Best Protein Bars for Backpacking – A Complete Guide

Best Protein Bars for Backpacking – A Complete Guide

Best Protein Bars for Backpacking

So what makes a protein bar great?  I think one of the most important things is that it must taste delicious.  It doesn’t matter what the ingredients are, if you don’t like the way a bar tastes you probably won’t be able to stomach it out on the trail.  My appetite tends to decrease while hiking so I have to take foods that I know I really enjoy.  Your bar also must be healthy.  With so many organic and healthy options these days there is no need to put junk into your body.  Look for bars with natural sweeteners and real food ingredients.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredient or don’t know what it is, then you should not choose that bar.  The ingredients should be minimally processed and organic if possible.  You will want a high calorie bar with at least 200 calories since you will be burning lots of energy hiking.  Your own nutrition needs will vary but below, in no particular order, are some healthy options that will work for most backpackers.

Garden of Life Protein Bar

Calories:  270-290 depending on flavor

Fat:  9 g

Carbs:  34 g

Protein:   20 g

This bar is unique because it is organic, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and soy free.  If you have food sensitivities this might just be the perfect bar for you.  This is the only organic, non gmo plant based protein bar certified clean by both NSF for Sport and Informed Choice.  This bar comes in 4 different flavors:  Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Sea Salt Caramel, and Chocolate Fudge.  These bars are also high in fiber and have 10 g of soluble fiber from Tapioca fiber.  I like Garden of Life bars because they don’t have the sticky consistency most protein bars do.  Its more of a crumbly brownie type texture.

 GoMacro Bars

Calories: 290

Fat:  11 g

Carbs:  38 g

Protein:  12 g

*Nutrition info above is for Protein Pleasure Flavor

Here is another organic, vegan, gluten free, and soy free bar.  These have simple ingredients with no additives or preservatives.  They come in 22 different flavors!  I haven’t tried them all but some of my favorites are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Sunny Uplift, and Everlasting Joy.  Make sure you read labels and packaging because there are some that are high protein and others that are not.  They are made with slow burning carbs which help provide a consistent energy.  These bars have a nice consistency and are not to dry or too moist.  They are both chewy and sort of puffy.

Rx Bars

Calories:  200

Fat:  9 g

Carbs:  22 g

Protein:  12 g

These bars have such simple whole food ingredients.  Most only have 6-8 ingredients.  They are sugar free (processed) , gluten free, grain free, soy free, and dairy free.  They come in 8 flavors:  Mint Chocolate, Coconut Chocolate, Blueberry, Chocolate Sea Salt, Peanut Butter, Coffee Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice.  My favorite flavors are the Peanut butter and Coffee Chocolate. They get their protein from egg whites and are sweetened with dates so they’re sweet but not overly.  I like Rx bars because the consistency is chewy and moist.  .

Simple Squares

Calories:  230

Fat:  17 g

Carbs:  17 g

Protein:  6 g

These nut and spice bars are organic, gluten free, and paleo friendly.  Most of these bars only have 5 ingredients and are considered a raw food.  They come in 8 unique flavors:  Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Clove, Coconut, Chili Pepper, Coffee, Ginger, Rosemary, Sage Nut and Honey.  I haven’t been brave enough to try some of the more adventurous flavors but I really like the Cinnamon Clove and Coconut.  These are soft and chewy and fairly sweet. 

Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars

Calories:  300

Fat:  17 g

Carbs:  28 g

Protein:  16 g

Papa Steve’s are another great vegan bar.  They are dairy free (some), soy free, and gluten free.  They use only natural sugars and raw organic sweeteners.  These are considered a raw food since they’re made with only fresh raw nuts and fruit.  These come in 9 original flavors:  Almond Coconut Crunch, Apple Cinnamon Pecan, Banana Oat Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Almond Crunch, Chocolate Coconut Crunch, Cranberry Almond, Dairy Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Choco Chip, Dark Chocolate Cherry.  These are also really high in fiber which is good while backpacking.  These have more of a dry texture.and are shaped more like cookies than bars.  My favorite flavors are Banana Oat Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Coconut Crunch.

Greenbelly Meals

Calories: 640 

Fat:  22 g

Carbs:  100 g

Protein:  17 g

*Nutrition info above is for one package containing TWO bars.

Greenbelly Meals are more of a meal bar than a protein bar.  They are packaged as meal replacement bars and each package contains two bars.  These are compact and lightweight.  They also taste great and were developed by a French culinary chef.  They are gluten free and use fresh ingredients.  I like the light and fluffy texture and that they contain whole chunks of nuts and fruits.  Greenbelly Meals come in three flavors:  Dark Chocolate Banana, Peanut Apricot, and Cranberry Almond.  My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Banana.  These bars make great meals for backpackers who want to go the stoveless route and keep things simple.

Don’t forget to comment below and share your favorite backpacking bars!




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6 thoughts on “Best Protein Bars for Backpacking – A Complete Guide”

  • Great list of protein bars that you have here. I’ve never heard of most of them but are very enticed to try them. Especially when all of them do not contain processed foods with minimal chemical. Not to mention they look delicious as well. I like the Rx bars the most due to its list of natural ingredients but does it taste that good?

    • Hi Isaac,

      I really enjoy the Rx bars and took them on a 40 mile trip through King’s Canyon last summer. They definitely don’t taste like a candy bar but they are the same or better than other protein bars. The dates really sweeten them up and I like the taste more than Cliff bars.

  • The simple squares and meal to go are good very good. I have and still continue to eat both. I haven’t really heard much of the others. But I will look into adding one more protein bar into my diet. I backpack all year round. I’m always on the go and visiting different areas of the country. This was very beneficial to me. Thanks for the post!

    • Hi James,

      I like the Simple Square bar as well and buy them for snacks to take to work during the week. I use Greenbelly meals for lunches on the trail because I need the calories but hate to cook in the afternoon. Glad to hear you are out exploring and that the article was helpful!

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