5 Best Tenkara Rods For Backpacking


You may be thinking, ‘Why do I need a tenkara rod for backpacking? Can’t I use a regular […]

5 Best Tenkara Rods for Backpacking

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You may be thinking, ‘Why do I need a tenkara rod for backpacking? Can’t I use a regular fishing rod?’

Well, let us tell you why a tenkara rod is a game-changer for your backpacking adventures in 2024. Unlike traditional fishing rods, tenkara rods are specifically designed for lightweight and compact portability, making them perfect for backpackers who want to enjoy the thrill of fishing while on the go.

In this expert buying guide, we have carefully curated a list of the 5 best tenkara rods for backpacking in 2024. We will not only provide you with an unbiased review of each rod’s features and performance but also offer valuable insights into the factors to consider when purchasing a tenkara rod for backpacking.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, get ready to explore the best options for your backpacking fishing needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Tenkara rods are designed for lightweight and compact portability, making them perfect for backpackers.
  • The top 5 tenkara rods for backpacking in 2024 include the Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod, DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365, DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom, and Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod – Package.
  • These rods are made of materials such as carbon fiber and graphite, offering a balance between weight and durability.
  • Tenkara rods often come as complete packages, including additional accessories like flies, lines, and tippets, providing convenience for backpackers.

See also👉How to Set Up Your Tenkara Rod?

Our Top 5 Picks

Product Price
Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod check price
DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12′ Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod check price
DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom 13′ / 11.3′ Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod check price
Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod check price
Tenkara Rod Co. The Teton Zoom Package check price

Top 5 Best Tenkara Rods for Backpacking

Watch the tutorial

If you’re planning a backpacking trip in 2024 and want to try your hand at tenkara fly fishing, there are several top-notch options to consider.

The Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod is a versatile choice, with its ability to be fished at three different lengths.

The DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 offers great value for its price, while the DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom provides a longer reach for those hard-to-reach spots.

The Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod – Package is a complete set that includes everything you need to get started, and the Tenkara Rod Co. The Teton Zoom Package offers a zoom feature for added versatility.

Our Top 2 Favourite

1. Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod

With its lightweight design and versatile features, the Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod is a must-have for backpacking in 2024. This popular tenkara rod is perfect for anglers of all skill levels, offering exceptional performance and user-friendly features.

Its triple-zoom functionality and keep-your-plug system make it a great choice for adapting to various fishing conditions. Weighing just 2.9oz and measuring 31 x 3 x 3 inches, this rod is ultra-compact and easy to pack for your backpacking trips.

Whether you’re after large fish or enjoying the thrill of catching smaller ones, the SATO™ Rod is up to the task. With its three adjustable lengths, you can easily switch between shorter rods for tighter streams and longer rods for larger streams.

This rod also features a carbon fiber material for durability and strength without compromising on its lightweight nature. Plus, the ethylene vinyl acetate handle provides a comfortable grip during long days on the water.

The Tenkara Care® Guarantee and full lifetime warranty assure the rod’s quality, giving you peace of mind. With its sleek black color, this rod looks stylish and adds a great touch to your fishing gear. It has scored highly in the Best Sellers list for fly fishing rods, showing its worth among anglers.

If you’re looking for a versatile and lightweight rod for your backpacking trips, the Tenkara USA Fly Fishing SATO™ Rod is the perfect choice. It’s suitable for all skill levels and it won’t weigh you down as you traverse through rugged terrains.

Plus, its triple-zoom feature and keep-your-plug system make it a great companion for exploring the great outdoors. Trust in the Tenkara Care® Guarantee and full lifetime warranty to ensure your satisfaction with this high-quality rod.

2. DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12′ Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod

I’ve been fishing for years, but I never expected to find such a great rod at such an affordable price. The DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 is a lightweight and versatile rod that is perfect for anglers of all skill levels.

It’s made of IM 10 graphite, which is strong, reliable, and lightweight. You can tell just by holding it that it’s a quality rod, but it’s also priced lower than many of its competitors.

The DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 is a complete package and includes soft hackle flies, a Moonlit line, a tippet, an EVA foam line holder, a storage tube, and a rod sock. Setting it up is a breeze and takes less than 3 minutes. Plus, you don’t need any expensive fly fishing gear.

With its 12 ft length and 2.9 oz weight, this rod offers a soft casting action that’s great for natural and accurate casts. The handle is designed for comfort and control, so you can keep fishing all day without your hand getting tired.

The matte black color helps to reduce sun reflection and avoids alerting any fish.

The DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 is designed for mid-sized fish, but it can also handle larger fish with a longer line. It’s also incredibly portable since it collapses down to 23.25 inches. So, you can take it backpacking or on any fishing adventure with ease.

Overall, the DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 is an amazing rod for the price. It’s a high-quality and affordable rod that allows you to enjoy a hassle-free fishing experience.

Whether you’re an angler looking to get started or an experienced fisherman, this rod is perfect for your needs. If you’re looking for a rod that’s lightweight, versatile, and reliable, then the DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 is worth checking out.

3. DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender

Ready for an ultra-lightweight and versatile tenkara rod that can handle bigger fish? Look no further than the DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom. Constructed with IM 12 carbon graphite, this rod delivers a powerful yet featherweight experience.

With its 7:3 action, it’s designed to tackle 16-22 range fish – whether that’s bass, fat rainbows, brown trout, or some other lunker.

Set up in less than three minutes with the quick setup feature, and the telescopic zoom function lets you adjust to different waters. Plus, it collapses to 24’ and weighs in at just 3.4oz for backpacking ease.

I’ve used the Hellbender extensively, and I can vouch for its performance and durability. It handles 2 to 3-pound carp with ease and is surprisingly easy to cast once you get the hang of it. Plus, the fit and finish of this rod is beautiful – it feels like a one-piece rod when extended.

I’ve experienced a few minor issues, such as line bunching, but nothing that can’t be fixed with some practice. This rod has held up well in different fishing conditions, and I’m excited to see what more it can do.

In comparison to other tenkara rods, the DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom is a clear winner. Its high-grade construction, compact size, and ability to handle bigger fish make it a fantastic choice for anglers.

Plus, with fast shipping and a protective tube and rod sock included, you don’t have to worry about your rod arriving safely.

All in all, this is an excellent backup rod to Tenkara USA rods, and I highly recommend the Hellbender for your next fishing adventure.

So if you’re looking for a tenkara rod that is lightweight, versatile, and can tackle bigger fish, the DRAGONtail Tenkara Hellbender Zoom is a perfect choice.

See also👉Best Freshwater Spinning Rods

4. Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod

Are you in market for a lightweight, versatile fly fishing rod package? Look no further than the Tenkara Sawtooth by Tenkara Rod Co.! This package has everything the avid angler needs to get out on the water and start fly fishing with tenkara.

What makes the Sawtooth stand out from the competition? Let me tell you!

The Sawtooth is an incredibly light rod, weighing in at only 3.2 ounces. It has a 12-foot (360 cm) length with 9 segments and a foam handle with a split grip design – perfect for a comfortable and secure hold. This makes it ideal for backpacking trips, as it won’t weigh you down.

The package also includes:

  • A 10.5-foot orange line made by Tenkara Rod Co., which is designed specifically for tenkara rods. The line is non-tapered and features a single-strand construction with a 3mm nickel alloy tippet ring. The line spool is made with a foam core, allowing the line to float and dry quickly, and it has notches for attaching flies.
  • 3 hand tied flies
  • A 30-meter spool of 5x tippet made by Rio.

I appreciate that the package includes everything I need to start with tenkara fly fishing immediately.

What’s more, the Sawtooth is made in the United States with high quality and craftsmanship. It’s highly rated by customers with a 4.3 out of 5-star rating. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fly fisherman, the Tenkara Sawtooth is a great choice for backpacking in 2024.

So, if you’re looking for a lightweight and versatile fly fishing rod package, then the Tenkara Sawtooth is the perfect choice for you.

5. Tenkara Rod Co. The Teton Zoom Package

Are you ready to take your fly fishing to the next level? Look no further than the Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Zoom Package – the ultimate fishing companion for any angler.

This all-in-one rod is adjustable, giving you the option to fish at 10.5ft (320cm) or 12ft (360cm) depending on your preference. With its slim 23-inch collapsed length, you’ll have no trouble storing or transporting this lightweight 3.5 oz rod. Plus, the 6:4 action provides a perfect balance between sensitivity and power.

The Teton Zoom Package comes with everything you need to get started. A rod tube, rod sock, 13 ft hand-furled Tenkara line, 3 Tenkara flies, wood line holder, and a spool of 30m 4x tippet from RIO are all included.

Plus, the Teton Zoom has a lifetime warranty, so you know you’re getting a reliable rod crafted with a wooden handle for a comfortable grip. At 29.51 x 5.5 x 1.9 inches and 0.59 kg, it’s perfect for adults.

The reviews are in, and the Teton Zoom package is a hit! With a 5.0 out of 5 stars from 6 customers, people are raving about this rod’s versatility and convenience. Not to mention, it compares very favorably to similar models on the market.

It’s easy to see why this package has been so popular – it’s the perfect blend of convenience, quality, and power. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, the Teton Zoom package has something to offer everyone. So don’t miss out – get your hands on the Teton Zoom package and experience the thrill of fly fishing today!

Factors to Consider When Buying Tenkara Rods for Backpacking

The action of the rod and its influence on the casting ability

When considering which tenkara rod to buy for backpacking, there are several key factors to keep in mind. First, the weight of the rod is crucial since you’ll be carrying it along with your other gear. Look for a lightweight option that won’t weigh you down on the trail.

Additionally, the length of the rod is important as it determines the reach and versatility of your fishing experience. Consider the fishing conditions you’ll encounter and choose a length that suits your needs.

Lastly, packability is key for backpacking, so look for a rod that can collapse into a compact size for easy storage in your backpack. Other factors to consider include the material of the rod and its flexibility, which can affect its durability and performance.


With a feather-light construction, these tenkara rods are a hiker’s dream, allowing you to effortlessly traverse rugged terrains without sacrificing performance.

When it comes to backpacking, weight is a crucial factor to consider. The best tenkara rods for backpacking prioritize ultralight designs, ensuring that they won’t weigh you down on long treks. Despite their lightness, these rods maintain durability, thanks to advanced materials and construction techniques.

Their compactness also adds to their backpacking appeal, easily fitting into your pack without taking up too much space. Additionally, these rods strike a perfect balance between weight and sensitivity, allowing you to feel even the subtlest of nibbles.

So, whether you’re hiking through rocky trails or scaling mountain peaks, these tenkara rods will be your trusty companions, offering exceptional performance without adding unnecessary weight to your backpack.


You’ll love the versatility of these tenkara rods due to their varying lengths, allowing you to effortlessly adapt to different fishing conditions and environments.

The length of a tenkara rod plays a crucial role in determining its casting distance, maneuverability, and compactness. Shorter rods, typically around 8 to 10 feet, are ideal for tight streams and small rivers where precision and accuracy are key. They offer excellent maneuverability and allow you to easily navigate through densely vegetated areas.

On the other hand, longer rods, typically around 11 to 13 feet, provide increased casting distance, making them perfect for larger rivers and lakes. They offer better line control and allow you to reach fish that are farther away.

When it comes to versatility, a tenkara rod with an adjustable length feature gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to customize the rod’s length based on your fishing needs.


Don’t forget to consider the packability of these tenkara rods, as they allow for easy transportation and convenience while on your fishing adventures.

When choosing a rod for backpacking, portability is key. You want a rod that is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry in your backpack without adding unnecessary bulk.

Look for collapsible rods, as they can be folded down to a smaller size, saving precious space in your pack.

The best tenkara rods for backpacking are designed to be space-saving, allowing you to bring along all your essential gear without sacrificing comfort or maneuverability.

So, whether you’re trekking through rugged terrain or exploring remote fishing spots, a packable tenkara rod will be your trusted companion.

Rod material

When considering a tenkara rod for your backpacking adventures, it’s essential to take into account the material of the rod. The material of a tenkara rod can greatly affect its durability and performance.

There are three main types of materials used for tenkara rods: carbon fiber, fiberglass, and graphite.

The advantages of carbon fiber rods include their lightweight nature, which makes them perfect for backpacking, and their high strength-to-weight ratio, which ensures durability. They also provide excellent sensitivity, allowing for precise control while casting.

Fiberglass rods, on the other hand, are known for their flexibility, making them ideal for fishing in small streams and delicate presentations. They are also more affordable compared to carbon fiber rods.

Graphite rods offer a combination of lightweight design, strength, and flexibility, making them a popular choice among tenkara enthusiasts. They provide good sensitivity and are often more affordable than carbon fiber rods.

However, it’s important to note that carbon fiber rods can be more prone to breakage compared to fiberglass or graphite rods. Fiberglass rods may not offer the same level of sensitivity as carbon fiber or graphite rods. Graphite rods can be more expensive than fiberglass rods.

Ultimately, the choice of rod material depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the type of water you’ll be fishing in, the level of sensitivity required, and your budget when making your decision.


Now that you understand the importance of the material in a tenkara rod, let’s delve into the next crucial factor: flexibility.

The flexibility of a rod determines its ability to cast accurately and effectively. A flexible rod allows for delicate presentations, making it easier to land your fly exactly where you want it. On the other hand, a stiffer rod provides more power and control, ideal for longer casts and landing larger fish.

It’s important to consider your fishing style and preferences when choosing the flexibility of your tenkara rod. To get the most out of your rod, it’s recommended to learn different casting techniques and best practices. Additionally, regular maintenance will ensure your rod’s longevity and performance.

Some recommended accessories include a rod case or sleeve for protection, spare tip sections, and a line holder for convenient storage.


The action of a tenkara rod adds an alluring allure to your angling experience, allowing for effortless and exquisite casts. Different rod actions provide varying levels of flexibility and control, catering to different casting techniques and fishing scenarios.

A fast-action rod offers quick and powerful casts, ideal for long-distance casting and windy conditions. On the other hand, a slow-action rod provides a delicate and precise presentation, perfect for small streams and stealthy approaches.

The action of the rod also affects line control, allowing you to manipulate the line for accurate drifts and subtle presentations. Additionally, responsive action is crucial for effective hook setting, ensuring a solid connection with the fish.

Finally, the action plays a role in playing the fish, providing the right amount of sensitivity and power to handle different sizes and species. Consider your fishing style and target species when choosing the action of your tenkara rod.


If you’re looking to make a savvy investment in your fishing gear, consider the price of a tenkara rod, as it can range from budget-friendly options to high-end models with advanced features. When it comes to choosing the best tenkara rod for backpacking in 2024, there are various price points to consider.

Here are three options to help you find the right fit:

  • Budget-Friendly Options: These rods offer great value for money without breaking the bank. They may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, but they still provide a reliable and enjoyable fishing experience.
  • High-End Choices: For those willing to invest in top-of-the-line equipment, high-end tenkara rods offer superior performance and durability. These rods often come with advanced features and are built to withstand the rigors of backpacking.
  • Cost-Effective Picks: If you’re looking for affordable alternatives that still deliver quality, there are plenty of mid-range options available. These rods strike a balance between price and performance, making them a popular choice for backpacking anglers.

No matter your budget, there is a tenkara rod out there that will meet your needs and enhance your backpacking fishing experience.


Consider the warranty offered by different manufacturers, as it can serve as a safety net for any unforeseen damages or defects that may arise during your fishing adventures. When it comes to the best tenkara rods for backpacking, having a reliable warranty is crucial.

One of the pros of a good warranty is that it provides peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered in case of any issues with your rod. It also speaks to the manufacturer’s confidence in the durability of their product.

Customer reviews can help determine the quality of a warranty, as they often mention the level of customer service provided by the manufacturer.

Additionally, some companies offer extended warranties, which can further protect your investment.

Considering all these factors will help you make an informed decision when choosing a tenkara rod for your backpacking adventures.


In conclusion, choosing the right tenkara rod for your backpacking adventures is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. With our expert buying guide, you can confidently select from the top 5 best tenkara rods available.

Consider factors such as weight, length, and durability to make an informed decision. For example, imagine hiking to a remote mountain stream, casting your lightweight tenkara rod effortlessly, and landing a beautiful trout in crystal-clear water.

The right rod can make all the difference in creating lasting memories in the great outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can tenkara rods be used for fishing in saltwater environments?

Yes, tenkara rods can be used for fishing in saltwater environments. Saltwater fly fishing techniques can be adapted for tenkara rods, and there are various saltwater fishing spots for tenkara enthusiasts.

However, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using tenkara rods in saltwater fishing, as well as tips for adapting tenkara techniques for the saltwater environment.

Additionally, certain saltwater fly patterns are recommended for tenkara fishing in saltwater.

How do I properly clean and maintain a tenkara rod?

To properly clean and maintain your tenkara rod, start by using cleaning techniques like wiping it down with a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Recommended cleaning products include mild dish soap.

Common maintenance issues include checking for any signs of damage or wear. Proper storage methods involve storing it in a rod sock or tube to protect it from dust and debris.

Regular maintenance has the benefits of extending the lifespan of your rod and ensuring optimal performance on your fishing trips.

Are tenkara rods suitable for fishing in fast-moving rivers and streams?

Tenkara rods are suitable for fishing in fast-moving rivers and streams. The advantages include their simplicity and lightweight design, making them easy to maneuver.

However, their limited casting distance may be a disadvantage. Techniques, best locations, and safety precautions vary depending on the specific water conditions.

What is the average lifespan of a tenkara rod?

On average, a tenkara rod can last for several years with proper care and maintenance. To ensure its durability, regularly clean and dry the rod, avoid excessive force, and be gentle when assembling or disassembling. Replacement parts are available if needed.

Can tenkara rods be used for fly fishing in addition to traditional bait fishing?

Tenkara rods can be used for fly fishing in addition to traditional bait fishing, making them versatile options for different fishing styles.

Compared to traditional fly rods, tenkara rods offer unique advantages and are considered game changers in the world of fly fishing. Beginners can benefit from tips on using tenkara rods for fly fishing.

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