Best Backpacking Fishing Pole of 2023

Wild Water Tenkara Fly Rod

Best Backpacking Fishing Pole

Wild Water Complete Tenkara Fly Fishing Starter Package, 12 Foot Extendable Graphite Rod, 9 Section Rod Pole Kit, Includes 22-Inch Hard Tube Case, Rod Sock, Fly Box, Flies and Three Lines

If you’re going on a backpacking trip and you want to fish, the Wild Water Tenkara Fly rod is hands down, the best choice. This fishing rod has all the qualities that a backpacker needs. It’s lightweight, it’s high-quality, it collapses down to a great size that will fit in your backpack, and it extends out to 12 feet so you can cast a long way across the water. The company has even considered convenience by making it with a swiveling lillian.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, then the kit that comes with the rod will. While most manufacturers hike up the price of a rod with a kit, this one keeps it at an affordable range. The kit includes everything – clips, O-rings, storage bags, flies, a fly case, line, and more. It even includes a handy “getting started” guide. As a backpacker, this is the ideal fishing rod and kit you’ll want to have with you. Our top pick for the best backpacking fishing rod


Fishing enthusiasts and professional fishers know the importance of having the best backpacking fishing pole when you’re on a camping or hiking trip. There is no substitute for quality and, the higher the quality, the more likely you’ll be eating a fresh fish dinner on your trip. There are a lot of backpacking fishing rods out there, and it can be tempting just to buy the cheap one and be on your way, but you’ll quickly find out that there are better ways to choose a fishing pole.

We were curious about what the fishing pole industry had to offer to backpackers, so we took the liberty to review countless fishing poles in search of the best one. In this guide, we’ll tell you about our top eight picks, including the pole we found to be the best overall – the Wild Water Tenkara Fly Rod. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about backpacking fishing poles.

Looking for the Best Backpacking Fishing Pole?

In this guide, we’ll discuss points such as

  • Features to look for in backpacking fishing poles
  • Frequently asked questions about backpacking fishing poles.
  • The top eight backpacking fishing poles
  • The best overall backpacking fishing pole

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Fishing Rod

For backpacking, the ideal fishing rod is one that can easily fit into or onto your gear without being too bulky or too heavy. Long fishing rods are out of the question because they can get caught on things as you’re hiking. There are also a few other features that you’ll want to consider before making your final decision. We’ve listed them below.

Rod Type

There are quite a few types of fishing rods to choose from, but for backpacking, you want to stick with the more compact versions. Some fishing rods are manufactured as a compact pole, while others may disassemble into parts or maybe telescopic in nature. Here are the types you should be looking at:

Telescopic Fishing Rods

A telescopic spinning rod is going to be your best bet for backpacking. It can shrink down to, on average, a couple of feet long so it can easily fit in your backpack. These fishing poles are usually lightweight, and if you get a high-quality pole, they can do everything a regular casting rod can do.

Tenkara Fishing Rods

Tenkara rods are a newer type of fishing rod that takes simplicity to a whole other level. These rods are great because they skip the reel. You just need the rod, line, and bait. Tenkara rods can are usually telescopic and can compress down to a size so small that it can fit into your pocket. Of course, there are limitations on the fish size that you can catch, but for backpacking, these are a great choice.

Reel Type

There are three types of reels that you can get. The first reel, a spincast reel, can be considered as a beginner’s reel because it’s so easy to use. There is a button that you press as you cast the line out, and when you release the button, it stops the line. All the critical parts of the reel are encased, which helps to reduce tangling. This type of reel is also the least expensive. Despite all these positive points, this type of reel isn’t very accurate and isn’t as long as the other reel types.

The second type is called a spinning reel. It’s more of a “medium-skill” type of reel. The big difference between this one and the first one is that this one is an open-face reel – you can see and touch all the important parts. This allows for much better accuracy when casting. However, there is no button to start and stop the reel. You’ll have to master that yourself. Spinning reels have the advantage of being longer than spincast reels, but they are a little more expensive and are more suited for lightweight lines.

The last type, the baitcasting reel, should only be used by anglers who have a good bit of skills under their belt. This is the most advanced reel. It offers a longer and stronger line so you can catch some heavy-duty fish with it. However, it’s prone to tangles and backlashing. This reel requires you to be in complete control of it in order to have the highest accuracy and success possible. It’s the most expensive type, but that’s to be expected since it’s the “expert” reel.

Rod Power

Just in case you aren’t familiar with what the rod power is, it’s the amount of pressure a person must apply to the rod to make it bend. You need the rod to bend in order to keep the tension when a fish hooks on. Typical power ratings are light, medium, and heavy. There may be some ultra-light ratings or some ultra-heavy ratings. In some cases, you may see a number rating from one to five, with one being the lightest and five being the heaviest.

The way you determine the rod power you need is by the fish you’re trying to catch. The lighter the rod, the smaller the fish it’s suited for. If you’re going deep-sea fishing, do yourself a favor and get a heavy rod.

Rod Length

In this case, the rod length is going to make a big difference because you’re aiming for something compact due to the backpacking. However, you should know what you can and can’t do with a compact fishing pole.

In general, a longer rod is going to be better. However, there are a few exceptions to this. Shorter rods tend to have more accuracy, although this won’t matter much if you’re in open waters. Also, it’s easier to transport shorter rods (like in backpacking).

The good news is that collapsible fishing rods give you the advantages of both situations.

Reel Gear Ratio

The reel gear ratio is basically how many turns of the reel you get when you turn the handle. Surprise! It’s never a 1:1 ratio. Your arm would probably fall off if you had to do that much cranking.

The average low-level gear ratio is between 5.1:1 and 5.4:1. These reals have less torque and are suitable for heavy baits or for baits that pull a lot.

Mid-level gear ratios fall between 6.1:1 and 6.4:1. This is great for squarebill crankbaits, medium depth crankbaits, and shallow spinnerbaits.

High-level gear ratios fall between 7.1:1 and 7.4:1. These are great when you need to reel a fish in fast. Reels with a high-level gear ratio are great for topwaters, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics, and jigs.


The price of fishing rods is widely varied. You can get a fishing rod for ten dollars or five thousand dollars. As you can imagine, the more the fishing rod costs, the better the quality. However, don’t feel like you need to break the bank for a great fishing rod. There are plenty of affordable spinning rods that give a high-quality performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q; Does it matter whether I am fishing in freshwater or saltwater?

You can use any fishing rod in freshwater, but only some are suitable for saltwater. Since saltwater fishing is basically deep-water fishing, you’ll want to use a rod designed for this purpose. You’ll also need a reel that is designed to withstand the harshness of the salt in salt water.

Q: Should I get a blank rod or a finished rod?

A finished rod is simply a rod that already has a reel attached. It’s a matter of personal preference between choosing a blank rod or a finished rod; however, selecting a blank rod opens you up to a wide variety of reel choices.

Further recommended reading: If you’re going fishing, then a good towel will be a great help – check our in-depth review of the Best Backpacking Towel.

The Best Backpacking Fishing Poles Reviewed

Plussino Collapsible Fishing Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

Best Backpacking Fishing Pole for Value

PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod with Reel Combo Sea Saltwater Freshwater Kit Fishing Rod Kit…
  • 🎣 Warm Prompt: Fishing rod + reel (No Lures & Line) include Only Include 1 Fishing Rod +1 Fishing Reel.
  • 🎣 Perfect elasticity, high density Carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass makes your fishing pole hard & durable.
  • 🎣 Stainless Steel Hooded Reel Seat is anti-seawater corrosion; EVA Fore Grip for comfort. The telescopic fishing rod is portable, and closed length design is convenient carrying around. Power: Medium.
  • 🎣 Instant anti-reverse; Power drive gears equipped for high strength. Deep aluminium spool with double color and one line hole; More short body with large spool and large line capacity. Line capacity: mm/M 0.20/240 0.25/200 0.30/140. Model: HA 3000; Gear ratio: 5.2:1.
  • 🎣 It's the best gift to send father, son, husband,fiance, boyfriend for the upcoming Christmas. Want to buy single rod or single reel? Please search the ASIN: B07FT29RJS or B07YFP8KV3.

If you’re looking for a kit that gives you the most bang for your buck, the Plussino combo is a great choice. While you can choose to get just the rod and the spinning reel by itself, the kit has everything you need to go fishing – rod, reel, line, carrying case, and seven types of bait at an affordable price. It’s a deal that is hard to beat.

Plussino offers this model in four different lengths: with each length having one more section than the other (from six to nine feet). The closed length is from 17 inches to 18 inches. The rod is made of a high-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass. It makes the fishing pole solid, durable, and flexible. The pole has medium power, and has a low-level gear ratio of 5.2:1.


  • Four different lengths available.
  • Reel seat is stainless steel.
  • Resists seawater corrosion.
  • Instant anti-reverse.


  • EVA foregrip is short.
  • The included reel is of average quality.

Bottom Line: This is a great entry-level fishing rod combo for anglers who are beginners or for someone who just needs something portable.

Trout Telescopic Spinning Rod

Best Budget Option

TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Pole with Reel Combo Kit for Outdoor Travel Saltwater Freshwater Fishing …
  • Affordable Fishing Rod Reel Combos - Angler Will Enjoy Fun with This TROUTBOY Fishing Kit. It comes with a Telescopic Fishing Rod ,Spincast Reel and Free Spare Graphite Spool.
  • The Rod Features - Perfect Elasticity,Great Power and Sensitivity Spinning Fishing Rod are Made of High Density Carbon Fiber Mixed with Fiberglass Make Your Fishing Pole Hard & Durable. Stainless Steel Hooded Reel Seats is Anti-seawater Corrosion; Comfort EVA Handle . Introduce any Angler to the Wonderful World of Fishing with Kid Youth Adult Fishing Kit.The Telescopic Design of the Rod Makes it Easy to Carry and Store Just Put it in Your Fishing Bag or the Truck.
  • The Reel Features - Spinning Reel with Latest Unique Main Body Design is Prouced in Our Most Popoular Black and Blue Color Combo,High Strength T6 Double Anodized Aluminum Spool Provides a Lightweight Construction Additional Stability .13+1 Doublr Shielded Stainless Steel Ball Bearings Add a Whole New Level of Smoothness, Precision Matched Gears and a Powerful 5.5:1 Gear Ratio,Each Type has Different Line Capacity.
  • Multiple Use - It is Very Important for Professional Fisherman is That Have a Suitable Fishing Gear.Here is Suitable Weight and Size Fishing Pole for Fishing Starter .Perfect for Father's Day,Valentine's Day ,Boyfriend, Fiance, Husband Gift and Birthday Gift. Can Enjoy the Weekend With Family for Hiking,Backpacking or Adults Kids Outdoor Sport Travel ! Perfect for Freshwater Bass Trout Salmon Fishing,Saltwater Freshwater Surf River Lake Reservoir Pond Fishing or Inshore Fishing.
  • Best Service - We Love Our Customers.TROUTBOY Fishing Rods and Reel Provide Full 6 Month Worry-Free Warranty ! 24-hour Customer Service Support,If Any Problem, Please Contact Us Firstly and Our Customer Service will Solve it for You Soon ,NOTE: Want to buy single rod or single reel? Please search the ASIN: B07BNHMD2G or B07D74NL9K.

Some people could benefit from a budget option. The Trout rod and reel combo is a money-saving option that has enough quality for you to have fun. It’s perfect for backpackers who just want to catch a few fish for dinner here and there.

The Trout fishing rod comes in six different size options from 5′ 10″ to 11′ 10″. The shortest also comes in a version that has an adjustable handle. The two shorter rods are medium power rods, while the longer ones are medium/high power rods. For backpacking, we recommend the adjustable handle version. It closes to 16.5,” making it the perfect size to fit into your backpack or a pocket. The combo includes a stainless steel spincast reel.


  • Handle can be right or left-handed.
  • It’s incredibly affordable.
  • It has a six-month warranty.


  • Meager gear ratio of 4.7:1.
  • Only suitable for small fish.

Bottom Line: This is for someone who’s priority is a budget product and plans only to use it lightly.

Sougayilang Portable Spinning Rod

Best Backpacking Fishing Pole for Comfortable Handling

Sougayilang Fishing Rod - 24 Ton Carbon Fiber, Portable Telescopic Super Hard Ultralight Fishing Pole for Travel Surf Saltwater Freshwater Bass Boat Fishing
  • The Sougayilang Telescoping Travel Spinning Fishing Rods Are Made of High Density 24 Ton Carbon Fiber and E-Glass Composite for Great Power and Sensitivity. It's Light Weight and Perfectly Balanced, Thus Less Fatigue. Great Gift for Our Fisherman!
  • The Exquisite Reel Seat Is Made of Corrosion Resistant CNC Machined Aluminum for Years of Worry Free Fishing.
  • Three Point Welded Stainless Steel Guides with Ceramic Inserts for Use with Braided or Mono Fishing Line and Providing Saltwater Approved Corrosion Resistant and Power Control.
  • Light Weight and Portable, Easily Fits In Car Trunk, Boat Hatch or Backpack. Sougayilang Telescopic Rods Allow You To Travel To Your Favorite Fishing Spot and Enjoy Fishing Whenever and Wherever You Want.
  • Various Sizes and Lengths Available for Freshwater Bass Trout Fishing, Saltwater Surf Fishing or Inshore Fishing.

The Sougayilang Portable Spinning Rod is like many on the market, but they were kind enough to give the fishing pole an ergonomic handle. The handle is covered with a plush EVA grip which is soft enough to provide all-day comfort, but firm enough to keep control of the product. We recommend this to anyone with hand issues such as carpal tunnel or arthritis.

Besides being comfortable to hold, the Sougayilang has some great features. For one, it comes in six different lengths, and they all compress down to a size small enough for a backpack. The pole is a great quality rod made from 24-ton carbon fiber composite material. It’s a light/medium power rod that, if used in the right capacity, will not disappoint you on your hiking trip.


  • Even the longest model can fit in your backpack.
  • Ergonomic handle lets you fish comfortably.
  • Can be used in saltwater or freshwater.


  • Reel seat made of aluminum instead of stainless steel.
  • Included storage case is on the flimsy side.

Bottom Line: It’s not the most powerful, but if you’re catching a few fish for dinner, then it’s a great, compact buy.

Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Rod Travel Kit

Best Backpacking Fishing Pole Travel Kit

Okuma Voyager Spinning Freshwater Travel Kit, VS-605-20
  • Convenient nylon travel bag
  • Shock-resistant foam insert
  • Adjustable shoulder strap

Some people prefer a product that comes apart rather than a telescoping rod. This is a suitable choice for backpacking also. The six-foot-long Okuma VS-605 breaks down into five pieces. When broken down, the parts are less than 17 inches. This allows the pieces to fit snugly into a backpack. The spinning rod comes in a kit, complete with a padded, zippered storage bag, a spinning reel, and a plastic tackle box.

Amazingly, the entire kit, including the storage bag, fits into a backpack. The kit measures 17″ long x 9″ wide x 3″ deep. However, you could save space by merely rubber banding the pieces together and ditching the case. The fishing pole is a light/medium power rod. The rod comes with a spinning reel, which is also an entry-level piece of equipment. This equipment works great for its intended purposes.


  • The entire kit fits into a backpack.
  • The case has a shock-resistant foam insert.


  • Lots of plastic parts.
  • Can be challenging to take the product apart.

Bottom Line: It may not be suitable for seasoned anglers, but it’s a handy, compact kit to have when you find yourself hungry and near a lake.

Wild Water Tenkara Fly Kit

Best Backpacking Fishing Pole

Wild Water Complete Tenkara Fly Fishing Starter Package, 12 Foot Extendable Graphite Rod, 9 Section Rod Pole Kit, Includes 22-Inch Hard Tube Case, Rod Sock, Fly Box, Flies and Three Lines
  • TENKARA ROD: Weighing just 3 ounces, this 12-foot fly fishing rod has a 6:4 rod action. It includes 9 sections made of durable IM8 graphite. Its 9 3/4 inch-long cork handle has a wooden plug for protecting the rod during storage. The end cap is aluminum and is laser etched with the Wild Water logo. The knurl on the end cap allows for easy disassembly of the entire rod for cleaning and replacing sections. PLEASE NOTE: Tenkara fly rods do not come with a fly reel, guides or a reel seat.
  • PROTECTIVE ROD CASE: The Wild Water Fly Fishing Starter Package comes with a durable nylon carrying case and a soft, stretchy rod sock for travel and storage. The case features a 22-inch PVC rod tube and a carrying strap.
  • WATERPROOF FLY BOX WITH TWELVE FLIES: Our starter package includes a rugged plastic fly box that can hold up to 372 flies! To get you started, we have included the following flies: Qty. 2, Size 12 Black Sakasa Kebari Qty. 2, Size 12 Olive Sakasa Kebari Qty. 2, Size 12 Tan Killer Kebari Qty. 2, Size 12 Black Killer Kebari Qty. 2, Size 12 Hi-Vis Orange Indicator Kebari Qty. 2, Size 12 Tan Hen & Hound
  • INCLUDES TENKARA FISHING LINE: We included the following lines with our starter package: Qty. 1, TRADITIONAL TENKARA LINE - 10.5 feet of chartreuse furled polyester line with metal ring to attach tippet Qty. 1, MODERN FLOATING PVC TENKARA LINE - 11 feet of blue-colored PVC floating line with welded loop for tippet Qty. 1, MODERN HYBRID TENKARA LINE - 15 feet of olive-colored PVC floating line with polyester-furled level line and metal ring to attach tippet
  • INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: Our rod package is perfect for fishing in small to medium-sized streams and ponds. With this well-crafted rod, you can catch trout or panfish with ease. The rod's size and carrying case are great for backpacking! Additionally, we've included the following accessories: Qty. 1, Foam spool Qty. 1, Plastic line storage clip set w/o-rings Qty. 1, 30 meter spool of 5X tippet Qty. 1, Line nipper Qty. 1, Retractable reel

The Wild Water Tenkara Fly has a lot of qualities that make it the best overall out of the rods in the list. For one, it comes in a kit without any additional cost. While it’s one of the pricier rods that we’ve reviewed, it’s because it contains 25 pieces in the kit. This is well worth every dollar.

Another reason that it’s the best is that it’s a high-quality pole made from IM-8 graphite, which is a great, middle of the road stiffness and weight (3.2 ounces). This, paired with the comprehensive kit, makes this an excellent choice for anglers of all skill levels who are going on backpacking trips.

The 12-foot model has nine collapsible sections and compresses down to 20.5 inches. It comes with two cases – a hard, 22.5″ long PVC travel case and a soft bag with Velcro closures. You can use either bag or both bags, whichever is easier for you to carry.


  • Easy to use.
  • Comes with a reference guide for beginners.
  • Action is 7:3.
  • Complete kit means you don’t need to purchase additional supplies.


  • Made by an American company but not made in the U.S.A.

Bottom Line: This backpacking fishing kit has it all – a high-quality, strong, lightweight rod, everything you need to go fishing, affordability, and a trusted company backing the product. Not just one of the best, but ultimately our top pick for the best backpacking fishing rod.

Maxcatch Tenkara Rod

Best Backing Fishing Rod – Compact Option

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tenkara Fishing Rod (V-tenkara, 10')
  • ONE-YEAR-WARRANTY and LifeTime Repairing Warranty – Maxcatch as a 13 years fly rod factory, offer “No Hassle” warranty for all our rods for one year. If you are not 100% satisfied with our rod, you can return it in any time. And we also offer lifetime repairing for Maxcatch rods.
  • EXCLUSIAVE MAXSPIRAL II BLANK TECHNOLOGY – Pure IM8 30T carbon fiber. With mixed 5 layers of carbon including Horizontal reinforced UGG carbon layer for 20% improvement in presentation and strength.
  • PROGRESSIVE TAPER and 7:3 ACTION – Ultra-light weight but strength is not compromised at all. Offering great battles when hooking smaller fish while staying strong enough to put up a fight for larger fish.
  • COMFORTABLE HANDLE and SWIVEL TIP – Comfortably fit with hand Cork Handle for better casting control, Swivel tip on the rod keeps your line from getting tangled.
  • BACKPACKER FRIENDLY - Collapses to 20.3", making it easy to fit in your backpack and take on the go. Also be a great option to be a backup fly rod for small water.

Size is something that stands out about this Tenkara model. There are two versions of this model. The full-size versions come in five different size options, and the longest one extends out longer than any backpacking fishing rod on the list (13 feet). The second version is a mini version that collapses down to the smallest size on the list (12.6 inches). This mini version is preferred for backpacking because it can fit in your pocket but still expand out to 12 feet long.

The full-size versions are made of a four-layer, spiral set 30T carbon material. The mini is made of IM-8 graphite combined with 10T carbon. With a lightweight design, a comfortable cork handle, and a 6:4 action, you’ll have complete control when fishing and an easy time carrying your pole around.


  • Has the longest size option on the list.
  • It’s incredibly compact.
  • Comes with an extra tip.


  • No ergonomic design on the cork handle.
  • Lillian can get stuck inside the tip sometimes.

Bottom Line: This is one of the best compact Tenkara models you’ll find that doesn’t sacrifice quality with the lack of size.

DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12′ Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod

Best Lightweight Option

DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12' Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod
  • HIGH QUALITY ROD The Shadowfire 12' Tenkara Rod is comparable to other mid-tier rods that are priced much higher. IM 10 graphite is strong yet lightweight and can handle medium sized fish.
  • SET UP and FISH IN UNDER 3 MINUTES Tenkara fly fishing is all about simplicity. With no reel, you can rig up quickly and hit the water. No need for tons of expensive fly fishing gear.
  • CLASSIC TENKARA ROD The Shadowfire is 12' long and 2.9oz light. With a 6:4 action and 8 segments, this tenkara fly fishing rod gives lots of play, but is stronger enough to give an experienced angler a fighting chance against larger trout.
  • BACKPACKER FISHING FRIENDLY The Shadowfire Tenkara Rod collapses to 23.25", which makes it easy to simple to fit into your backpack for fishing the backcountry, or as a general purpose travel tenkara fly fishing rod.
  • Rod Tube and Sock INCLUDED

The DRAGONtail Shadowfire Tenkara is an extremely lightweight, compact backpacking fishing rod that would be perfect for a backpacking trip. Weighing only 2.9 ounces, you’ll barely remember that you’re carrying a fishing rod. Despite and small size (compresses down to 23.25 inches) and the lightweight, the rod extends out to 12 feet so you can cast your line very far out into the water. With this model, you don’t have to worry about adding too much weight to your gear, especially since you won’t even need a reel.

The Shadowfire is a very high-quality product with a fantastic, upscale design. It’s made of IM-10 graphite, so it’s very stiff while being lightweight, and it features a 10.25-inch cork handle that ergonomically designed. You have the option of getting the pole alone or getting it in a kit that comes with a carbon-fiber travel case as well as a rod sock, a furled Moonlit Tenkara Line and foam line holder, and three soft hackle Tenkara flies. It’s everything you need for Tenkara fishing.


  • Has a swivel-tip lillian.
  • Universal & regular tip cap included.
  • You can cast furled or tangled lines.


  • Not suitable for saltwater fish.
  • Expensive for what you get.

Bottom Line: This is great for people who need a simple, lightweight fishing pole.

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Comment