When it comes to trail snack bars, there’s almost as many options to choose from as there are trees in the forest. Sure, you can load up on the tried-and-true classics, but after a few days—or weeks—of the same ol’ thing, those repetitive—and often uneaten—bars start weighing down your pack. As part of our recent Trail Food Taste-Off, our panel sampled a variety of off-the-beaten-track snack bar options—many made right here in the Northwest—that can help improve the variety on your trail menu, while keeping you fueled up over the miles. Here are our favorites.
“So good I can eat these on and off trail!” — Sugar
Leading the pack in our trail bar selections is the Northwest-made Grizzly Bar. This powerhouse of flavor and trail fuel is loaded with chunks of chocolate, peanut butter, dried fruit and whole oats for a hearty snack or a good meal substitute. Plus, it’s made with organic and all-natural ingredients you can actually pronounce. Go for Kate’s equally-tasty Tram Bar if you prefer milk chocolate over dark.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 360 PROTEIN: 9g CARBS: 51g
Made in the United Kingdom, Nākd’s Berry Delight bar is about as wholesome as you can get. With just five ingredients—dates, cashews, raisins, raspberries and natural flavor—this sweet and chewy fruit bar was a favorite among our panel for its vibrant berry flavor without being overly sweet (it doesn’t contain any added sugar). This also a good bar for those with dietary restrictions, as it’s vegan, gluten- and dairy-free.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 135 PROTEIN: 3g CARBS: 18g (GF, DF, V)
We sampled several flavors of Picky Bars, with Blueberry Boomdizzle just slightly edging out Moroccan Your World—so we’re including both! Packed with organic and all-natural ingredients, Oregon-made Picky Bars are gluten-, dairy-, soy- and GMO-free. The blueberry bar scored big points for its sweet and fruity flavor, while the Moroccan bar was favored for its savory spices, including turmeric, cardamom and ginger.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 200 PROTEIN: 7g CARBS: 28g (GF, DF, V)
“It tastes just like apple pie!” — Bright
Another Oregon-based company, Skout gets a big thumbs-up for their use of organic, non-GMO ingredients. Their Apple Cinnamon bar was a big hit with our crew. This bar is packed with all-natural fruit, nuts and oats with no refined sugar, so you can feel good knowing you’re eating real food for quality trail energy. Skout’s bars are also vegan—including their chocolate varieties—for those with dietary needs or preferences.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 180 PROTEIN: 3g CARBS: 33g (GF, V)
Rounding out our top-five, Liv Bar’s Raspberry Kale Maca superfood bar is loaded with dried fruit, organic seeds, quinoa, flax and just a touch of coconut sugar. The addition of maca powder in this bar contributes to increased energy and stamina, as well as serving as an immune booster and stress manager. In addition to its pleasing fruity-nutty flavor, we give this one additional props for also being made in Oregon.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 220 PROTEIN: 8g CARBS: 17g (GF, DF)
“Less talking. More waffles!” — Eli
This late entry in our taste-off didn’t get sampled by our entire panel, but the few of us that tried them liked them so much we thought they deserved an honorable mention. More of a cookie than a bar, these sweet waffle sandwiches are great for a light snack when you need a quick boost. Available in five organic and gluten-free flavors, we liked the Vanilla and Chocolate and Salted Carmel varieties.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 140 PROTEIN: 1g CARBS: 21g (GF)
What’s your favorite snack bar on trail? Leave us a comment below.
Our Trail Food Taste-Off series continues next week with protein snacks. Stay tuned!
PCT: Oregon’s Trail Foods Taste-Off panel consists of a selection of seasoned Pacific Crest Trail section- and thru-hikers, each with years of on-trail experience. Selections and rankings are based on aggregated scoring of a variety of factors, including flavor, texture, ingredients and nutritional value.
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