by Diane Spicer
The best trail bars are the ones in your backpack.
Ready to scarf down, in other words.
But to get the right trail nutrition and favorite flavors into your pack, you'll need to do a little shopping to get your snack sack filled up.
Let Hiking For Her recommend some of the best trail bars you've probably never heard of, and explain why you should try a few.
Expect to find nothing weird or artificial, just some great taste and balanced nutrition derived from real food, in these favorite trail bar options for hikers.
And if you're hesitating at the cost of a trail bar, ask yourself this:
You bet you are! Fast, nutritious fuel for your hard working muscles is absolutely what you need on a hike.
Repeat after me: Food = Fuel.
So give yourself the best fuel for the job: completing your hike.
To stretch your dollars, buy in bulk. These bars can be stashed in the freezer if you're going to be off the trail for awhile.
Variety packs also keep your taste buds guessing ;)
Most of these recommended bars can't be found on the shelves of chain grocery stores, but are readily available with the following Amazon links.
So let's go trail bar shopping!
These are some of the best trail bars, created by a chef who also knows a little something about the right mix of macronutrients a hiker needs: carbohydrates, protein and fats.
If you're into clean eating, you'll love the ingredient list of Patter Bars: nut butters, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and sea salt from good sources.
Nutrient density means one bar goes a long way to fill you up and keep you fueled up on the trail.
These are tasty bars that will make you smile as you enjoy them, one bite at a time, at a rest break.
Who doesn't love macaroons made with organic coconut and almond flour, especially when they come in such a variety of flavors!
No gluten, soy, peanuts, dairy, or eggs so hikers with any of those food sensitivities or food allergies can enjoy these with no worries.
Maple syrup is a delicious source of fast burning carbohydrates on a hike.
This brand offers its great snack in raspberry, too.
Note, these waffles contain both wheat and soy flours and soy lecithin.
F as in Fat!
Fat can be used as a fuel source, and is especially welcome on a long backpacking trip and/or cold weather for its ability to make you feel satisfied.
This macadamia nut butter is beyond delicious, and the convenience of the packets is appreciated when it's time to whip out a snack and keep going.
Great for paleo and keto hikers.
This is one of the best trail bars for vegans.
And this mother-daughter owned company is doing everything right for putting plant based nutrition into the stomachs of all of us hikers!
You will never run out of favorite Macrobar flavors, which is why I recommend a variety pack.
Organic fruit and almond bars, carefully sourced and with a unique blend of seeds and fruit juices to make your jaded taste buds sit up and ask for more.
Patagonia is well known for its thoughtful approach to its products, and these bars are a great example of their ethics.
If you're a hockey fan, you know what an impact a puck in the mouth can have on a person.
It won't hurt a bit!
In fact, as a meal replacement bar, you'll appreciate having these pucks in your pack.
470 calories per puck will keep your engine humming along without having to stop, on days when you're making miles.
These are recommended for when you feel your energy flagging on a hike.
Low sugar, gluten free, vegan, and a unique combo of nuts and fruit are a tasty way to get a good hit of carbohydrates to pep up your step without burning out your pancreas.
Sometimes you just have to have a hit of juicy, satisfying protein rather than a hit of carbs.
These meat bars are sourced from lamb, turkey and pork, and include veggies for an interesting taste combo.
These are one of my absolute favorites for a long trip when food cravings kick in.
Gluten free and paleo hikers will appreciate them!
Plant based protein in a convenient form, and tasty to boot: pumpkin seeds, dates and coconut in a convenient bar.
Gluten, soy, grain and dairy free!
Yummy... and good for your hiking body.
Does the name describe you as a snacker?
Dates, dried fruit, nut butters, seed butters and lots of amazing flavors: Cinnamon Roll'n, All-in Almond, Smooth Caffeinator, Blueberry Boomdizzle, Ah, Fudge Nuts! and more to keep you happy and fueled.
Even if you purchase and pack the bars that taste great and provide the right balance of nutrients and taste, you won't utilize all of that fuel unless you stay well hydrated on a hike.
Water is a universal solvent, meaning it will deliver the nutrients from the bars to your hard working cells.
Use these hiking hydration tips to make sure you're getting every calorie (and dollar) worth!
There are several choices you can make to keep garbage off the trail.
Remove the wrappers at home and pack the trail bars in a reusable container like these.
Or use beeswax food wrappers that can be wiped clean and used again and again, thanks to the impermeable wax.
And finally, any time you unwrap a bar on the trail, pack out your trash.
Read more about Leave No Trace tips for hikers here.
Bonus LNT round:
Have you met a few new snack brands on this page you'd like to try on your next hike?
Or after a workout, during your afternoon commute, or between classes?
Now figure out a good balance of nutrients for your hiking style, using these tips.
Best Trail Bars For Hikers
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
As an Amazon Associate, Hiking For Her earns from qualifying purchases.