The Best Travel Fly Rod (2022 Detailed Buyer’s Guide)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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The world is full of amazing places to fish. I’ve fished for bonefish in the Bahamas, cutthroats in Yellow Stone, and GT’s in Seychelles – I remember every minute of every trip.

Each adventure was an incredible experience and taught me something new about myself and the art of fishing.

My favorite was when I went trout fishing in the Himalayas in India, it was so unexpected to find trout there and the setting was beyond magical with crystal blue streams surrounded by cherry and apricot blossoms, that I had all to myself.

The places fly fishing as a hobby can take you to is quite incredible, and in order to experience each destination properly, you’re going to need the best travel fly rod you can get your hands on. 

Best From The Review

Here are some of the best travel fly rods from this article:

Top Pick

Thomas & Thomas Zone

The rod is made from a high-quality and durable graphite blank and features titanium guides with zirconium inserts both of which are saltwater ready.

Thomas & Thomas Zone

The best all-around rod to travel with is the T&T Zone. It’s a light, durable rod that will happily fit in your luggage and is for all abilities. You can make long, accurate casts with it – 60 ft being its sweet spot. 

It’s an ideal rod for most freshwater and saltwater species too, just make sure you pick the right weight to match the fish you’re after. 

Best Value

Orvis Clearwater

Designed to be a fly rod for all from technical spring creeks to offshore. Comes in weight from 2-12, and covers every aspect of fly fishing.

Orvis Clearwater

The best value for traveling with is the Orvis Clearwater 6 piece travel rod.

It breaks down small for traveling with, performs on the water, and is affordable too. 

For a low price, you’re getting a durable, well-made rod that’s tough and can handle any species you throw at it, just be sure to match the rod with the target you’re after. 

Editor’s Choice

G. Loomis Asquith

The first to use Spiral X technology in the blank. Carbon wrapped inside and outside of the graphite blank to increase strength and recovery.

G. Loomis Asquith

My choice is always the Asquith

While it’s not made for travel, it still fits in your luggage (thank god), and it’ll deliver more performance than any of the others, anywhere on the planet. 

The design and build are unbeatable. I’ve found myself making casts I didn’t think possible which is something you want when you have flown around the world and your dream GT 80 ft in front of you waiting to devour your fly. 

Our Best Travel Fly Rods 

Best Value

Orvis Clearwater

Designed to be a fly rod for all from technical spring creeks to offshore. Comes in weight from 2-12, and covers every aspect of fly fishing.

Orvis Clearwater

The Orvis Clearwater series of fly rods were designed to be a fly rod for all from technical spring creeks to offshore.

The Orvis Clearwater series comes in weight from 2-12, and covers every aspect of fly fishing, from big game and saltwater to intricate trout fishing. 

…it comes in a shorter rod tube making it easier to slip into your suitcase or backpack…

The Orvis Clearwater fly rod we have selected below is a travel version that breaks down into 6 pieces. This means that it comes in a shorter rod tube making it easier to slip into your suitcase or backpack, and you can take on some planes as a carry-on. 

The Orvis Clearwater is one of the best performing budget rods on the market.

For under $250 you get a durable, high-quality rod that works well for all fly fishing abilities. 

It’s made from a high-modulus graphite blank with chrome snake and stripping guides with a ceramic insert and a black nickel aluminum reel holder. All of these come together to create a durable, long-lasting, corrosion-resistant rod

The fishing rod casts nicely and you’ll get some good accuracy….

The fishing rod casts nicely and you’ll get some good accuracy pushing up to 60ft of line. The model below is a 5 weight which is ideal as an all-round freshwater rod for smaller fish like trout and bluegill.

It’s not the lightest fishing rod in the world and it’s not as high performing as other more expensive rods on the market, but it does a good job. 

Specs

  • Model: 590-6
  • Weight: 5 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 5/6 wt
  • Action: Med Fast
  • Pieces: 6
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Breaks into 6 segments
  • Comes with a protective rod tube
  • Affordable
  • 25-year guarantee
  • All-round series of rods for all occasions
  • Durable, quality graphite blank
  • Casts well

Cons

  • Not as well-performing as more expensive rods
  • Could be lighter

Echo Trip

The rod is made from a graphite blank that gives you some good power and durability. It also comes with saltwater ready guides and a reel holder so you can fish with it in any environment.

Echo Trip

The Echo Trip is purposefully designed for travel hence why it’s a series of 8 piece travel rods. 

8 piece rods pack down exceptionally small and are ideal for slotting into your bag and taking on the plane as a carry-on. 

The extra piece rods do make the tube shorter but it’s also a lot wider than usual, and you may struggle to slot it into the side of your backpack. 

Material

The rod is made from a graphite blank that gives you some good power and durability. It also comes with saltwater ready guides and a reel holder so you can fish with it in any environment. 

Casting and Weight

It’s a light fly rod that’s ideal for long days of casting. It can push a solid line of up to 60ft with accuracy. The model below is an 8 weight and has enough power in it to punch the wind and land saltwater fish like snook and bonefish.

An 8 weight is also great for larger freshwater fish like steelhead, pike, bass, and musky. 

Downside

You do lose a little energy transfer due to the multiple pieces travel design but it’s not that noticeable. 

Specs

  • Model: 890-8
  • Weight: 8 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 8/9 wt
  • Action: Med. Fast
  • Pieces: 8 piece
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • 8 piece rod packs down very small
  • Light for fatigue-less casting days
  • Durable graphite blank
  • Saltwater ready guides and reel seat
  • Casts nicely
  • Enough power for large species like bass and bonefish
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Rod tube is wider than others for backpacking travel
  • 8 piece rods lose some power transfer in the cast

Editor’s Choice

G. Loomis Asquith

The first to use Spiral X technology in the blank. Carbon wrapped inside and outside of the graphite blank to increase strength and recovery.

G. Loomis Asquith

The G. Loomis Asquith fly rod is not made for travel but with 4 segments, it still packs down small enough to slot into your luggage or backpack, and it’s travel-worthy to be a carry-on too. 

NOTE

The Asquith is one of the best fly rods to hit the fly fishing market.

It’s the first fly rod to come out of the Shimano-Loomis collaboration and is also the first to use Spiral X technology in the blank.

They carbon wrap the inside and outside of the graphite blank to increase strength and recovery while being able to reduce weight. 

…exceptionally light, powerful, durable rod…

What you end up with is an exceptionally light, powerful, durable rod that has awesome energy transfer from butt to tip.

Thanks to Spiral X, these fly rods are one of the best to cast with and when combined with their fast action, you can cast any length of line with pinpoint accuracy. 

The first time I picked up one of these, I could cast further and more accurately with way less effort. 

Inclusions

The Asquith rods come with titanium guides for further weight reduction and an aluminum reel holder both of which will survive life in saltwater with ease.

The guides are designed to reduce friction while casting to give a greater distance of a few feet when it counts the most. 

Weight

The Asquith also comes in weights from 4-12, covering almost every species and environment.

The model below is an 8 weight and is ideal for large freshwater fish like pike, bass, and steelhead, or for smaller saltwater species like bonefish and redfish. 

It’s an awesome all-around weight for both environments. 

Drawback

The only drawback to The Asquith is cost. It’s probably one of if not the most expensive rod out there, but it’s worth it if you’re going to use it often and you want the best. 

Specs

  • Model: 890-4
  • Weight: 8 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 8/9 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Impeccable build quality
  • Utilizes Spiral X blank technology for durability
  • Casts any distance accurately, 90 ft plus
  • Excellent strength for larger species
  • Comes with top guides and fly reel seat
  • Light for tireless days of casting
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Allowed on planes and fits in your luggage

Cons

  • Very expensive

Top Pick

Thomas & Thomas Zone

Made from a high-quality and durable graphite blank and features titanium guides with zirconium inserts both of which are saltwater ready.

Thomas & Thomas Zone

The T&T Zone is another 4 segment rod that isn’t made especially for travel but it’s still a rod you can travel with. It’ll slip into your suitcase and is fine to travel as a carry-on like any 4 segment rod. 

It’s a light rod that can handle any environment…

The Zone is T&T’s offering to the mid-range market. It’s a light rod that can handle any environment and comes in every weight from 3-10 covering most aspects of fresh and saltwater fly fishing. 

Material

The rod is made from a high-quality and durable graphite blank and features titanium guides with zirconium inserts both of which are saltwater ready. I’ve guided a lot with this rod in Seychelles and it’s a perfect rod for throwing 60ft of line accurately every time. 

Casting

This fly rod is also forgiving to cast with and suites all fly fishing abilities from beginner to pro. The fast action makes casting effortless and it’s really light for those long days on the water. 

Drawback

The only negative to this rod is that it’s a little delicate and when you’re fishing with it, make sure you don’t treat it mean. 

Specs

  • Model: 690-4
  • Weight: 6 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 6/7 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Saltwater ready guides and fly reel holder
  • Quality graphite blank
  • Casts long and accurately, 60ft+
  • Packs down small enough for planes and luggage
  • Light for long days of casting
  • Forgiving to cast with
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Delicate

Hardy Zephrus SWS

Hardy makes great rods and somewhere along the line, they came up with the Zephrus SWS, one of their most popular saltwater rods thanks to its mid-price point combined with top-quality performance.

Hardy Zephrus SWS

Hardy makes great rods and somewhere along the line, they came up with the Zephrus SWS, one of their most popular saltwater rods thanks to its mid-price point combined with top-quality performance. 

Again this is not designed specifically for travel but it’s a 4 segment rod that’ll happily slot into your check-in luggage or make its way onto the plane as a carry-on. 

Material

It’s made from Hardy’s Sintrix 440 graphite blank construction that is exceptionally powerful and durable. 

The rod comes with REC black Pearl recoil guides that are strong as nails and provide a frictionless environment for your line to run through. 

Power and Casting

The rod has exceptionally lifting power, something you need in saltwater fishing. When you’re trying to pull up a 60lb tarpon from the depths, you’ll be happy you have this rod in your hand. 

It’s a lovely rod to cast with and you can easily push 70ft + of line accurately. 

Drawback

Beginners may find it’s a little stiff and likes fishing with a broomstick instead of a nice soft rod. But, the fast action and stiffness in this rod are what give you the ability to punch your line through the wind, which is key to saltwater fly fishing. 

The rod is also a little heavy for some. I’ve fished with it and it does weigh you down a bit, but if you’re sight fishing and only casting when you see fish, then it won’t be a problem. 

Specs

  • Model: 909-4
  • Weight: 9 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 9/10 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • High-quality build
  • Durable graphite blank
  • Great lifting power
  • Top-quality guides and reel holder
  • Casts long and accurately, 70ft+
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • A little stiff for beginners
  • Heavier than other rods

What’s A Travel Fly Rod? 

Bag and Fly Fishing Gear on Wooden Walkway
Bag and Fly Fishing Gear on Wooden Walkway

A travel fly rod is any kind of fly rod that packs down small enough to be carried on a plane or fits into your check-in luggage with ease.

To be a travel fly rod, the fly rod will need to be able to break down into multiple pieces and be stored in a protective rod tube so it safely survives the journey. 

Can I Take A Fly Rod On A Plane? 

Pre-9/11 you could take any size flying fishing rods on a plane, after the events flight operators became stricter about odd items being brought on board.

Within the United States

If flying within the US, you can usually bring fishing fly rods on a plane as long as they’re multiple-piece fly fish rods that are short when packed away. 

Outside the United States

Airlines outside of the US tend to ask you to put your travel rod in your check-in luggage. If it doesn’t fit, check-in your travel fly rod as a separate piece of luggage. 

Tips On Travelling with A Fly Rod

I personally prefer to travel light on the plane and always slot my rods into my holdall for check-in.

They have never been damaged or stolen (you’d be unlucky to find a baggage handler who knows what an expensive fly rod is worth) and always arrive safe and ready to fish with. 

However,you do risk them not showing up if the airline loses your luggage. 

Check out this video for more travel tips.

Travel and Fishing Tips

What Makes The Best Travel Fly Rod? 

The best travel fly rods are multiple-piece travel rods that come with a protective rod tube for getting them to their destination safely. That’s the first box a good travel fly rod needs to tick. 

Apart from being able to travel safely as a multiple piece travel rod they still have to perform as well as any other fly rod would.

NOTE

Arriving at your dream fly fishing destination with a travel rod that doesn’t perform is not an option. 

Spending a lot of time and money getting to a spot and having your travel fly rod break or not able to make the casts you need it to is heartbreaking – especially when you’re looking at a Permit that you have dreamt about for 6 months. 

I’ve seen clients arrive with their new reel in Seychelles to have their first GT catch destroy the drag system, leaving the reel broken and unusable. 

It would have been the end of their GT fishing for the week if we didn’t have quality reels to lend them. 

Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Travel Fly Rod

Target Species 

No matter what kind of fly rod you’re looking for, it needs to match the size and strength of the fish you’re intending to catch. You have to make sure the rod is the right weight and length to handle the fish you’re after and the conditions it lives in. 

When you’re chasing large saltwater species like tarpon, GT’s, or sailfish, you’re going to need a heavier rod than if you’re going after trout in the Rockies. If that’s what you need, we have fly rods for tarpon that you can check out.

TIP

The larger the fish, the heavier the weight travel fly rod you’ll need. 

Weight

The weight of a fly fishing rod describes how thick and powerful it is, this needs to match the size and power of the fish you want to catch.

Here is how I would outline fly fishing rod weights against certain sized fish. 

Saltwater Fish

For large saltwater fish over 100lbs like tarpon or GT’s, you’ll want an 11-12wt fly rod. If you’re going for fish pushing 150lbs plus such as marlin or tuna, you might want to upgrade to a 14-16wt.

For smaller saltwater species like triggerfish, permit, and bonefish, an 8-10 wt is about right. 

Freshwater Fish

In the world of freshwater, larger species like bass, steelhead, salmon, and pike will require a 6-8 wt to handle. For smaller species like trout, bluegill, and crappies, a 3-5 wt will get the job done. 

Bass with Fly Rod
Bass Fish

Action 

Travel rods come in all kinds of actions from slow to medium-fast and fast action. 

What does action mean for you, the angler? 

Action describes where along the length of a fly rod it will bend when you’re casting. A slow action rod bends near the butt, medium in the middle, and fast at the tip. 

The slower the action, the bendier a rod– the more feel you’ll have when casting. 

Slower action means you’ll have to put a lot more effort and power into your casts – there’s an art to finding the balance between the feel you want and the power you need. 

Your best bet is finding a rod that is medium, fast, or in-between. This will make casting effortless but also give you enough feel to know what’s going on with each cast.

Budget

You can find a travel rod to match any budget, that’s no issue at all. 

Where budget comes into play is around performance and durability.

The better a fly rod, the more expensive it will be and you can spend between a couple hundred, to a few thousand dollars, when looking for the right travel fly rod for you. 

It’s only worth spending big bucks on a travel rod if you’re going to use it often enough and if you have the skills that warrant it. 

TIP

High-performance rods make a difference for fly fishermen who know what they’re doing but would be lost on a beginner or amateur. 

How Much Should I Spend?

If you’re planning to use the rod a few times a year or are more of a leisure fly fisherman, you don’t need to be spending too much cash. 

Travel rods around the few hundred dollar budget mark will give you more than enough performance for you to fish well with. 

Segments/Pieces

A travel rod comes in multiple pieces so they can be carried around easily.

You can find 7 piece, 8 piece, 6 piece, and 4 piece travel rods. The more segments a rod breaks down into, the smaller it will be when packed away

The minimum number of pieces a travel rod or rods should be to carry on a plane, or pack in a suitcase, is 4

Does The Number of Pieces Affect Performance? 

Preparing for Casting
Man Checking His Fly Rod

Yes, it does, but it’s minimal.

Fly fishing with a single segment rod is lovely as there are no breaks in the rod where you might lose power or energy transfer in your cast – Although, taking a single segment rod around the world is a nightmare. 

A 4 segment rod performs just fine, although you do lose a bit of energy. As you increase the number of segments, you lose more and more power and energy in your cast.

Thus, 7 piece or 8 piece travel rods are not going to perform as well as a 4 piece rod. 

Weight (ounces) 

The final consideration you should make when shopping for fly fishing rods is how heavy they are. 

Long days of casting work your muscles hard and the last thing you want, especially when you’ve flown around the world.

Some rods are lighter than others, and while weight shouldn’t be your primary concern, I would advise looking at it once you have selected your top 3 rods that you might buy to help you make your final decision. 

Reeling Up 

I hope this article has opened up the traveling side of fly fishing for you. I know it’s not that accessible at the moment but when the world comes back around, those species you’ve been dreaming of will be waiting for you to cast a fly at them. 

Traveling for fly fishing is one of my favorite things about our hobby, and if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it, just make sure you have the right rod.

I trust you have found the rod for you from the article above? If you haven’t, here are a few more pointers to help you make your final decision. 

Jack of All Trades

If you’re looking for a rod to travel with that covers most freshwater and saltwater angles, then the T&T Zone is a great choice. It’s light, durable, high-performing, and perfect for all abilities.

The cast is forgiving but long and accurate at the same time making it ideal for beginners and pros alike. 

Travel Fly Rod without Breaking the Bank

If you’re looking for a budget travel rod that will last and get the job done, the Orvis Clearwater is a clear choice.

For a very affordable price you’re getting a highly durable rod that casts well and is ideal for traveling due to its 6 segment design

Cost-Effective

If it was me and price was no object, I’d have to choose the G. Loomis Asquith.

It’s a very expensive rod at $1200 but it’s one of the best ever made. It’s light, durable, strong, and has incredible energy transfer from butt to tip to give you immense casting distances of over 90ft with accuracy. 

You can take this rod anywhere from the jungles of Bolivia to the flats in Cuba and it’ll still outperform the rest of them. 

Adventure Awaits

I hope you’ve found this article useful and know which rod is the one for your travel needs. Just remember to match the weight of the rod with the species, that it’s at least 4 segments or more and you should come out on top. 

Check out some of my other articles around the best 3wt fly rod and the best kids fly rod and please share this one with any other travel fishing buddies who might be interested. 

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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