Best Travel Fly Rod – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

// By Leonard Schoenberger
// Updated: Jan 11, 2022

One great aspect of fly fishing is to explore new places. It’s much easier with a travel fly rod, since you can pack it into almost any bag.

Most modern fly rods come as four-piece rods. To protect them they are stored in a cordura or metal rod tube that usually measures somewhere around 30″. That means you can pack them into a big bag but won’t be able to take them on the plane in your hand luggage for example.

Here is where travel rods come into play. Instead of the usual 4 pieces they break down into 6 or even 8 pieces. This means they pack into a much smaller rod tube that you can carry along in the smallest of bags. Together with a reel and line this allows you to take your fly rod wherever you want.

The most common line class for travel rods is a #5. This is the ideal rod to fish for trout, char and even small bass. However, you can get a travel fly rod from a #2 class for small creeks all the way up to a #8 to target big species like pike. In this test we want to give you an overview of some of the best travel fly rods out there. In the second part of this guide we’ll tell you what to pay attention to before purchasing. We’ll look into aspects such as size and weight, material and performance of a travel fly rod. Let’s jump right in.

Table of Contents:

Best Travel Fly Rods Quick Answer List

Review of the Best Travel Fly Rods

Choosing the Best Travel Fly Rod

Conclusion

Travel fly rods in a boat
Remote places can be easier to fish with travel rods

Best Travel Fly Rods Quick Answer List

1. Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece

2. Echo Trip 8 Piece

3. Douglas Upstream Fly Rod

4. Epic 4wt Packlight Fly Rod

5. Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 7-Piece

6. Orvis Encounter Spin/Fly Combo

7. Epic DH13 Spey Fly Rod

8. Nam Delgado 6 Piece

Best Travel Fly Rods on the Market in 2022

Now we want to give you an overview of the best travel fly rods out there on the market. We’ll take a closer look at all of these and tell you their strengths and weaknesses. We made sure to include travel fly rods from all price ranges so you can make an informed decision.

Notice: We take part in affiliate programs. If you click on one of the links in the text and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products we are convinced of.

Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece

The Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a high quality travel fly rod at a decent price. The great thing about this rod is the fact that it can easily become your go to fly rod for every day fishing. Its performance can keep up with 4-piece rods. The Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece packs into a rod tube of only 22.5″, which makes it easy to fit this travel rod into any bag.

The Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece is available in five different configurations, ranging from a #4 weight for small creeks and streams, all the way to an #8 that allows you to target big species like bass or pike. The black aluminum reel seat gives the Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece a high-end look and feel.

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

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Echo Trip 8 Piece

The Echo Trip 8 Piece is one of the most popular travel fly rods on the market for a reason. Echo is another manufacturer known to build high quality rods at moderate prices. Behind the company is world class fly caster, Tim Rajeff, one of the most respected figures in fly fishing.

The Echo Trip 8 Piece breaks down into eight segments of only 18″. You’ll have a hard time coming up with a reason not to bring along this rod. The rod is available in three weights: #5, #6 and #8. Alignment dots on the ferrules make sure you align this travel fly rod properly for precise casting.

As most travel fly rods, the only weakness of the Echo Trip 8 Piece is the long range casting. This is where an 8 piece rod simply can’t keep up with a 4 piece when it comes to the ultimate in casting performance. For all other purposes the Echo Trip 8 Piece is an excellent choice. Comes with a lifelong guarantee.

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT TRIDENT

Douglas Upstream Fly Rod 6 pc

American rod maker Douglas Outdoors has established themselves as a newcomer with exceptional quality. Their Sky G Series has earned a lot of praise for its overall performance. If you are looking for a travel fly rod, their Upstream series is one of the best travel fly rods you will find out there.

The Douglas Upstream is an excellent choice for small creeks and streams since it comes in sizes from #2 to #4. The #2 8ft rod weighs in at an incredible 1.43 oz, making it an ideal option for remote backcountry fishing for small cutthroat trout for example.

The Douglas Upstream comes in 6 pieces packed into a very sturdy metal tube protecting it from damages during travel. The medium-slow action rod shines on short distances and comes with a lifetime warranty for the original owner.

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT ON AMAZON

Epic 4wt Packlight

Here’s a fantastic travel rod option if you are looking for something special: the Epic 4wt Packlight. This 5 piece fiberglass beauty will follow you anywhere. Weighing in at 2.54 oz and measuring only 19.5″ it is small and light enough to pack into any backpack and head out to the water.

The Epic 4wt Packlight is available in a light green and a salsa red. You can customize it further with two different reel seat options. If you’ve never fished a fiberglass rod before you might think they are a bit too soft to perform at a high level. Pick up the Epic 4wt Packlight and you’ll be surprised what it can deliver. If you’ve ever dreamed of building your own fly rod check out our story about the Epic Rod Building Kit.

The Epic 4wt Packlight is a great choice if your are looking for a special kind of travel fly rod.

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GET IT AT TRIDENT

Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 7-Piece

The Wild Water 9 Foot, 7-Piece is the perfect choice if you are new to fly fishing. If you are going on a trip and think there might be a chance to try fly fishing, the Wild Water 9 Foot, 7-Piece comes with everything you need to make your first casts.

The Wild Water 9 Foot rod is broken down into 7 pieces that fit into a rod tube of only 21.5″. With it comes a reel pre-spooled with a WF5 line and backing and a 9′ 5x tapered monofilament. Tie on a fly that also comes with the Wild Water 9 Foot, 7-Piece and you are ready to catch your first fish.

Don’t expect the same performance from this rod as from the Douglas Upstream or the Orvis Clearwater 6 Piece. But for less than $100 this set is a great option to take on your first fly fishing trip.

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT WILD WATER

Orvis Encounter Spin/Fly Combo

The Orvis Encounter is a unique travel rod option because it combines a travel fly rod and a spinning rod in one set. In some fishing situations, a spinning rod can have advantages over a fly rod. For example when fishing the depths of a lake.

The Orvis Encounter makes sure you won’t encounter a situation like that. The twist about this set is the fact that some of the rods’ parts can be used to create a spinning as well as a fly rod. On top of that the set includes the reels for both methods of fishing. The reels even come equipped with the respective fly and fishing line.

The travel case of the Orvis Encounter makes sure everything is stored safely. Comes with the limited Orvis warranty.

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT ORVIS

Epic DH13 Spey Fly Rod

As one of the last products in our review we made sure to include a double handed travel fly rod if in case you are looking to target bigger species such as steelhead. The Epic DH13 Spey is a high end double handed fly rod that features titanium stripping guides, Japanese silk wraps and a CNC machined reel seat.

The Epic DH13 Spey comes in three different line weight options: a 5/6, a 6/7 and a 7/8. The 7/8 is a great choice if you are fishing for Atlantic salmon on smaller rivers for example. The 5/6 is an excellent option if you are targeting any kind of trout in bigger rivers.

The Epic DH13 Spey is a medium-fast action rod that has enough power to deliver bigger flies and handle big fish.

GET IT AT EPIC

GET IT AT TRIDENT

Nam Delgado 6 Piece Fly Rod

If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, look no further than the Nam Delgado 6 Piece Fly Rod. This is a minimalistic looking double-handed rod that performs like a rocket. We used the 13’3″ #8/9 version to fish for Atlantic Salmon in Norway (if you are looking for a line to fish this rod with, we can highly recommend the Rio Scandi Versitip fly line).

If your focus is on steelhead, you can take a look at the 12’3″ #7/8 version, or if you’re after the biggest of Kings or Atlantic Salmons, you can go all the way up and pick the 15’7″ #10/11. Whichever one you pick you can be certain to turn heads when your buddies see how the Nam performs.

GET IT AT NAM

Choosing the Best Travel Fly Rod

As you can see from the wide range of travel rods we introduced you to in this buyer’s guide, there is a travel fly rod for every fishing situation. Here are a few aspects to consider before making a purchase.

Size/Length

The most important factor when choosing a travel rod is the length it breaks down into. Most often travel fly fishing rods come in between 16 and 22 inches. If you are looking for the utmost in packability, take a look at the Echo Trip 8 Piece.

Weight

Besides the length of your rod, the weight is another important aspect to consider. If you want to head out on a backpacking trip into the back country, less weight in your backpack might mean more fishing time because you’re less tired. If you are looking for the ultimate light weight travel rod, check out the Douglas Upstream Fly Rod.

Line Class

As with any fly rod you purchase, it is important to ask yourself beforehand what species you will target. To make sure there is a good option for every fishing situation we included travel rods ranging from #2 all the way to an #8 in this test.

Material

The most common material for a travel fly rod is graphite. It’s well known for its durability. Carbon fibre is another option frequently used in rods, yet it’s a bit more delicate. The same holds true for fibreglass rods such as the Epic 4wt Packlight. On the upside, this rods delivers incredible feel and precision which makes it a joy to cast.

Performance

As a rule of thumb travel fly fishing rods have a reputation to perform worse than “normal” rods. This has long been the case because a 6 or even 8 piece rod tends to deliver less power and accuracy than a 4 piece. However, in recent years, the performance of travel rods has increased a lot.

While ten years back fro example, most salmon rods were 4 piece or even 3 piece for increased performance, many salmon anglers use 6 piece rods such as the Epic DH13 Spey nowadays. Big brands such as Orvis or Echo have used their experience from decades of rod making to increase the performance of travel rods.

In the smaller line classes such as #2 – #4, you will have a hard time feeling a difference in a 4 piece or 6 piece rod.

The Wading List Survey Sept 2021 - Who Makes the Best Fly Rods?

Conclusion on the Best Travel Fly Rod

As you can see from our review of the best travel fly rods, there is a range of options to choose from. The most important question you have to ask yourself before making a purchase is: what species will I be targeting with my travel fly rod?

Once you know that, you can define your budget and think about what rod suits you best. All of the rods in this test are lightweight, highly packable and will perform well in almost any fishing situation.

Read more of our Gear Guides here:

Ultimate Guide: Best Wading Jackets

Buyer’s Guide Best Wading Boots

A Guide to the Best Sling Pack

Top 6 Best Fly Fishing Nets

A Guide to the Best Fly Fishing Starter Kits

Building your own Fly Rod

Notice: We take part in affiliate programs. If you click on one of the links in the text and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products we are convinced of.