BUYER'S GUIDE: Carp rod holdalls [VIDEO]

No other item of luggage is so specific to fishing as the rod holdall.

Any old rucksack or carryall will do for lugging tackle, bait and food, but if you want to carry multiple rods with any efficiency then you need one of these padded tubes.

Size, weight and capacity all determine the price of these holdalls, so we’ve rounded up a varied selection to give you a guide to the market. 

What to look for

Quiver or holdall

A quiver holds its load externally, reducing weight and making access easier, but at the expense of protection. A holdhall cocoons your rods inside, but this can make them bulky and unwieldy.

Rod capacity

Some holdhalls may boast of a ‘six-rod capacity’, but you may only get reels on half of those, so do check whether the capacity refers to rods alone, or rods and reels combined.

External pockets

Just as important as internal capacity, have a look at the holdall’s ability to be used for carrying other gear like nets and banksticks. We particularly like holdalls with lead pouches, so you can store them easily between sessions.

Wychwood System Select 5-rod quiver


Now this is a neat design at an affordable price.

With a quiver your rods are open to the elements, but that also makes them easier to access and the whole bundle less bulky. Wychwood’s take on the quiver has clearly been well thought through.

The main internal compartment is cavernous and will easily take a shelter, rolled-up unhooking mat or a collection of longer items.

The roll-down top is also a great idea to protect the contents from rain.

The textured water-resistant base is a good addition and the chunky buckles, strap and grab handles make this a mobile angler’s dream.

JRC Defender Holdall (3+3)


In a field of innovative design, this JRC offering is definitely harking back to the old school. And that’s no bad thing.

Drawstring rod fastenings, a metal spine and a six-rod capacity (three made up, three without reels) are all you really need at this wallet-friendly price.

The external pockets are the biggest on test, too.

Sadly, the padding isn’t so substantial and the main zip feels like it should be chunkier.

 TF Gear Survivor 3-Rod Holdall


Priced at the lower end of the holdalls on test here, this new TFG offering looks and feels like it should cost a lot more.

It’s well designed with a flared top end to accommodate 50mm butt rings and the zips, padding and overall build quality are excellent.

Externally, there’s a pocket for a landing-net pole and a very handy lead pouch on one side, with a wider single pocket on the other.

The shoulder strap is comfortable, though the clasps are a little shiny for some carpers’ tastes.

Grab handles at either end for car loading are also sadly missing, but we’d happily own this one.

Solar SP 3+2 Rod Sleeve


What you instantly notice about this product is the tough, heavyweight nature of the outer material.

It’s classic Solar and feels reassuringly rugged with a waxy texture that will repel rain.

Inside, the padding is good but this is still a compact design with no extra recesses for 50mm butt rings.

The fixtures and zips all have a built-to-last quality about them, but the main zip stops just short of the tip of the holdall which slightly impedes access.

The external pockets are simple but versatile, with a mixture of Velcro and clip fastenings to take nets, poles or even a brolly. For the price, this feels as solid as they come.

Kodex Karp Lokker HR3 Padded Rod Holdall


Unlike most holdalls here, this one cleverly opens along the ‘back’, giving easy access and secure storage.

Each compartment is individually zipped so you can grab a single rod without opening all of your kit to the elements.

The padding is decent but this is quite a compact design so massive reels might be a tight squeeze and there’s no extra protection for 50mm butt rings.

However, this is a lightweight holdall which is easy to maneouvre and carry for extended periods.

On the outside there’s just a single Velcro mounting point for your net and handle, or a fourth rod.

A lead pouch would have been a great addition here.

Cotswold Aquarius 2/3 Rod Trident Holdall


The only holdall on test made in Britain, there’s a real air of quality about CA’s Trident.

The double external zip is easy to get into, revealing a beautifully padded interior.

The reel compartment is truly massive, meaning even the biggest of big-pit reels can be accommodated safely.

The middle rod can be zipped away for extra security and the external storage is just as impressive.

One side boasts a large strap for holding nets or a brolly, while the other side has an open-topped pouch and a bankstick pocket.

Our only wish would be for a lead pouch, but this is a lovely piece of craftmanship nonetheless. 

Carp Spirit 12ft 3+2 Rod Holdall


The most expensive holdall on test is easily the toughest. It feels like an armoured vehicle, with tortoise-shell-like hard cavities for your reels and all-round rugged feel.

You could store most of your terminal tackle in the rectangular external pocket on one side, plus banksticks and nets on the other and sumptuous neoprene grab handles for maneouverability.

The interior is luxuriously padded, beautifully stitched and seriously spacious, with enough room for eight rods in total.

The downside? It’s very heavy even unloaded.

This is definitely an on-the-barrow rather than an over-the-shoulder job – but your precious rods and reels won’t feel a thing.