I consider a travel-sized fishing rod outfit to be an essential piece of equipment in my gear arsenal. Why you may ask? Unhindered convenience to be able to fish when you may otherwise not have a fishing pole. In my life, I never know when an unexpected opportunity to go fishing may arise. Instead of longingly looking at a piece of water wishing you had the gear, I have an ultra-compact fishing rod setup stored in my vehicle for such an occasion.
Having a fully encased fishing rod setup that can break down and stow behind the back seat of your car is invaluable if you are a die-hard angler. On top of that, I love having a compact travel-sized rod for backpacking, camping, and hiking trips when new fishing opportunities have the potential to arise at any time.
If the idea of an ultra-compact, travel-sized fishing rod is new to you, check out below. Even if you are familiar with the idea and have been debating on adding this gear to your stash, we have all the info you need here.
Comparison of the Best Travel Fishing Rods
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What Limits a Rod from Being Able to Travel?
So why would you even need a special travel-sized fishing rod?
Why not just use your regular fishing rod?
Well, even a breakdown fishing rod is going to take up some space. The convenience put into the design of a specified travel fishing rod is hard to beat for its application.
A good rod should come with a protective case. These cases often hold the entire setup, plus some tackle. All your fishing equipment in one convenient spot, whereas with a traditional rod, you will likely have to purchase a separate case for it, a reel, and a box of tackle as well.
Travel-sized fishing rods pack down to a size smaller than a laptop case. Good luck getting even a breakdown fishing rod to do that. At best you would be left with a long tube and additional equipment. With a complete travel sized fishing rod kit, I can easily toss it into my backpack for a dedicated fishing trip or just to have on hand in case.
If you are planning on flying with your fishing gear, avoid over sized luggage fees with break-down fishing rods. A traditional one or two-piece rod stored in a tube may be subject to oversize baggage fees, depending on the airline. By having a four-piece breakdown design or smaller, you can simply toss it in your luggage and avoid extra baggage fees altogether.
As you can see, a travel-sized fishing rod could have a number of applications for the average angler. Simply having the option to grab a full fishing rig quickly in the size of a small case should be enough to convince a die-hard angler to have this in their gear stash for whatever opportunities may arise.
What Makes a Great Travel Fishing Rod?
How do you go about selecting the right travel option for yourself? While there are going to be many similar considerations you would make when buying, there will also be special considerations to make.
Like any fishing rod, you are going to want to choose an appropriate weight of rod for your specific applications. If you are looking for a general, all-purpose portable rod, something in the light to medium weight would serve you best. However, if you are packing a rod for a very specific fishing occasion, be sure to select your weight accordingly, such as an ultralight rig for trout fishing or a heavier rig for saltwater fishing.
The whole idea of a travel fishing rod is to be packable, and as such, you are going to want to look for at minimum a four-piece breakdown design. Alternatively, you can opt for a telescoping fishing rod which may pack down even smaller.
A carrying case is a necessary convenience for a travel fishing rod, in my opinion. If you are looking for the ability to have a highly packable fishing rod setup, you may as well have a case to carry it and a basic set of fishing tackle. This way, all you need to do is grab the case and you should be equipped to fish.
Review of the Best Travel Fishing Rods
So now that we have a general idea of what we are looking for in a travel fishing rod, let's look at some of the best travel fishing rods on the market. Through this list, it should be easy to find a rig that will suit your needs.
PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Full Kit
With this all-in-one setup by Plusinno, you have got just about everything you need to get out there on the water. This complete kit provides you with a telescopic fishing rod, carrying case, and some included tackle to top it off!
The high-density, carbon, telescoping rod blank makes this one of the most packable rods you can imagine. It reduces down to a length of about 16 inches. The stainless steel and carbon oxide guides ensure durability for years to come while allowing a smooth and friction-free flow of the line. The included reel also has portability in mind. A slightly stubbier design than other reels allows this to be a compact, yet fully functioning reel.
A great feature of this kit is that it gives buyers some sizing selection. This kit is available in medium power rod lengths from five to nine feet, allowing you to suit it to your intended application. This makes it a great, highly versatile rod for different fishing scenarios.
If you are looking for a travel fishing rod kit that has it all, look no further. The Plusinno telescopic rod fishing kit comes with a full rod setup in medium power with fishing line, tackle, and a low-profile protective case to keep it all contained. The quick setup and takedown of a telescoping fishing rod are hard to beat. This should be a kit that will put you on the water quickly when the opportunity arises.
OKUMA VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit
Talk about an all-in-one travel spinning rod kit for wherever fishing may present itself! Okuma has done an excellent job in assembling a great complete travel fishing rod kit without terribly sacrificing rod performance.
The six-foot graphite composite rod is rated as a light weight rod and breaks down to an ultra-packable five pieces. This is a rod that would serve well as a highly versatile rig for all but the largest of fish.
The kit includes a size 20 reel that should be suited for just about anything you can throw at it. Best of all, it comes complete with a convenient carrying case and included tackle box. With this case, you can have your entire fishing outfit contained in a 17-inch x 9-inch x 3-inch well-protected, padded carrying case.
For an affordable compact fishing rod, reel, and carrying case, Okuma delivers a sure buy. Have all your most vital fishing gear contained in a well-protected case and store it wherever. Make the most out of any fishing opportunity that may present itself with this ultra-convenient, complete kit with carrying case.
Best for the Money:
Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case
For those who intend to target fish with ultralight gear, this Daiwa setup is rugged and ready for the test. The 4.5-foot ultralight spinning rod setup breaks down into five pieces that fit with the accompanying reel in a pint-sized plastic carrying case. The reel features a smooth ball bearing and multi-disk design for quick and efficient retrieves.
Though the kit comes with no fishing tackle, the carrying case is designed with compartments to carry some fishing tackle in your kit. By not including tackle, you can customize your outfit to have just what you need for your intended fishing.
The rod is rated for two to six-pound test line. This is a great versatile rig for smaller fish. The short rod and small carrying case make this an excellent backcountry portable fishing rod outfit.
Perfect for anglers who are always on-the-go, this kit allows you to customize your tackle and keep it in a dedicated, compact, hard-sided case. This makes it perfect for stowing in luggage, backpacking, or simply keeping handy under your car seat. I personally own one of these outfits and cherish it for its small portability.
4. St. Croix Triumph Travel Spinning Rods
Maybe you are looking for a travel spinning rod but don’t necessarily need the ultra-compact design of the previous models. The St. Croix Triumph travel series of spinning rods are full-featured spinning rods that don’t sacrifice performance for portability.
The graphite four-piece breakdown design reduces to a length of less than 18 inches when packed in the included travel nylon case designed to hold just your rod. Best of all, anglers have a choice of varying weights and lengths in this fast action spinning rod. From ultralight 5.5 foot to medium/heavy 6.5 foot, you have the ability to fine tune this rig to your needs.
This travel spinning rod doesn’t include anything other than the rod. The idea of this setup is to sacrifice absolutely zero performance. This is ideal for savvy anglers seeking the best in performance, value, and convenience.
While the other rods in this review have ultra-portability and complete kits as their highlight, this rod stands out amongst the others. Offering simply a quality fishing rod and nothing more, this four-piece rod is still designed with travel in mind. If you are looking for a rod to pack in your luggage for your next flyaway vacation, check out this spinning rod by St. Croix.
5. Okuma NOMAD Travel Spinning Rod
Like the St. Croix rod above, this travel-sized spinning rod by Okuma sacrifices nothing in performance. Different than the St. Croix rod, this one is designed with bigger fish in mind. This medium heavy, seven-foot rod breaks down to a semi-compact three pieces. All the pieces are held together with innovative European spigot ferrule connections that give the rod a quality one-piece design feel.
The medium-heavy, fast action rod, is designed with all non-corrosive stainless steel guides and hardy aluminum reel seat. These features make this rod an excellent candidate for saltwater fishing scenarios.
If you want a travel-sized spinning rod up to the task of large fish, Okuma has you covered. This three-piece rod has all the makings of a good saltwater setup or even a big freshwater rig. While it isn’t the most packable rod on the list, this would be a great candidate to fit in your luggage for your next beach vacation. Don’t get caught in a great ocean fishing scenario without any gear!
How to Maintain Your Rod While You’re on the Road
General maintenance and upkeep of a travel spinning rod should be a quick and easy affair. If you stay up on it, your gear should last for years to come. While it can be more difficult to take care of your gear when traveling, it only takes a quick few minutes to ensure your gear is well taken care of.
The best way to keep your fishing rod in good working order is to perform regular inspections and do a quick wipe-down with a clean damp rag. You want to pay particular attention to any damage to the rod blank itself. When wiping it down, be sure to check the inside of the guides for any debris, nicks, or damage that will further harm your fishing line. Also, pay close attention to cleaning any threads or connecting points on your rod.
For your reel, similar maintenance is required. Brief wipe downs and inspections with a damp rag will do wonders. Utilizing a toothbrush to remove debris from nooks and crannies can help a lot. If you have found your reel spin to become rougher, it could need oiling. The video shows how to disassemble and oil your reel, which is fairly quick and easy. Thankfully though, this isn’t a regular maintenance necessity.
Another special consideration with a travel fishing rod is to make sure your case stays clean on the inside. If your case gets full of debris or gunk, you risk getting all of that into your fishing components. Be sure to clean out your case every now and again as well.
The convenience and versatility of having a travel fishing kit in your gear arsenal are hard to beat. Having the option to just grab a small case and go is great when it comes to fishing, where opportunity may unexpectedly knock on your door.
With a good travel fishing rod kit, you will have a nice portable rod, reel, and assortment of tackle in a compact and durable carrying case. This makes it ideal for keeping in the car, packing in luggage, or even taking on hiking/backpacking trips. As affordable as many of these kits are, there is no excuse for anglers not to have one of these in their ownership.