"Putting your rod on the outside of your pack is an easy way to trash the rod, especially if you push through some branches."
Yeah, I pretty much agree ater trashing three rods like this in about 30 years. I never do that with fly rods. A colapsible pack rod is slightly awkward to set up and doesn't have the smoothest action, but at least it is airly safe.
For shorter UL rods and trout gear along those lines, I generally just rubber band them together with the tip and handle firmly tied together. I think this was mentioned, already. I use my compression cord to hold it on the side of my pack. On three hard hikes I lost three poles. Mostly this was bushwacking into a smaller pond. So, it is not an infallible methode. Mostly, the loss was time. Parts were easy on my pocket book since these were made from tips purchased from a distributor that had several damaged blanks one time. Corks, grips and eyes were not all that expensive. What bothered me about it was the loss of use of the rod that trip.