15 Best Energy Bars for Hiking

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Hiking can be as relaxing or strenuous as you want it to be. But, no matter what hiking style you prefer, maintaining a good energy level is crucial. Of course, the more vigorous the hike, the more energy you’ll need. So, choosing the best energy bars for hiking is about matching your choices to your trek.

Supermarket shelves overflow with an overwhelming selection of bars claiming to be healthy and nutritious. But, smacking a label that says protein bar on a product doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you.

It’s all about finding an energy bar with a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs without all the sugar. Look for bars with at least 10 grams of protein, no trans fats, and low sugar that avoid artificial sweeteners.

For bars that pack a slightly lower protein punch but check all the other boxes, you can always supplement your snack with some jerky or another protein source, like a few almonds, etc.

Because, depending on your individual needs, you might want to grab a bar with more carbs and fiber. Good fiber content is also essential to help stabilize blood sugar levels and help satisfy your appetite.

However, the critical ingredient for an energy bar is often protein. But why?

Why Protein Bars Are Great for Hiking

It’s easy to spend long days out on the trails. The important thing is to skip the candy bar, and fuel your body with the right nutrients to keep going strong.

Protein helps your body build and repair tissue. If you lift weights, you know you’re supposed to consume about 20 grams of protein after a workout.

As you workout, muscles and body tissue tear and break down (this sounds bad, but it’s normal). As they repair and rebuild, this is when they get stronger. Protein helps in this process.

After a long or strenuous hike, your body needs protein to help it rebuild. If you fail to consume enough protein, your body won’t have what it needs to adequately repair itself, leading to an increased risk of injury, fatigue, and stress.

How Much Protein Should You Eat When Hiking?

The minimum daily recommended dietary allowance for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. However, that is for people who are not engaging in physical activity. If you’re very active (like on a long-distance hike or backpacking trip), you should aim for 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.

Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume between 75 and 120 grams of protein per day while you’re hiking. Typically, men would shoot for the higher end of this range, and women would aim for closer to 75 grams. Since you’re consuming so much protein, make sure to drink lots of water as well. (Consuming too much protein can lead to kidney stones).

The 10 Best Energy Bars for Hiking

Packing the right snacks for your hike makes all the difference. Trail mix and jerky are often popular additions to a hiking menu, but energy bars are an essential piece of the puzzle. A good energy bar offers a lot of what your body needs to stay strong and maintain the appropriate energy levels.

Here’s a look at some of the top choices for energy bars to keep you fueled and ready to go. Some are better for milder hikes when you want a quick boost, while others will help you endure longer treks. Always consider the type of hike you’re taking when you decide what snacks and meals to pack for the journey.

Plus, they all ring in at different price tags, so you can stay on budget while you stay the course. Make sure to toss a few into your pack before heading off on your next hiking adventure.

PROBAR Protein Bar

This ProBar protein bar features an irresistible peanut butter and chocolate combo and provides energy and helps you feel full. It’s also gluten-free and an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can find it available in an assortment of other tasty flavors, including coffee crunch and cookie dough.

(Nutrition info for Peanut Butter Chocolate)

  •    Protein: 20g
  •    Fat: 9g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 290
  •    Fiber: 3g
  •    Grams of Carbohydrates 32g
  •    Sugar: 14g

PowerCrunch Protein Energy Bar

These PowerCrunch bars are made with high-quality whey protein. The tasty mint chocolate protein bars deliver flavor and a satisfying snack. But, there are lots of flavor options!

They’re a great way to keep your energy level up between meals on a hike, perfect for milder walks. It’s just right for a quick pick-me-up.

  •    Protein: 13g
  •    Fat: 14g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 220
  •    Fiber: 1g
  •    Carbohydrates 11g
  •    Sugar: 5g

IQ Bar

The IQ Bars aim to give your body and brain a much-needed boost and help you maintain your energy level. Whether opting for peanut butter, chocolate, or the fruit-lovers variety, you can find a flavor that suits you. They also feature plant-based protein, making them a perfect choice for vegan hikers.

(Nutrition info for Lemon Blueberry)

  •   Protein: 12g
  •   Fat: 15g
  •   Zero Trans Fat
  •  Calories: 180
  •   Fiber: 8g
  •  Carbohydrates 11g
  •  Sugar: 2g

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar

Packing an impressive amount of protein, along with essential carbs, this bar helps your body replenish what it needs.

Choose from chocolate caramel, cookies and cream, s’mores, peanut butter chocolate, chocolate pretzel, and more. This Gatorade Protein bar is a little higher on sugar, but it delivers a fast energy boost and helps muscles refuel quickly.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Caramel)

  •    Protein: 20g
  •    Fat: 10g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 340
  •    Fiber: 0g
  •    Carbohydrates 43g
  •    Sugar: 28g

RXBar

This RX gluten-free energy bar delivers on-the-go protein that will keep you moving without missing a beat. There’s also no added sugar, and you can choose from a myriad of flavors, including chocolate raspberry, blueberry, banana chocolate walnut, and vanilla almond.

(Nutrition info for Banana Chocolate Walnut)

  •    Protein: 12g
  •   Fat: 10g
  •   Zero Trans Fat
  •   Calories: 210
  •   Fiber: 3g
  •   Carbohydrates 23g
  •   Sugar: 16g

Pure Protein Bars

Featuring tons of protein, low sugar, and a healthy helping of essential vitamins, Pure Protein Bars are a great addition to your backpack. Pick from several flavors and enjoy a gluten-free, energy-boosting treat as you blaze the trail.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Deluxe)

  •    Protein: 21g
  •    Fat: 4.5g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 180
  •    Fiber: 2g
  •    Carbohydrates 17g
  •    Sugar: 3g

Larabar

Another excellent option for vegan hikers, Larabar comes in a bunch of dessert-inspired flavors. Choose from apple pie, coconut cream pie, cherry pie, cashew cookie, carrot cake, chocolate chip brownie, and many more. The organic ingredients is a great way to sustain your energy with a lighter snack.

(Nutrition info for Cherry Pie)

  •     Protein: 5g
  •     Fat: 8g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 200
  •     Fiber: 4g
  •     Carbohydrates 30g
  •     Sugar: 23g

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Are you one of those folks who can’t resist eating the raw cookie dough when you bake some gooey chocolate chip cookies? You can take that same scrumptious flavor with you on the trail in a healthier version with the Quest Protein Bar.

Don’t worry, if cookie dough isn’t your jam, there are plenty of other flavors to choose from. No matter which one you pick, you’ll get a powerful protein punch. Plus, these bars are loaded with fiber, so they’ll keep you satisfied for a long time.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)

  •     Protein: 21g
  •     Fat: 8g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 190
  •     Fiber: 17g
  •     Carbohydrates 21g
  •     Sugar: 1g

CLIF Bar

Who knew you could get a healthy energy boost from white chocolate macadamia cookies or a chocolate brownie? Well, you can with the flavorful line of CLIF Bars, which offers an optimal mix of carbs, protein, and fat to deliver sustained energy on the trail.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Brownie)

  •    Protein: 10g
  •    Fat: 6g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 250
  •    Fiber: 5g
  •    Carbohydrates 43g
  •    Sugar: 17g

KIND Bars

These tasty nut bars provide you with a satisfying helping of protein and fiber to help you maintain your stamina. KIND Bars are the perfect light snack to keep you fueled and moving in between more substantial meals. There are several flavors that will also satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you a quick energy boost.

(Nutrition info for Caramel, Almond, & Sea Salt)

  •    Protein: 6g
  •    Fat: 16g
  •    Zero Trans Fat
  •    Calories: 200
  •    Fiber: 7g
  •    Carbohydrates 15g
  •    Sugar: 5g

Popular Meal Replacement Bars

Do you need more than a snack while backpacking or traversing a long-distance hike? Meal replacement bars are easy to carry with you on the trail. Plus, they don’t require any preparation, just rip open the package and start eating.

Having a quick-and-easy meal at your fingertips is a great way to keep up your pace and still make sure you get the nutrition and energy you need.

Here are some of the more popular meal replacement bars that are a good match for a hiking adventure.

Bobo’s Stuffed Oat Bar

All of Bobo’s bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, and great picks for vegan backpackers. The handmade bars come in a wide variety of flavors, making it easy to find one you love. Also, the Stuff’d bars keep all the goodness baked inside to achieve the best taste.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Almond Butter)

  •     Protein: 6g
  •     Fat: 15g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 310
  •     Fiber: 6g
  •     Carbohydrates 41g
  •     Sugar: 18g

Probar Meal-on-the-Go Bar

A good mix of protein and fiber makes this gluten and soy-free bar a good choice for a meal on-the-go. PROBARS are packed with natural ingredients like oats, nuts, and chia and flax seeds.

(Nutrition info for Superberry and Greens — a full bar.)

  •     Protein: 9g
  •     Fat: 16g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 370
  •     Fiber: 6g
  •     Carbohydrates 50g
  •     Sugar: 21g

Sans Meal Bar

You can skip the artificial sweeteners and added sugars when you grab this meal replacement bar. SANS MEAL BAR features a powerful protein and fiber combo along with a healthy mix of 14 essential vitamins and minerals. It’s available in yummy flavors like peanut butter lovers, mint cacao, and PB&J.

(Nutrition info for PB&J)

  •     Protein: 15g
  •     Fat: 23g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 390
  •     Fiber: 7g
  •     Carbohydrates 36g
  •     Sugar: 23g

MET-RX Big 100 Meal Bar

These high-protein bars are sure to give your body what it needs to recover from a strenuous bout of hiking. Packed with a ton of protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and potassium, MET-RX is excellent for muscle recovery.

(Nutrition info for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)

  •     Protein: 30g
  •     Fat: 12g
  •     Zero Trans Fat
  •     Calories: 410
  •     Fiber: 1g
  •     Carbohydrates 45g
  •     Sugar: 18g

Kate’s Real Food Bar

If you’re looking for lower sugar and a low-fat alternative for your meal on the go, these bars deliver a healthy, good-tasting option. But, they are a little on the lower side of the spectrum when it comes to protein. Therefore, to make them more of a meal, you might want to supplement it with some jerky or another protein source. You can look at the ingredients list to know if this has enough of the high protein content you’re looking for.

(Nutrition info for Dark Chocolate, Cherry & Almond)

  •      Protein: 3g
  •      Fat: 4.5g
  •      Zero Trans Fat
  •      Calories: 200
  •      Fiber: 2g
  •      Carbohydrates 20g
  •      Sugar: 9g

Greenbelly Meal 2 Go Bar

This powerhouse bar is geared toward serious backpackers and long-distance hiking adventurers. A single GREENBELLY pouch gives you two bars for the ultimate meal, coming in at 650 calories.

For less strenuous hikes, you can always opt for one bar at a time, so you don’t take in more than your body needs at once. The bars come in some unique flavors, like caramel apple, mango cashew coconut, cranberry almond, peanut apricot, and dark chocolate banana.

(Nutrition info for Caramel Apple–2 bar serving size)

  •      Protein: 18g
  •      Fat: 29g
  •      Zero Trans Fat
  •      Calories: 695
  •      Fiber: 9g
  •      Carbohydrates 90g
  •      Grams of Sugar: 39g

Authentic Bar

Featuring some fun flavors like birthday cake, cookie crumble, and kitchen sink, these bars also pack a whopping dose of protein without artificial sweeteners or soy protein. AUTHENTIC BARS make a great meal or a snack to help you refuel and stay strong.

(Nutrition info for Peanut Butter Candy)

  •      Protein: 16g
  •      Fat: 14g
  •      Zero Trans Fat
  •      Calories: 280
  •      Fiber: 2g
  •      Carbohydrates 26g
  •      Sugar: 19g

Luna Bar

The popular LUNA BARS are known for their simple ingredients and great flavors.

(Nutrition info for Nutz Over Chocolate)

  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Zero Trans Fat
  • Calories: 200
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Sugar: 8g

Kids Protein Bars for Hiking

We hike with kids all the time. It’s easy to grab a bag of chips, but they aren’t healthy, and won’t give them the energy they need for the trails.

f you are hiking with kids, I recommend giving them snack from the Brainiac collection. They have delicious nut butters that are easy to pack, and kids love.

Brainiac Brain Bars include different flavors of organic bars that are easy to throw in your kids backpack. They, too, need the right nutrition on a long hike.

Try a few of these bars out before your next hike to find your favorites. A good time to test them out is after a day hike, workout, run, or jog. Then, you can see how they help your body recover and feel after a lot of activity.

Last thing; do you have a favorite protein bar, meal-replacement snack, or energy bar that you never go on a hike without? Why is it your go-to choice when you’re packing your gear? Share the best protein bar in the comments!

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