When it comes to trail bars, the taste may be a plus, but what really matters is caloric density.
When every ounce matters, you want something that’s going to give you the nutrients you need for lasting energy.
If you were to go into your decision knowing next to nothing about trail bars, you’d probably grab a box of Clif Bars and call it a day. And to be honest, you could be doing a lot worse.
Clif Bars boast around 260 calories and 10 grams of protein per bar. At 2.6 ounces per bar, they offer a substantial boost of energy at a very manageable weight.
They’re typically between $1 and $1.50, depending on whether you’re buying in bulk or individually. So in a literal sense, Clif Bars may actually be the best bang for your buck.
As an added bonus, they’re available just about everywhere, and in a wider range of flavors than most other options you might be considering. That said, you might find some of those flavors can be a bit sweet for your taste.
You’re probably better off avoiding their new caffeinated options. Caffeine can play havoc with your hydration and energy levels if you’re not careful, making them a bad fit for long hikes.
Clif Bars are a cheap, time-tested option that you can get just about anywhere. If you want an option you don’t have to think too much about, this is the one for you.
Probar Meal Bar
Is caloric density the first, last, and only item on your list? If so, you want ProBar.
There are 390 calories and 9 grams of protein in each bar. They include a wide range of ingredients, including oats, nuts, and flax seeds, offering a large and lasting energy boost. The best news? Each bar is only 3 ounces, so ounce for ounce, this is going to be your best bet for on the go nutrition.
On the other hand, if you want to take that “bang for your buck” thing literally, they’re definitely not the best option for the price. Even buying in bulk, each bar comes in at about 3 dollars.
That price also gets you a great tasting bar. Where some bars just taste like “sweet” no matter what the label says, ProBar gives you a balanced and robust flavor.
If the price isn’t a dealbreaker, ProBar is definitely worth what you pay for it.
MacroBars set itself apart by being a 100% organic and responsibly sourced vegan option. If that’s a priority, you’re not really sacrificing anything to get it.
Each bar offers 290 calories, and 11 grams of plant-based proteins. At 2.5 ounces a bar, you’re once again getting a great mid-hike energy boost in a small package. They’re also a lower sugar option than many other energy bars if that’s a priority for you as well.
That said, the lower sugar content means it’s not as sweet, and in something made up mostly of oats and grains, that means that it may not be as flavorful. On the other hand, if you find your other options are too sweet, MacroBars can be a relief from that.
This is another option that’s a bit higher on price as well. Typically between $2 and $3 per bar depending on where you buy them and how many you get at once.
If you’ve got a lot of requirements for your trail bar, or have other reasons that you spend a lot of time thinking about what’s in your trail food, MacroBar is your best choice.
There’s plenty of great options for trail bars; some are gimmicky, some sacrifice taste for nutrition, and many sacrifice nutrition for taste.
No matter if you pick an option from this list, or decide to strike out on your own, here are three things to keep in mind:
● You want a bar with complex carbs, a high fiber content, and at least 8-10 grams of protein
● You want a bar with upwards of 100 calories per ounce
● Most importantly, you want something you will eat and enjoy, so you don’t put off your mid-hike energy boost for too long.