TenkaraBum Traveler

The TenkaraBum Traveler isn't what most people think of when they think of a travel rod. Most think a travel rod is one that packs down to a very short length - something that is extremely easy to pack and fits about anywhere. Rods that pack down to very short lengths are either very stiff (Daiwa Keiryu-X), very delicate (Nissin Pocket Mini) or very expensive (Tenryu TF39TA).

I don't think that's what you really want in a travel rod. My idea of a travel rod is one that is easy enough to pack - for example, fitting into a carry-on bag - but that is so versatile you could use it anywhere. You can pack one rod instead of three.

Angler holding cutthroat trout and TenkaraBum Traveler 39TenkaraBum Traveler 39 (Chris C photo)

There have been three-position zoom rods in the US for years now, starting with the Suntech Field Master. The best one (or rather, the best that isn't really quite expensive) was the Suntech GM Suikei Keiryu Special.

I have a special feeling for the Keiryu Special. It had already been discontinued when I first learned of it and I was able to import just a handful of them - what turned out to be the very last ones available. I loved the rod, though, as did the few people who were able to buy one.

Luckily, I was able to persuade Suntech to bring it back - and to give me exclusive rights to it. The Keiryu Special sold well and now has a legion of fans, including Tom Davis of Teton Tenkara, who once wrote that it was his favorite travel rod.

That set off a light bulb!

It truly was a wonderful travel rod - not for its collapsed length but for its versatility. With one rod you could fish about anywhere, from overgrown brookie streams in the Appalachians to the Madison River in Montana.

View through the windshield of a narrow, dirt road. No shoulder and steep drop.

If this is what you see when you go fishing, steep hillside to the right, sharp drop-off to the left, one lane dirt road with trucks coming the other way, but wild cutthroats in the valley below, TenkaraBum Traveler is your rod!

The TenkaraBum Traveler series of rods are renamed, rebranded, repainted GM Suikei Keiryu Specials. The rod was too good to change but that name was too much of a mouthful! The new paint matches the graphic design of the TenkaraBum 33, 36 and 40 - solidifying the links between the all of the rods.

And like the TenkaraBum tenkara rods, the Traveler series will be great rods for wets, dries, weighted nymphs and even ultralight worm fishing.

Detail of fancy highlight at section ends.
TENBUM logo on grip

The Traveler rods have the same accents between sections and have the same TENBUM logo as the TenkaraBum tenkara rods.

TenkaraBum Traveler Grip with Designed & Engineered by SUNTECH written on it

There are differences, of course. The TenkaraBum 33, 36 and 40 have a hard EVA foam "tenkara" grip. The Traveler rods have a smooth nonskid "keiryu" grip, which is just a wider section of the blank itself. It is smaller in diameter, but it provides unmatched sensitivity.

End of grip section with 32<36<39 written on it.

Like the GM Suikei Keiryu Special 39 and 44, the TenkaraBum Traveler 39 and 44 rods are three position zoom rods, with the 39 giving you the option to fish it at 3.2, 3.6 or 3.9 meter lengths. The  44 can be fished at 3.6, 4.0 and 4.4 meter lengths.

The zooming sections are held very securely when retracted. When either extending or collapsing the zooming sections, it will help immensely to twist them to either fully seat them or to unseat them. The butt ends of the zooming sections slide over O rings on the grip screw cap, and the twist helps to get them on or off the O rings. If the zooming section feels a bit loose when collapsed, it is not fully seated on the O ring.

Angler holding nice rainbow trout above his net

The following photos are of fish taken with the Keiryu Special rods. Because the blanks are the same, the TenkaraBum Traveler rods will be just as capable.

Angler holding nice brown trout in the water
Angler in boat holding nice smallmouth bass
Angler holding large rainbow trout
Angler holding small brown trout

The stats are actually slightly different, though. At each length, the TenkaraBum Traveler measures about an inch longer than the Keiryu Special. The Penny measurements are slightly lower on the TenkaraBum Traveler. I think there is a slight difference in the grip shape, and that may have affected my attempts to get the rods perfectly level before adding the pennies. Also, the grip may be slightly more flexible on the TenkaraBum Traveler compared to the Keiryu Special. The differences, although measurable, may not be noticeable when you are casting your fly or landing your fish.

Suntech TenkaraBum Traveler 39

Length - 10'6", 11'9", 12'11"
Length (collapsed) - 21 1/8"
Weight (with Fuji cap) - 2.4 oz
Weight (without Fuji cap) - 2.1 oz
Sections - 9
Tip Diameter - .6mm
Butt Diameter - 19.5 mm
Tippet* - 9X - 6X
Pennies 17, 18.5, 19

TenkaraBum Traveler 39 - $200

Suntech TenkaraBum Traveler 44

Length - 11'11", 13'3", 14'5"
Length (collapsed) - 21 1/8"
Weight (with Fuji cap) - 2.9 oz
Weight (without Fuji cap) - 2.6 oz
Sections - 10
Tip Diameter - .6mm
Butt Diameter - 21.5 mm
Tippet* - 9X - 6X
Pennies 18, 19, 20

TenkaraBum Traveler 44 - $215

Rods made in Japan.

If you are looking for a rod shorter than the 10' 6" setting of the TenkaraBum Traveler 39, please consider the TenkaraBum Traveler 27. If you are looking for a rod longer than the 14' 5" setting of the TenkaraBum Traveler 44, please consider the Keiryu Sawanobori 53.

*The tippet recommendations are a guide, not a guarantee that the tippet will break before the rod does.


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Please note: All packages are shipped via USPS. If you have a PO Box, please list ONLY the PO Box in your address, not the PO Box and your street address.

If you live in an apartment, please put the apartment number in the same box as the street address (as in 123 Main St. Apt 45).

Please do not put anything in the box for "Company" if it isn't absolutely necessary. Not "self", not "none" not "--". It wastes your time to put it in and it wastes my time to take it back out. Please just leave it blank.

International Shipments

The charge for international shipping depends on the destination country, the weight of the package, the overall length of the package and the value of the package. Packages under 24" long and under $400 in value will go via USPS First Class International. Packages over 24" or over $400 will go via USPS Priority Mail International. The international shipping charge will be calculated at checkout.

International purchases may be subject to import duties and taxes. I cannot keep track of all import regulations in all countries written in all languages. Understanding and paying import duties and taxes is the responsibility of the buyer.

Regrettably, TenkaraBum.com no longer exports to the UK. The sales volume does not justify the time and expense required to collect and remit the Value Added Tax.

The US Postal Service (USPS) has suspended all service to Australia. UPS will ship to Australia but the charge is roughly twice as much as that shown at checkout, which is based on the USPS charges. I will send an invoice for the additional shipping charge.

TenkaraBum Home > Rods > TenkaraBum Traveler

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

Beware of the Dogma

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The GM Keiryu Special 39 [direct predecessor to the Traveler 39] is still my choice as a traveler rod.

Congratulations on the rebranding of this excellent and most functional line of rods!

Tom D, Idaho

My son got his hands on my Keiryu Special 44 (now the TenkaraBum Traveler 44), and it rekindled his interest in fishing.  I never thought he would take the initiative to go fishing on his own, but he often fishes the 44 on the pond near his house.  He loves this rod!  For the first time, he asks, "When are we going fishing again, Dad?  This rod has him excited about fishing!  Words can't express how happy it has made his Dad!

Les A, Idaho

Brown trout in the net

The 39 and 44 were so much fun and  effective I never got to the spin rod. Sorry. Landed several in the 13/14” range with no problem.

William H, Georgia

I have man handled upper teen trout in fast current in South America. That rod [Keiryu Special 44] is no joke.
Adam R, New York

Angler holding golden trout

Thanks for all the help Chris! The trip was awesome! Caught literally hundreds of trout, including some nice sized Goldens and a few 16-18" Brown Trout.

Joey J, Arizona

Thanks for the recommendation on the Traveler 39. Really enjoying this rod’s versatility.

Peter M, North Carolina

The Swiss Army Knife of rods.

Kyle Q, North Carolina

Angler holding cutthroat trout

This is a picture of the first fish I caught with tenkara, a cutthroat. In the place I had been skunked for years with a western fly rod it took literally 10 minutes on my lunch break to find success with tenkara.  

John H, Washington

Angler showing off first catch.

Here’s a pic of my first catch in Spearfish, SD!
I am totally smitten! Thanks for all the help and resources in getting started in Tenkara.  

Liz H, Texas

I have every rod sold by [a competitor] which I no longer use and plan to sell. At last count I have purchased 6 rods from you and have come to the conclusion that for me and where I fish, central and western parts of Virginia on stocked streams, that the TenkaraBum Traveler 44 is by far the most versatile and adaptable. From wets to dries to nymphs with level, furled and tapered lines it does it all. Congratulations!!

Frank P, Virginia