There are people who love fly fishing, and there are people who enjoy backpacking. Then there are people who love both these activities, and frequently get their backpack on and go fishing. If you’re this kind of angler, this article is a must-read because we’ll tell you all about how to choose the best backpacking fly rod.
We’ll start you off with some advice that will hopefully help you choose wisely, and later we’ll let you know which our favorite products are.
Not a fan of backpacking, but still looking for a great fly rod? No problem, this article can help you too and you may even find a good rod to accompany you on your next fishing adventure.
Tips to choose smart
The first thing to consider is that you’ll be fly fishing, so you need a fishing pole designed for that. As such, you’ll have to opt between different:
- Fast action. These rods allow you to cast far, and they’re great for windy days because they’re stiff. That’s also why they won’t put too much strain on you, but they’re not that good for shorter casts and they’re considered rather difficult for newbies.
- Medium action. Highly versatile, these rods can be used in multiple situations. Plus, they’re easier for beginners to use too.
- Slow action. These rods are the most flexible on the market, and they perform well in small streams. They’re the dream of every beginner, and they work better with small fish.
- 1-4 weight: small fish. Size 4 can also be used on average-sized fish.
- 5-7 weight: medium fish. Size 7 can be used for catching bigger fish.
- 8 and more: humongous fish.
But now, you want something appropriate for backpacking too, so you need to get products that are:
- Manufactured from strong, sturdy, yet light materials. These include carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass for the rod, stainless steel, and aluminum for the reel.
- Look for foldable items, they can easily fit in your backpack.
- Some of the best items on the market include sturdy carrying cases for easy transportation and safe storage.
Plus, you can also choose a whole kit, not just the rod itself if you want to have everything well organized and at hand. This is great for portability reasons since it’s travel-friendly, but it also helps you start fishing right out of the box without extra hassle.
Rods we love
With all these factors and characteristics in mind, we’ve made a selection of eight amazing fishing poles you can consider.
Wild Water Fly Fishing Complete 5/6 Starter Package
Weight: 2.1 pounds
Dimensions: 32.2 x 6.6 x 3.5 inches
Specifications: includes rod:slow action, mid flex build, 9 feet long, 4-piece design; arbor reel; backing and leader; rod sock and case; spare leader; baits
Best use: beginners
Wild Water Complete 4.6 stars and $89.99 is the perfect equipment for every beginner angler. That’s because it contains a slow action type of rod, so you won’t have to be proficient in aggressive techniques. It also has a mid flex build, which renders it fairly easy to handle by everyone, even when you’re just learning how to cast.
We love the convenient price too because it doesn’t take anything from its quality. In fact, the rod is on par with its more expensive peers from the HX Series retailed by the same brand, so you’ll get top quality.
The best thing is that for this small price you’ll get everything you need for a fishing trip. The rod is 9 feet long and has a four-piece design, so you’ll handle it with ease and cast at a reasonable distance. The arbor reel with the built-in drag is likewise large, while the line is preinstalled.
We really appreciate the backing and leader which add to the quality of this package, as well as the valuable extras, like the rod sock and case, the spare leader and the baits. In fact, you’ll have 9 different included baits, basically insects.
The whole package is quite portable since it fits everything in the case, but it’s also travel-friendly thanks to the side pouch. This compartment is perfect for organizing your stuff better, and you can fit your smaller accessories here, like your flies.
Allen – Prelude Fly Fishing Combo
Weight: 2.8 pounds (shipping weight)
Specifications: durable; fully machined aluminum reel; graphite rod; weight-forward fly line; 9 inches tapered leader
Best use: medium-fast action
This 4.5 stars Allen – Prelude combo is designed for the anglers who want to use more aggressive techniques, so you can use it at a moderate intensity. As such, the whole thing is perfect either for use as a first setup, either as an upgrade for other fishing gear you already have.
And the good news you can rely on its durability, which is one of the first reasons we’ve selected this particular product. Its durability stems from high-quality materials and great design. For instance, the real is fully machined from aluminum. Since it’s neither diecast nor molded, you can rely on its increased resistance and accurate precision. And you want to have a sturdy reel, especially for those cases when you’re after bigger fish.
The rod is top shelf since it’s made from graphite. This material accounts for quality, resistance to damage and long lifespan, but also for a reduced weight. Since you’re interested in a rod for backpacking purposes, low weight is one of your priorities.
The fly line is a weightforward type so it’s easier to cast, and the tapered leader is 9 inches, making your whole fishing experience effective. Plus, this whole combo is travel-friendly too, since it includes a case for organizing and carrying your equipment problem-free.
Crystal River Fly Fishing Combo Kit
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Dimensions:1 x 3 x 96 inches
Specifications: plastic case; 8 feet graphite rod with 3-piece design; graphite reel seat; stainless steel hoods; EVA foam grip; aluminum oxide stripper guide; e-glass blank; included flies; instructions manual
Best use: fly fishing in rivers
This 4.1 stars and $19.06 Crystal River is another valuable addition to your backpacking fishing trip. The first reason is that it has everything you need, included in one case. But the package dimensions and weight are very appropriate for backpacking too, considering it doesn’t take a lot of space and the weight is very low.
The plastic for the case makes it sturdy and resistant to damages and water, so you’re sure the things inside stay safe. The rod is lightweight too, thanks to its graphite manufacturing which accounts for increased resistance. At an 8 feet length, it’s big enough to make longer casts, and the three pieces design renders it highly portable since you can fold it fast.
The reel seat is graphite too, and the hoods are stainless steel, another sturdy, yet light material. We also love the grip, which is made from EVA foam so you can have full control over it. The stripper guide is aluminum oxide, so you’re sure it doesn’t get damaged easily, while the e-glass blank is another component you can rely on.
Besides all this, you’ll notice a quality fly line, a tapered leader and two included flies. But the extra we love most are the instructions, which tell you how to tie five fishing knots and give you some tips about fly fishing in general.
Fiblink 4-Piece Lightweight Portable Graphite Fly Fishing Rod
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Specifications: carbon fiber, 4-piece brown rod; soft cork handle; aluminum reel seat; stainless steel guides; protection bag included
Best use: Versatile fishing
This 4.3 stars AND $38.99 Fiblink 4-Piece has a 5/6 line weight which makes it very lightweight and therefore extremely appropriate for backpacking. Despite its reduced weight, you can still rely on its sturdiness, as this is a strong product, manufactured from solid carbon fiber. This construction and quality material is what renders it tough and able to withstand prolonged fishing trips.
The other components are designed from grade A materials too. Take the handle for instance, which is soft cork for a better grip that doesn’t slip, nor hurts your hands. The reel seat is made from enhanced aluminum, sturdy and with a long life, so you can cast for bigger fish too.
The main guide is made with a stainless steel frame, so there’s little risk of damage here, and the ceramic insert is sturdy too. The other 6+1 snake guides are also stainless, so they add to the promise of durability.
But back to the carbon rod. This comes in an appealing brown color, and it’s made from four pieces. That makes it foldable so it’s a good addition to your backpack since you can easily make it fit inside. Plus, graphite is extremely sensitive, making the rod flexible for versatile fishing, and guaranteeing its strength under a multitude of circumstances.
The whole thing is very convenient to carry since it comes with a protection bag, so you won’t have to worry during a prolonged trip.
Wakeman Charter Series Fly Fishing Combo
Weight: 1.9 pounds
Dimensions: 35 x 4.5 x 7.5 inches
Specifications: 8 feet fiberglass rod; EVA foam handle; 5/6 poly reel with graphite seat and stainless guides; 45 feet line; 9 feet nylon tapered leader; 2 flies
Best use: Beginners
Wakeman Fly Fishing Combo 3.7 stars and $35.40 is perfect for beginners, whether we’re talking about grown-ups or teenagers who want to dabble in the art of fly fishing. In fact, if you have the proper equipment, like this starter kit, nothing is easier.
The first reason we recommend it is that it has everything you might want for your first backpacking and fishing trip, starting with the rod. This is 8 feet long, which is great for fly fishing purposes, and it’s manufactured from fiberglass, a sturdy material we really love to see on fly rods, especially those designed for beginners. The 6.7 ounces weight makes it easy to handle and to cast, which you can learn how to do pretty fast if you browse the suggested techniques included.
The handle is made from EVA foam, which renders it secure and comfortable, so your grip will be steady and your hands won’t become sore even after a longer fishing trip. The reel is manufactured from top materials too since it’s a 5/6 poly with a graphite seat to make it durable and easy to handle. And its 3.25 x 3.25 x 1.25 inches dimensions surely contribute to this easy cast and help you learn fly fishing in no time. This whole appealing design is complemented by the strong stainless steel guides.
The package is completed by 45 feet of fly line, a tapered leader that’s 9 feet long and manufactured from sturdy nylon, as well as bait in the form of two dry flies to get you started right out of the box.
PLUSINNO Lightweight Ultra Portable Fly Fishing Rod
Weight: 2 pounds shipping weight; 5.2 ounces net weight
Dimensions: 2-9/10” external diameter
Specifications: flexible rod; stainless steel guide ring;die-cast aluminum arbor spool; carbon fiber blanks; wooden handle; adjustable reel seat
Best use: versatile fishing, with both short and long casts
PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod 4.3 stars and $78.99 is perfect for backpacking because it’s very lightweight and portable. In fact, it’s so convenient that these two characteristics star right in its name. But we also recommend this kit because it has all the necessary stuff to get you started on your fishing trip, like the rod, the reel and line, some lures and an included case.
The rod is light and flexible, it’s not thick at all so its elasticity renders it amazing for fly fishing. As such, you’ll make easy casts that won’t tire you at all. The guide ring is also manufactured from a top shelf material, chromed stainless steel, while the arbor spool is die-cast aluminum. That’s amazing for protecting the fish line from any sort of damages and scratches, while the guides are built with decreasing all sorts of friction and heat in mind.
As such, your whole fishing experience will be very pleasant. Although the slender construction of the rod is what gives it its flexibility, that doesn’t mean it’s not tough enough to resist various uses. In fact, it performs so well thanks to its carbon fiber blanks and sensitive tip flexes which allow you to make very precise casts for short distances. And if you’re interested in longer casts, that’s what the Butt Section is there for, giving you the perfect backbone.
The wooden handle is top notch, contributing to this precision as well as a steady grip so you can fish effectively. The increased efficiency you’ll get can likewise be explained by the reel seat which is made from metal and it’s adjustable, so you won’t have to deal with loose swings anymore.
Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod
Weight: 3, 5 or 8 weight
Specifications: IM8 graphite rod; Cordura rod tube; adjustable shoulder strap; alignment dots for easy setup; dark gray; half well cork handle
Best use: Fast action
This 4.8 stars Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa has a price range of $62.95 – $69.95, depending on the size and weight you’ll choose. But all the options are great, you’ll just have to make the choice according to your purposes, like how much weight you’re willing to carry, and especially where you want to fish and what you want to catch.
But no matter which rod you’ll end up choosing, you should know that it’s extremely portable and it doesn’t take much space since its 4-piece design makes it easy to fold. That’s why it’s a great rod for backpacking. Plus, you can easily put it together before you start fishing, with the help of alignment dots that tell you which section goes where.
We love how the rod tube shields the rod during your trip, seeing as it has four compartments – one for each of its sections. Plus, the rod tube as a shoulder strap you can easily adjust to your size, so you can leave your backpack at the campsite and start bushwhacking.
We also like that it’s a fast action type of rod, so you can employ it to help you make longer casts. Its IM8 graphite build is amazing for strength, durability, and sensitivity, so you’ll tackle windy conditions with no extra effort. Carbon fiber is strong, yet flexible, so even when it’s windy, the waves are high and the fish are squirming, you’ll have a strong piece of gear to rely on. Plus, its backbone is specially designed for dealing with stubborn fish.
And if you happen to have a slow day, that’s nothing to worry about. The cork handle is half well, which explains its comfortable grip and pain-free experience even when you have to hold it from sunup to sundown.
The natural, dark gray hue is the final touch to this great fishing pole. It’s a color that looks professional, but it has the practical advantage of not spooking the fish.
Sougayilang Saltwater Freshwater Fly Fishing Rod
Weight: 5.7 ounces (reel); 4.2 ounces (rod)
Dimensions: 3.35 inches diameter (reel); 8.8 feet (rod)
Specifications: silver; 4-parts design; flexible; quality materials; well balanced
Best use: versatile fly fishing
This 4 stars and $52.99 Sougayilang Saltwater Freshwater rod comes in an appealing silver color. It’s great for backpacking because it’s foldable, as it has a 4-section design. Its total length of almost 9 feet makes it perfect for fly fishing in various circumstances, especially if you’re interested in a medium fast action.
We love that both the rod and reel are lightweight, and they don’t take up much space in your backpack. The whole thing is quite flexible, yet pretty sturdy so it won’t be prone to damages. Plus, it helps you tackle more difficult weather and environment conditions, as well as stubborn fish that like to put up a good fight.
Thanks to its quality materials and design, many users say they were able to use this fishing pole both in salt and fresh water with tremendous success. It’s even a product that beginner anglers get along well with because it’s extremely well balanced so it won’t sway. Since it sits very straight, you’ll be able to handle it with ease, and you won’t get a lot of flair or any excessive parts to mess with your technique.
What’s the rod for you?
With all that being said, we’re curious which sort of rod you’ll end up choosing, so leave us a comment. If you have the time, you could also tell us some of your reasons for choosing a certain fishing pole, we’re curious to find out more about what inspires our readers.
Plus, if you’ve bought a rod that was really bad, or if there’s anything we missed in this article, we want to hear all about that too.