The hardest part of a difficult hike, ironically, isn’t the difficult hike. Where people tend to struggle the most is with their hunger after being out on the trail for hours at a time. Your body needs fuel, there are no two ways about it, and when you’re hiking, you can only really depend on coming across the food you thought you bring with you on your back.
When you’re packing trail snacks, you want something that’s easy to eat, healthy enough to keep you feeling alert and energized, and delicious enough to want to actually eat time and again. Amazon is full of hidden gems like this, so we’re going to go into 2021 with some of the best energy bars on the market.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
Best Energy Bars for Hiking - Overview
Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for picks 6-8).
- Packaging may differ
When you’re out hiking, especially if you go on the trails often, you’ll very quickly get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. There’s only so much you can bring in your bags, and it’s easy for energy bars to taste, we’ll say, less than great.
These little honey waffles from Honey Stringer are a great change of pace. They’re delicious and unusual, and they’re a great way to get some carbs into your body quickly. Honey is easy on your body, generally. If you need a little kick of energy and you’re watching your calories, these are going to hit the spot. They’re the kind of treat you’ll always be grateful for when you remember you packed them in your bag before heading out.
They’re also not a terrible source of protein. It’s not exactly a hard-boiled egg, but it’s the kind of low-calorie high-energy treat that you can pop in your mouth and enjoy while you’re out on the trail. It’s a delicious USDA-certified organic snack that’s great tasting, good for your body, and easy on your digestive system. It’s a simple pleasure that we highly recommended throwing into your regular rotation, especially if you’re looking for something new.
- Anytime high protein snack: It’s always the perfect time for a wholesome snack. That’s why we suggest trying this Real food Protein Bar for breakfast time, lunch time, or as a pre or post workout...
RXBAR is all about minimalism. Their packaging says it all. These energy bars are made with some pretty simple ingredients. These are a great alternative to something like trail mix or protein bars you might already be used to. Their whole thing is giving you the nutrients you need without having to dip into the well of artificial additives or processed sources of protein.
It’s the kind of thing you’d make yourself if you were trying to whip together a hyper-dense protein-packed snack. They’re gluten-free, there’s no added sugar, and they’re all-natural. Everything in an RXBAR is something you could find growing on a tree or laid by a chicken.
They’re simple and effective. If you’re concerned with filling up quickly and you want your diet to stay clean. It’s full of simple carbs to give you a boost is easily available energy and it’s packed with protein so your body will have an easier time recovering from difficult hikes.
- JUST APPLE + STRAWBERRY SERIOUSLY, THAT’S IT! We’re packing 2 REAL fruit servings in a delicious, chewy fruit bar that delights your taste buds and provides your body the daily nutrition it needs....
No really, that’s it. These snacks from That’s It couldn’t be more simple without literally being an intact fruit. They’re the purest form of fruit snacks. Their simplicity and straightforward list of ingredients make it easy to know exactly what you’re getting into when you pull one of these fruit chews out. They’re surprisingly filling for what they are, it’s like eating some incredibly dense fruit in all of the best ways possible.
They’re a natural source of energy that your body can happily process because, at its core, it’s just fruit. Fruits are a much better source of sugar, and therefore energy than something like a can of coke or just a candy bar. These are great for folks with a sweet tooth but are looking for healthier alternatives without missing out on the sweet, intoxicating taste of sugar.
Beyond being a delicious filling snack that’s easy on your body, they have an incredible shelf life, and they’re much easier to store and pack than a snack that tastes equally as fresh and sweet. You’re not going to have to worry about them disintegrating into crumbs if they get trapped underneath your heavier hiking gear, and you’re most likely going to eat your way through a pack of these long before their 2-year shelf life is up.
These energy chews are an interesting take on energy bars. They’re chock-full of nutrients, they’re easy to eat while you’re on the go, and they’re pretty unique as far as trail snacks go. These little pods of flavor are stuffed with the nutrients you need to keep going when you’re on a particularly long hike. Organic honey and organic sugar are a duo that your body is going to love. It’s easy to digest these and immediately redirect them into energy.
The surge of energy you get from these is perfect for gearing up for a lot of physical activity. If you’re going on a hike, you could do much worse than these Honey Stinger gummies. They’re a delicious way to get your body’s energy stores topped off and they won’t take up a substantial amount of room in your pack.
- DEVELOPED FOR ATHLETES: For when you’re working hard and you need a steady source of carbohydrates that won’t upset your stomach or gut. Fuel for cycling, runners, triathlons, hiking, endurance,...
These chews are a little more sports-focused, so if you’re taking on some of the harder trails, these are the kinds of treats that make trail life so much easier. They’re geared to restore some of the vital nutrients you end up expended during long periods of exercise.
They’re not a great snack for sitting at home because of how dense they are nutrient-wise. For example, in the name of replenishing salt lost through sweat while you’re clambering over the mountains and through the woods, they have a sodium content that’s a little bit higher than you’d expect from something similar.
They’re a great snack to pop open when you’re pushing past some of the more difficult parts of the trail or even just when you start to feel hunger creeping in on the edges of your mind while you’re out in the sun all day. They’re a delicious reprieve and they’re excellent vessels for the vital energy your body is looking for when you’re out on the trail. The
- Ease into fresh-ground peanut butter, grains, and flax and chia seeds, topped with fair-trade dark chocolate and butterscotch.
These are closer to the classic energy bar than most bars on this list. It’s a smart combination of ingredients that are high in protein and easily digestible glucose. It’s a bar that’s filling and delicious, and it’ll impart energy to you pretty quickly because of its easily digestible nature.
These bars are great for handling hunger, they’re not just going to give you a quick mid-afternoon sugar spike, they’re thoughtfully crafted to give you a snack that’s going to keep you feeling nourished for longer. The multigrain cereal base is the highlight of this bar. They’re full of glucose that your body will happily break down and distribute to the far reaches of your body.
These bars aren’t just pragmatic, they’re delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, and these energy bars from Taos Bakes throw in a little bit of butterscotch to turn it up to eleven. These bars represent energy bars at their best, and if you’re looking for something simple and familiar, these are a great place to start.
- Contains (12) 1.76 oz KIND Protein bars, crunchy peanut butter
Kind Bars claim that they’re giving you “protein from real food,” and a good hard look at their energy bars backs that claim up pretty soundly. These bars are a delicious gluten-free alternative to a lot of the other energy bars on the market right now.
They’re made with natural ingredients, so much so that one glance at a Kind immediately reveals what they’re made of. These bars are closer to trail mix than anything, you’re going to be getting protein-packed nuts, simple glucose-filled drizzles, and plenty of fiber.
These bars are a great way to get protein into your belly while you’re out on the trail. Because of the way they make Kind bars, The decision to use almost entirely nuts and syrups fills these bars with the kind of nutrients that are best for keeping up a long hike.
The fiber keeps you full for longer, the protein is great for replenishing your muscles after a long day on the trail, and the natural sugars in the ingredients are going to be easily accessible to your body, giving you a long-lasting boost after you down one of these delicious morsels of energy.
- Includes 12 Orgain Organic S'Mores Plant Based Protein bars.
This one is for the vegans out there. These energy bars are all totally plant-based, there’s no worrying whether something’s been mislabeled or checking the ingredient three times to make sure you didn’t miss anything. These bars are eco-friendly in more ways than one.
Not only are they not using any animal products, they’re climate pledge friendly on Amazon, meaning they give back, keep their footprint low, and they go above and beyond to do their part in the face of a changing world. The bars themselves are delicious, they’re a fun s’mores take on the protein bar, giving you a delicious chocolate and fluffy sugar taste, while slipping in 10 grams of protein per bar.
These are great for the trail, you’re not going to be wallowing in hunger for very long when you pack these in your bags before you hit the trail. The high protein content does more than just feed your body for maintenance in the long run, it’s also great for suppressing hunger.
These bars are a great way to get your fill without having to carry an entire picnic basket with you on your extended hikes. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them, obviously. They’re delicious no matter who you are or what your dietary restrictions are, but it does help to know that you’re not harming any animals and you’re supporting a business that’s doing its best to preserve this beautiful planet we’re on.
Eating Well on the Trail
When you’re out hiking it’s easy to forget that you’re getting a lot of exercise. It’s easy to take for granted just how much energy you’re burning and how far you’re really pushing your muscles. Because of the hidden energy expenditures, folks tend to forget to bring along food that’s not just tasty, but full of nutrients that your body needs to keep up the good work.
A good hiking snack has a couple of things. You’re going to want something that suppresses your hunger, gives you a decent amount of protein as well as easily accessible sugar. Protein bars and other energizing treats do this by opting for using naturally occurring sugars like oats and other carbs, so your body can just get down to business and start distributing glucose to your muscles.
Things like peanuts, eggs, and other protein-dense, naturally occurring foods give you the protein your body is inevitably going to need after spending a full day, or a couple of hours breaking your muscles down on the trail. Fiber and protein are the two things best suited to quelling the hunger signals from your stomach, so you’re often going to find a lot of that in energizing foods.
Obviously, the solution is energy bars like these, they’re all specially formulated to tick those boxes and a few others like replenishing sodium and other nutrients you wouldn’t initially consider when thinking about hiking needs. If you’re going on long hikes, it’s good to consider the kind of food you’re bringing along because you don’t want to be caught famished halfway down the trail, it’ll make for some miserable trailblazing.
These waffles are just a plain delight. They’re a fresh direction to approach energizing yourself on the trail, and for that, they’ve earned a special place at the top of our rankings. From the ingredients to the taste of the finished product, Honey Stinger has come to us with a real winner.
If you’re out on the trail often, it’s good to change things up for your sanity. It’s really easy to get sick of the same energy bar offerings, often they’re a little boring and kind of dry-tasting. These little waffles aren’t anything like the mainstream offerings we’re often met with when looking for treats that are full of energy.
The fact that these waffles opt for honey rather than other forms of sugar helps them a great deal as well. The honey used in the waffles makes them easy for your body to digest so you can keep yourself moving. The fewer obstacles between your body breaking down a source of energy, the quicker you can start benefiting from it, and that’s going to be a godsend when you’re in the middle of a tough hike.
The faster you can replenish your energy levels, the easier it’ll be for you to push through your hike. There’s even a little bit of protein in here so your body can start repurposing that into more muscle for your next hike. They’re not exactly a full serving of almonds, but they’re nutritiously diverse, easy to eat, and a great new treat to add to your pantry or your hiking bags.
Bonus tip: Check out this video on how to make homemade granola bars!