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PROBAR Backpacking Meal Bars

PROBAR Meal Bars - I like them so much I buy them by the box
PROBAR Meal Bars – I like them so much I buy them by the box

PROBARS are excellent tasting and nutrition-packed way to snack on hiking and backpacking trips. I’ve been eating them for years and they’re a staple in my food bag. Made with 100% organic, certified NON-GMO ingredients like whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit, PROBARS are the way to go if you like to eat clean.

I like them so much, I buy PROBARS by the box ($25-$29/12 bars). They’re a lot less expensive that way. Otherwise, expect to pay $3 or more when you buy them individually.

Each three ounce PROBAR packs between 350-400 calories into a square 4″ x 4″ bar. When I’m hiking, I eat them when I feel the onset of a bonk, when my mind starts to get sluggish, before my body feels fatigued. After that I’m good to go for a few hours. At home, I frequently eat one for lunch for convenience, or before my strength workouts, because I know they’ll help power me through an intense sequence of exercises without upsetting my stomach.

The thing that makes PROBARS unique is that they’re mixed together rather than baked, so you get all of their nutrients in raw, unadulterated form. This also makes them a lot moister than many other bars, so you don’t have to drink as much to wash them down, or even stop when hiking to eat one.

While PROBAR has come out with all kinds of new bars, protein bars, nut spreads and the like, I still. like their original MEAL bars the best, which are available in a wide variety of flavors.

Munching on a Superfood Slam PROBAR while climbing Mt Madison, NH
Munching on a Superfood Slam PROBAR while climbing Mt Madison, NH

My favorites are Superfood Slam which include acai berries, raspberries, dark chocolate and greens and have a slightly grassy flavor and Chocolate Coconut, which is a sweet and slightly crunchy. But there are many other flavors available and I buy variety packs to avoid burning out on any one flavor.

If you’ve never tried PROBARS, I suggest you check them out. I typically pack two per day in my food bag. I have already made a dent in the boxes pictured above, which only recently arrived at my house!

Disclosure: Philip Werner bought these PROBARS with his own funds and has been buying this product for years because he likes it so much. This post includes affiliate links. 


  1. A Bonk? In Ireland its a double portion of french fries covered in curry sauce….. ;-)

    • First time I heard it in relation to hiking, I scratched my head and thought to myself “a bonk always makes me sleepy”. Then I actually experienced a “bonk” while hiking. Peakbagging Sugarloaf and Spaulding Mountain and almost at the end of the hike, I thought I was going to puke and pass out and had to lay down on the side of the trail for a several minutes to recover.

  2. Love these bars! You can usually find them on sale at Whole Foods for a pretty good price.

    My only complaint is I wish they had a little more sodium %. I usually eat them as a breakfast bar before a big mountain day, so the more salt the better.

  3. How do they hold up in the summer heat? main reason why I avoid most energy bars on day hikes seems like they just get too gooey especially ones with chocolate and yogurt coated anything, besides the whole foods mentioned do you know if they are sold at gnc/cvs/ rite aide or any of the big box stores? Always looking to try something new

    • I’ve never had a problem with them in midsumer heat myself; the superfood slam is always just a little bit sticky, but it doesn’t ever get downright gooey. I’ve seen them at random stores on occasion, but they’re always by the counters at outdoor stores.

    • Hold up fine. I ate them on a 100 degree hike yesterday. I see them in supermarkets now.

  4. Are Probars meant to be a substitute for a real meal or as a supplement to one? I usually pack Cliff Bars for snacking.

  5. I love the taste and it is a good way to get 360 call into the body. I like that they do. Ot have too much salt like most processed foods. They are expensive though so I am experimenting with making my own near equivalents. ****

  6. Too much sugar. The first ingredient is “brown rice syrup” which is essentially sugar. For backpacking I want a lot of protein. I would buy these if the nuts and seeds were on top of the ingredient list instead of way down!

    • Oh, hm. Never tried them b/c never saw them in a store and I hate to order a box of stuff if I don’t already know I like it. But knowing this I won’t be able to stomach them. CLIF bars use brown rice syrup too and I hate the stuff. All the flavors taste the same to me: like brown rice syrup. Uck.

      • I think these bars are getting a bum wrap. While some flavors do include brown rice syrup, most don’t. I can’t eat that stuff. Read the labels, but don’t generalize what you find across the entire product line.

        • I’d try some if I found them in singles. John Abela likes them too (or did, before he started his Soylent experiment). But to be honest, my bar supply is mostly what gets foisted off on me by relatives and friends who decided that Sam’s Club pack of bars wasn’t such a great decision. So I’m generally trying to use up bars instead of looking to buy them…

        • Philip, I may be misunderstanding your reply to Spelt, but one of your “favorites,” according to your post, is Superfood Slam. The first ingredient of that particular bar, according to the PROBAR website, is organic brown rice syrup. You “can’t eat that stuff,” but it’s one of your favorites? Please explain. I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I’m a curious sort. I like researching things “to death” before actually buying something.

        • I guess I can eat it after all. It’s high fructose GMO corn syrup, that’s bad!

  7. For backpacking, you will want the quick energy from the sugar. Takes too long to break down proteins for energy.

  8. These are probably my favorite energy bars, with Fruit & Nut Pemmican Bars a close second, and Lara Bars 3rd. I prefer the harder texture and lower sweetness – I get tired of softer bars or sticky chewy bars, or the sharpness in the back of the throat I get after a while from sweeter bars like Clif. I didn’t know that ProBars weren’t cooked, they don’t seem particularly moist to me – if you want a moister, softer raw bar, I would go with Lara Bars. You can sometimes find ProBars on sale at Whole Foods for about $2 each, similar to the box price.

    I have also made my own homemade version very similar the ProBars – I don’t use much brown rice syrup and use more dates, use ground flax seeds (whole flax seeds pass through mostly undigested), omit superfoods like acai or spirulina that I don’t have, and I do cook them a little bit. Price is under $1 each.

    But most hikes I just take most all the ingredients as whole food in the form of homemade GORP. I never grow tired of a big bag of GORP that I can pick and choose what I want that moment, as opposed to a bar that can grow samey (even if I take a few different flavors).

  9. Kind Bar fan, here! De gustibus non est disputandum (Latin equivalent of HYOH and YMMV)!

  10. I enjoy these bars for a changs of pace. I prefer a lower glycemic bar such as Kind bars and Power Crunch bars. And for the extreme healthy bar I also enjoy the Epic meat bars. The Probars are hefty and they are durable in the pack- a feature most people don’t consider when purchasing food:) Cant wait to try the chocolate coconut!

    • I like both the Power Crunch bars (good protein sources, and they taste great) and the Kind bars (though I tired of them recently). My wife REALLY likes the Power Crunch bars. She wishes they made a strawberry version, though, so she could have a healthier version of the strawberry “wafer cookie” things we used to buy now and then (horrible, I know).

  11. Cal/oz on Probars is no good, as it takes at least 100 calories of effort to chew one.

    • Buy them by the box – they’re much fresher than buying them at the supermarket in the checkout line. Mine are moist. No need to even chew. You can gum them! Soft enough for baby.

  12. Anyone know off hand if any flavors are nut-free? I’m tired of only being able to eat clif chocolate chip bars.

  13. I like most of the ones I’ve tried, but the rosemary oil flavor can get overwhelming, especially when it’s warm (I assume it evaporates more into my nose then). Why rosemary? Do any flavors not have it (too lazy to look it up right now, maybe if work calms down over the winter)?

  14. I took ProBars with me on about ten hikes but stopped because they made my insides seriously rumble, if you know what I mean. They have way too much sugar. I’ve since switched to bulk trail mix from Whole Foods and have found it much more satisfying and much less processed (and no more rumblings). My 2¢.

  15. Love these bars! I hate having to set up my backpacking stove for the classic instant oatmeal breakfast in the morning. Probar is my go-to cold breakfast, and I can get on the trail right away. So nutritious and yummy!

  16. How long do you think these would last before getting too stale? I keep various food bars in the car and in my office pack, just in case.

  17. Philip,
    I recommend you do a bit more research on the GMO thing. The whole non-GMO thing is just marketing BS. Look into the science – there is nothing harmful in GMO products, in fact it is saving the world from starving.

  18. There are roughly equal numbers of research groups raising concerns about the safety of GMOs vs. those saying they are as safe and nutritious as conventional foods. I don’t deny they increase crop yields and reduce crop diseases but there isn’t really a scientific consensus on their nutritional equivalence.

  19. Ginger the trail dog

    I love the Probar Meals for breakfast when backpacking. I also eat the Bites & Bolts for snacks while hiking/backpacking … I also leave some in my car just in case I get hungry while on the road.

    I buy them by the cases from Probar. Sometimes there is a sale ($9/case!). If I want to try a new flavor, I buy one at REI. My favorite flavors are PB, PB Chocolate Chip and Trail Mix for Meals & Bites; Grapefruit, Strawberry & Lemon for bolts.

    Honestly, I just want a ton of calories, fat, protein and salt (in that order) when I am out on the trail. And of course palatable. So far Probars are my favorite. I would like to try Green Belly … but they are WAY too expensive for my budget.

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