What keeps Jen fueled on her long-distance hikes? While she makes her way across North Carolina on the MST, she’ll share some of her favorite trail food.  

Bars are a hiker’s best friend. They offer instant energy in convenient packaging. It rained 5 out of the last 7 days, and because of that I ate even more bars than usual. It is a lot easier and more pleasant to take a few bites from a bar that is stashed in your pocket or hip belt, than stop in the rain, empty your pack, and rummage your wet fingers around in a bag of trail mix.

But not all bars are created equal. There are lots out there that contain high amounts of sugar and the smell and texture of others can cause even a hungry hiker to turn their nose.

Recently, Kind Bars have been my go to quick-fix because they are made with all natural ingredients and instead of tasting like overcooked oatmeal they simply taste like real food stuck together. This week I found another bar that I’m happily incorporating into the rotation: RX bars list their contents on the front of the packaging. My favorite, the Coconut Chocolate Bar, lists: “3 Egg Whites, 6 Almonds, 4 Cashews, 2 Dates, No B.S.” Flip it over and you see that the only other ingredients are cacoa, coconut, sea salt, and natural coconut flavor. Not bad! Plus, the protein they provide — 12 grams per bar —offers sustained output, even in the rain.

The one drawback is that these bars get pretty hard in cold weather, so while they’ll get me through my fall hike, I’ll probably leave them at home during my winter adventures.