-piece rod can withstand 2-6 pounds, making it great for small fish while camping. I appreciate its excellent hard case and strong rod body, so you won’t have to worry about damaging it while going through tough terrains and the like.
Besides this, the ultralight rod has a smooth reel and ball bearing drive, as well as the higher gear ratio for smooth and speedy performance. So if your main focus is catching smaller fish species and better portability with a small size, this reel’s made for you.
- Ultra-lightweight rod with a hard travel case to travel anywhere with
- Smooth reel with a high gear ratio for speed and sensitivity
- Suitable specs for backpacking, with a good pound test
- Might have trouble keeping your rod intact while casting long distance
- It’s not the best for catching heavier fish
10. BlueFire Fishing Rod Kit: Best for Sturdiness and Longevity
The BlueFire Fishing Rod Kit offers everything an angler needs to begin fishing! Backpackers will enjoy its lightweight feel, while novice players will appreciate its complete set, which already includes the rod, reel, line, lures, hooks, and even a carrier bag!
It’s a telescopic rod, which may not perform as well as multi-part rods, though it still offers a smooth and quick retrieve rate with its higher gear ratio. With that in mind, it’s not the best for intermediate anglers, but a good way to introduce teenagers and beginner adults on how to fish while camping.
- Has a high gear ratio for speeder retrieve for the average fish
- Offers the complete package for beginners with quality materials
- Still has great durability even with its more affordable price
- Not the best for advanced anglers with its construction
- Lighter and feels comfortable when held
11. Lixada Pen Fishing Rod: Best for Novices and Easy Operation
The Lizada Pen Fishing Rod and Reel Combo are best for movies as well, though it has a lower gear ratio. This may not be best for quick retrieves, but if you’re planning to get bigger fish and want something tougher, then this is a nice choice.
It’s made with a glass steel fiber, which is strong enough to fight the bigger fish. Furthermore, it’s built with an aluminum alloy shell that’s corrosion-resistant, suitable for saltwater fishing. But just because it’s stronger doesn’t mean it’s too bulky, as it weighs less than ten ounces!
So if your main focus is something stronger and more durable for big fish and tough weather, I recommend the Lizada.
- Optimum for anglers who want to catch bigger fish
- Made of fiberglass for strength and durability
- Lightweight with a mini spinning reel included
- The spinning reel has a lower gear ratio
- Made of fiberglass, so not as much sensitivity
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Fishing Rods
I know you can’t get all 11 fishing rods at once, which is why you need to look into the different factors to consider. This can help you choose the right one made for you, based on its features. These are the different things to look into for further help:
1. Fishing Rod Power
If talking about fishing rods, the power refers to its resistance when bending. The power will help you understand the size and weight of the lure you should use with that certain rod.
There are four types of power on a fishing rod:
- Ultralight is used with small lures, typically compact rods like backpacking rods
- Light is used for lightweight lures
- Medium is a universal rod made for most fishing situations
- Heavy is best for lures that weigh almost an ounce
If you’re a beginner, I recommend a medium rod, which is also recommended for backpacking. When paired with the proper rod action, the power can directly affect the performance of your rod, a factor I’ll explain in the next section.
One would think that the lighter the weight, the better the fishing rod. However, it isn’t as simple! As mentioned above, the weight of your rod would determine the weight of the fish you can get. The heavier the rod, the heavier fish you’re able to get, so consider the types of fish you’d like before getting a rod, though I do like lighter rods for backpacking, with the balance of strength for large and fighting fish.
2. Fishing Rod Action
The rod action in fishing rods refers to the part where the rod bends when applying pressure to it. Fast action rods would bend near its tip only, while slow action rods would bend from the tip until the back of your grip!
- Fast action will help make the movements from rod to lure happen quicker, making it easy to feel bites
- Medium action is a good balance
- Slow action will have delayed movements from rod to lure, so it’s a bit difficult to feel bites
What you choose depends on your fishing technique and personally, I prefer fast action. With a stiffer tip, you have more feel of the structures, bumps, and bites. But when using lightweight baits that weigh less than a fourth of an ounce, a medium or slow action works best.
3. Fishing Rod Length
From the grip to the tip, your fishing rod length should match your fishing technique and preferences.
- Longer rods can reach over obstacles with faster and longer casts, giving you more leverage. However, they are heavier and would be bigger to pack, making it harder for the backpacker.
- Shorter rods, on the other hand, are lighter and easier to cast in denser vegetation, as well as for carrying for backpackers.
With backpacking fishing rods, the length is more important than the overall performance. Think about where you’ll fish, the denseness of vegetation, as well as how easy it would be to fit in your pack. 11-12’ are the norm, though 10’ is easier to manage and cast in dense vegetation.
4. Fishing Rod Types
There are different types of backpacking fishing rods to choose from, again, depending on your preference and fishing method.
- Casting rods have a reel seat and line guides on the top of the fishing rod made best for baitcasting reels. They are made best for bass fishing, though not the best for backpacking
- Backpacking spinning rods have their reel seat and line guides along the rod’s bottom, an all-around choice for backpackers. They provide gentle casts and flips, making it easy to use with light baits. They are also great for beginners.
- Tenkara rods are long and lightweight rods with a short and fixed length of the line fixed to its end. They are similar to fly rods and are specialized, better suited for advanced anglers.
5. Fishing Reel Types
Besides the rod types, you have to consider the reels. Most rods already come with reel combos, which is best for beginners. But if you want a blank rod to find which suits you best, then here are the different kinds of reels to consider investing in to match your backpacking rod well:
- Spinning reels would sit “upside-down” under the rod, making it easier to use, though prone to kinking. They are still great options, as they are low friction and give good casting opportunities. It’s best to use when fishing in tight confines, but be wary, spinning reels are on the bulkier side.
- Baitcasting reels offer the best distance cast and control, as it controls the spool with your thumb when casting. However, if you’re not used to this reel type, it may not be best for backpacking, as it’s tough to use and will mess your line up when used incorrectly. With that in mind, you can use this for longer distances when needing more control.
6. Your Fishing Line
Of course, you should also consider another part of your fishing gear, which is the line. There are many kinds of fishing lines available, and while there is a lot to relay, I’ll show you the relevant lines you should consider investing in based on the backpacking rod you’ll get.
- With spinning rods, get a high-visibility braided line with a 10-15 pound test, which is strong and has a small diameter, compared to monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. It allows you to pack more lines into reels.
- If you use a sinking lure on your rod, get a fluorocarbon leader line, which is nearly invisible and great to fool fish in clear waters. Fluorocarbon is also great for baitcasting rods, or monofilament for topwater fishing.
- When using a fly or Tenkara rod, you have to follow the instructions of the specialized rod.
7. The Fishing Reel Gear Ratio
Most of the backpacking rods I review already have the complete kit, or a rod and reel combo. But when you select a blank rod and have more choice in your reel, you also have to consider the gear ratio of the reel, as this would affect the speed of your line when pulling your catch in. It would also affect the way your crank in heavy and aggressive fish.
For backpacking fishing rods, it’s best to pair them with moderate to high ratio reels, offering quick performances. High-retrieve speed will help you pull lures back even in fast currents, or to slow it down, allowing your lure to sink in deeper waters. If you have low gear ratios, you might have to crank a LOT just to get your lure moving!
The reason I choose moderate or high gear ratios for backpacking is that you are most likely catching smaller fish, so you’ll want speedier retrieves unless you plan on catching the big one during a backpacking trip!
8. Multi-Part or Telescoping?
Multi-part rods would break down into pieces, stored in travel cases for more convenience as you go backpacking. Telescoping rods would simply collapse down to a smaller size when not in use. These are optimum backpacking fishing rod types, as it saves you the hassle of lugging a full-length rod, which is prone to damage and snagging.
When going for a multi-part rod, it breaks down in up to four parts for a manageable size, easy to pack and store. They also tend to perform better compared to telescoping rods, though you’ll have to restring your rod everything you cast.
Telescoping rods are the most convenient for packing away since you just need to let it collapse and pack it away. They also allow you to keep your rod strung up for quicker access when you see fish start jumping! But they weigh more and aren’t as well-performing as multi-part rods.
So here, you’ll need to measure what you want to focus on more: Convenience or performance.
9. The Rod Materials
There are two main types of fishing rod materials, which are graphite and fiberglass.
- Graphite rods are lighter and with more sensitivity compared to fiberglass, also offering better casting distances.
- Fiberglass is a bit tougher compared to graphite, though if you expect to hang out in the rough and expose your rod to harmful elements, then the toughness shouldn’t matter as much.
- Furthermore, the cost differences aren’t that high. Graphite rods are slightly pricier, though it’s worth the extra bucks. Most of the high-end backpacking and fishing travel rods, and even other fishing rods in general, use graphite materials.
10. Overall Price
There is a wide variety of fishing rods to choose from. You can get rods for as low as $10, or even as high as $5,000! Take note that the more you pay for fishing gear, the better quality you receive. BUT, you don’t need to go over budget to get a good fishing rod suitable for you.
There are great backpacking fishing rods that suit those on a budget, and a good price range to start with is between $30 to $100. These are moderately-priced rods great for beginners and intermediate anglers alike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did you know that there are more things to learn about investing in the best backpacking rods? Here are frequently asked questions for you to find out how to use these fishing rods better for more success:
1. How do you carry fishing rods while backpacking or camping?
When using a backpacking fishing rod, you need to know how to pack it properly to prevent it from breaking. Fortunately, when using multi-piece rods, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions on disassembling it properly for placing it in your backpack. Make sure that you place it in its travel case, either carrying it on its own or putting it in the backpack.
Place it in an upright position and on the top part of the backpack to prevent it from breaking under the weight of gear you carry.
2. Why should I get a backpacking fishing rod?
Why bother getting a backpacking fishing rods in the first place when you can get regular ones? There are two main reasons why: For starters, you get to start fishing and get the full experiences, catching fish for your food while traveling or to bring home.
Besides this, backpacking fishing rods are cleverly designed for travel, as they usually come in a multi-piece set so it’s easy to fold and place in your backpack, also light enough for your comfort without sacrificing strength.
3. What is the best fishing method for backpacking?
For longer backpacking trips, I recommend that you prepare an assortment of artificial lures, your fishing rod and reel kit, and your fishing line. If you didn’t bring the bait to save space, then you can get live bait, such as juicy worms, or bugs like grubs, crickets, moths, or grasshoppers. You can use any kind of fishing method or technique that works best for you and the type of fish you plan to get.
4. How can I properly transport backpacking fishing rods during long-distance traveling?
Some people tend to go backpacking abroad, and this will require a plane or train rides, among other means of long-distance travel. There are two ways to transport your fishing rod, by either shipping it using professional courier services or bringing it yourself to planes, properly packaged for checking in. You may want to bring it as carry-on luggage, as permitted by security, though you need to make sure this is allowed.
5. Do I need a blank or finished fishing rod?
If you’re not familiar with these types of fishing rods yet, a finished rod is a rod that already comes with a reel attached. A blank rod comes with none, and what you choose depends on personal preferences and skill level. A blank rod may be better for intermediate and expert anglers as they give you more variety in reel choices compared to finished rods.
6. Do I need a separate backpack strictly fishing gear?
This depends on the length of your trip and what you need to pack. If you have a heavy backpack that already has all the essentials then you may want to get a fishing rod carry bag, besides its travel case, but if you’re packing very light with more space, then you can use it. This is more suitable compared to squishing your fishing rod in your backpack, which may cause damage to it.
If you’re still wondering what else is there to know about these rods, check out this interesting video:
Wrapping It Up
When you’re selecting a backpacking fishing rod, you can see that there are numerous options available. All these rods have different features catering to different people, which is why you need to research before finding the best one suited for your fishing style. That way, you’ll have a better time fishing while enjoying your backpacking trip!
I hope that this article on the best backpacking fishing rods helped you find the perfect one for you. Now that you know what to choose, make sure that you make the right investment. Good luck on your next fishing trip!