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What Are the Best Fly Rods for Travel?

Fly rods are supposed to be light and travel rods should be even lighter.

Fly rods are very lightweight because you’ll be constantly casting all day in and out. Avoid rods that are top heavy or you’ll be tired in no time. Backpackers will really love the portability of fly rods. This review covers some of the best travel rods we’ve used.

Brands and manufacturers has also created a type of the fly rod that is centered around portability. This is called the “Travel Fly Rod” which differs from a regular rod in a few ways. While normal fly rods are 4-piece, these travel fly rods are in 6, 7 or even 8 piece configurations (or at least the best ones in the market). The travel fly rod is easy to be placed inside a backpack. Travel fly rods are shorter too, enabling more space savings and aiding portability.

So basically they are smaller and break apart into smaller components. 

Casting Travel Fly Rods

Normal fly rods (4-piece) are still the king at casting. The 4-piece configuration is still unbeatable because the lesser number of pieces makes the rod more stable and better for casting. With that said, improvements in ferrel technology has is starting to bridge the gap between normal fly rods and their travel fly rods cousins. 

Protip:

  • Use smaller flies to compensate for the travel fly rod’s less than stellar casting properties.

Brands Matter 

Three brands are the leading contenders in this article as the producers of best travel fly rods that can be found in the market this year (2017). These leading brands were able to put in the best design and mesh it with the proper technology in order to  produce the , arguably, best travel fly rods thereby raising the bar of competitors to challenge. All three rods produced by these brands are budget friendly. Listed below are the top picks.

  • Cabela’s
  • Orvis
  • Echo

Of course, other brands did produce good fly travel rods and rods in general. One of them is L.L. Bean. Although L.L. Bean does not make a travel fly rod anymore, its travel/spin spin fishing rod combo is too good to pass.

Hardy also makes a fine travel fly rod (6 piece). Maybe too fine in some regard because it is pricey. Juxtapose that to its value and you may think that Hardy is asking too much. But, if you ever want a high-end travel fly rod, Hardy is the way to go.

If you want to root for the little guy (I mean brand) and also want a quality travel fly rod, Elkhorn has got you covered. Elkhorn produces a 7 piece 4-weight rod. Its pretty good too.

Protip:

  • Avoid cheap rods from companies that have a reputation for making knock-off rods. They may be cheap but the quality is usually atrocious. Stick to brands who are committed to their products.

The Best of the Best

Listed below are the best fly rods in the markets right now. Its attributes will be listed as well as cons if they are present. Bullet points are used for better accessibility.

Cabela’s Stowaway 6 picture of the new cabela rod for long distance travel

The Cabela’s Stowaway 6 has a lot of configurations. Meaning this line of rods will have a configuration that will fit each of your needs. It has the ultralight 8’6” 3-weight config. Fitting for weight-conscious backpackers. There is also the 8’6” 4-weight config, fit for fishers who like to hunt their fish in smaller streams. There’s also the 7’6” 4-weight, the more common 9’ 5-weight, the 9’ 6 weight and the 9’ 8 weight.

  • The Cabela’s Stowaway 6 is also good to look at. The guys at Cabela’s did not skimp on the external presentation of the Cabela’s Stowaway 6. Varnish is a bit thick tho.
  • The Cabela’s Stowaway 6 is a medium-fast action kind of rod.
  • It has a relatively stiff butt that is coupled with a flexible tip. A good combination.
  • Pairing the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 with the Lamson Liquid will make this pair a formidable combination with an excellent cost-to-value ratio. The Lamson Liquid is an excellent reel.

Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer picture of the orvis clearwater

  • This particular model is similar to the popular 4-piece Orvis Clearwater Combo. This means that the Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer inherits the properties that made the traditional Orvis Clearwater Combo successful.
  • The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer is 7-piece configuration.
  • If you are into green colored rods then you’re in luck. The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer is coated with a rich green blank color.
  • The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer comes in many variations too. The 8’6” 5 weight is the lone mid flex model. The rest (9’ in 5 weight, 6 weight or 8 weight) of the configurations are tip flex.
  • Except for the mid-flex config, the Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer is a fast-action rod. So if you want fast action then the Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer got you covered.
  • Orvis also have the Clearwater fly reel and fly line to be paired with the Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer, should you choose to add them.
Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer

The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer comes in many variations too. The 8’6” 5 weight is the lone mid flex model. The rest (9’ in 5 weight, 6 weight or 8 weight) of the configurations are tip flex

BEST VALUE – Echo Trip image of the echo trip fly rod

  • The Echo Trip maybe the most portable travel fly rod in the market right now. It is a 8-piece rod (yep 8, you’ve read that right).  Backpackers and weight conscious fly fishers will really love this product.
  • There are only three configuration for this product. These are the 9’ 5 weight, the 9’ 6 weight (rich green color finish) and the 9’ 8 weight (dark blue finish).
  • The Echo Trip is a medium-fast action rod.
  • The Echo Trip is best paired with a firm casting motion.
Echo Trip

There are only three configuration for this product. These are the 9’ 5 weight, the 9’ 6 weight (rich green color finish) and the 9’ 8 weight (dark blue finish)

BEST QUALITY ROD – Hardy Demon Smuggler image of a quality travel rod hardy demon

  • The Hardy Demon Smuggler is a high quality, arguably luxury class rod with a price at just under 650 dollars. It is the most expensive rod discussed here.
  • It also has excellent finish. The guys at Hardy spared no expenses for its exterior looks.
  • It is a medium-fast action rod.
  • It is a 6-piece rod with a bevy of configurations.

Verdict

Hands down, the Hardy Demon Smuggler maybe the best rod that is discussed here. With that being said, its steep price skews its price to value ratio. The Cabela’s Stowaway 6 maybe the the best travel fly rod in the bunch if you juxtapose its price along with the value that it brings to the table. The Orvis Clearwater Frequent Flyer is close too. For portability, the Echo Trip trashes the competition with its 8-piece configuration.

However, the final verdict rest in each buyer. Each buyer will have different criterias of which to gauge the best travel fly rod. This article will have narrowed down the choices. Pick one and you won’t regret it.

Hardy Demon Smuggler

The Hardy Demon Smuggler is a high quality, arguably luxury class rod with a price at just under 650 dollars. It is the most expensive rod discussed here.

 

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