Apr 12, 2005 at 9:22 pm #1216063
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
This forum thread was created in response to the new article released at BackpackingLight.com on April 12:
So, the topics du jour for this thread includes:
Apr 12, 2005 at 10:49 pm #1336672
- Your favorite bars?
- The role of bars in your ultralight meal plan
- Bars vs. Gels?
- Better ways to spend weight than on bars?
- Any bars out there that Don’t Get Old on a Long Distance Hike?
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
I’d like to know what marketing genius came up with “evaporated cane juice” — sounds a lot like sugar to me.
Is this stuff somehow better than regular ol’ C&H?
PS — Please take this post with a grain of salt. Umm…err, make that a grain of organic-evaporated-crystalized-ocean-essence. <g>Apr 12, 2005 at 11:04 pm #1336673
@romandialLocale: packrafting NZ
As far as I am concerned, the best bars are good old fashioned “candy bars”. Perhaps this article could benefit from a control: a snickers, mars, or maybe cadbury milk chocolate for us to get everything calibrated.
I personally am unable to eat more than one “energy bar” a day but I can put away a fine multiple of that in good chocolate bars.Apr 13, 2005 at 12:29 am #1336674
Candybars are much cheaper and easier to get. Also, they taste better. They can be a bit sweet, so I like to add some granola bars to the pack.
I noticed Snickers has an energy bar out. I tried it, and as far as I can tell it’s just like a normal Snickers bar but tastes nasty.
p.s. When I got tired of carrying around energy bars that I never ate because they were no good I just made my own energy goo. A stick of butter, half cup sugar (I mean, dehydrated cane juice), half cup flower, half cup peanut butter, and a little vanilla (it’s basically peanut butter cookie dough). And take a vitamin.Apr 13, 2005 at 6:56 am #1336680
I am by no means a nutrition freak, but I’m not a fan of candybars. Just don’t like the taste and/or chocolate.
I, do however, love Cliff/Luna bars. Plenty of flavors to choose from and I can get them from Big Lots for $0.50-$0.60 each. I guess they are not “natural” so they don’t qualify for this report.Apr 13, 2005 at 7:31 am #1336681
I prefer Cliff bars. On long trips I do not get tired of eating them as some other bars. Not sure why there not on the list.Apr 13, 2005 at 8:46 am #1336683
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
Cliff Bars get my vote. Plenty of variety and high quality taste. Throw in a few Snicker’s Marathon’s for extra-good flavor and that provides me with plenty of energy on short and long trips.Apr 13, 2005 at 8:53 am #1336684
Another vote for Clifs, and I also think that Odwalla bars are similar and very good. Finally, the best of all IMHO though smaller and more expensive, are Larabars, which are just pressed fruit and nuts.Apr 13, 2005 at 9:08 am #1336685
Boomi Bars,any flavor.
Clif Bars new Builder’s 20g protein,
peanut butter flavor, break them into pieces and ration those, will last you for miles. Any dark chocolate over 70%
chocolate from chocosphere.com.Apr 13, 2005 at 9:18 am #1336687
I went through a period where I tried just about every energy bar I could lay my hands on. For me, the two largest criteria were:
2) Calories/weight ratio
Most failed the taste test in my book. In the end, I found Power Bar “Harvest” to be the only one that I could pretty consistently eat any flavor without gagging. They don’t have the best calories/weight ratio, but at least I’ll eat ’em.
…and I’ll put a third vote in for candy bars. I normally carry a couple snicker’s / day and sometimes a bag of peanut M&M’s. One of my snickers traditionally gets downed at night when I’m in my bag… the extra calories help keep me warm and ward off that urge to pee at 4am.Apr 13, 2005 at 10:02 am #1336688
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
I pretty consistently choke down one clif bar a day on a trip. For a longer trip and consistent high-mileage days (e.g. 20+ mpd), maybe two a day and a gel or two.
Probably the biggest thing I look for in a “food bar” is that it should not break teeth at low temperatures and not require a spoon to eat on a warm day. Clif bars do that, and come in enough flavors to ensure variety and I generally am happy with the flavors. Actually, the peanut butter flavor reminds me of homemade granola bars.
The caffeinated bars are great when you roll out of bed early and skip brewing up, and also on a midafternoon when you still have nine miles to go to make camp, or at the start of a 3000′ climb.
I’m neither proud nor consistent, though, and have consumed tiger’s milk bars, odwalla bars, snicker’s bars, various granola bars, bear valley “pemmican” bars (although they have this aftertaste that makes me think of paint thinner).
A local bakery here makes “date bars” which are outrageously dense, and probably have about fifteen hundred calories. They also sometimes sell “granola bars” which are also quite tasty. These don’t keep as well as the commercially packaged bars, but they are so much more tasty that it is often worth the trouble.
I’ve experimented with the various “gels” over the last few years, and found they are great for quicker energy (the Clif Bar buzz seems to take about twenty minutes to kick in, and lasts 2-3 hours) and for making you thirsty enough to drink more water. Supposedly they are good electrolyte replacers as well, and that can be important if you are drinking four or five liters of water a day. My big gripe about the gel products is the packaging is awkward. I’d rather see the stuff in a tube with a cap (like toothpaste, pesto mix, or wasabi) and I could just take a hit off the tube when the urge strikes. A tube that held the equivalent of 3-4 gel packages would seem to be about right. My guess is that it would also be cheaper to package them this way, and since the gels are so outrageously expensive that is no small thing.Apr 13, 2005 at 10:08 am #1336689
David, you can buy Hammer and CarbBoom in large bottles (16 or 20 fl oz) and then repackage them into 5 floz polyethylene poptop flasks. Hammergel comes (or at least used to) packaged with a free flask per bottle, or you can buy them from Ulitmate Directions. I find a 5 oz flask to be great for supplementing solid food on a tough day hike. Gu and some of the other gel brands come in 5oz sizes for refilling a flask too.Apr 13, 2005 at 1:08 pm #1336691
Several years ago my son and I hiked the John Muir Trail. I realized on the second day that we needed a bit more food. At the Tuolome Meadows store I bought enough Power Bars for us to share through the trip, (one each day.) We began stopping for a morning break each day at about 10:30, carefully cutting a Power Bar in half, and doing our best to keep hydrated. We stopped again for lunch around 2:30, and then camped at about 6:00 or 6:30. The Power Bars made a huge difference! We remained very satisfied and full through the rest of the incredibly memorable trip. I was very surprised! I can’t wait to do it again!!Apr 13, 2005 at 6:58 pm #1336698
you should have checked out the promax bars. they taste great and have the right stuff. i use them on all my sierra trips.Apr 13, 2005 at 7:47 pm #1336699
I can’t believe that you ommitted Bear Valley Pemmican bars. I consider them easily the best choice for backpacking trips. They contain 100% natural ingredients and come in four varieties. For example, the “carob cocoa” flavor contains “Malted corn and barley, nonfat milk, soy flour, honey, almonds, raisins, oats, soy oil ,sunflower seeds, cocoa, wheat bran, carob.”
Each bar is 3.75 oz and 410 – 440 calories (depending on flavor) with a good balance between protein, fat, and carbs plus vitamins.Apr 13, 2005 at 9:39 pm #1336700
@don-1-2-2Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
I think I’ll try some of these new bars. Energy bars are nice becuiase they pack so well and are so convenient. If only they had good taste without being too sweet.
I’m a big fan of Tiger’s Milk bars. Sort of a cross between a candy bar and an energy bar. Not too sweet, but I don’t need to suppress my gag reflex after a day or two of eating these gems. They come in two flavors, which taste exactly identical to me (peanut butter and high protein, I think).
I too have a collection of energy bars which I have hoisted around on various trips, always leaving them for last, and never eating them unless I’m desparate. Some have been on numerous trips and circumnavigated the globe.Apr 14, 2005 at 9:21 am #1336704
I just did a stare-and-compare between the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar and the Snickers Candy Bar. Listing the percentage of Daily Value (DV) based on a 2000 calorie diet. The energy bar has many vitamins and minerals listed that the candy bar does not. The candy bar tastes better (probably because of the doubled fat and sugars), but offers minimul or no information on nutritional value. I have tasted worse energy bars than the Snickers.
I believe an earlier post stated something like ‘I’d rather eat the candy bar and take a multi-vitamin’, which is not too far off if taste is a concern. Then you have to add the weight of the vitamins in addition to the heavier candy bar!
I think the energy bar packs better than the candy bar and it doesn’t melt like the candy bar so they last longer in the pack.
I usually get these type bars by the case for the scouting event (you find they will eat just about anything). With the kids, they also tend to eat the candy bars on the first day rather than spread them out for the duration of the trip. In the past, I have bought the PowerBar (regular and harvest), the Gold Bars and the Snickers bars. I guess I will have to try Tigers Milk next.Apr 14, 2005 at 10:09 am #1336706
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
Lately we’ve been eating an energy bar or maybe a package of Pop-Tarts (boo, hiss!) about 2 hours after breakfast. In honor of Hobbits, some of whom have walked many long miles barefoot, we’ve started calling this ‘Second Breakfast.’ (LOTR fans may recall the bit of dialogue that mentions this.) Second Breakfast is a huge help in getting through the morning, both physically and psychologically. (Actually, the finest second breakfast we ever had was at a small cafe just off the AT north of Damascus, Va. Mmmm, biscuits!)
I like Clif bars for all the reasons listed above: taste, easy to eat in both warm and cold conditions, and did I mention taste? I like the Carrot Cake flavor, though some might find it too sweet. I was particularly fond of the Spiced Pumpkin flavor last fall, though that one’s gone now.
I also like BV Pemmican Bars, but I find I need to drink a LOT of water to eat an entire bar. Mostly we share one among the three of us.
I have a harder time with Snickers and the like. I like chocolate, but I find I have to force myself to eat a whole bar, even after a couple of weeks on the trail. (Really good dark chocolate still goes down just fine, though.) So I buy the mini-bars, and use them as occasional taste-treats while hiking and after meals.
Thanks the test crew for trying all of the tested bars. I found it most interesting that each had a different favorite.
Ken BApr 14, 2005 at 11:35 am #1336707
“Daily hobbit meals include Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon,
Afternoon Tea and Supper, supplemented with plenty of snacks in between. …”
Middle Earth had lembas we have clif barsApr 14, 2005 at 2:30 pm #1336708
Lembas, one bite will last the day. Imagine, an ounce or so of food for an entire trip!Apr 14, 2005 at 6:26 pm #1336710
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
Generally, I’ve found that “lunch” on a hike is whatever is consumed between the time I leave camp in the morning and when I set the pack down for the last time and pitch the tarp. If I’m not walking, I’m most likely feeding.
Thanks for the pointers on larger-size “gel” products. I also discovered that Clif sells “big shots” (16-serving jugs of clif gel) but only in the razz and mocha flavors.
Now if only you could have a y-valve for a hydration system, so I could switch between gel and water…Apr 14, 2005 at 6:52 pm #1336711
“Then you have to add the weight of the vitamins in addition to the heavier candy bar!”
Not so. Marathon bars are about 113 Calories/ounce, but regular Snickers bars are about 135 Calories/ounce! The vitimins do add a little weight, but they have a lot more vitimins and minerals than the bar.
You’re right about melting though. Forgetting about a candy bar in your bag until it melts and gets chocolate over everything sucks. And it’s easier to ration energy bars, since they don’t taste as good.Apr 14, 2005 at 9:04 pm #1336713
Sorry, I was being funny about the weight of the Snickers bar and vitamins combination. Of the two bars I compared, the candy bar weighed 3 grams more than the energy bar and you really would need a multi-vitamin to make up the difference between the two.Apr 14, 2005 at 10:43 pm #1336714
salted peanuts on caramel. RC cola hard to get these days, but redneck gas station convenience stores often stock payday.
What’s this dumping on rednecks? Who will be next? People with less than master’s degrees?
There is just not that much difference between hi-tec AT walkers and the Walmart boots/gun/deer stand locals often near the trail. Or great depression hobos for that matter.
Not that much difference between REI markups and walmart knockoffs either.
I have no idea who I voted for in the last two elections, or even whether I voted. I know who I tried to vote for, though.Apr 15, 2005 at 7:16 am #1336716
I rarely eat candy bars EXCEPT on the trail and then I take Payday. They don’t melt and are darn near indestructible. Don’t even need to bring the wrapper…unwrap ’em and drop ’em into the gorp bag. They have a bit of salt which I crave on a hot hike and list at 145calories/ounce.
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