Packing a mighty energy punch in one pocket-sized snack, energy bars are an excellent travel companion, especially if you’re heading out into the wilderness for a hike and plan to be out for the whole day, without filling up your pack with bulky fruits and trail mix.
Knowing which bars are good for you and boost your body healthily versus those that sneak in a whole heap of sugar can be tricky, as the advertisement is deceptively convincing - you don’t want to accidentally eat the equivalent of dessert mid-exercise!
After conducting thorough research on the best-tasting, most nourishing options available, we’ve picked out five solid choices for nature enthusiasts to stock up on, with plenty of flavor combinations to suit the whole family (or hiking group!).
Hikers keen to know more about the nutritional value of bars or with specific diets should peruse our clear, concise Buyer’s Guide, breaking down the components of your average bar to consider the best ingredients for a pit stop pick-me-up.
Wondering about something else? Have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section we’ve put together, having gathered consistently-asked customer queries to provide answers you might not even know you need. Happy hiking!
In A Hurry To Head Hiking? Here’s Our Top Pick:
Top 5 Best Energy Bars for Hiking
OUR TOP PICK
Sure to offer a delicious flavor to suit every member of your family or group, we recommend the Ultimate Variety Pack for customers with a hike coming up and no time to make comparisons, providing your body with all the nutrients you’ll need to get through the day.
Each bar is rich in up to 20 grams of dairy-based proteins, 4-6 grams of net carbs and less than 3 grams of sugar, guaranteed, so that you’ll definitely get the energy boost you desire from a healthy source, without a sugar crash to worry about.
Both certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organisation and very much keto-friendly, they’re a suitable choice for those with dietary restrictions and an excellent way for vegetarians to get an easy protein hit.
If you’re keeping an eye on your calories as part of a weight loss plan, you’ll be pleased to know these bars are only 170-200 calories but fill you up as much as a meal would, as well as giving you that pre or post workout boost.
Likewise, every single chocolate flavoured chip, cookie dough or crumble has been made in-house by the Quest Nutrition team, so there’s no hidden sugary surprises or unsavory ingredient choices to worry about - every single sweet inclusion is made by them.
- Ten unique flavors reminicent of your favorite sweet treats
- 20g of protein, great for a pick-me-up mid hike
- No added sugar and keto friendly
- Less than 8g of fat in every bar
- Not suitable for vegans
Eighteen delicious high-protein bars can be delivered to your doorstep thanks to Pure Protein, the perfect combination of less than three grams of sugar and maintaining great taste, with up to 21g for a quick but sustained energy.
Ideal for an active, on the go lifestyle, fuel your workout whilst replenishing energy and aiding your muscle’s recovery process, not trading off on the deliciousness of the snack, especially in this Chocolate Lovers variety pack.
Delivering all nine essential amino acids, which cannot be produced by the body, in its unique blend of whey and milk proteins, giving your protein a high digestibility rating that ensures you’ll feel the energy surge in no time.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a fiber injection, these bars aren’t the way to go, as they have very little; however, it’s possible to seek this elsewhere, so it doesn’t mean you have to count them out altogether!
- Good value for money with 18 bars per box
- High source of protein
- Low sugar content
- Plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Contains both peanut and tree nuts
Probably the most popular and broadly available energy bar manufactured across America, Clif Bars are found in pantries worldwide, but these ones are extra special as they feature a shot of espresso or 65mg of caffeine in every bar, from real coffee.
Purposelly crafted to deliver all of the protein, fiver and carbohydrates needed to sustain an active body, it’s an excellent snack for fuelling up before, during or after an activity, with up to 9 grams of plant based, vegan-friendly protein up for grabs.
All coffee is sustainably sourced for these bars, inspired by the flavors of coffeeshop favourites, made from organic beans sourced in partnershi with Sustainable Harvest, from Columbia; a portion of ned proceeds are donated to World Coffee Research.
From wholesome, non-GMO ingredients providing all natural sugars, like nuts, crunchy organic coffee beans and chunks of real dark chocolate, when they say Clif bars are good for you, they mean it.
- The same great Clif taste, now with caffeine
- Organic, natural ingredients
- An energy boost you can trust
- A portion of profits are donated to eco-friendly charities
- Not recommended for pregnant women, under 18s or those with caffeine sensitivities
With the bold claim of being healthy, tasty, sweet AND salty, this variety pack from KIND boasts three classic, tasty flavors, with high-quality, sustainable ingredients, finely crafted from quality whole nuts and the most fragrant spices nature offers.
Including such taste sensations as dark chocolate, sea salt and madagascan vanilla almonds, this box truly has it all, whilst promoting a low glycemic index, minimal sodium content and a great source of fiber.
You’ll find no genetically engineered ingredients here, and everything is vegan, gluten free, kosher friendly and has no trace of trans fats, so you can rest assured that you’re providing yourself or your family with a healthy snack that is actually as nutritious as it says!
Kind to your body, without sacrificing quality or flavor, they believe if you can’t pronounce an ingredient then it doesn’t belong in your body, hence the name: no secret ingredients, artificial flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. Nothing to hide!
- Fresh, non-GMO, nutritious ingredients that still taste great
- Kosher friendly, gluten-free and great for keto eaters
- Free of animal products: vegan friendly!
- 5g of protein for a little daily boost
- Harder than other bars - not great for sensitive teeth
No need to pick between the flavor you want and diet you need with these incredible mini protein bars from ONE, who believe there’s nothing worse than a boring, tasteless and chalky snack, especially when it’s incredibly unnecessary.
At just one gram of sugar, whichever bar you choose has 20 grams of protein and still manages to be an indulgent treat without unnecessary chemicals, sugars and sweeteners you don’t need to achieve a great taste.
Cheat day is every day (but not actually!) with these too good to be true snacks that have revolutionized healthy eating: your kids won’t grumble and turn their noses up at these bad boys, quite the opposite! You’ll probaby run out and need more!
Whether you’re a birthday cake fan, prefer peanut butter pies, more of a maple glazed donut person or fancy trying out a classic combination of almond and coconut bliss, congratulations: you’ve found the ONE.
- Great tasting protein boost in plenty of flavors
- A single gram of sugar - the lowest on the market
- Gluten-free, keto friendly
- Superior texture for maximum enjoyment
- Smaller than average - just one may not sate your cravings!
Best Energy Bar For Hiking Buying Guide
Protein bars and energy bars sound interchangeable, but it’s actually more about increasing your muscle mass and are usually consumed after a workout, not before, though you’ll find some of the other ingredients will be good for that instead.
More than ten grams of protein can lead to a chalky, unpleasant taste and texture in your bar, so if you aren’t looking to bulk up, it’s not worth the compromise in taste to pick up a bar that’s protein heavy.
Low sugar content is imperative, as otherwise you’re asking for a crash in the middle of your hike, as the hyperactive energy you might feel soon after consumption is likely to wear off very quickly and leave you feeling sluggish.
You might equate energy bars with gym bunnies or health nuts, and therefore expect them to taste like rabbit food, but there are ways and means to recreate tastes we know and love in a healthier format, and there are so many different flavors on the market.
Whether you’re after something fruity, oaty, or with more of a dessert feel to trick your brain into enjoying it more, it’s possible to pick up some really zany combinations, so have a good look through all your choices before committing.
Opting for a multipack with several different types as opposed to a bulk order of one specific bar is advisable; there’s nothing worse than buying a lot of one snack only to discover you don’t actually like it very much, just because it was a good deal!
Most bars will be vegetarian friendly right off the bat, though some of the more interesting varieties contain marshmallows, which can contain gelatin unless they’ve been made with a substitute. Always check the label, though!
For vegans seeking a new favorite snack, it might be a little bit difficult, as honey is a common sweetener and binding agent in energy bars and considered a non-vegan ingredient by many who follow a plant-based diet.
Celiac sufferers will already be adept at picking up gluten-free products, so you probably don’t need a reminder, but just in case, double check; most brands are good at stating pretty clearly if they are suitable for specific diets.
Despite being a common allergen, nuts of all different kinds are frequently included in energy bars because they’re a good source of fat to refuel with, so be sure to keep an eye out for even the lowest percentage, which should be clearly labeled on the packaging.
Depending on the intensity of your hike and your typical caffeine consumption on an average day, you’ll either want to aim for a bar with a small percentage included or try and avoid it altogether lest you need to take a break because of those well-known jitters!
As with most ingredients, you’ll find it’s stated very obviously; some bars will feature caffeine as a unique selling point, like the Clif bars we’ve listed which contain the equivalent of a shot of espresso, to keep coffee-lovers going when away from their precious Keurig!
Stocking up on plenty of bars is all well and good, but not if they expire before you get around to finishing them all. Regular hikers should be fine, as they have a pretty long shelf life and buying more at once will be more cost-effective.
If you’re hoping to try and hike more often but aren’t sure how successful you’ll be, most bars tend to last for a good few months past their expiration date so long as they’ve been properly stored in a cool, dry place.
Don’t just take our work for that, though - be cautious, and if you experience any funky tastes, smells or changes in texture, it’s probably best to give up the ghost and get rid of them. Unless you’re like, in the apocalypse, in which case, beggars can’t be choosers!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I eat on a day hike?
Seasoned hikers will know that ensuring you have a sizeable breakfast before setting off on your expedition is key to maximizing your energy and avoiding the dreaded hunger pangs that might make you hit a wall.
Taking a couple of energy bars as part of your lunch, which should be the same size as a typical meal for you, if not a little bit bigger and with more carbohydrates than normal for energy, is highly recommended.