If you like to travel around and visit new fly fishing spots, you’ll need to kit yourself out with a travel fly rod. The best travel fly rods break down into 6, 7, or even 8 different sections, making them very portable. They also tend to be lightweight without losing out on performance.
Backpackers are big fans of travel rods, but they can also be handy when you don’t want to check luggage on a flight. You can even keep one in your work desk or the trunk of your car, so you’re always ready for a spontaneous fishing trip!
Here’s our complete guide to choosing the best travel fly rod for you, plus our Fly Fisher Pro reviews of the top rods on the market right now!
How to Choose the Best Travel Fly Rod
There are a few things you need to look out for to make sure you get the right travel fly rod for your needs. Here are the most important factors to check out before you splash your cash.
You’ll find fishing rods that break down into 6, 7, or even 8 pieces. The more parts a rod has, the more compact it will be. Travel rods tend to vary anywhere between 16 inches and 22 inches.
If you need to fit your rod into your backpack or carry on, make sure you’ve checked the dimensions and verify whether the rod is the right size for you.
Weight is another important factor for travel rods, especially when you’re hiking all day with it strapped on your back. You’ll be amazed at how lightweight travel fly rods can be thanks to the best of modern technology. If you love backpacking up a mountain to get to those remote streams, go for the lightest rod available. You’ll be glad you did!
Take a close look at the materials and build quality of the rod from the reel seats to the finishing of the wraps. If anything looks rushed, low quality, or not as sturdy as you’d like, it’s a good sign that you should move on and check out another product.
Graphite fly rods tend to be the most durable, higher quality products. Many travel rods are made from carbon fiber these days, but we always prefer a graphite rod. It’s worth spending a little bit extra if your budget allows, as the rod will be able to stand up to more fishing trips and last you longer!
If you’re going for a rod and reel combo, take a close look at the fishing reel. Many people underestimate the importance of the fly reel. If your fishing reel isn’t powerful, you won’t be able to land those fish you’ve been hunting for.
You might be looking for an ultralight, compact rod, but you still want it to perform well on the water. When you’re hunting for fish, whether it’s salmon, trout, or bass, you need a rod that is accurate, powerful, and sensitive.
Travel fly rods have a bad reputation compared to normal rods, but they have definitely improved in recent years. Many rod manufacturers have worked hard to redesign their portable rods, making them stronger and more precise. As always, try to read a review or two of the rod you’re thinking of buying to see what other anglers think.
Find out what the action is on the rods you’re comparing. Fly rods range from slow action right up to stiff, fast action rods, and there’s a big difference in how they will behave in your hands. A medium action rod is a good place to start if you’re not sure what to go for.
Make sure you shop around before buying – you can find some great deals on Amazon as well as in your local fly fishing shops.
The Best Travel Fly Rods: The Reviews
We aim to review the best products so that you can quickly and easily pick out the best compact fly rod for you!
Echo Trip 8 Piece Travel Fly Rod
Echo has designed the ultimate travel fly rod, breaking down into 8 pieces that measure just 18 inches. If you need to hit the road and travel light, fly cross country, or go backpacking with your rod, this fly rod is fit for the job.
Available in 5, 6, or 8 weight rods, you can take your pick and choose the weight that best fits your needs. The aesthetics on this rod are attractive, with black wraps, silver trim, stripping guides, and chrome snake guides.
This 8-piece rod is quick and easy to fit together thanks to the alignment dots on the ferrules. The whole rod feels sturdy to use, with the perfect balance of action and power despite it being ultra-compact. The Echo Trip excels in the mid-long distance range, with plenty of sensitivity and impressive accuracy.
If you’re looking for a travel rod that packs down to a tiny size but could pass for a traditional fly rod, check out the Echo Trip!
Redington Classic Trout
The Redington Classic Trout has an admirable reputation as a superb trout rod with impressive accuracy and sensitivity. But what many anglers don’t know is that it also makes a brilliant travel fly rod.
While most of the versions are 4-piece rods, the Redington CT is also available in a 3 weight and a 5 weight rod. Both versions measure 9 foot and break down into 6 separate pieces. The rod measures just 17.5 inches, making it the perfect size for travel. You can pack it into your backpack, your carry on, or your suitcase with ease.
Although the Classic Trout isn’t built to withstand strong winds, it casts beautifully and will catch you plenty of fish. There’s no shoddy workmanship or cut corners here.
If you’re looking for an amazing travel fly rod that could double up as your main rod, go for this one. You won’t be disappointed.
Maxcatch Traveler Fly Fishing Rod
The Maxcatch Traveler could easily be the best travel fly rod for under $100. This impressive carbon fiber rod has a solid aluminum fly reel and boasts a high-quality, AAA-grade cork grip. The best news is that you can break it down into 7 small pieces and take it anywhere with you, and the affordable price makes it an accessible travel rod for any angler.
The Traveler performs well on all sorts of rivers and can shoot line out there with power and accuracy. If you’re used to an expensive, high-end rod, you’ll notice the difference, but it certainly gets the job done. The attention to detail in the aesthetics and the construction is clear to see, with alignment dots making it simple to put together.
Without a doubt, the Maxcatch Traveler is the best budget travel option around today. If you need a reliable travel rod without breaking the bank, this is the one to go for.
Hardy Demon Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod
The Hardy Demon Saltwater fly rod is a superb rod that is just the ticket for going after whopping saltwater fish. But you’ll also love the fact that it packs down small, so you easily take it with you on trips.
The Hardy Demon has a sturdy build, with an anodized aluminum double uplocking reel seat, fighting butt, full wells cork handle. It has an attractive aesthetic with darker blue wraps and light blue blank.
The rod weighs just 3.81 oz and measures 21 inches, so it’s slightly longer than other travel rods. But it’s still reasonably compact, and the accuracy in the short-mid range is incredible. Saltwater rods need to pack plenty of power to get your fly out and haul in large fish like tarpon and bonefish, hence the larger size.
You also get a lifetime warranty, and Hardy’s customer service is excellent and responsive.
Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer Fly Rod
The Orvis name stands for top quality, superior fishing gear in the fly fishing world. When you see Orvis on a fly rod, you know it’s worth checking out! The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer is an awesome fly rod that breaks down into 7 pieces, making it very easy to transport.
This ultra-light rod guarantees effortless control and accuracy. If you like to fit some fishing in while you’re backpacking, this is the perfect solution! It won’t weigh you down, and you’ll catch lots of fish with this responsive rod. You can strap it onto your backpack and you won’t even know it’s there!
When it comes to performance, this rod raises the bar. It’s both versatile and a delight to cast, so you can fish almost anywhere with this model.
Although Orvis is no longer manufacturing the Clearwater Frequent Flyer, there are still a few around. Snap up this excellent travel fly rod before it disappears off the market entirely. We can only hope that Orvis brings this superb rod back into production soon!
Travel Fly Rod FAQ
In this section, we’ll answer the most common questions about fly rods for you!
What is the best brand of fly rod?
There’s a wide range of fly rods to choose from, so it can get pretty overwhelming. When it comes to picking out the best brand, it helps to identify what you want to use the rod for first. Fishing manufacturers normally have a range of models for different situations.
Do you want a durable all-rounder that you can use anywhere? Take a look at the Sage X. After something that will work wonders for trout fishing? The Redington Classic Trout is just what you’re looking for. If accuracy is essential for you, the Orvis Helios 3 should suit you well.
Well-known brands like Redington, Orvis, and Sage all tend to be safe bets, no matter which model you go for.
What is the shortest fly rod?
The shortest fly rod that adults can comfortably and effectively use measures around 7 foot 6. If you go much shorter than this, you won’t have the same ease of casting, versatility, and line control as with a longer model. The most common length tends to be a 9 ft rod.
Are telescopic rods good?
Telescopic rods can be a good solution if you’re tight on space, as they are portable and easy to transport. However, we prefer multi-piece rods here.
The reason for this is that they tend to be more durable, made of better quality materials, and have an improved action compared to telescopic rods.
If you’re an enthusiastic angler who goes on frequent fishing trips, you’ll be better served by a multi-piece rod instead. Telescopic rods are a suitable choice for hobby anglers who only fish on occasion.
The Wrap Up
So there you have the complete review and guide to the top travel fly rods around. Whether you like to hop on a plane to check out new fly fishing locations all over the world, or you’re more of the hiking type, there’s the right travel rod for every angler.
You won’t go wrong with any of our recommendations. We’ve selected the best rods for travel, and all our recommendations are compact, lightweight, durable, and perform well on the water. Now, all that’s left for you to do is select a rod and plan some fun fishing trips.
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