If you’re ever planning on heading out into the wild, it’s always best to consider what equipment and accessories you’ll need to take along with you.
By learning to pack smart, you’ll be able to bring enough things along the way with you, without weighing down yourself with any unnecessary extras, and burdening yourself.
Backpacking trips are becoming increasingly popular, so naturally, various companies are developing small and portable gear that suits this purpose exactly.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the best backpacking fishing poles, for those who like to go backpacking and fishing at the same time. It’s important to understand that collapsible fishing rods have been around for quite a long time. But backpacking fishing poles are slightly different, and tend to be more specialized in comparison.
In particular, they tend to pack down to a smaller size than ordinary collapsible rods, while still retaining their sturdy, rigid structure.
Although they’re never quite as good as ordinary fishing poles, they’re becoming better year-on-year, and soon will be comparable in quality and use.
Backpacking Fishing Pole Reviews
Here’s our selection of the best backpacking fishing poles available on the market right now:
The Plusinno Fishing Rod and Reel comes in five different sizes, ranging from over 5 feet to just under 10 feet.
This means you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, making sure you’re able to get the length that works just right for you, in terms of both your fishing technique and where you like to fish.
You can choose to get the rod and reel alone or spend a bit more to opt for the full kit, which includes a few extra accessories.
Besides the rod and reel, the full kit includes fishing hooks, fishing line, fishing lures, and even a carrier bag allowing you to transport or store the kit in a neat and tidy way. So, it might be worth shedding out the extra cash.
When it comes to the pole itself, regardless of it being a backpacking fishing pole, its high-quality construction means it’s durable and sturdy.
The material itself is a combination of carbon-fiber in addition to fiberglass to make up the rod, with a steel reel seat that’s corrosion-resistant and durable. It also has a comfortable foregrip, for better accuracy and precision when in use.
All in all, a great telescopic pole that folds down to a small size, making it ideal for storing in your backpack for those trips away from home – definitely one of the best backpacking fishing poles.
The Daiwa Mini Spinning Reel and Rod comes with various features that will tempt you into picking one up and taking it with you.
This particular pole is suitable for wherever you plan to go. It can be used anywhere and at any time. Because of this, it’s a great choice for weekend trips or those unexpected outings to go and fish.
With its compact and concise features, it’s an extremely convenient piece of kit, and is considered by many to be one of the top ready-at-all-times spinning rods.
Believe it or not, the kit as a whole weighs a minuscule one pound – yes, one pound! But this small weight doesn’t at all mean it’s unreliable. The Daiwa Mini has been designed in such a way that it hosts loads of features, whilst still being very compact and light.
All the user has to do to use it is put the reel and rod together, and then it’s ready to use – as simple as that! Although it might not have as many features as some of the more clunky rods, to most, the extra weight these other rods have simply isn’t worth it.
This rod is ideal for fishing after long hikes or placing in a small vehicle before heading out. Keeping it in your kit bag will ensure that you’re ready to go at all times, just in case the feeling to get a catch strikes you.
The Jekosen Portable Fishing Rod is a very simple and convenient rod that’s of high quality. Because of its compact size, it fits straight into your backpack. We found it to be one of the best packable fishing poles out there.
It comes with a protective case just to ensure it’ll stay safe on your travels, and even with the case, it can fit into most backpacks without a problem.
As for its material, it’s made of carbon fiber, making it resistant to breaking or snapping, whilst also being extremely strong. It comes with ceramic guide sets that make sure you get a great cast every time.
This pole is an ideal choice for backpacking because it comes apart easily. Just separate the pieces and put them into your backpack. It’s simple and easy to use, and a great choice for all levels of fishing experience.
The Okuma Voyager is considered by many to be the best backpacking fishing pole available. It’s 6 feet in length which is a great size for a range of angling styles. And it’s made of a sturdy composite that’s able to withstand a decent amount of force.
It comes in 5 pieces that are easy to take apart and pack up. This kit also has a high-quality reel included, meaning it’s easy to cast out with good precision. Another thing that makes this easy to use is the inclusion of ceramic guides, just for that extra accuracy.
The travel kit comes with a travel case, and a handle that makes for easy carrying, as well as a zipper for easy access. It’s because of these qualities that many consider it to be the best fishing rod of its kind.
And although the case is lightweight and compact, it’s still very durable, making sure all the kit is well protected. If your priority is having something portable, this is a good option to go with, and well worth picking up.
The Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Rod is not a multi-piece pole, but instead is collapsible. This allows it to be extended and retracted in order to use and pack away with ease.
It’s a really convenient design, as users can simply extend when they want to fish or retract it back when they’re finished. Not only this, but the included reel is of a really decent quality. It has 14 ball bearings, and a great power ratio. This means that some of the heavier fish can be reeled in with ease.
As for the weight and style, it’s very light and has a great build quality, giving users peace of mind that it will last long. It’s constructed from carbon fiber and fiberglass. So, it’s definitely built for some decent fishing excursions. It’s a very reliable product.
The Troutboy Black Warrior Fishing Rod is a great low-budget option for those who want to get into fishing without forking out loads of cash to do so. In terms of getting bang for your buck, there aren’t many better options than this one.
If you’re also looking for an extra reel, then not to worry, as they have combos for a very good price, so still loads cheaper than many alternatives available.
But despite its affordable price tag, this rod is surprisingly good. It’s a carbon fiber rod that’s completely collapsible and comes with an EVA handle too. It’s available in a variety of lengths, and power ratings.
Because of its collapsible design, it’s easy to carry. Just pop it down and place it in your bag.
The St Croix Triumph Travel Spinning Rod is great for those who want a travel spinning rod, but don’t necessarily require something that’s as compact as some other designs.
This particular series of rods are known for the fact that they don’t compromise on their performance, despite their fantastic portability.
They’re made of four pieces that break down to a tiny length that’s less than 20 inches in total (tiny, we know!) and include a nylon travel case to keep the rod neatly stored away and protected.
Not only that, but there’s a variety of lengths to choose from, ranging from 5.5 feet to 6.5 feet, allowing you to pick which is best for you. Best of all, anglers have a choice of varying weights and lengths in this fast-action spinning rod.
This rod includes only the rod – nothing else – no other accessories or parts, so bear that in mind if you consider purchasing. It’s an ideal choice for fishermen that are looking for value and convenience.
The Wild Water Fly Fishing Start Package includes a fishing rod as well as a reel. It’s a 9-foot long rod that comes in four pieces. It also has a preinstalled line, an arbor reel, rod sock, as well as a few other accessories and a complete instruction manual.
As for the rod itself, it’s a graphite design, with aluminum too. It also has a stainless-steel hook keeper, and the Western-style grip has been constructed from a high-quality cork.
Although not usually included in fishing rod kits of this kind, it also includes a floating, waterproof fly box, which is able to hold over 300 flies. It even comes preloaded with Parachute Adams, Black Ants, Nymphs, and Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear flies, all being size 14.
The UglyStik GX2 Spinning rod is one of the best backpacking fishing poles from this company that’s well-known in the fishing community for some of its other products.
Although there are various versions of this rod out there, they currently have versions from 1-piece to 4-pieces, ranging in both length and weight.
If you plan on using it when backpacking, we would definitely recommend going with the 4-piece design, as it packs down to the smallest size, whilst still being over 6ft in length.
The GX2 itself only includes the rod, meaning that you’ll have to supply the reel yourself. It also doesn’t include a case, but some see this as a way to reduce the weight. And plenty of experienced anglers are not in need of another case to add to the many they already have.
The DragonTail Shadowfire Tenkara is unique in comparison to the other fishing rods. While the other fishing poles in this guide come with a reel of some sort, this particular rod doesn’t include a reel.
It has a more old-style fishing technique, as when you feel a tug, the line has to be brought in by hand, creating a more personal, hands-on experience. The rod is also 12-feet long, and is made up of eight parts, which pack down to fit neatly into the storage tube that’s included.
This rod comes as a standalone item or as part of the starter kit, which includes some accessories that we think are well worth the extra 15 dollars. The starter set includes a storage tube and a sock for the fishing rod itself, as well as the fishing line.
Whilst these extra are definitely impressive, it’s the fishing rod that’s the most impressive part, due to its fast set up ability that’s simple and easy to get the hang of. Overall, a great product, with a fantastically unique system.
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Fishing Pole
Different people have different requirements and needs when it comes to what they want from a fishing pole, so there’s no one single fishing pole that’s best for everyone.
Having said that, the following are a few things you should bear in mind when deciding which is the right one for you:
Material is one of the first things you should consider when looking into buying a backpacking fishing pole. There are a few different kinds of materials used to make these rods, but the main material is usually plastic, graphite, or carbon fiber.
Plastic fishing poles should be avoided as they’re not durable or hardwearing. Graphite and carbon fiber, however, are both lightweight and very strong, so it’s best to go with one of those.
Many people overlook the handle, despite it being a key part of a fishing rod or pole. Most handles are constructed from EVA foam, which is a good shock absorber, as well as being comfortable for long use.
Some even feature cork inside the handle, as it’s more durable than foam, and is also a better shock absorber. With a decent handle, banging or knocking the rod won’t be a problem, as the shock will be absorbed and you will barely feel it.
Kit vs Standalone
When looking for a fishing rod, you can either go for a standalone rod or for a kit which may feature some cool accessories to make things easier and more enjoyable. Kits usually come with things like string/reel, carrying cases or pouches, and a small box with hooks, or even bait or lure.
Depending on what you’re after, it might be worth spending the extra money in a complete kit, just to get you up-and-running straight away.
Breakdown vs Telescopic Pole
In terms of backpacking fishing poles, you’ll usually be choosing between two main types – breakdown and telescopic. Breakdown rods are usually more stable and reliable, but they take longer to put together and take apart, sometimes slowing down those spontaneous fishing moments.
As for telescopic poles, they might not be as stable, but setting them up is a lot faster, as you just need to extend the rod and it will be ready to use straight away. It’s the same with pack down. Just pop it down and store it away – simple.
How long your rod is, is usually more important than most people would think. It has both a choice on where you can use it, as well as the experience you have when using it. But bigger isn’t always better. There are advantages to having both short and long fishing rods.
Long fishing rods tend to be the preferred kind, as they make getting a good cast simpler, and allow for a greater variety of fishing styles and types. They also make it more likely that you’ll catch bigger fish.
The main downside with these is that, because of their length, they tend to take up more space and can be inconvenient when it comes to travel and transport.
Short fishing rods are not quite as common as longer ones but they also have their advantages. They tend to come with a lower price tag, are lighter, and take up much less space in comparison. They’re also easier to move around and angle, for an ideal position.
You shouldn’t only look out for the total length of the rod, but the length of its individual piece too. That’s because a 4-piece rod that’s 6 foot in total will be easier to pack down than a 2-piece rod that’s 6 foot in total.
Portability is another key thing to consider, as if you’re planning on backpacking, having a rod than can actually fit in your backpack will make all the difference.
You’ll want to be sure that even the collapsed size of the rod is compact enough for you, whilst also ensuring that the extended length is suitable for the type of fishing you plan to do.
Although most portable poles compromise somewhat when it comes to reliability, the top-end models are still comparable to ordinary poles.
A rod’s gear ratio is measured by how many rotations the spool is able to make for every turn of the handle, essentially showing you how quickly the line can be reeled in.
For example, a gear ratio being 3:1 means the spool will revolve 3 times for every completed rotation of the handle. Backpacking fishing rods will work best with medium or high gear ratios.
Types of Fishing Rods
You can divide fishing rods into different categories or types depending on their structure, as well as the technique needed to operate them.
First things first, let’s go over the main types of fishing rods, and their features:
Spinning rods have big eyelets that face downwards, with the reel positioned beneath the rod itself, and the handle usually positioned on the edge of the least-favorable hand. This means your dominant hand will be the one that holds the rod, whilst the non-dominant deals with the reel.
When it comes to spinning rods, the line feeds out and pulls down. This means that spinning rods are ideal for people new to angling or fishing, as it’s less effort to reel the fish in when caught, and faster too.
The line is also less likely to get tangled, meaning there’s a shallower learning curve, allowing you to get the hang pretty easily.
The main downside with this type of rod is the position of the eyelet, as it makes for a higher chance of breaking if put under too much pressure.
Telescopic rods are designed with the traveling angler in mind. They are compact, usually only 1-2 feet long, but can often be extended to lengths of around 20 feet.
Because of this, they can be taken on foot, via bike, or even public transport. They’re also pretty good for surf fishing, because of the fact they can be compacted to such a small size.
Sea Fishing Rods
Sea fishing rods are designed especially for fishing in oceans and seas. Their length varies from short to long. Short ones being better for use on boats, and long ones being better from the shore, or from rocky areas near the sea.
These rods tend to be thick and durable, and quite heavy too, with long butts and heavy tips. The added weight and stability can often make them better for catching large fish, with some models even being able to catch sharks.
When it comes to casting rods, they have eyelets of a smaller size that face upwards. This makes the line pull down, as it puts the force onto the rod rather than the eyelets. They often have triggers to help grip onto the handle.
Casting rods have a steeper learning curve due to their slightly more complicated technique They also have a tendency to make the line get tangled in the reel and make a mess, meaning the line often has to be changed frequently.
Having said this, after mastering the technique, these rods tend to allow a better distance with casting, and this is why they’re preferred by experienced anglers and fishermen.
Fly rods are usually thinner and more flexible than other rods. Depending on their size, they can be suitable for catching many different kinds of fish.
But bigger fish will require heavier rods to deal with the added weight. Fly rods don’t tend to have much of a butt below the actual real, allowing the line to be cast out with speed.
They also have specific types of eyelets, often referred to as snake eyes, in order to stop the line from getting tangled up when cast out.
Surf rods have become increasingly popular in recent years, so much that they now have their own category. They’re designed for fishing at shore, meaning they’re longer than most rods in order to reach the sea.
These are great for allowing the user to cast across the shore to where exactly the fish will be, and their longer butts allow for two-handed usage.
Ice Fishing Rods
Because there’s often a shortage of space when doing ice fishing, ice fishing rods are designed to be on the short side – usually between 24 and 36 inches.
Because of this, some don’t even include reels. Instead of this, they have two hooks situated on the rod which are used to wind back the line.
Trolling rods are designed to be cast out from moving boats, as you can use the boat’s motion to drag or pull the lure under the water. These types of rods are usually used for large fish, such as tuna or marlin. They have a fast action and are long.
If you’re still unsure of the best rod for you, just think of it like this – the bigger the fish you want to catch, the bigger the rod you should use.
Pen rods are even smaller than telescopic ones. They can be folded so small that they resemble nothing but a large pen, which is what gives them the name.
And because of this, they’re considered to be the world’s tiniest fishing rods, easily able to fit inside your backpack, and often even your pocket. They’re also very light.
These shouldn’t be used for ordinary fishing, as they’re less durable than usual rods. It’s just good to keep one at hand, either as a spare or for when you don’t plan on fishing but might chance it anyway.
How to Maintain Your Backpacking Fishing Pole
Upkeep and maintenance of a backpacking fishing pole should be possible in a fast and easy way, and being disciplined with this will ensure that your pole lasts for many years.
While this may be a bit more difficult when on the road, a few minutes before or after each fish can make all the difference. The most effective way to do this is to inspect it on a regular basis, and make sure all the key parts are in full working condition.
Make sure to wipe down any dirt with a cloth or rag, and check any moving parts for debris or dirt, as this will cause a problem if left for long periods of time.
Also inspect the threads and reels to make sure there’s no significant damage, and wipe off any dirt or dust. If any parts are worn down or have suffered significant damage, either repair them or replace them.
Check your accessories too, just to make sure they’re in a good enough condition to keep using. If you’re unsure of how all this is done, the YouTube video above will guide you through this.
Is there any recommended fishing pole length?
The length of your rod is greatly dependent on the kind of trip you’re planning to take. Longer rods can provide more leverage, whilst shorter rods are light and more maneuverable. Long rods give you the ability to cast from a further distance, whilst shorter rods are more convenient and can be cast out quicker.
A good rule to stick by is that you’ll want a rod that’s at least 6 feet long. This allows it to be nimble, but also allows you to cast it out to a decent distance, giving you a good chance of getting a decent catch.
Can I use a fishing pole when backpacking?
The main reasons why some may like to bring a fishing pole along whilst backpacking are for both leisure and for food. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon – whether alone or with friends – and a satisfying skill to learn.
Fishing is also a great way to catch fresh food, allowing you to keep topped up while on the go. There aren’t many other ways to really integrate yourself into your surroundings, so it’s definitely worth giving a go if you haven’t done so yet.
How can a fishing pole help me when backpacking?
As mentioned above, the reason it can be so helpful is because it provides a source of nutritious food. Being out in the wilderness alone is tough, but knowing you’re not going to go hungry is a great way to settle your nerves, and reassure you that you’ll make it back home safe and sound.
As for the best backpacking fishing pole, we’d have to go with the DragonTail Shadowfire Tenkara, due to its one-of-a-kind design.
The way it incorporates the old-fashioned fishing technique is really impressive, providing you with an immersive hands-on experience. The fact that’s it’s 12-feet long means it can be cast out really far, whilst still being able to back down to a small size and stored in the included tube.
There’s also the option to have the kit which includes a few extra accessories. It’s durable, different, and a great rod or pole to pick up if you fancy learning how to fish.
Overall, a great backpacking fishing pole, with a fantastically unique system.