my expensive Diawa Presso rod snapped in half on my last trip. it was 4oz, four piece, fit in my pack, and was graphite. on the other hand, it was $80, with a 6lb max line rating, and it broke with that line.
i'd like anothe four piece, as all the telescopes seem really cheap. maybe get a rod that can handle up to 12lb line, yet doesn't come in too heavy on the trail?
Line rating typically does not have to do with the strength of the rod, but stiffness. A lower line rating will be more flexible. If you are fishing for small fish, you need that flexibility to fling out really light lures. With a stiff rod it is difficult to fling out the smallest lures.
If you want a stiffer rod, then a cheap telescoping rod might work fine.
When I was looking to replace my section pole (I lost the top section :(), my thinking was similar to yours: all of the telescoping poles are cheap pieces of junk. I did however find a high end telescoping pole and ended up buying it. I'm not the world's expert on fishing but I think it is a nice rod. It is made by a German company: Balzar. A fishing shop in Pennsylvania importants them and sell in the US: http://www.psfishing.com/
Most of the rods are pretty long, but I was able to find a couple that are more appropriate for backpacking. The one I got is just over 6 feet and I think they might have a a couple that are even smaller.
those look super high quality. tho possibly too heavy for my little lake trout in CA. i suppose i want cheap\strong\light, and like everything else, we have to pick two
the fiblink i mentioned is pretty stiff, more of a bass rod, but ultumately 4.5oz. (10oz with reel, 16oz with case). i really liked that diawa presso, but if it breaks in half, its a non starter. maybe something just a bit stronger?
at this point im still looking! (and probably always will be)