Clif Crunch Granola Bars
By Raymond Estrella
August 19, 2011
North Western Minnesota, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
215 lb (97.50 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, plus many western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly UL, I try to be as near to it as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.
Manufacturer: Clif Bar & Company
Web site: www.clifbar.com
Product: Crunch Granola Bars
Year manufactured: 2010
Size each (two in package): 1.5 x 3 x 3/8 in (38 x 76 x 8 mm)
Weight listed, all flavors: 1.5 oz (43 g)
Actual weight: 1.3 - 1.5 oz (37 - 43 g)
Flavors reviewed: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Honey Oat and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
The Clif Crunch Granola Bars (hereafter called the bars) are one of the newest offerings from Clif. They call them "a crunchy delicious snack bar that provides you with the energy you need whatever the adventure". I like adventures.
The bars come in a Mylar-type package. The inside of the wrappers are shiny silver, while the outside is Clif's normal bright cheery colors and graphics. The wrappers are very easy to open with a simple pull downward from either end. An expiration date is printed on the back of the packages.
Each package contains two thin bars. They look much like the early granola bars my health-nut mom used to buy for us. There is no moisture to speak of in the bars. They are very dry and therefore quite crunchy. That probably explains the name. ;-) Some moisture is provided by way of the little chips found in all the flavors except Honey Oat. Here is a picture of the Chocolate Chip flavor at roughly life-size.
Like all of Clif's other products I have eaten (and reviewed) the Crunch bars are made with organic ingredients and, in this case, whole grains. Here is the nutritional information for each flavor courtesy of Clif's website.
Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil, chocolate chips (evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), rice crisp (rice flour, barley malt extract, evaporated cane juice, salt, calcium carbonate), honey, natural flavors, organic barley flakes, organic rye flakes, oat bran, oat fiber, sea salt (real salt), inulin (chicory extract).
Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil, rice crisp (rice flour, barley malt extract, evaporated cane juice, salt, calcium carbonate), honey, natural flavors, organic barley flakes, organic rye flakes, oat bran, oat fiber, sea salt (real salt), inulin (chicory extract).
Allergen Statement: May contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.
Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil, peanut butter, peanut butter chips (evaporated cane juice, palm kernel oil, peanut flour, soy lecithin), rice crisp (rice flour, barley malt extract, evaporated cane juice, salt, calcium carbonate), honey, organic barley flakes, organic rye flakes, roasted peanut extract, oat bran, oat fiber, sea salt (real salt), natural flavor, inulin (chicory extract).
White Chocolate Macadamia
Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil, soy white chocolate (organic evaporated cane juice, cocoa butter, soy flour, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), roasted macadamia nuts, rice crisp (rice flour, barley malt extract, evaporated cane juice, salt, calcium carbonate), organic barley flakes, organic rye flakes, oat bran, oat fiber, sea salt (real salt), natural flavors, inulin (chicory extract).
I have taken the Clif Crunch Granola Bars on every winter backpacking trip last year (November 2010 through March of 2011) in Minnesota and three 3-day backpacking trips in California in May of 2011.
The trips in California were all on the Pacific Crest Trail between Tehachapi and Kennedy Meadows. Temps ranged from a low of 19 F to a high of 80 F (-7 to 27 C). Besides some drizzle one morning the weather was great for all of the trips.
The Minnesota backpacking/sledpacking trips mostly took place on the North Country Trail from Itasca State Park and heading north-east through Paul Bunyan State Forest and Chippewa National Forest. Lows while backpacking were usually around 0 F (-18 C) as I hike solo and play it safe when conditions are bad. Some of my dayhike trips though were in temps to -20 F (-29 C).
The highlight of my winter was a backpacking trip to Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota where it got down to -31 F (-35 C) the first night. It never was warmer than 7 F (-14 C) the entire time we were there.
About eight years ago I decided that making breakfast took too much time so for almost all my solo trips (or trips with my brother-in-law Dave who feels the same way) I have taken some form of energy bars. I have never stopped to make lunch and have been using bars for that meal since 1993. Because of being raised in a very health-conscious home I always look for bars that lean towards the "health food" label. (See my many bar reviews.)
One thing that hinders many bars is extreme cold weather. This past winter I did all my hiking in Minnesota, famous for having the lowest temps of the day in the continental United States (often even beating Alaska too). Most bars I use become cold bricks, even if I keep them in my pocket. So when I first saw that Clif, a company whose products I have long enjoyed, had a new granola-style bar I figured it would be a good one to try. Well, not one. I bought 40 of themů
I ate most of the Crunch bars over five months of winter backpacking and finished them up this past spring. They worked very well for the cold weather use. While I normally have to sleep with my breakfast the Crunch bars were fine just sitting in the gear pocket of my tent overnight, ready to eat as I would pack up in the tent each morning. As I was testing other food this winter (Bridgeford Sandwiches, see review) the Crunch bars lasted quite a while.
One thing I learned right away was to not tear the package all the way down. The bars are very fragile and invariably break as I keep them in the cargo pocket of my pants or in the hip belt pocket of my pack where they get smacked around while I hike. This results in a lot of crumbs, or more accurately a lot of loose granola. I don't want to waste any of my precious calories by letting it spill out. My quickly-learned procedure was to open it at the top, eat the biggest pieces (usually it breaks at the middle resulting in four main pieces) and then pour the remainder into my mouth.
While Clif says that they are a "snack bar" I see no problem with using them as a meal replacement. They are heavier on the fat and carbohydrates then they are on protein. I think that is fine for morning and mid-day use as the fat burns during exercise (hiking) and the carbs are instant energy while underway. They do not have much in the way of vitamins though. I take vitamins with me plus use freeze dried meals that are fortified so it is not a concern for me.
I like all of the flavors but found that the Honey Oat and Peanut Butter were my favorites. Next came the sweetest of the flavors, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with Chocolate Chip the one I grabbed the least. This is just because I am not a big chocolate person. My daughter however says that it is the best flavor! (Her brother votes for Peanut Butter cause he's as nutty as his dad;-)
As I was writing this I saw that they have a couple new flavors, Blueberry Crisp and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Mmmm, I may have to try the Blueberry Crisp this coming winter. If I do I shall provide an update to this review to share the nutritional info and my thoughts on it.
I measure happiness with an altimeter
He is, The Least Interesting Hiker in the World.
"I don't always have a bar for breakfast, but when I do it is often a Clif.
Don't stay hungry, my friends"
Read more reviews of Clif gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella