Best Backpacking Fishing Rods: Ratings, Reviews, and Top Picks

Photo of author
Last Updated:

If you enjoy fishing on your camping trips, you need a quality backpacking fishing rod. However, there are many options to choose from and it can feel overwhelming. In this article, we’ve asked the community what backpacking rods they like to bring with them on their hikes and camping trips so you can get a sense of what’s out there.

Whether you choose telescopic rods (like a tenkara rod) or multi-piece travel spinning rods, we’ve compiled a list of the best backpacking fishing rods worth checking out.

5 Best Backpacking Fishing Rods  

Buyer’s Guide

man fishing in the wilderness
Fishing during a day hike is exciting!

Rod Type

Telescoping rods and tenkara rods are more compact versions for backpacking. Telescopic fishing rods are lightweight and can shrink a couple of feet down to fit in your backpack. 

Tenkara rods are also lightweight and offer you the opportunity to skip the reel. These collapsible fishing rods can be compressed to a small size. 

Read Also: Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

Rod Action

Rod action is where a rod bends when subjected to pressure. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are easier to feel, even the lightest bites.

On the other hand, slow action rods have delayed movements since bending happens close to the grip. However, they are ideal for reeling in heavy fish. 

Therefore, consider your lure type, preferred fishing method, and power when choosing a backpacking rod. 

Rod Length

Rod length is crucial with backpacking fishing poles. Shorter rods are easier to transport and have better accuracy than longer rods.

7-foot-long fishing rods allow accurate and balanced casting to catch fish. However, if you are looking for a convenient but long fishing rod, opt for a collapsible one.  

Rod Power

Man fishing in a river
You want your rod to be easy to transport around various spots.

Rod power refers to the pressure you apply to bend the rod whenever a fish hooks on. Rod power ratings are either; ultra-light, light, medium, heavy, or ultra-heavy. 

Ultra-light and light rod power are preferable for fishing small fish and backpacking. A medium power rod is more suitable for general fishing use or beginners.

With their medium-fast action, these rods are ideal for backpacking and any fishing situation.  

Fishing Line

Remember to match the fishing line to the backpacking rod you choose. For instance, reel fishing rods use a different fishing line from fly fishing rods. 

The two most common types of fishing lines are mono and braid.

Mono line is slightly more expensive than braid. Although, it comes in clear patterns, and it can be stretched further without snapping. Braid is slightly less expensive than mono, although it cannot be stretched as far. Braid works best for dead baiting, whereas mono works best for spinning.

Reel Gear Ratio

Purchasing a backpacking fishing rod with the correct gear ratio can reduce fatigue, thus enhancing your effectiveness. Gear ratio is the number of times the spool turns for every revolution the reel handle. It is either high-level, mid-level, or low-level.

If the number on the left is high, the reel retrieves the line faster. For example, if the gear ratio is 7:4:1, it means that the spool turns 7.4 times in one revolution. 

High gear ratios reel fish in fast and work best with jigs, top waters, jerk baits, and lipless crankbaits. Low-level gear ratios have less torque and are ideal for heavy lures. 

1. Wild Water Tenkara Fishing Rod 

Key Features

  • Lightweight and collapsible fishing rod
  • The Lillian allows easy attachment of tenkara lines
  • Includes tenkara fly fishing accessories to save you money
  • High-quality pole constructed of IM8 graphite

This tenkara rod comes with a comprehensive kit, which all experienced and beginner anglers need for a backpacking trip. The backpacking fishing kit includes essentials like a line nipper, a foam spool, a tippet, line winders, and more. 

The rod’s size is ideal for backpacking. The 12-foot pole is collapsible into nine sections, with a rod weight of 3 ounces and a 6:4:1 rod action. Moreover, you can safely store the collapsible pieces and fly fishing accessories in the soft rod sock.

This tenkara rod does not feature a fly reel or guides because you can attach the tenkara line directly to the included Lillian. 

2. Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Rods

Key Features

  • Breaks into five pieces for easy portability and compact storage
  • Sensitive composite blank for fishing trout, salmon, bass, catfish, and more
  • Ceramic guide inserts reduce heat and friction from fishing line
  • Graphite composite pole withstands the test of time

This spinning rod is designed for travel as it is easy to assemble, disassemble, store, and transport when hiking or camping.

The included tackle box has room for storing several spinners, fishing hooks, spoons, and other fishing gear. The zipped and padded travel case also maximizes portability.

This lightweight spinning rod features a 20-size reel to help cast further, in addition to the ceramic line guides. The reel is corrosion-resistant for saltwater fishing and features a ball-bearing drive system.

The graphite composite blank is ideal for beginners because it is sensitive and comfortable on the hands. 

3. Goture Travel Fishing Rods 

Key Features

  • Has a high-quality reel seat and grip for comfort
  • Corrosion-resistant guides for maximum casting performance
  • Offers rod power, sensitivity, and strength
  • Portable for air travel or hiking

Goture ensures that you can carry your fishing rod wherever you go. This rod collapses into four pieces for easy portability, whether on the road or air. It works as efficiently as a traditional fishing pole.

The spigot ferrule construction allows smooth power through the blank to ensure zero loss of power through the four pieces.

The bias construction also increases strength, hook setting power, and sensitivity. The smooth ceramic guides are well-spaced to facilitate maximum casting performance and friction-free lines. 

4. Plusinno Fishing Rod and Reel Combos 

Key Features

  • The pole is durable and elastic with its high-density carbon fiber combined with fiberglass.
  • A portable telescopic rod delivers fast action.
  • Stainless steel hooded reel seats are anticorrosive in seawater
  • It comes with ultra-light spinning reels

This telescoping rod comes in multiple lengths and actions. With its graphite blank construction, the telescopic fishing pole is highly-sensitive for fast-action fishing.

It is also durable and strong in its construction of carbon fiber and fiberglass. 

This quality rod comes with a spinning reel with an s-curve oscillating system for smooth line winding. The reel has an extensive line capacity and spool despite its short body.

Plusinno is an ideal backpacking rod since it collapses for travel and storage. You can buy the telescopic fishing rod with its combo kit or just the rod.

5. St. Croix Rods Mojo Trout Fishing Rod

Key Features

  • Durable SCII carbon construction
  • Comfortable premium-grade cork handle to help maintain a firm grip
  • Fast action to feel the slightest nibbles
  • It comes with a 5-year warranty

This fly rod is suitable for beginners and expert anglers. The light rod provides smooth, moderate-fast action for 2-7-line weights, making it perfect for freshwater fishing and saltwater surf fishing

Its premium SCII carbon construction with FRS offers unmatched strength and durability. The machined-aluminum reel seat aids in corrosion resistance to increase the rod’s durability.

This lightweight trout rod is ideal for backpacking and features a sensitive tip to feel slight nibbles. 

The Verdict

Wild Water Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod stands out as the best backpacking fishing pole. This lightweight backpacking fishing gear measures 12 feet with a 6:4 action, ideal for fishing picky fish. 

The kit comes with all fishing accessories, including O-rings, flies, lines, storage bags, and more. The rod-carrying case is soft and protective of the long cork handle.

The fly box is waterproof with its rugged plastic construction.  This tenkara rod is easy to assemble and disassemble, making it suitable for backpacking. 

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube

why are crappie rods so long

Why are Crappie Rods So Long?

If you’ve ever looked at a crappie rod and wondered, “Why are crappie rods so long?” you’re not alone.  Crappie rods are long primarily to improve casting distance, control, and sensitivity and to better handle the crappie’s delicate mouth. The extended length allows you to cast your line farther into the water, which is particularly
best walleye rods

7 Best Walleye Rods For 2023 (Buying Guide)

Our best walleye rod for 2023 is St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye 2. This rod is lightweight and has an excellent grip, allowing you to fish comfortably for an extended period. It’s also durable and strong thanks to the Advanced Reinforced Technology, which adds carbon fiber, allowing you to handle fish battles comfortably. Fenwick Elite
white sea bass

How To Catch White Seabass

According to Captain Mark Winch, you’ll want to try a few different approaches to catch white seabass. The Short Answer The first is slow trolling a large mackerel on a Carolina rig using a 4-ounce egg sinker, 40-pound fluorocarbon, to a #1 or #2 treble hook. If the squid is around, you can fly line
best tenkara rod

Best Tenkara Rods: Ratings, Reviews, and Top Picks

Are you interested in tenkara fishing and are curious about the best tenkara rods on the market? Finding the right tenkara rod can be challenging, specifically because of the many options on the market. This guide reviews our favorite tenkara rods by comparing rod lengths, actions, and costs. At A Glance: Best Tenkara Rods Buyer’s
tenkara set up

Tenkara Rod Setup (Everything You Need to Know)

Have you purchased a new tenkara rod but know which tenkara rod setup is correct? It’s a unique form of fishing, and it could be challenging the first time to feel confident you’re setting it up correctly. In this guide, we’ll show you how we’ve set up our tenkara rods for catching countless trout in
types of fishing rods

Types Of Fishing Rods

As a beginner angler, your fishing rod is one of the first and most important gear. With all the different types of rods available, it is easy to get confused. The truth is that different types of rods serve specific fishing purposes. Factors like the fish species, fishing location, and bait type should all be