I'm always on the lookout for interesting multi-purpose designs in backpacking gear and when I came across the Patron Pole, I had one of those "why didn't think of that" moments.
The Patron pole offers a simple solution for those who want to bring their 2-piece fly rods with them on a backpacking trip. If you've ever tried to carry a 2-piece fly rod in your backpack, you know it doesn't really work. It sticks out so far above the pack that it easily gets snagged in tree limbs, running the risk of losing--or worse--breaking your rod.
The Patron Pole is hiking staff that solves this problem. It's a hollow, powder coated aluminum tube that doubles as a fly rod "case". Simply unscrew the cap, slide in your 2-piece rod, close it, and your fly rod is completely protected while giving you a nice hiking/wading staff at the same time.
The tip of the Parton Pole can be easily switched out with different tips (they even offer a snow basket option).
- Solid, near indestructible construction to give your rod maximum protection and on-trail/in-stream stability
- It floats so you won't lose your rod and hiking staff if you drop it in the river!
- It's multi-use: hiking staff, wading staff, rod case (maybe bear defense too?)
What I'd change
- The cap is plastic and is a little bulky. I'd like to see a smaller aluminum one and maybe add a multi-use function to it like a built in compass or camera mount to turn it into a mono-pod.
- The powder coated finish looks great and is durable but it can get slippery when wet. I'd add either some kind of knurling or wrap to improve the grip in wet conditions.
Overall, this is a very clever design and I have to give kudos to the inventor, Tim McCabe. The Patron pole isn't for everyone. Some people prefer trekking poles to hiking staffs, already have pack rods, etc. But if you've already got a lot of money in a bunch of 2-piece rods that you might want to take on a backpacking trip, then it will save you a lot of money by not having to replace them all with pack rods.
The Patron Pole comes in different sizes to accommodate different length fly rods and weighs in at less than a pound.
To learn more and see a video, visit the Patron Pole website.