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Gear for the Fly Fishing Road Trip

Spring is here and it’s time to pack up and get out of town for a few days to chase trout across the Blue Ridge. Make sure you have the right stuff for that much needed excursion with our top equipment and apparel picks.

Foundation Outfit 590-4

You are likely to encounter a ton of different conditions on a fly fishing road trip—from big water to tight creeks—and we suggest simplifying your gear down to one do-it-all kit. This impressive package can handle a wide range of situations and delivers you high-end Sage equipment at a decent price. The key is the fast-action graphite Foundation 590-4 rod, which has the backbone to pull streamers and enough finesse to place small dries. Top it off with a smooth Spectrum C 5/6 reel and Rio Gold fly line and you are ready to catch trout. $650;

Pro Insulated Shirt Jacket

This comfy shacket pulls double duty on a big road trip: Use it as your day-to-day layer when you are exploring local trails or wear it on cold days on the water. Washable nylon and a thin layer of PrimaLoft insulation keep it just cozy enough to cut a stiff wind, but it’s not so bulky that you won’t want to wear it to the bar. Plus, it packs down into a built-in stuff sack. $198;

Compass 360 by SJK
Tailwater STFT Wader

This up-and-coming brand Slumberjack impressed us with these tough, extremely functional stocking-foot that ring in at a nice price. They kept the water out and proved plenty breathable during a full day casting for risers in up-and-down temperatures. Plus, the roomy front pocket held two fully loaded fly boxes, tippet, and snacks. $200;

River Ops

We had just gotten our hands on these burly, functional wading boots when we reviewed them last March, and after a full year of beating on them we can safely say they are solid performers—both on the water and on the approach. They are easy to batten down and don’t get waterlogged during a full day of casting, but what we like best is how they can take on a stiff scramble down to the stream. Credit that performance to the OmniTrax sole that grips both wet rocks and the trail. Want something more refined for the stream? Just switch it out to one of Korkers’ specialized felt or sticky soles. $260;

Tough Tested

As far as we are concerned, this simple all-in-one device is mandatory road trip gear. The handy Phoenix will jumpstart a dead battery and pump up your tires—a godsend when something goes wrong at an isolated trailhead (or even a sketchy rest area). Want more? It will also charge your phone and includes a built-in LED light. Leave it in your vehicle and worry less on the road. $160;


Here’s a simple solution that transforms any place you pull over into a basecamp. This 8-pound, water-resistant portable awning packs down to the size of a camp chair to store in your vehicle and then pops out and attaches via suction cups to your ride to provide shade and shelter where you can tie flies, drink beer, or just enjoy the beauty of a day. $350;


The sleek Go is the answer for those of us who want a camper but either don’t have the space or don’t want to deal with the hassle of a big rig. The pop-up trailer is a nifty gear hauler when collapsed, with space for bikes, boats, rods, skis, and baggage. Pull over anywhere you want to camp and it morphs into a surprisingly spacious waterproof tent that sleeps a family of four and even includes a pull-down table for meals or long games of cards. It’s the ultimate road trip hauler for multiple-sport adventurers. Pricing depends on extra package options. $10,995–$13,995; 

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