By Kiran Herbert
The Claim: Organic, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free, the Bearded Bros say these raw bars use only “the highest quality of ingredients”—everything is tasted individually—and contain no added sugars and minimal processing.
Field Test: Organic dates form the base of every two-ounce Bearded Brother bar, which come in six varieties: Maca Chocolate, Raspberry Lemon, Orange Kale, Ginger Peach, Blueberry Vanilla, and my personal favorite, Coconut Mango. The addition of chia, hemp, and sunflower seeds, plus rice protein, and/or nuts will help fuel any adventure without weighing you down. They also taste good: I can just as easily eat one for breakfast as I can during a 12-mile trek.
Why It’s Timeless: Good, clean energy that tastes like the raw, fruit-based bar it is. Bonus points: the packaging is compostable. $3 per bar; beardedbros.com
The Claim: Also organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and with no added sugar, PHIVEbar claims its product is derived from an ancient recipe.
Field Test: Created by NFL quarterback Kyle Boller, and his wife, Carrie Prejean Boller, these 2.12-ounce bars come in blueberry, peanut, and original. The main ingredients in each are dates and raisins, but all also include nuts and a handful of super foods du jour: flax seeds, blueberries, and quinoa. The result is a dense bar that tastes good (peanut butter is our favorite) and fuels you up during a major effort, but might be a little too much if you’re looking for a pre-hike snack.
Why It’s Timeless: They’re incredibly nutritious. $3 per bar; phivebar.com
The Claim: Curate claims that unexpected flavors and textures define their 1.5-ounce bars.
Field Test: Thin and light on the stomach, I can easily eat three Curate bars during a full day of hiking. Luckily, I can do so without guilt thanks to wholesome ingredients like nuts, oats, quinoa, and fruit. With flavors like Balsamic Fig & Hazelnut and Marcona Almond & Apricot, it’s obvious these bars were created with a culinary-first approach. I love the Strawberries & Pistachios with dark chocolate and almond butter—it’s good for you but feels indulgent.
Why It’s Timeless: An energy bar for foodies. $6 for a four-pack; curatesnacks.com
Thrive by GoMacro
The Claim: For less than 200 calories, GoMacro delivers an organic, non-GMO, gluten-free bar with no more than six grams of sugar and a healthy dose of fiber and plant-based protein.
Field Test: Similarly sized to the Curate bars, these 1.4-ounce sweet-treats—in flavors like Caramel Coconut and Almond Apricot—are the most like a traditional granola bar. That’s a good thing, at least for someone who’s always on the hunt for a nutritious, mid-day pick-me-up that doesn’t feel like a whole meal (the traditional GoMacro Macrobars are better for endurance athletes or protein-hungry vegans). Packed with puffed quinoa, brown rice protein, sprouted flax, nuts, and vegan sugars, hemp hears, and coconut sugar, these are undeniably the most delicious of all the bars we tested.
Why It’s Timeless: They let your “taste buds thrive” while fueling your body with good, clean ingredients. $2.20 per bar; gomacro.com