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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > Builders Bar > Owner Review by Ken Bigelow

Clif Builders Bars
Owner Review By
Ken Bigelow

January 20, 2009
Clif Builder Bars
Personal Biographical Information:

Name: Ken Bigelow
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
Email address: krb84108 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
 
Backpacking Background:

My adventures vary in length from a weekend to over two weeks.  I am shifting my backpacking style to a lightweight approach.  I use hammocks and lightweight tents to reduce weight.  From spring through fall I typically backpack in the mountains or desert, while in the winter I often go snowshoeing.  I typically see a wide variety of climates ranging from -5 F (-20 C) with snow to 90 F (32 C) and sunny with just about everything in between.
 
Product Information:
 
Manufacturer: Clif Bar
Website: http://www.clifbar.com/
Flavors: Chocolate Mint, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Cookies N’ Cream, Vanilla Almond
Listed Weight: 2.4oz/68g
Measured Average Weight with Wrapper: 2.6 oz/74 g
Measured Average Weight w/out Wrapper: 2.4 oz/68g
MSRP: N/A

Ingredients:


Cookies n Cream - Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Syrup, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Cocoa, Dry Roasted Almonds, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Rice Starch, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Soy Flour, Unsweetened Chocolate, Baking Soda.

Chocolate - Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Syrup, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Rolled Oats, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Organic Dry Roasted Almonds, Rice Starch, Cocoa Butter, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Sunflower Oil, Soy Lecithin, Salt.

Chocolate Mint - Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Syrup, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Rolled Oats, Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Organic Dry Roasted Almonds, Rice Starch, Evaporated Cane Juice, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Red Cabbage Color.

Peanut Butter - Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Syrup, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Dry Roasted Peanuts, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Cocoa, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Peanut Flour, Rice Starch, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Salt, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Organic Sunflower Oil.

Vanilla Almond - Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Soy Rice Crisp (Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Rice Flour), Inulin (Chicory Extract), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Oats, Organic Soy Protein, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Roasted Almonds, Organic Amaranth, Organic Soy Flour, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Barley, Organic Quinoa, Organic Soy Butter, Organic Flaxseed Meal, Organic Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Organic Soy Lecithin. 

Nutrition Facts:

Flavors Chocolate Mint Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies n Cream Vanilla Almond
Calories 270
270
270
270
270
Calories from Fat 70
70
70
70
70
Total Fat (g)
8
8
8
8
8
Sat Fat (g)
5
5
5
5
4.5
Trans Fat (g)
0
0
0
0
0
Cholesterol (mg)
0
0
0
0
0
Sodium (mg)
230
230
340
240
240
Potassium (mg)
200
230
310
240
170
Total Carb (mg)
31
30
30
30
30
Dietary Fiber (g)
4
4
4
4
3
 Insoluble Fiber (g)
2
2
2
2
1.5
Sugars (g)
20
20
20
20
22
Other Carb (g)
7
6
6
6
5
Protein (g)
20
20
20
20
20

Field Conditions:

I have been consuming Clif Builder bars for the last few years and have used them in Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capital Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Death Valley National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Great Basin National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion Canyon National Park, the High Uintas Wilderness, the Wasatch Mountains, the San Rafael Swell Area, Cedar Mesa, Fish Lake National Forest, Valley of Fire State Park, Wilderness Coast in Olympic National Park and Baxter State Park in Maine.  Temperatures have varied dramatically from -20 F (-29 C) to 95 F (35 C).  Weather has included rain, snow, hail and sun in all phases.  The elevation has been between 262 ft (80 m) below sea level to well over 13,100 ft (4,000 m) above sea level.  The terrain has included snow, ice, mud, dirt, rocks, sand, scree, slickrock and boulder hopping

Product Description:

The Clif Builder Bars are Clif Bars Protein line of energy food.  The Builder bar line is all natural and contains no Trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.  Each bar contains 20 g of protein in the form of soy and nuts.  Each bar is approximately 4.5 inches long 1.75 inches wide x 0.75 inches high (11 cm x 4 cm x 2 cm) with slight variations in measurements, but all within the same ballpark.  There are two layers to each Builder Bar.  The inner portion of each bar is a crispy core that is very nutty.  The outer layer of the builders bar is a chewy section that is similar to taffy or putty.  Each flavor is covered with a cocoa coating (except the vanilla almond flavor which has a vanilla coating) disguising each bars contents.  Clif Builder Bars are not a meal replacement and is not meant for diabetics to use without consulting their doctor first.  They are kosher, but not officially vegan (even though there are no animal by products).

Performance in the Field:

Eating a Clif Builders Bar is an enjoyable treat for me.  They taste sweet and are more like a desert for my taste buds (I blame this on the chocolate or vanilla coating).  If I split a bar in half I usually have parts of brittle parts of the outer crispy layer break off while the chewy nutty layer stretches in a more ductile behavior.  Its combination of both crispy and chewy is a nice combination as it is edible in both colder and warmer temperatures for the most part.

Layers of a Builder's Bar
Layers of A Builder's Bar

In moderate temperature the Clif Builder Bars are crispy just as the manufacturer claims.  In cold temperatures (well below freezing) the Builder Bars can become too hard to chew and require minor thawing in order to take a bite out of them.  Most of the time I can just suck on the bar a bit and it thaws enough to take a bite out of the bar without breaking any teeth.   Once a piece is in my mouth it quickly softens and is edible.  In hot temperatures (around 85 F or higher) the bars are much more ductile and can bend with ease.  The cocoa (or vanilla) coating can also start to melt at higher temperatures but this does not alter the taste or performance as best I can tell.  Whether hot, warm or cold the Clif Builder Bars still taste the same to me – delicious!

Partially Melted Builder Bar
A Partially Melted Builder's Bar
 
My favorite flavor is definitely chocolate mint.  I love any food flavored chocolate mint so this does not surprise those who know me at all.  I can both smell and taste this flavor and it tasted just about exactly as I expected it to – scrumptious!  I easily purchase this flavor over the others at a ratio of at least three to one and will use it as an appetizer, snack, part of a meal or desert.  This is easily one of my favorite bars of any brand, if not the hands down winner.  I find the Peanut Butter (again tastes not too far off from what I expected – a mix of peanut butter and chocolate) makes a great mid-day snack; while the cookies n’ cream is more along the lines of a cookie and works superbly as an after meal dessert.  Chocolate tastes like chocolate and is therefore good just about any time in my opinion.  I am not a huge fan of almonds so rarely purchase the vanilla almond, but the almonds are not over bearing and the vanilla can certainly be a nice change of pace from the cocoa coating of the other flavors on multiple day backing trips.  It is still tasty to me.

After consuming a Builder bar I find that the fuel it supplies my body seems to hit my body after 15-25 minutes.  This varies depending on how empty my stomach was prior to consuming the bar and how hard I have been pushing myself.  On an empty stomach if I have been pushing really hard the food hits my body much faster which is what I expect with any food.  While chimneying though slot canyons I expend a lot of energy and find eating one really does the trick in helping boost my output when I start to get tired.  While summiting at high peaks where I can really feel the elevation I am split on whether to consume a Builders bar or an energy bar.  I really appreciate the Builder Bars’s surge I receive from eating them, but higher altitude tends to kill my appetite and the heavier foods sit a little rougher with me if I consume only a protein Builder Bar and do not supplement it with an energy bar and/or gel.

Eating a single Builder bar is good any time I want a snack while hiking although the bars can be a bit heavy.  This does not surprise me though as I find that typically protein bars are heavier than any other bars in my stomach.  I do not find Builder Bars any more or less heavy than other protein bars I have tried.  Eating two bars (one right after another) really fills me up and that’s when I can feel how much heavier these protein bars are than energy bars.  I’ve eaten as many as three bars in a single sitting but I really had to force the third one down as they really fill me up fast.  No matter the situation I always need some sort of liquid to wash down the Builder Bars.  I do this with almost all the foods I eat while hiking and it does not require an excessive amount more or less than other protein or energy bars I’ve tried.

Opening the packaging on the Builders Bars is an easy process and can be accomplished with little effort with my bare hands or while wearing thin gloves or a liner.  If I have thicker gloves on I can usually open the packaging, but it requires substantially more time and effort so I usually resort to removing my gloves to release the bars from their wrapper.  I have no problems consuming the bars while hiking, but do prefer to enjoy them while resting at a summit or when I stop for a lunch or snack.

Summary:

Clif Builder Bars are a good source of fuel for my body while hiking and backpacking.  They taste amazing, but are a little heavy in my stomach and I usually have to supplement another type of bar with them if consuming them so as it does not sit too hard.  The packaging makes opening the food easy and while they can freeze in lower temperatures they can quickly be thawed and consumed.  I am delighted by this Clif product and expect to be using Clif Builder bars on my outdoor adventures for years to come.

Things I love:
  • Good source of protein
  • Delicious flavors
  • Packaging is easy to open
 
Things I am not thrilled about:
  • Sits heavy in my stomach
  • Can freeze at lower temperatures and can require thawing prior to consuming.
 

Read more reviews of Clif gear
Read more gear reviews by Ken Bigelow

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > Builders Bar > Owner Review by Ken Bigelow



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