Whether planning a week-long fishing trip or hoping to escape and do some fishing on a family vacation, travel fishing rods are essential for any angler. They often pack down to fit in the backs of vehicles, a rucksack, or even as a checked items on an airplane.
Fly anglers, spin anglers, carp anglers, and saltwater anglers all have travel rod choices. I have chosen the following eight excellent options, and see what’s best for you!
In this article, I will cover the following:
What to look for in a good travel fishing rod
Travel fly rods
Travel spinning rods
Travel carp rods
Travel sea fishing rods
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Look For In A Good Fishing Travel Rod
When purchasing a travel rod, you want to make sure you’re paying attention to a few separate essential details!
Most anglers searching for travel rods aren’t hopping on an airplane and traveling worldwide to pursue a unique species. Many jump in the car or take public transportation to their favorite location. As a result, you want to make sure the rod you travel with is collapsible. If possible, ensure your rod can collapse down to 36 inches!
Depending on the type of rod, you may be able only to find one that can break down to 40” or 46”. You don’t want to sacrifice quality for a smaller size. Do your research before you make your decision.
You’ll find that many companies are making their own versions of travel rods that are not quality. They are often affordable, but anglers pay the price when they hit the water. The rods easily break, or they aren’t as advertised.
Stay with well-known fishing brand names that can be trusted and have a warranty. You wouldn’t waste your money on a poor-quality normal travel rod, so follow that same protocol with your travel rod!
Best Travel Fly Rods
Thankfully, most fly rods are “travel.” Many break down into four pieces and are somewhere around 36”. However, if you need rods that are even smaller, there are some good options for you!
Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece
If you’re familiar with Orvis, you know how high-quality their fly rods are. The Clearwater 6-piece travel model is the option for intermediate anglers. It isn’t overly complicated to fish. The moderate fast action is good for streams, rivers, and lakes.
You will likely struggle to find a travel fly rod that’s better than this! You have a 4-weight 8’, 5-weight 8’6”, 5-weight 9’, 6-weight 9’, and 8-weight 9’. These weights and lengths are great for trout, bass, steelhead, and salmon fishing. This rod will fit anywhere on a plane or in your car.
When broken down, the six pieces break down into 22.5 inches. This is extremely small and can fit into any carry-on or even a personal item! You’ll still have Orvis’ 25-year warranty when you purchase this rod. This is a nice warranty since travel rods get heavy usage, and there is more that can go wrong when there are six total pieces you’re working with.
Orvis also offers a travel fly combo outfit option, including line and reel. If you aren’t interested in pairing the rig with your own equipment, you can purchase your own reel, and everything will be well-balanced.
Whilst Orvis isn’t known for bargain basement pricing, for a mid to high-priced range, you’ll get one of the best travel fly fishing rods on the market.
Redington Trailblazer Fly Rod
The Redington Trailblazer is another travel fly fishing rod that will be up for any challenge that you put to the test. Redington makes both a 3-weight and 5-weight option for anglers. The 7’6” 3-weight is great if you’re heading to backcountry mountain streams or small alpine lakes. The 9’6” 5-weight is good if you’re heading somewhere with bigger fish or more challenging conditions.
When broken down, the rod tube is only 30”, so you should be able to fit it on a plane on your carry-on or under the backseat of your car. Wherever you use it, it’s going to store away nicely! Many anglers will choose to use this as their backcountry rod. While fly rods aren’t heavy, the Redington Trailblazer is especially light! It’ll fit nicely on your backpack, and you won’t even notice it’s there.
The red and yellow colors look great! It’s a more unique design in terms of fly rods. Don’t worry about the quality. Redington’s lifetime warranty protects it so that you can fish this hard.
In the mid to high-priced price range, you’ll have a similar price to the Clearwater from Orvis. They’re similar rods in terms of quality! Redington is a reputable brand that has continuously flown under the radar. Don’t underestimate the quality of these rods.
Best Travel Spinning Rods
In terms of travel rods, you will find the most options available come in the form of spinning rods. Companies that don’t even specialize in fishing equipment have found themselves in the travel spinning rod market. It’s those poor cheap-quality travel rods you should avoid!
My two choices are far from the unknown; Shimano and Fenwick are right at the top of their game regarding fishing rods.
Shimano S.T.C. Mini-Tele Spinning Rod
Shimano has been a reputable fishing company for years. Anglers of all levels have success with these rods! The mini-tele spinning rod is a unique design that is perfect for travel. This rod comes in two pieces. The first piece is the handle; the cork and reel seat are on this portion of the rod.
The next section of this rod is the telescoping part. Whatever rod you choose, there are eight different weights and lengths that you can choose from to fit whatever type of fishing you’re doing. All of these models have eight line guides regardless of the weight and size of the rod you choose.
These rods are made with Shimano’s XT60 blank material, a full cork grip, and a Shimano DPS reel seat. You have all the normal guarantees of Shimano packed into the travel rod.
You have rods ranging from 70 inches to 106 inches!
These rods break down into a case and are easily stored in a backpack or in the trunk of your car. When fully broken down, the longest models are only 15 inches long! Take them with you as you bike, hike, or take public transport to a local lake or river. Trout, panfish, and even fish like bass and pike are all catchable with this rod. You likely don’t want to fish anything heavier than these.
This is my only telescopic choice in all of my rods for travel, and I am not a big fan of telescopic rods due to their usually inferior quality and strength. However, the Shimano STC is the exception – it’s well-constructed and is a top telescopic option for a travel rod.
Fenwick HMG Travel Rod
The HMG Travel Rod from Fenwick is another affordable and high-quality option for anglers looking to fish while traveling. If you know fishing history, you’ll remember that Fenwick rods were the first to use graphite technology.
The travel rod uses Powerlux 100 resin technology, a lightweight graphite blank with stainless steel guides, and a cork handle. The Powerlux technology increases the rod’s strength by over 10 percent from previous models.
Fenwick provides anglers an extra tip in case you snap or break yours. This is a great feature for travel rods. Since they’re used in challenging and tight spaces, accidents can happen. The extra tip gives you peace of mind that you can fish the rod hard without worrying about what could go wrong.
The rod breaks down into three sections that work well for traveling. When fully broken down, it’s only around 30 inches. When packed in the rod tube, you can fit it easily in your trunk or on the side of your backpack. The most common option for anglers is the 7’6” model. Depending on your needs, this comes in medium light and a medium action.
Both the Shimano STC Mini-Tele and the Fenwick HMG travel rods are mid-price range options. This means you’re getting a great deal choosing either of them for fishing when traveling!
Best Travel Carp Rods
Carp rods are a prized possession for many anglers. With carp being a species easily found worldwide, it’s hard not to travel with your carp rod! You never know when you will have a chance to get away and fish a local pond or river packed with them.
Buying a carp travel fishing rod is also a great option for stalking carp in the margin areas. Their shorter length enables them to get to the harder-to-access areas, where trees are overhanging, and it’s near impossible to cast with longer rods.
Nash Scope Rod – Full Shrink
Nash is a trusted and popular brand amongst carp anglers. The Full Shrink handle model is one that many anglers could use in various situations. It’s all one piece, but the rod telescopes into itself and packs into a nice and compact design.
You have the choices of 9 foot and 10 foot long rods with test curves ranging from 3 lbs, 3.25 lbs, and 3.5 lbs. These options are sufficient for almost any carp; I use the 9 foot rod with a 3.25lb test curve option.
Many anglers can cast upwards of 150 yards with the 9ft scope. You can fish the margins or larger waters, and the rod will be at home in either place. When fully contracted, the 9-foot models fold down to 44 inches, and the 10ft models fold down to 50 inches. No, they don’t fold down as small as other travel rods, but the longer sizes ensure high quality. You won’t find these rods breaking after two or three uses.
You can haul in 30-pound carp with no problem with the Nash Scope rod. Also, if you get the chance to target salmon, pike, steelhead, or bass, these will equally work well for those. They’re designed to tackle carp, but they can land most other freshwater species.
This rod is going to work well with the angler. If you’re an experienced angler, you’ll find that you can get more out of this rod than you would think. If you’re new to the world of fishing, it will work with you and your abilities.
At a mid-point price range, the Nash Scope Rod is a great travel rod deal that will work well for years.
X5 Max Travel Fishing Rod
The X5 Max Travel rod is one of the market’s most unique fishing rod designs. Within this one rod, you have nine different length combinations that you can use. It can be used as a travel spin casting, bait casting, float fishing, carp fishing, and fly fishing rod. Twelve interchangeable sections work together to create the type of rod you need.
However, the carp features on this rod are great and work well for any size carp you can find.
The four separate tips come with rod casting weights ranging from 10-20g, 15-30g, and 25-50g. It is a remarkable rod with all the different features and pieces included. Most anglers find one method that works for them and stick to it, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can change things to be whatever you need.
When broken down, all aspects of this rod can fit in a 17” travel case. It’ll strap nicely onto your backpack, fit in your trunk, or even be a carry-on rod on an airplane. For a mid-range priced portable rod, you’re getting an impressive rod that’s up for whatever challenge you need. Anglers often find themselves surprised by how capable this rod is. It’s a jack of all trades that is one of the best and most versatile travel rod options.
Best Travel Sea Fishing Rods
Travel sea fishing rods can be a point of contention for some anglers. Obviously, sea fishing rods are going to have to be extremely durable. You’re catching generally much larger fish and in a less forgiving environment. Travel saltwater fishing rods must be able to match the power and durability of a standard saltwater rod. Otherwise, you can snap your travel rod at any point.
Fiblink Portable Saltwater Offshore Travel Rod
The Fiblink Portable Saltwater Offshore Travel Rod breaks down into three pieces and comes in four sizes. You have a 6’ heavy, 7’ medium heavy, 7’ heavy, and 8’ heavy. The heavy models can handle 30-50 test and the medium heavy models can handle 15-30 pound test.
The Fiblink is built for saltwater use. As a result, you don’t have to worry about saltwater corrosion. A good clean with fresh water will keep this rod in great shape once you’re done. Anglers have hauled in 80-pound sharks with this rod! Give yourself a chance to target some heavy fish and see what you find.
This rod only breaks into three pieces, so it doesn’t lose quality or power compared to a 4-piece rod. Each piece is either 2 feet, or 2.5 feet, depending on the rod size you purchase. While this isn’t the top-of-the-line sea fishing rod, it can hold its own and will last if you take good care of it. Most anglers wouldn’t use it as their primary fishing rod, but it works great for short day trips to the sea!
At an affordable low to mid-range pricing, you’ll get a quality rod that can fight the vast majority of saltwater fish you’re planning to target.
World Traveller Travel Fishing Rod & Reel
Unlike all the other rods on the list, the World Traveller travel fishing combo comes with both the rod and the reel. This makes it my only travel combo rod and reel on this recommended list. One of the biggest challenges anglers face with travel rods is finding a reel that balances well with the weight. World Traveller makes your life easier and gives you a properly balanced reel.
The two options available for this rod are medium and heavy. The medium rod is 7’ long and can handle bass, panfish, and smaller pike. The heavy rod is 6’2” and can handle a substantial amount of weight.
Some of the nice features of this rod and reel is that two additional tips come with the rod. Both are made of fiberglass and are extremely powerful. Also, this rod breaks down into six separate sections, which makes storing this rod especially easy. When broken down, this rod is only 16 inches long.
The reel has a decent 5:1:1 ratio. You also receive an extra spool when you make the purchase! The reel is high quality and saltwater ready. A quick rinse at the end of the day will prevent any corrosion possible when fishing in saltwater areas.
World Traveller offers anglers a two-year warranty when purchasing this brand-new rod. This is a great chance to fish this rod hard and see what it can do. You’ll struggle to find a travel rod that’s as high quality and reputable as this. At around mid-ranged pricing, you’re getting a great deal.
Best Travel Rods Summary
There are hundreds of travel fishing rods for anglers to purchase. These decisions can be overwhelming! These packable fishing rods are typically not your regular rod, but they still should be up to the challenge of whatever fish you find.
What Is The Difference Between A Travel Rod And A Standard Rod?
Generally, travel rods are collapsible and can be stored in smaller storage tubes. This way you can travel easily with them.
Will Regular Rods Still Travel Safely?
Yes, regular rods can still travel, but you need to use an extra large rod tube that can fit your rod! Generally, these are more expensive and more cumbersome for traveling.
Can I Take A Fishing Rod On A Plane?
Yes, airlines will allow fishing rods to be carried on a plane. If it is oversized (in length) like a normal fishing rod, you will need to check it separately, which could cost an additional fee. However, with short travel rods, you can easily hand carry or pack them safely into your check-in luggage.
TSA allows fishing poles and also other tackle for carry-on and checked bags. For the most up-to-date information, check out the official TSA link!
What Is The Best Travel Fishing Rod For Bass?
The Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod is the bass travel rod. Its features, strength, and ability to be one of the most versatile rods on the market make it extremely hard to beat. Starting at a length of 4 feet 8”, it’s an ideal fishing travel companion.
Travel fishing rods can be somewhat frightening to purchase. The quality is always a question for many anglers. There are always horror stories about hooking into a massive fish but it breaking off due to one of the sectioned pieces snapping.
Any of my recommended travel rod choices in the list above will perform well for you. You never know when the opportunity to fish will come up on a trip, so it’s best to be prepared.
I hope this article was helpful and gave you all the information you need; check out my other posts on fishing rods covering a full range for every type of fishing style.
Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It's a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels.