We subjected 25 energy bars to a taste test. Here are the best.

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Energy bars are a staple for running, hiking and skiing, providing essential calories and nutrients in a portable format. But when you get your heart rate up on a hike, run, or bike ride, it can be hard to motivate yourself to eat, even when you need food the most. Thus, it helps to bring tasty snacks that you really want to eat. With the help of a team of outdoor enthusiasts who regularly consume energy bars, both during activities and to meet daily caloric needs, we tested 25 products from 12 brands. We primarily considered flavor and texture to determine which bars were the most delicious, while also considering portability: the size of the bar and its ability to withstand different temperatures – and a few minor crushings – in a bag. back. Here are our results.

Best all around: Kind Nut Bar ($17.50 for 12)

(Photo: Courtesy of Kind)

Flavors tested: Dark chocolate nuts and sea salt, dark chocolate and cherry cashews
Texture: 5/5
Portability: 5/5

If you are looking for an easy to eat snack bar, Kind Nut Bars are among the tastiest. They were the most popular on our test list, appealing to a wide range of palates. We also like that they don’t have the processed mush feel of many energy bars; they are light and crunchy with lots of whole nuts. One of Kind’s bestsellers – and a crowd favorite – is Dark Chocolate with Nuts and Sea Salt, which is both a savory and sweet snack. Upon completion of testing, everyone expressed that we would bring these bars on hikes or take them to work for a midday snack.

One note: while the nut bars are great for backcountry endeavors (hard to crush), they only contain about 180 calories and six grams of protein each, so they’re not nearly as satiating than a meal replacement energy bar. But they will provide quick energy when you need it most.

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Best Newcomer: Honey Stinger Nut and Seed Bar ($36 for 12)

Flavors tested: Almond Pumpkin Seed
Texture: 5/5
Portability: 4/5

Relatively new, the Honey Stinger Nut & Seed Bar arrives hot. With a combination of seeds, nuts, a caramel layer and a nougat butter center, this energy bar looks like a candy bar with no artificial ingredients. We have been looking for this bar again and again for all outdoor activities, any time of the year. Unlike many bars that are high in protein but have a chalky texture or artificial taste, this bar manages to pack 14 grams of protein while still being delicious.

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Best for Mid-Activity Fuel: Luna Bar ($20.57 for 15)

(Photo: Courtesy of Luna)

Flavors tested: Lemon Zest, Chocolate Peppermint Stick, Chocolate Covered Coconut
Texture: 4/5
Portability: 5/5

Bars from this brand are tasty and include fun tasting notes, like the hint of citrus in Lemon zest and the minty freshness of the Chocolate Peppermint Stick. The cereal base is light and airy with a crunch, so it’s easy to eat no matter how hard you work. The bottom of each bar is coated with a layer of icing, so they’re perfect for hikers and runners who crave a sugary mid-activity.

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Best Update on the Classic: Clif Nut Butter Bar ($19.74 for 12)

Flavors tested: Peanut Butter
Texture: 5/5
Portability: 4/5

Clif Bars were one of the first outdoors specific energy bars on the scene, launched in 1992. I spent years devouring them as my main snack, so much so that you would be hard pressed to find me with a traditional Clif bar. in hand these days. However, these filled bars are another story. Their oatmeal-y exterior is stuffed with creamy nut butter, creating a soft and pleasant texture. The only complaint from testers was that they broke easily, so they might not survive days in a pack.

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Most hearty: Pro Bar ($40 for 12)

(Photo: Courtesy Pro Bar)

Flavors tested: Superfood Slam, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips
Texture: 5/5
Portability: 3/5

Some energy bars can be hard to digest, especially when they’re dense and high in protein, but Professional bars somehow manages to be hearty and delectable. (Perhaps the high sugar content, with 20 grams per serving, is why we love them.) Because these hearty meal bars each pack 350 to 400 calories, you can skip lunch prep and dive right in. straight into your adventures. However, they are not the most portable option, as they are too bulky to fit in a pocket while running.

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Best Organic: Kate’s Real Food Bar ($29.88 for 12)

Flavors tested: Dark chocolate cherry and almond, dark chocolate with peanut butter
Texture: 3/5
Portability: 4/5

With 100% organic ingredients, Kate Real Food Bars have caught the attention of hikers and backpackers for their natural flavors. They retain a light, crunchy taste while containing 260 to 300 calories per bar. But because they don’t have a gooey artificial binder to hold them together like the others on this list, Real Food bars get a little crumbly when you pick them up. Cherry Almond Dark Chocolate ranked high across the board, while Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate was not as popular due to its earthy aftertaste.

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Best for cold activities: Perfect Bar ($24 for eight)

(Photo: Courtesy of Perfect Bar)

Flavors tested: Peanut Butter with Dark Chocolate Chips, Salted Caramel
Texture: 3/5
Portability: 2/5

The Perfect Bars are an ideal snack for ski touring and snowshoeing because they don’t freeze as easily as other bars and are calorie dense which will help you stay warm. The Peanut butter with dark chocolate chips is my go-to snack during the cold months, but these bars ranked lower on our list because some testers didn’t like their thick, gooey texture. Plus, they need to be refrigerated, so they melt and sweat on hot days. (Unless you have a major sweet tooth, skip the salted caramel flavor and go for the brand’s more standard options.)

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Tamest Flavors: Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar ($30 for 12)

(Photo: Courtesy of Skratch Laboratories)

Flavors tested: Cherries + Pistachios, Chocolate Chips + Almonds
Texture: 4/5
Portability: 4/5

Skratch Labs Energy Bars have a similar texture and appearance to Kate’s Real Food bars, but overall the flavors were more muted and indistinct (the divine-sounding cherry and pistachio were mostly grainy). These bars don’t live up to the impressive lineup of other Skratch products, like their Electrolyte Blend and Matcha Green Tea Lemon Energy Chews.

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Snack voucher: Larabar ($16 for 16)

(Photo: Courtesy of Larabar)

Flavors tested: Peanut butter chocolate chips, cashew cookie, cherry pie
Texture: 3/5
Portability: 5/5

With only two or three ingredients per bar depending on the flavor, Larabars are perfect for snackers who want to keep it simple or anyone who is gluten-free. For fruit lovers, the Cherry Pie flavor was our favorite because it had a soft, gooey texture and deliciously sweet flavor. This texture is not consistent across the line of bars, however, some, like the peanut butter chocolate chip bar, were a little too chalky. But while most of the flavors didn’t blow us away, overall the Larabars are simple and easy to eat.

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Most Controversial: GoMacro MacroBar ($37.39 for 12)

(Photo: Courtesy of GoMacro)

Flavors tested: Lemon, Banana + Almond Butter, Salted Caramel + Chocolate Chips
Texture: 2/5
Portability: 4/5

GoMacro Bars were a bit divisive among our test group: some loved them and ranked them at the top of their list, while others couldn’t get over their gooey, gooey texture. (One tester even compared them to Play-Doh.) Although the flavors rank in the middle of the pack, these bars have their place as a nutrient-dense, protein-packed meal replacement bar. They also work for many people with dietary restrictions, such as the FODMAP diet.

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Most Cakes: Bobo’s Oat Bars ($29.88 for 12)

(Photo: Courtesy of Bobo)

Flavors tested: Banana chocolate chips, lemon poppy seeds
Texture: 3/5
Portability: 3/5

These energy bars from Bobo’s are quite different from the others on the list: more like a baked good than an energy bar, this brick of oats is a heavy and satisfying option when you need a substantial snack. But while both flavors we tried were pretty good (with Lemon Poppyseed more popular than Banana Chocolate Chip), the bars tend to get dry and chewy, so make sure you have water handy. tomorrow.

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Easiest: RxBar ($40.75 for 24)

(Photo: Courtesy RxBar)

Flavors tested: Chocolate sea salt, maple sea salt
Texture: 2/5
Portability: 5/5

Rx bars are a great choice for those with dietary restrictions because you know exactly what you’re getting with each; simple ingredients are listed in large print on the package. However, most testers felt they were too sticky and hard to chew. And while we were impressed with the flavor of the chocolate sea salt, the maple sea salt was a total flop because the flavor was too sweet and concentrated.

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