A friend of mine who is fairly new to flyfishing wants me to hiking in and camping somewhere in Vt. He hasn't disclosed where to me yet. I was wondering the best way to carry the rod, whether it be in a tube or a bag. Can you use any type of backpack?
Assuming you've got a 4pc rod, I would keep it in the tube and slide it in the compression straps on the side of the pack, or lash it to the side if you're talking about an external frame pack. The tube adds a little bit of weight, but I'd say the protection is worth it.
For fly fishing the internal pack is very comfortable. You can get them to fit your body and work quite well. You need to decide if you want to use it for weekend trips or week long trips. With weekend trips you can get by with a smaller pack. There are some packs that are made for fly fishers with front packs for your fishing flies and gear. They may be more expensive than a standard pack. If you have a conventional pack just take a small chest pack for you fly gear. The smaller the better. If you use your pack for hunting, then an external frame would be my choice.
The most important piece of gear you will need on the trip is your walking boots and a first aid kit. Make sure you have a pair of side cutters in case you get hooked.
I'll have to disagree with Big Cliff on the rod tube. When hiking and especially when backpacking, eliminating weight is the way to enjoy your trip. With an external pack frame you can secure your four-piece rod to the frame. Know which side it's on so you cam protect it as you take your pack off. (Keep the frame in the cloth sleave, however, so it won't snag on the guides.)
Either don't wade or use some light weight sandles. Decide on which flies you'll be using and consolidate into one fly box. You'll want a compass, water proof matches, space blanket, knife, etc., but ditch the toys. (A light water purifier adds a lb., but I always take it; water will keep you alive, but bad water...and it's all bad...will make you sick.)
Even with the first aid kit, strip it down to one trip's supply of what you really might need and use. (My wife's a physician, so we keep a really elaborate, somewhat heavy kit...back at the car.)
Backpacker magazine puts out an issue this time of year on light weight equipment, and it's worth a glance for ideas even if you're not re-outfitting.
And definitely keep the "buddy." I wouldn't always want to camp and fish, but it's a great feeling to be outdoors, exploring a stream, away from the clutter and clatter of our usual routines.
We're all in the same boat. We all come 'ere and we don't know why. We all go in our turn and we don't know where. If you are a bit better off, be thankful. And if you don't get into trouble an' make a fool of yourself, well, be thankful for that,'cos you easily might.--J.B.Priestley
Thank you for the advise, I'm starting all this from scratch. All I have is a day pack now. I have a allright first aid kit. I work as a paramedic and am in the process of joining a search and rescue team. Our whole plan is to try and get into areas that aren't to pressured for trout.
If you're buying a pack it's best to get it from a local store where you can get it properly fitted and adjusted to your body. Load distribution is the key to hikiing with a pack. Properly adjusted, you should be able to carry a 45lb pack no problem. If it's not properly adjusted, a 25lb pack will wear you out really fast. Any decent outfitter/camping store should have a knowledgeable sales rep who can help you with this.
Having broken a rod on a backcountry trip, it is NOT worth it to skip out on the rod tube. you can cut weight in other areas if you really need to, but weight is only a major issue on long trips where you have to pack lots of food with you. If you're doing weekend trips you should be able to properly outfit yourself and easily have extra weight capacity for a rod tube - especially if you have a light-weight aluminum tube. The last thing you want is to be miles from the car and break your rod. That will ruin the trip faster than the extra weight from the tube.
If you're carrying more than 15lbs you definitely want a pack with some kind of frame. External frame has an advantage in that you can lash things to the frame easily and carry oddly shaped things by doing so. The drawback is that the weight is not as evenly distributed as it is in an internal frame pack. If you're used to an external frame pack this is no biggie, but the internal is a newer technology and a more advanced design that works better as long as you can fit everything in it. Bottom line, go somewhere that will let you try on different options -preferably with a simulated load - and see what you like.
i wrapped an 8 foot 6 piece 3wt rod for a week-long hike in the sierra a couple of years ago. i don't LIKE to backpack but it afforded me some great access to beautiful streams.
i borrowed an old kelty external frame pack from a buddy. i would HIGHLY recommend trying packs on for size in a knowledgeable shop before purchase. some companies allow for VERY customized fit. i was carrying a heavy bear can (by law), weeklong food supply, camera gear AND heavy palm pilot-like unit with satellite phone gear/stand/etc. lightweight was a mandatory need. pack weighed about 65 lbs and i was NOT conditioned for this trip lol
a buddy lent me one of those thin clear plastic tubes some fly rods come packaged in and i cut it down to my needs (about 16 inches if i remember correctly). it came with black plastic slip on caps and with the rod sock included, provided a very stiff compact package which was easily slid into one of the bottom side pockets of the pack and kept tight against the pack with cinch straps (it actually fit completely into my camelbak day pack too). most of my climbing was from 9,000 to near 11,000 ft elevation in relatively open (but rocky) terrain with a wide trail so bushwacking was not a factor. the storage tube worked out GREAT and was extremely lightweight. it never came even close to hooking into anything (cinched down pretty good and did not extend past the overall backpack much if at all) and even somewhat exhausted jettisoning of pack onto granite during breaks or at the end of the day did not affect it.
if you want to pursue something like this, find someone who has one of those tubes or go to usplastic.com and search for Tenite Tubing and caps (i was told it's the same stuff) and make your own. i'll try the long direct link here:
if you're joining SAR (fulltime/lawenforcement?) you're probably so in-shape, going this tenite route may not be worth it and a traditional tube might be fine. good luck, sounds like fun adventures ahead.
<<if>> you can, try out both styles of packs on trial runs. external and internal. it's a highly personal preference though internal packs are generally pretty nice for off trail scrambling, external for long well-worn trails, but there's plenty of cross-over too depending on design of the pack and you.