A long time ago I had it in my mind that energy bars were the answer to all my backpacking problems relating to snacks. I’m one of those “let’s start walking and not really sit down until we get there” kinda guys. So energy bars seemed the perfect solution.
They fit in my pockets, easy to eat and you didn’t have to stop and rummage through your pack for them.
One small problem — most of them were terrrible. Either you got something that was so dry it caked the back of your throat with granola flakes, or it had that nasty rice or fig-date aftertaste. Or, in the case of Power Bars, broke your teeth if the weather was on the cool side. So I set out in search of the perfect energy bar. I’ve been looking for a long time.
But I have some favorites, and on a recent overnight trip, my partner and I tried a selection of goodies. They are:
- Snickers Peanut Butter 4 To Go
- KIND Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate
- SunRype Fruit Source Mango Strawberry bar
- Orchard Bar Blueberry Pomegranate & Almond
- Pro Bar Berry Blast
What kind I say? They’re good. Four little squares of 125 calorie goodness. They wouldn’t be good on a hot day, but perfectly proportioned to pop one in your mouth every 15 minutes.
First time I’ve had one of these and I bought a bunch of flavors. The Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate is nice, not too sweet, but the texture is a little brittle and it’s on the dry side. I tend to like bars that melt in my mouth so I don’t feel the need to chase it with a bunch of water. Besides, water only flushes away the taste, and isn’t that partly the point of eating the bar — the taste? I tried another flavor the next day on another trip (Blueberry Pecan I think it was) and these bars will find a place in my pack, but probably only as dessert after dinner.
I’ve had various Pro Bars over the years and while I like some of them, most of their bars are based on organic brown rice syrup and organic dates. That’s not a bad thing, but they leave that date and rice aftertaste in my mouth I’m not fond of. The Wholeberry Blast is my favorite of their Meal line, and I am anixous to try out their Halo and Bolt line of bars. I want to try the Halo Rocky Road and the Bolt Orange. They’re no rice or dates in the Bolt line of bars.
These could be my new favorite. These bars are created by Liberty Orchards in Cashmere, WA, the same folks that brought us Applets and Cotlets, those yummy good pectin candies with the powdered sugar on top. Ironically enough, I found these bars in Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH). They only sell two of the flavors, but the Blueberry Pomegranate & Almond was mighty tasty. They are a tad on the sweet side, but not overpowering. My partner stated “it as nice to actually see the fruit and nuts they talk about on the label.” I thought the texture was terrific — kind of grainy but melted in your mouth with strong overtones of graph juice playing shuffleboard across your tongue. I don’t see me getting tired of these.
These private label bars are probably sold under a variety of names, but essentially they are nothing more than fruit leather bars, without the leather. I like them. They’re chewy, but easy to eat, tasty like thick fruit juice and don’t leave me with “parts” sticking to the back of my throat. The workhorse of energy bars.
I shall continue on in my quest for the perfect energy bar and share my findings. Your mileage may vary.
[UPDATE] My new favorite snack food is Nature’s Way Fig Bars. They come in many flavors but my favorite is the Peach Apricot. They’re moist and not too sweet but deliver the calories. They come in handy two fig bar packs.