Planning on hiking into the backcountry, and hoping to catch a few trout while camping in the wilderness.
The first decision you need to make do you wish to carry a multi-piece travel rod or use a telescopic rod. There are pros and cons to both.
Multi Piece Travel Rod
– 10% to 15% lighter
– Better sensitivity and overall performance
– Much better selection of rods.
– 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.
The five 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 full stop.
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
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.