What is the Best Backpacking Fishing Rod & Reel?

(Last Updated On: November 20, 2016)

Peanut butter and jelly. Fred and Ginger. Some things were just meant to go together, and that’s how we feel about hiking and fishing. It’s all about getting out in nature, the middle-of-nowhere kind of nature, and seeing if you are proficient enough to provide sustenance for yourself with a stick and some string.

Maybe something a little more fancy than that. But to find some of the choicest spots to practice our love of fishing, we have to be ready to hike into the wild to some degree. That little spot in the stream that it seems nobody but you knows about, where the fish seem to beg to be caught and made into supper. You know the spot.

In order to help you keep your rod and reel safe while hiking to that special spot, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular rod and reel sets to take backpacking.

Backpacking Fishing Rod & ReelLengthMaterialPriceRating
Eagle Claw Trailmaster Travel Spin/Fly Fishing Rod
Trailmaster rod 7ft Engraved bronze reel &
IM-7 complex composite
$$4..4
Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit
Travel kit with 6'0" rod and 20 size reel Durable ceramic guide inserts & Stainless steel hooded reel$4.3
Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case
4-1/2-FTUltra-compact hard case$4.2

Eagle Claw Trailmaster Travel Spin/Fly Fishing Rod

This rod and reel kit is perfect for backpacking, and is popular with those who have rated it on Amazon. It has received 9 reviews so far, two of which were 2/5 stars, and the rest were 4 (1) and 5 (7) stars. So though it’s relatively new, people are definitely loving it, as we are.

This 7’, 6-piece spin/fly model includes a beautifully engraved bronze reel seat compliments the guides and custom silk winding. The IM-7 Complex Composite blank provides incredible performance and it is lightweight and built for a lifetime of use. With its beautiful and durable travel case, it is a good deal at under $67. Its power is for medium/light fishing. The sections stay tight during use, and the case safely holds the rod through hiking and camping and general bumping around.

The rod breaks down into 6 pieces, making the carrying case a mere 18” long, and easy to pack in any backpack. It doesn’t come with a reel, but you can choose between your finest spinning or flying reels to get the exact action you like. We’ve found that this is durable (not a problem in over 4 years of owning one), versatile (warm water, cold water, streams, lakes), and the handle threads are durable, and stay tight. We were even able to bring in a 5lb rainbow trout last year upstream!

Not to mention the good name of Eagle Claw and the Trailmaster, which comes with excellent customer service. We’ve known people who have gotten the rod snagged in one of their first outings, and the tip broke off. The company immediately replaced it with no questions asked. Customer service like that is as valuable as a great product.

Click here to check the latest prices on Amazon.


Okuma VS-605-20 Voyager Spinning Travel Kit

This is a very popular portable fishing pole and reel kit, and affordable at under $41. Out of 201 reviews, 111 of them were 5/5 stars, forty-eight were 4 stars, twenty-one were 3 stars, and there were only eleven with 2 stars and ten with 1 star.

The kit includes a 5-piece graphite composite rod, with a cork grip, that extends to 6’0” with a size 20 reel, durable ceramic guide inserts, stainless steel hooded reel seats, and machine-cut brass pinion gear. It’s listed as action L, and line capacity 100/6. All this is included in a soft-side 17”x9”x3” carrying case that has room for the rod and reel as well as some tackle.

It’s the perfect size for backpacking. It fits safely into your backpack and there’s no need to worry about it getting snagged or snapped while hiking through dense forests. Just be sure to load it with your favorite line before hiking out to your special fishing hole.

We’ve caught bass, trout, pickerel, and pike, along with plenty of pan fish, and even some parrot fish in Hawaiian salt water. This is a very versatile set, strong for its specifications, and convenient for hiking.

Click here for the latest prices on Amazon.


Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case

This portable fishing rod and reel set comes in a molded plastic hard case, and costs under $45. It’s very popular with customers, as there are 290 reviews. Of these, 151 are 5/5 stars, seventy-three are 4 stars, twenty-three are 3 stars, eighteen are 2 stars, and twenty-five are 1 star. So while it may not be perfect for everyone, this is a very popular and well-loved product.

The hard case is 14” by 17.5”, small enough to fit in a backpack with ease. It comes with an ultralight MS-S500T reel with smooth, ball bearing drive, multi-disc drag, 5. 1-to-1 retrieve, GyroSpin® balancing, and Twist Buster® line twist reduction. This is combined with a matching 4’6”, five-piece, ultralight rod for two- to six-pound test lines and 0.0625-to-0.25 ounce lures. The case even has built-in tackle compartments for your convenience.

This is a sturdy, long-lasting ultralight portable fishing rod and reel set. It’s light enough to be good for children to use, as well. Although it’s not for huge fish, we have caught pike and even a four-pound bass. With a four-pound line, it’s perfect for pan fish like crappies and small mouth bass.

The feel is very sensitive, so even beginning fishers can get a good feel of working the fish on the line and bringing it in, the most satisfying thing in a good fishing day. It’s easy to assemble, quickly ready to use. One problem we’ve had is getting it to fit back in the case again. Not that we couldn’t do it, but that it was difficult. Which is understandable – it’s always more difficult fitting things back into the box!

Overall, this is a popular choice for experienced fishers and new recruits alike. As long as you remember it is an ultralight, you will be able to fish with this portable fishing rod and reel set for years.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon, click here.

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