A Trail Guides Tastiest Tips on Tantalizing Energy Bars for Trekkers

The best way to enjoy the wilderness is to go deep into the forest at dawn just as the mountains are coming alive. Trust me, I’m a hiking guide. I spend most days trekking the numerous trails surrounding the alpine hamlet of Big Bear Lake California, most usually with vacationers at my side. Running and managing this small business in this tourist town can sometimes feel like a full-time job but is it really work when you just scrambled up a snowy mountain in snowshoes and are admiring the sunrise at eight thousand feet? Mornings like this have me ravenous for a big plate of bacon by seven a.m. Or just maybe I’ll just make do with the best energy bars for hikers!

The pup and I started our trip this morning as the sun was just rising. The mule deer peeked out from behind a bristly buckbrush bush staring at us as the sun rose and we quietly trekked past (My twelve-year-old deaf dog had no idea we just walked past Bambi) The beautiful doe stopped chewing the spring grasses to stare at us, almost asking “Why on earth are you out here this ungodly early?” Everyone gets up at five a.m. for three straight weeks when they go on vacation, right? Lacing up my Saucony running shoes in the dark and sneaking out of our RV before the sun has even risen and the rest of my family sleeps in on vacation is a totally normal thing to do, right? For a healthy Hungry Mountaineer, yes, this is how I holiday in July in the happiest place on earth. No, not Disneyland with the rest of the tourists, but the eastern Sierra mountains of California. So now that I have hiked seven miles and it’s not even eight a.m. the real question is what’s for breakfast? And which are the best energy bars for hikers who are out trekking trails at dawn?

At eleven a.m. as the trendy, All Trails Hikers were hitting the lower three miles of this popular eastern Sierras trail the pup and I were already summiting our first mountain pass of the trip at well over ten thousand feet. We were three miles and over a thousand feet above all the teenagers fishing at noon in the hot sun with lures way too large for these tiny alpine Brooke trout. ( Besides the fact, with a full moon and fish feeding at night the Brookies won’t even be biting) I had inhaled one of my favorite low-sugar protein bars at Morgan Pass an hour ago and I was feeling good! When it comes to finding the best energy bars for hikers that comes with a lot of trial and error and yes taste testing!

A protein bar almost as good as bacon? Sounds like fake news

Eight a.m. on the top of the ten thousand-foot mountain pass is a perfect place for breakfast. I would love a big plate of bacon right now but instead, I’ll just chomp on this tasty sugar-free protein bar. Are you also an outdoor adventurer who constantly finds yourself trekking trails just after dawn, miles from the car, hours from a good brunch restaurant and hungry? If a hot pile of bacon is not an easy option you may be wondering, just what are the best energy bars for hikers out trekking trails? Let me guide you up to some of my favorite alpine lakes in the eastern Sierra and tell you which were the best protein bars I inhaled at eight a.m. on these July mountain treks. Want to know what not to buy? Whatever you do, don’t buy a Gatorade-flavored protein bar!

Now, this is a good spot for a snack.

Keto, Gluten-Free or Sugar-Free; So many options

It may be eight a.m. and you have been trekking up that rocky mountain trail since way before dawn. Before your hungry turns to hangry let me give you just a few tips about what are the best energy bars for hikers on the market for all your needs; Keto, gluten-free or sugar-free.

Red Velvet Cake low-sugar? Yes please!

Sometimes it is just way easier when you are hitting the trail for a sunrise ten-mile trek to grab a protein bar for the road (Or trail) But so many of them are full of sugar, fake ingredients or just taste like cardboard. Cookie dough birthday cake without forty-five grams of carbs? I don’t think so Luna Bar.

This July I set out for almost twenty early morning hikes with ten different protein bars in my lightweight daypack. Yes, I really wish I had a hot plate of bacon. But that is not always doable when deep in the wilderness and one with all that nature. I try to mainly stay away from protein bars that have chocolate or yogurt coating because they do tend to melt being out in the summer sunshine. Saying that my all-time favorite breakfast bar of all time is the lemon meringue Power Crunch bar. What I really want is a slice of lemon poppy seed cake. But that is not happening when you are living that keto lifestyle. This low-sugar protein bar is made with Stevia and actually does not have that

Good spot for a lemon Meringue protein bar.

gross Stevia taste that I personally hate. I’ve tried most of these Power Crunch flavors and they are all great. The peanut butter used to be my favorite but now the lemon meringue Power Crunch has taken over. Power Crunch has to make some of the best energy bars for hikers. I love the wafer flavor and that they are so low in sugar.

The very best energy bar for hikers that are also gluten-free

Are you looking for a gluten-free protein bar option? These keto krisp almond butter are my absolute favorite go-to protein bars that are also gluten-free. I simply adore the almond butter and coconut flavor. The nutty and coconut flavors in these are just fantastic. I also love that these are also a lower in sugar option.

Okay, sometimes you might have just trekked twelve miles to an alpine lake and you deserve a “Protein Bar” That is basically just a candy bar. We have all been there dude. These Honey Stinger cracker and nut butter snack bars are my absolute favorite. Are they one of the best energy bars for hikers? Well all the delicious milk chocolate in them gave me a great energy boost on those huge elevation gain treks. They are my hiker’s guilty pleasure “protein” bar. They are hard to find but I can find them at REI or on Amazon.

How to stay away from those other cheap Big Mac’s of protein bars

Let’s talk about what not to do when searching for the best energy bar for hikers. When searching for the best protein bar to fuel your body, what should you not buy? Number one, look for a protein bar with ingredients you can actually pronounce. What the hell is Soy Protein Isolate? So many protein bars labeled as the best energy bars for hikers are actually chock full of refined agave nectar which sounds healthy but it’s actually about as good for your athlete’s body as corn syrup. Studies have linked it to obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

When it comes to the best energy bar for hikers on the market today, if a protein bar is chock full of corn syrup, sugar and or honey I might put it back on the grocer’s shelf. I love a great-tasting bar that is sweetened with one kind of healthy option for sugar, AKA when a bar just has stevia as a sweetener or is sweetened only with dates. That is what I am talking about. Yes, sometimes I give in on a fifteen-mile hike and think, damn it am I sweaty, I deserve a protein bar that is basically a fancy candy bar but those days are few and far between.  Like last week when I trekked twenty-one miles to Thousand Island Lake. On that day I definitely deserved a treat but days like that. Most days I try to just keep it simple with ingredients I can pronounce.

When seeking the best energy bar for hikers at my local health food store, I find that Larabar makes some delicious protein bars with real ingredients. I absolutely adore their almond butter chocolate chip, cashew cookie, cinnamon raisin cookie, chocolate hazelnut swirl and pineapple upside-down cake. All these flavors are fit to fill my day pack on any given hiking morning. When I can’t have bacon trailside, they are an easy option to throw into my hiker’s backpack. Larabars are great for all those hikers out there who are allergic to everything. They are all mostly gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Most flavors are basically just nuts, dried fruit and delicious flavors. What else do you need? Okay, bacon. I might need bacon.

Sometimes you buy bars that just taste terrible, like cardboard. When I try a new flavor of protein bar and I’m just not quite sure if I will like it, I try to buy something nut-based with no raisins so if I don’t care for it I can always feed it to my dog. I really truly hate to waste food but also when I trek to the top of the mountain, I deserve a delicious treat! Not a piece of cardboard to gnaw on.

Other healthy hiker’s breakfast options

Some outdoor trekkers are just not down for store-bought protein bars. I totally get that. I am the first to bake up gluten-free breakfast delights like these Zucchini Bran Muffins when I do have time before our camping/ hiking adventure trips. These gluten-free muffins freeze well too! Homemade breakfast muffins like my Blueberry Breakfast Coffee Cake Muffins are just so easy and lightweight to throw in my day pack for an easy breakfast on the trail.

Not in the mood for a sweet snack so early on the trail? My also go-to breakfast or brunch early morning snack is hardboiled duck eggs. I’m kind of obsessed with duck eggs. They have way more protein, antioxidants and Omega-threes than regular eggs. I boil them ahead of time, peel them, add some salt and put them in a ziplock bag to munch on my early morning treks. I also like to package up some fancy cheeses and some sliced Boar’s Head chorizo sausage for early morning snacking. It may not be the bacon I am craving trailside but it is the next best thing!

Macadamia and White Chocolate? Yes please!

Here we are mid-summertime and with so many early morning treks on the horizon. Have a great summer out there trekking those miles and enjoying those summertime sunrises. Don’t forget a healthy breakfast protein bar for that sun-rise breakfast break!