Best Energy Bars To Fuel Your Next Adventure

Best Outdoor Energy Bars

It’s safe to say that some of the best tasting food I have had in my life came in the form of a dense — often dry — $2 bar.

Now that is not to say that this is actually the best food I have ever had. However, in the moments I have eaten them, energy bars have tasted better than almost anything else in the world. Those moments are — to name a few — on the summits of mountains, on the sides of Rocky Mountain backpacking trails and back at camp when I’m too exhausted to face unpacking my camping stove.

Basically, energy bars are typically consumed when I’m in a beautiful place, exhausted, and most importantly — starving.

Although I am usually quick to scarf them all down in an outdoor-adrenaline-pumped haze, some energy bars are better than others. Some taste better than others and, more importantly, some provide better fuel.

These days there are so many energy bars on the market that it’s hard to distinguish between the ones that actually provide a healthy energy boosts with the candy bars disguised with granola.

Here is a guide to help you determine which bars provide the nutrition you’ll need for your next outdoor adventure.

Energy Bars For Backpacking, Camping and Hiking

To determine the best energy bars, I should first highlight the differences between the various products on the market.

There are four primary outdoor energy bars: activity bars, protein bars, endurance bars and organic bars.

Best Energy Bars For Backpacking Camping Hiking Activity bars are the most popular form of energy bar for hikers and campers. They tend to be high in carbohydrates and are designed to give you a boost during full-day outdoor activities.

Protein bars are better for muscle building and recovery. The bars are crammed with as much protein as possible to help athletes, and backpackers and hikers, to recover from particularly grueling activities.

Endurance bars are designed to be eaten before a long workout or day on the trails. They are particularly high in carbohydrates, so you can stay fueled from the sugars all day. Think of them like the spaghetti carbo load marathoners indulge in the night before a big race.

Finally, organic bars are part of a growing market of natural, less processed foods. Organic bars pack in as much energy and fuel possible without adding extra artificial sweetener or protein. These bars are also often purposefully devoid of soy, gluten and animal products.

Best Hiking Energy Bars

Clif Bar continues to make some of the best activity bars around.

Clif Bar Hiking Energy Bar

The traditional chocolate chip granola Clif Bar continues to be my go-to bar for hiking and backpacking.

Organic rolled oats provide plenty of carbohydrates and protein.

At 240 calories per bar, it provides just the right amount of energy to give you the boost you need to get to your next campsite, or to the summit of a peak.

The bar is packed with 23 grams of sugar, which is both a benefit and a downside.

Too much sugar can make you crash. Not enough can make you sluggish. So long as you are not downing sugary drinks or eat too many other sugary products you should be fine.

Single Clif Bars are available for $1.35 each from REI.

Or, you get a 24 Clif Bar variety pack from Amazon for around $30.

Another great activity bar for sustained energy on a hike or backpacking trip are Bobo’s Oat Bars.

This coconut bar is gluten-free and packed with coconut flavor in each bite. Baked in Boulder, CO — these bars are a favorite among the outdoor and fitness communities.

Best hiking energy bars

A full bar packs in 360 calories, meaning they could act as meal replacement. Each bar only has eight grams of sugar, however, making them a much more wholesome option than many competing products. The calories mainly come from the carbohydrate-packed oats, which will keep you amply fueled all day long.

REI sells single Bobo’s Oat Bars for $2.75 each. A pack of 12 energy bars is also available from Amazon for around $30.

Best Protein Bars For Outdoor Activities

For a high-protein option to recover from a particularly grueling day, PROBAR makes some of the best bars on the market.

Energy Protein Bars For Hiking

The PROBAR Peanut Butter Base bar is packed with plant protein from peanuts, as well as chia and flax seeds.

The 20 grams of protein give your muscles the medicine they need to recover. With 290 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber it has also added nutritional benefits you’ll need after a long workout.

And, best of all, it’s primary ingredient is peanut butter, meaning it is DELICIOUS.

A 12-pack of PROBAR Peanut Butter Base Protein Bars is available on Amazon for $26.78.

Whether you are a hardcore vegan or whey-fueled muscle builder, Zing has a bar to fit your palate.

The Zing vegan protein bars are fueled with brown rice and pea protein. The non-vegan options use whey powder to beef up their protein. Both the vegan and whey bars are available in three different varieties — chocolate covered, soft cookie and fruit and nuts.

Zing Protein Bars For Hiking and Backpacking

The certified gluten-free bars are packed with 10 to 13 grams of protein, 4 to 6 grams of fiber and various vitamins and minerals.

Amazon carries a variety 12-pack of Zing protein bars for $36.00.

Best Energy Bars To Fuel Long Hikes

It might surprise you that one of the top endurance bars on the market is actually 100% vegan.

Vegan Energy Protein Bar The VEGA Sport Endurance Bar is bursting with long-lasting whole food energy without any animal ingredients.

Inside each bar are 27 grams of carbohydrates to give you a quick boost and one gram of Omega-3 to sustain the energy for hours.

The primary ingredients in the bars are almonds, coconut oil, dates and SaviSeed oil.

Eat a bar 45 minutes before you head to the trailhead for balanced energy to carry you miles along the way.

The bars are available in two flavors — Apple Cherry and Chocolate Coconut Almond.

A 12-pack of Vega Chocolate Coconut Protein Bars and Vega Apple Cherry energy bars is available on Amazon for around $30.

Best Organic, Low Sugar, Energy Bars

LaraBar All Natural Energy bar Larabar has led the organic energy bar market for years and remains one of the best around.

The Larabar Original Fruit and Nut bars blend unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices for a delicious gluten-free energy bar. The bars have no more than nine simple ingredients, are minimally processed and never have added sugar.

The Larabar Carrot Cake is my favorite flavor.

With wholesome ingredients ranging from fresh carrots and dates to almonds, pineapple and coconut, the bar provides 10 percent of the recommended daily value for Vitamin A and four grams of fiber.

With less than 200 calories, don’t expect the bar to sustain you for too long. It will, however, provide a nice — guilt-free — energy jolt.

An 18-pack of Larabar Original Fruit and Nut energy bars is available on Amazon for around $20.

One of my new favorite energy bars takes “natural” to the next level.

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Raw Revolution Organic Bars use mostly uncooked ingredients to create surprisingly delicious energy.

Ingredients in the bars include agave nectar, raw kale powder, wheat grass and broccoli powder.

These bars showcase the power of fruits and vegetables.

Most bars have around 200 calories, plenty of carbohydrates and 5-10 grams of protein.

Amazon has 12-packs of Raw Revolution bars for around $20.

I hope these bars fuel some amazing adventures!

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