The best trout fishing spinning rod and reel for backpacking

This is a quick article, listing what I think are the best spinning rods and reels to carry in a backup when trout fishing. This is for anyone who wants to go hiking but wishes to carry a rod just in case they decide to go for a fish.

I will first discuss rods, the options are a multipiece travel rod, or a telescopic rod. To summarize them, multi-piece rods are lighter, and are better rods, but telescopic rods are much more compact and can be stored fully rigged.

Multi Piece Travel Rod

– 10% to 15% lighter than telescopic rods. Although that weight saving is lost when the weight of a rod tube is taken into consideration.

– Better sensitivity and overall performance.

– Much better selection of rods.

Telescopic rod

– Considerably more compact, can easily fit inside most packs

– Much faster setup, no need to store rod and reels separately

– With a few exceptions, most telescopic rods belong in the trash.

Telescopic rod recommendations

I have written about telescopic rods previously and come to the conclusion that the Kast King Blackhawk II is the best option on a budget. That is because it comes with sliding guides which means it has more than one guide per section.

If you want a more premium product and are not afraid of importing, then the Daiwa BBB from Japan is the best premium telescopic rod. They retail for around $200 and usually need to be ordered from Japan. A true enthusiast’s product.

In virtually all aspects it is a better rod than the Blackhawk II. The one area where the Blackhawk might have a slight advantage is the durability of the blank itself. The Blackhawk is made from a lower quality carbon which tends to be slightly more knock resistant.

Travel rods recommendations.

I find travel rods to be a bit annoying, all the sections can be time consuming to assemble or dismantle. Nevertheless, they have many fans. Here are my favorite three travel rods for trout fishing.

5′ Shakespeare micro-series.

This is a budget option. It is not a true travel rod, because it only splits in half. But it is cheap and an excellent rod for the money. When paired with one of the reels above, you can have a very respectable combo for under $100.

Daiwa Presso UL

This is a mid-price option and is often out of stock. The Presso UL is an excellent rod for the money. Nice smooth bend throughout the entire length of the blank. It comes with a sturdy hard case for ease of transport. The Presso UL comes in both a 5.6″ and a 7′ version.

If you want to pair it with a reel, I will look no further than the Daiwa Regal LT. These two combed will make for an excellent ultralight travel combo for under $150

St. Croix 6′ 4-piece Triumph Travel

The St Croix Triumph travel rod comes in a range of sizes, the 5’.6” and the 6’ version being the most suitable for trout fishing. They come with a padded sleeve for extra protection during travel, but I personally prefer a hard case. This is a high-quality rod, and when assembled the joins feel a lot more secure.

I personally will pair it with the Daiwa Regal LT or if budget allows a Shimano Vanford for the ultimate in finesse.

Spinning reels, I consider most suitable for backpacking are.

After deciding on the rod, the next most important consideration is the reel. Trout reels in general are lightweight and fairly compact, so there is really nothing special about the ones we carry into the backcountry.

I have listed the reels from cheapest to most expensive, although the first three are quite comparable in price. For more in-depth reviews check my reel buying guide here.

Okuma Ceymar C-10 6oz

The cheapest reel on the list, and the second to lightest. A good option for a fisherman on a budget.

Pflueger President 20x 6.2oz

A well-proven and popular trout reel. I see a lot of them on the river. It also only weighs 6.2oz.

Daiwa Regal LT 2000D 6.7oz

Simply a well-built reel. You will not find better build quality for the money. Out of all of them, the regal is my personal choice. It also has the largest capacity, so no need to worry about running out of line miles from home.

Penn battle 1000 7.8oz

The Penn battle is a bit heavier when it comes to weight. That is because the Penn has a full metal body making it more drop resistant. It also has a sealed drag. If you are very rough on your gear or might use it in the salt then the extra weight of the Penn is worth considering.

Shimano Vanford VF1000F 5.3oz

The Shimano Vanford is an extremely lightweight reel, it is an all-round excellent reel and by far the lightest reel on this list. It is also one of the lightest reels at any price point.

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