CAMPING & HIKING

The Best Energy Bars: Staying Energized in The Outdoors

Best Energy Bars
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

If you’re backpacking, going on day hikes or sitting on a long flight, you’ll need something to help keep your energy up. Long trip, especially ones where you’re doing a lot of exercise, really take a lot of energy out of you.

That being said, you need to make sure you’re receiving the right amount of energy to fuel you through your journey. Sure, you can build a fire and cook a can of beans or a wiener, but what about those times when you just need something quick and easy?

Energy bars are the best way to bring the kick back into your step without having to spend the time preparing and cooking a meal. But if you’ve gone to the nutritional bar section at your grocery store, you’ll see shelves full of different brands and flavors.

But which one should you get? It can be overwhelming with a number of choices. So, let’s look at the best energy bars on the market that’ll give you the energy boost you need.

How to Choose The Right Energy Bar

Like we said before, there are countless energy bar brands you’ll see at your grocery store. However, not all of them necessarily give you what you want.

Choose The Right Energy Bar

Also, depending on your dietary or athletic needs, you may be needing an energy bar that has extra protein or carbohydrates. So, we’re going to tell you how to choose the best power bars for you and your body.

What do you need it for?

When you’re looking for a nutritional bar, it’s important that you know why you need one. This way, you’ll be able to select a bar that suits your activity level and needs. Before buying a nutritional bar, ask yourself these questions first:

  • Are you athletic?
  • Do you need it as a meal replacement?
  • Are you looking to provide yourself with extra energy?
  • Do you need an energy bar that will fill the missing daily nutrients?

By answering yourself these questions, you’ll be able to see if you need an energy bar or the type of energy bar you should be looking at.

Features to Consider When Buying An Energy Bar

You may not think so, but not all energy bars are made with the same ingredients. Actually, the function of energy bars ranges quite significantly, from weight loss and/or management to extra energy. So you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your energy bar.

Taste

If you’re going to invest the money in an energy bar, you want to make sure it tastes good. You know what it’s like eating a bland meal, and it’s a feeling no one wants to experience again. So the same goes for your energy bars.

Energy Bars taste

We reviewed those that are ranked quite high in taste. However, taste is subjective, so you’ll have to go through a couple brands before you find which one you like the best. If you’re going to be using your energy bar during hikes, you want to taste test them while you’re hiking.

Ingredients

You want to make sure you’re not just loading yourself up with a bunch of sugar. Many brands are claiming that their bars are nutritional, however, when you flip them over and read the ingredients, it’s loaded with sugars, trans fats and artificial sweeteners.

These aren’t ingredients you want in an energy bar or in your body in general. Not only are they not healthy for you, but they can also cause bloating and gas, two things you do not want on a multi-day hike. These are the ingredients you should typically avoid in energy bars:

  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol syrup
  • Glycol
  • Sugar
  • Hydrogenated oil
  • Glycerine
  • Xylitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Isomalt

By staying away from these ingredients, you’ll be ensuring that your energy bar is actually made with real food as opposed to sugar alcohols and oil. Then, your energy bar will give you long-term energy rather than a short sugar high.

Calorie Count

There are many brands out there that’ll fill their nutritional bars with empty calories, leaving you hungry. That being said, by staying away from nutritional bars filled with sugar, you won’t get stuck eating energy bars that will consume 20% of your daily caloric intake.

Calorie Count

This comes to be an issue when many people find themselves gaining weight while eating energy bars, as opposed to maintaining their weight at a normal level. You want to look for an energy bar between 150 to 300 calories, but it also depends on your activity level and what you’re using your energy bar for.

Now that you know about the features of energy bars, it’s time to see the top ten energy bars currently available on the market.

Top Product Review

PROBAR Meal Bar

PROBAR Meal Bar

Weight: 6 x 5 x 4 inches

Dimensions: 3 oz

Specific Features: Non-GMO Project verified, Gluten free, USDA Organic.

Best Use:  multi-purpose: best for those with dietary restrictions

Description: PROBAR originated in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, made by foodies who are outdoor enthusiasts and were looking for an energy bar made with real ingredients. PROBAR is made 100% vegan organic ingredients with no chemical additives.

So if you have food allergies, dietary restrictions, are vegan or vegetarian, PROBAR Meal Bar is an exceptional option. This bar contains 10 whole foods and comes in a variety of flavors such as Cran-Lemon, Apple Cinnamon Crunch, Double Chocolate and Whole Berry.

The one featured is the Superfood Slam, it comes with pure raspberries, acai berries, dark chocolate and greens. It’s gluten-free and you’ll be able to actually read and know all the ingredients listed. Some have more or less sugar than necessary, depending on the flavor.

However, whichever flavor you choose, you should know that these bars actually taste great. Many energy bars have the problem of being flaky and dry on top of tasting like rubber. However, these bars are relatively moist and taste really good.

Not only that, they’re loaded with 10 grammes of protein and 6 grammes of fibre. They are a little pricier than your average energy bar, however, you’re actually getting quality as opposed to a filler bar.

Related: PROBAR comes with a variety of different bars such as PROBAR Superberry & Greens, PROBAR Chocolate Coconut, and PROBAR Original Trail Mix.

Bobo’s Oat Bars

Bobo’s Oat Bars

Weight: 3 oz

Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 4 inches

Specific Features: Vegan-friendly, Non-GMO project verified, gluten free

Best Use: For those with dietary restrictions, physically active

Description: It’s a cute name and definitely a cute company. Bobo’s sprouted their energy bar company in Boulder, Colorado, where to this day they make their energy bars. If you’re looking for an American-based, small-town company, this is one of them.

Bobo’s Oat Bars are Kosher certified by Earth Kosher and are also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO Project Verified and made with all natural and organic ingredients. Their Maple Pecan Bar is a perfect blend of maple syrup with a buttery pecan crunch at the end.

They wanted their Maple Pecan Bars to remind you of Sunday morning pancake breakfasts, which, who can argue are delicious. Their bars aren’t dried out and are really chewy, without being too sticky. Some people do  find it too sweet, so it’s just a matter of preference.

Related: Bobo’s also made their own gluten free oat bars that come in either Lemon Poppyseed or Original. Both are incredibly tasty and a good change if you don’t feel like having a Maple Pecan Bar.

GoMacro Organic Macrobars

GoMacro Organic Macrobars

Weight: 2 oz

Dimensions: n/a

Specific Features: Gluten free, vegan, non-gmo, kosher, soy-free and award winning.

Best Use: Day hikes or highly physical activity.

Description: Well, it’s hard to compete with an award winning bar such as the GoMacro Organic Macrobars. They win awards for a reason. Their bars are great and are really packed with all the essentials you need to give you a boost.

The protein bars give you the energy you need while also supporting your immune system. It’s a complex bar protein bar, so it’ll burn slowly through your body, making it ideal for those who are working out or going on day hikers.

It’s made of whole-food ingredients and is gluten free, soy free, kosher and vegan. Literally, anyone can eat this bar. They’re easy to digest and made simple, which is what you should be looking for in an energy bar: simplicity. If you’re looking for a more textured bar, then this isn’t the one.

This bar is very smooth in texture and won’t have large chunks of nuts or seeds in it.

Related: Jason’s No Bake Protein bar is another good option and is wheat and gluten free, as well as made with Non-GMO ingredients. People love using this bar as a meal replacement, they’re filling and tasty.

Probar Fuel

Probar fuel organic

Weight: 1.7 oz

Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 4 inches

Specific Features: Gluten free, Non- GMO project verified, USDA Organic, lightweight bar.

Best Use: Outdoor enthusiasts, physical individuals

Description: This is another great energy bar produced by PROBAR. It’s sweeter than it’s meal bar, however, isn’t filled with artificial sweeteners and additives. Instead, they took the sweet flavor from robust seeds and nuts.

It also comes with antioxidants and omega-rich chia seeds that’ll help keep you going. It’s also gluten free which is great for those who have food intolerances. It’s a soft and chewy bar, which is what you want. PROBAR really tries hard to create a bar that is jam packed with nutrients, however, doesn’t taste like straw.

The chia seeds will help you regulate your body’s hydration while the raw oats will allow you to digest it with ease. You won’t have to worry about bloating after eating this bar! The only downside is that PROBAR’s bars are a little more expensive than the traditional energy bar, however, you get what you pay for.

Related: If you want something a little more buttery, you can try their Organic Nut Butter Bar.

RiseBar High-Protein Bars

RiseBar High-Protein Bars

Weight: 2.1 oz

Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 2.2 inches

Specific Features: Paleo friendly and nut-allergy friendly

Best Use: Highly physical individuals.

Description: Nowadays, everyone has some sort of food restriction. People tend to forget about those who are paleo, however, not RiseBar. In fact, RiseBar High-Protein Bars high-protein bars are actually all paleo friendly and come with a whopping 15 grams of protein per bar.

It’s made with simple ingredients: sunflower butter, coconut nectar, pea protein, cinnamon and vanilla extract. That’s it.

The sunflower butter gives the bar it’s moist texture which is what you want in a protein bar. RiseBar makes their bars daily in their California kitchen which are non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free and kosher. In addition, they don’t add in any artificial sugar, preservatives or sugar alcohols.

What’s great about RiseBar is because they cook their bars in small batches, you can be assured that the quality is kept high. If you have any nut allergies this is a great way to bypass that and still get enough protein. They’re not very easy to find in stores, so you may have to buy them online.

Related: If you want a bar with more tang to it, try out their Lemon Cashew bar.

ClifBar

clif-bar-crunch-granola

Weight: 5.3 oz

Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 6.2 inches

Specific Features: No artificial sweeteners or preservatives, made with organic ingredients.

Best Use:  Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Description: You’ve probably heard of Clif if you’ve been looking for an energy bar or are an avid outdoors enthusiast. Clif has been around for a while and produces organic and artificial sweetener and preservative free energy bars.

These Clif Bar – Crunch Granola are really ideal for individuals who are hiking, backpacking or any other activity that’s highly physical. These bars are designed to fill you up and give you the energy you needs to get you through your hike without weighing you down.

The Clif Crunch is a crunchy, all-natural snack bar that you can whip out whenever you feel like you’re needing a little boost of energy. Many people complain that Clif Bars look “gross”, however, they really do just look like your average energy bar. If you’re not so focused on aesthetics, however, want a tasty energy bar, this is a good option.

Related: If you’re looking for something with a nuttier taste, you can try out their Chocolate Peanut Butter bar, it’s tasty.

CLIF Mojo – Trail Mix Bar

CLIF Mojo - Trail Mix Bar

Weight: n/a

Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3 inches

Specific Features: 70% organic, non-GMO ingredients, trans fats free.

Best Use: multi-use

Description: CLIF Mojo – Trail Mix Bar is another Clif bar for the peanut lovers out there. It has a whopping 10 grammes of protein with no trans fats, no high-fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils and a low glycemic count.

It’s a great bar whether you need an afternoon pick-me-up or are the office and are too busy to get lunch.

The peanut butter pretzel is the perfect blend of salty and sweet, giving you a crunchy and chewy texture that’ll keep you stomach full until dinner. If you’re a fan of peanuts, then this will definitely hit the spot, as it’s one of the better tasting peanut butter energy bars.

It’s also affordable which is a nice feature for a high-quality bar.

Related: Clif is a fairly large company which have a range of products. If you’re looking for another energy bar, you can try the Clif Dark Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt Bar. It’s a great blend of salty and sweet, however, without the peanuts.

Larabar Gluten-Free Bar

Larabar Gluten-Free Bar

Weight: 1.6 oz

Dimensions: 2 x 4 x 6 inches

Specific Features: 4-ingredient recipe, gluten free, non-GMO, dairy-free

Best Use: Those with dietary restrictions.

Description: Many people have food allergies which make it hard when trying to find an energy bar that is compatible with their diet. Well, the Larabar Gluten-Free Bar is a great option for those who have gluten and dairy intolerances.

What makes this energy bar great is the fact that it’s made with only 4 ingredients, simplicity. This bar is made with dates, peanuts, fair trade chocolate chips and sea salt. That’s all. In addition, this bar also has 10% of your daily magnesium intake, so, you’ll get a great pick-me-up after munching down this bar.

People really like this bar because it tastes amazing, yet it’s made without any junk in it.

Related: If you want just a bit size energy bar, you can try the Larabar Minis Snack Bar, 0.78 oz, but it packs a punch and it’ll give you the energy you need.

Kate’s Real Food Stash Bars

Kate’s Real Food Stash Bars

Weight: 2.2 oz

Dimensions: 10 x 5.5 x 2.8 inches

Specific Features: All natural, all organic energy bar

Best Use: multi-use: ideal for snacks

Description: Kate’s Stash Bars are very simply made which shows you that they’re no fillers added. It’s made with only 8 ingredients that’ll keep your stomach fully satisfied for hours. Kate’s Stash Bars are made with natural sugars and protein, with amino acids from the hemp seeds.

In addition, the flax seeds provide your omega 3 and antioxidants while also giving you the extra fibre needed. In this bar, it’s made with organic honey, organic oats, organic peanut butter, organic dark chocolate, rice nuggets, organic hemp seeds and organic flax seeds.

This simple recipe creates for a tasty and nutritious snack. They’re cheaper than some of the other organic energy bars on the market, so you’ll be able to get the extra energy without emptying your wallet.

Related: Kate’s Real Food company also makes other bars which are more specific depending on the activity you’re doing. They have Kate’s Real Food Tram Bars which are a little heartier for those hiking or doing more physical activity.

Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars

Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars

Weight: n/a

Dimensions: 7 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches

Specific Features: Gluten free, USDA Organic, Kosher

Best Use: multi-purpose nutritional bar, great for hikers, backpackers, athletes.

Description: Another great nutritional bar that’ll fill you up when your stomach starts to grumble. This Taste of Nature Organic Snack Bars really adapted to the needs of everyone – it’s kosher, gluten-free, and certified organic. What’s great about these bars is that they taste extremely fresh and it’s like you’ve made them at home.

They have whole nuts, seeds and berries in their bars, so you know you’re getting a good quality snack. Staying away from cheapening their product, Taste of Nature doesn’t use any additives, Sulphur dioxide, wheat, gluten or sugars in their bars.

If you’re diabetic, you’ll be able to eat these bars as they hit low on the Glycemic index. If you’re environmentally conscious, Taste of Nature also participates and promotes environmental and ecological awareness, as well as 10 cents of each sale going to Ecosource for sustainable farming methods.

Their bars also have a high source of protein, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. The only problem with these bars is that they aren’t cheap. However, considering what’s in them, it makes sense.

Related: If you have children, you can give them a tasty, 18 Rabbits Jr. Organic Granola Bar, which gives them a no nut, wheat, soy or dairy alternative to a traditional granola bar.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of energy bars and the features you need to consider when buying them, you should try out a few of the ones listed above.

Choose your Energy Bars

Remember, if you’re more physically active, you’ll want a bar that’ll have more protein and calories.Try buying one bar from each brand and see which one you like the best. Taste is subjective, so don’t be disappointed if it takes you a couple bars until you find the one for you.

And don’t forget to leave a comment or suggestion for us in the box below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Debra Davis

    I’m big fan of LaraBar, it’s gluten-free, which I like. Also, it has A LOT of different flavors! It is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts, and spices. And more importantly, it’s made from whole food and as close to the natural state, as possible. Great for on the go!

  • Daniel Carraway

    I love those bars! They give us a ton of energy without too much sugar. I always bring a lot of these on my camping trips since we do trek a lot. There’s a lot of activities going on in camp and sometimes, these bars are my first line of sustenance! 🙂

  • Rachel Mohan

    Bobo’s: they’re not much to look at in terms of the packaging but, as they say, you should never judge a book by its cover! I’ve tried a fair few of the flavors and have been impressed by all of them. Whilst the flavors are quite subtle, the actual bar is moist and chewy. Has more of a homemade granola bar taste to it rather than an artificial, processed sugary taste that some of the other bars tend to have. I’d recommend the Apple Pie or Maple Pecan flavors.

  • Daniel Carraway

    I agree. Their gluten free oat bars are the best. Or the original. I like mine without too much fuss or flavor, that’s why. I also like their packaging. For a change, I can actually see what I’m getting, which is cool! Kate’s Stash bars are also great, by the way.

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