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trail bars
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David Wills
(willspower3) - F
trail bars on 11/06/2007 01:08:44 MST Print View

I decided to switch from trailmix to bars for the first time on my last trip, a 3 day 62 mile trip on the BMT. I had a bar every two hours with 2 lunches taking their place throughout each day. I never got abnormally hungry and stayed energized the whole time even though one of my goals of the trip was to hike at a heavy calorie deficit (2000 cal/day vs about 10000 used, i wanted to burn lots of fat for halloween spartan costume)! I found this schedule to be much more efficient in weight, size, nutritional value, and ease of use than trail mix and am excited about improving it. I used Nature Valley Oats n' Honey bars due to their relatively low sugar to calorie ratio compared to other granola/cereal bars and because they were cheap with mildly unprocessed ingredients and palatable.
I was wandering what types of trail bars everyone buys/makes that are better tasting, have better nutrition for hiking, and are inexpensive (about $1 each per 200 calories). The nature valleys were tried and true and super cheap, but im sure there are better ones out there. Also, what sorts of schedules have worked best for your daytime eating schedule? Thanks!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: trail bars on 11/06/2007 07:16:29 MST Print View

Hi David,

I usually make my own energy bars. I have several recipes that I use for variety. Some include a protein powders, others incorporate quinoa and some a high energy meal-replacement type cereal.

I like to make my own because I can control the sugars and other ingredients... that and I can make a bunch of different types, toss them in the freezer and really have a great selection when I am out for a 10 day trip.

Daytime eating schedule depends on the trip, how rugged the trail is and who I am hiking with. I plan my menu while looking at the trail maps well before the trip.

On tough/long days we tend to munch while hiking and maybe have something simple like hummus for lunch. Breakfast is something quick without a lot of cleanup. On easier days we have more of an elaborate meal plan sometimes with a bigger breakfast and a stop for lunch. I'm very in-tune with my body and I really listen to my hunger cues.

Hope that helps.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: trail bars on 11/06/2007 07:39:27 MST Print View

I like Clif Bars and Balance Bars. My local Wal-Mart carries them both so they are easy for me to get a hold of. I am, however, quite picky when it comes to the flavors. I don't like any Clif bars with the word chocolate in the name. I can never seem to force myself to finish them. By far my favorites are the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut and the Black Cherry Almond.
As for Balance Bars, I've only just started trying them. The one's I've tried so far have been fine but I haven't found any that I just love.
I've never tried making my own bars but I have made some of Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo. It tasted fine but the texture was a little strange for me. Adding a handful of M&M's with every bite helped but I decided to stick to bars. I'd like to try and make my own bars, I just need to find the time. I make a lot of my gear, why not make some of my food?
I don't have much of a schedule on the trail, I just eat when I feel hungry. As much as I have my gear dialed in, I'm still not very organized when it comes to food. That's probably the next thing I should work on.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Homemade trail bars on 11/06/2007 08:13:04 MST Print View

I make these periodically. They are great, and freeze well.

The "You can make them your way" Bars:

Call them a chewy granola bar or an energy bar, either way, these are good! They freeze well also (wrap them up two bars to a bag for an easy trail snack out of the freezer.) Trust me, you will LOVE these bars. Yes, they are high in fat, but if you are hiking hard, you will burn it off. And they are better for you than a candy bar!

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or whatever fruit you prefer!)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nut of choice, unsalted)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350┬░.
2. Line a 13x9 inch pan with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, craisins,wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, and pecans.
4. In a smaller bowl, thoroughly blend oil, honey, egg, and vanilla; pour into flour mixture, and mix by hand until the liquid is evenly distributed.
5. I use rubber gloves for this.
6. Press evenly into the prepared baking pan. Make sure it is packed in tightly.
7. Bake 25-30 minutes in the oven or until the edges are golden.
8. Cool completely in pan before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into bars.

Makes 12-16 bars.
Notes: These bars take well to using applesauce or baby prunes as part of the oil. Brown sugar Splenda® works well as a way to cut back on the sugar content for diabetics. Any nut can be used, and feel free to change the fruit or add chocolate chips, etc to the batter! These bars have been made by a number of hikers on hiking forums, and the consensus is they are fang good!-no matter how you change the recipe!

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
trail bars on 11/06/2007 08:48:17 MST Print View

Hey, thanks, Sarah. I, too, depend on these items for "lunch". I recently swithced from Ciff Bars to Luna Bars. I ration 3-4 per day. The ones I like have "for women" on the package. Do not know why. Those bars are expensive, so it is nikce to have a recipe. Someone previously posted a recipe for oatmeal cookies. These work fine for breakfast and lunch, but they are crumbly. Groan. M&M choc-almonds are hard to beat.

Edited by rambler on 11/06/2007 08:51:59 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Luna on 11/06/2007 08:56:03 MST Print View

I like the Luna sunrise bars. Try them if you haven't, they are good. The tea cakes they make are also great...a bit dryer texture but good. And to keep pimping Luna, have you tried the Elixir packets? I am not a huge fan of drink mixes, but these taste like actual juice. Not cheap though.

Jim Cook

Locale: Land of Cotton
Make My Own on 11/06/2007 10:15:19 MST Print View

I make my own from one of Alton Brown's recipes:,,FOOD_9956_38665,00.html

Most of my food bag choices were influenced either by Alton or Sarbar. I will definitely be trying her trail bar recipe.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Alton on 11/06/2007 13:27:48 MST Print View

I like Alton Brown - I find him interesting. I haven't tried his bar recipe yet - will have to check it out.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Homemade trail bars on 11/06/2007 14:08:20 MST Print View

For a similar bar, in widespread use thanks to the nationwide draw of BSA's Northern Tier High Adventure base, try googling "hudson bay bread". Like Sarah's receipe, you can add whatever nuts or dried fruit you like.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: Homemade trail bars on 11/06/2007 14:48:02 MST Print View

Ah yes Hudson's Bay Bread - I'm quite familiar with it... it was a staple that my brother used when backpacking in the seventies and something we occassionaly use on own trips.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
trail bars on 11/06/2007 17:08:32 MST Print View

Christine Conners has a great recipe in her book Lipsmacking
Vegetarian called Oasis Fruit Bars that have 290 calories
for each 2 oz bar. I've made them for our last two trips and
everyone liked them.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: trail bars on 11/06/2007 17:20:58 MST Print View

Mind if I tell Chris that you liked them? Christine is my parter in the wilderness cooking website project as well and I know she'd love to hear that you enjoyed them.

Just a little trivia about Chris and Tim's vegetarian book. Many of the pictures were taken in Canada on a canoe trip we did together the year they were working on the book.

Sorry kind of got off topic there... I tend to do that.

Anyway there was another bar recipe in LVB that I really liked and I can't remember the name of it. My copy of the book is packed (we move in a few weeks) but when I find it I'll look up the name of it. The Grizzly Beary Granola is awesome too.

Abdulaziz Al-Arfaj
(aalarfaj) - MLife

Locale: Northern MN
hudson bay bread on 11/06/2007 18:12:10 MST Print View

As a former employee of Northern Tier I have to say I still love the stuff even thou I eat so much of it. I would make sure if you are going to make it that you make sure that you don't over cook it. It is much better is it is kind of chewy, I have seen when it get over cooked it is not as enjoyable to eat if it is too hard. I also like the fact that you can put so many different kind of toppings on it to keep the taste fresh as well as what goes in to making it.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Lara Bars on 11/07/2007 22:54:51 MST Print View

or is it Larabars ! All natural all plain ingredients, tiny and 240 calories. Mostly all fruit and nuts. Sooooooooo good, just a bit pricey. They have them at Trader Joe's if there is one in your area, don't have to commit to a box.

"All natural
No added sugars or sweeteners
No sulfites
No preservatives
No fillers
No colorings

Edited by Paul_Tree on 11/07/2007 22:57:57 MST.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Big Sur Bars on 11/08/2007 08:00:25 MST Print View

I love Larabars, and I especially love the Jocolat bars they make- HEAVEN!

But the best bars ever award has to go to Big Sur Bars:

You have to keep them in a freezer but OH, they are so good! And the calories are about double a normal bar.

Check them out!!!


Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Big Sur Bars on 11/08/2007 08:16:37 MST Print View

Eh Larabars kick Big Sur bars butt IMO. But hey, it's food. Everyone has different taste buds :)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Lara Bars on 11/08/2007 08:49:55 MST Print View

We were playing last weekend at making faux-Lara's and they came out pretty good for generation #1 :)

(I love Lara Bars!)

If Catzia and I get a recipe down that we like 100% and that isn't too sticky, I will post it. For now our balls are still too sticky for carrying for long periods.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: trail bars on 11/08/2007 09:42:05 MST Print View

those lara and big sur bars look delicious. looking at the nutrition though, they have more sugar per carb than even cheap overprocessed childrens bars.
I was looking on and found I can buy in bulk and get nature valley bars for either $.23 per bar with the 144pack or $.29 per bar with the 72 pack! All of their non-yogurt varieties have about 11g of sugar per bar with about 29g of total carbs. i think that would give better sustained energy for backpacking than bars with >50% sugar-carb ratios. Those recipes sound fun to try too though. Thanks for the recommendations. Those larabars look like they would make a better dessert than Clif Bars (im addicted somehow, even though they don't taste too good) or even snickers bars!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: trail bars on 11/08/2007 10:03:57 MST Print View

better dessert bar than a snickers? That'll be the day.....

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: trail bars on 11/08/2007 11:29:35 MST Print View

Baby Ruths rule as well...