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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Fourpoints Energy Bars > Test Report by Nancy Griffith

FOUR POINTS TRAIL BARS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 29, 2018

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Nancy Griffith
EMAIL: bkpkrgirlATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 52
LOCATION: Northern California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 126 lb (57.20 kg)

My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

front viewback viewManufacturer: FourPoints Bar
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.fourpointsbar.com

MSRP: $36 US for a box of 12
Listed Weight: 2.5 oz (7.1 g)
Measured Weight: 2.4 to 2.9 oz (68 to 82 g)

Flavors Available:
Alpine Apple Pie
Backcountry Banana Bread
Mountain Mocha Espresso
Colorado Trail Chocolate Peanut
Powder Day PB&J
Rocky Mountain Macaroon
Trailhead Gingerbread
Flavors Tested: All Seven

Made in Colorado, USA

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

windowThe bars come in a fairly substantial plastic wrapper and has a clear window to show a portion of the bar. All of the bars are preservative free, gluten free, soy free and have no sugar added. The calorie content ranges from 250 to 280 depending on which flavor. Mountain Espresso is the only flavor that has caffeine but it is not noted how much caffeine one bar contains.

Alpine Apple Pie
11 g Protein, 35 g Carbohydrates, 9 g Fat
6 g Fiber, 250 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Apples, Figs, Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate,
Cashews, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Ground Flaxseed, Sunflower Lecithin, Cinnamon.

Backcountry Banana Bread
11 g Protein, 35 g Carbohydrates, 10 g Fat
5 g Fiber, 260 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Bananas, Figs, Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate,
Cashews, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Ground Flaxseed, Sunflower Lecithin,
Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon.

Colorado Trail Chocolate Peanut
13 g Protein, 29 g Carbohydrates, 15 g Fat
7 g Fiber, 280 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Figs, Toasted Peanuts, Cacao Nibs, Non-rBGH Whey
Protein Isolate, Cashews, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Ground Flaxseed, Sunflower
Lecithin, Vanilla Bean, Sea Salt.

Powder Day PB&J
11 g Protein, 34 g Carbohydrates, 11 g Fat
6 g Fiber, 270 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Cranberries (Cranberries, Apple Juice), Figs,
Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate, Cashews, Peanuts, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Ground
Flaxseed, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt.

Rocky Mountain Macaroon
11 g Protein, 31 g Carbohydrates, 14 g Fat
9 g Fiber, 280 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Figs, Toasted Coconut, Cashews, Cacao Nibs,
Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Ground Flaxseed,
Sunflower Lecithin, Vanilla Bean.

Trailhead Gingerbread
13 g Protein, 31 g Carbohydrates, 11 g Fat
5 g Fiber, 260 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Figs, Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate, Cashews, Hemp
Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Blackstrap Molasses, Ground Flaxseed, Sunflower
Lecithin, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Sea Salt.

Mountain Mocha Espresso
12 g Protein, 30 g Carbohydrates, 11 g Fat
6 g Fiber, 250 Calories
INGREDIENTS: Dried Plums, Figs, Cashews, Non-rBGH Whey Protein Isolate,
Cacao Nibs, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Espresso Beans, Flaxseed, Sunflower
Lecithin, Vanilla Bean, Sea Salt.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT

out of wrappercross sectionMy initial impression was that the bars seemed substantial with some heft to them. They remind me of meal replacement bars rather than just snack bars. I was also pleased to find every available flavor included. Yay! I can't wait to try them all.

I'm used to bars and trail snacks that feature dates as the primary ingredient. I even make some of my own with dates that are big hits. So, I noticed that Four Points uses dried plums as the main ingredient in each bar. I'm looking forward to that just for variety in what I'm used to.

Nutrition and health are a big part of my life so my husband and I are always debating 'Food? versus 'Not food?' We try to eat things that we would classify as food and avoid the rest. Basically anything that comes that way in nature is food and anything that has been processed or has junk added is not food. We've learned that if we have to ask, then it probably isn't food. So the Four Points bars win points with me for using ingredients that are identifiable. Although whey protein isolate is processed, I like the addition for backpacking just to give another dose of protein to our diet. It can be hard to eat enough protein on the trail.

I don't know where to begin with these flavors other than to say, YUM. Every last one of them sounds so good that they seem to speak to me individually. I find that trail food can taste completely differently on the trail versus just hanging around at home or in the office. For that reason I don't intend to eat these bars except on the trail when I'm in need of the nourishment. However, I had to try ONE just to add to this report. What a great excuse! Plus I really needed to give a bite of one to my husband before he drools all over the box.

I decided to try half of a PB&J bar which smelled like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and upon first taste it also tasted like one. As I continued to eat half of the bar, I could taste the individual ingredients more and no longer had the sensation of PB&J. Some of the ingredients stuck to my teeth. Overall the experience was enjoyable and was a nice snack with a cup of tea. One half of the bar filled me up even though it was nearing lunch time. Since the PB&J taste seemed to wane as I ate, I'm curious whether the different bar flavors will seem very different to me or if in the end I'll say that they all taste the same.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The box says to store in a cool dry place and to keep out of direct sunlight. I'll have no problem keeping them out of the sun on the trail until I'm eating them. But my pack is not cool and dry at times so I'll see how that goes.

They are manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, walnuts and coconut for those that have allergies to these items.

SUMMARY

The Four Points trail bars are a convenient trail snack with a substantial pack of nutrition using wholesome ingredients.

Initial Likes:
Whole food ingredients
Contain protein
Yummy flavors

Initial Concerns:
Will they end up all tasting the same?
Will any of them melt in my pack?


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

shadow lakeDuring the testing period I ate the FourPoints Trail Bars on one three-day boat camping trip, one three-day backpacking trip and a forty-day section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Backpacking:
Desolation Wilderness, Sierra Nevada (California): 3 days; 18.6 mi (30 km); 6,560 to 8,020 ft (2,000 to 2,444 m); 55 to 80 F (13 to 27 C); pack weight of 21 lb (9.5 kg)

Pacific Crest Trail from Etna Summit, California to Cascade Locks, Oregon: 40 nights; 550 mi (886 km); 170 to 7,676 ft (52 to 2,340 m) elevation with most between 5,000 and 6,000 ft (1,524 to 1,829 m); 39 to 95 F (4 to 35 C)

Boat Camping:
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 days; 6,327 ft (1,928 m) elevation; 52 to 82 F (11 to 28 C); mostly sunny with afternoon breezes

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I usually find that certain foods that taste good at home don't taste so good on the trail and vice versa. Trail bars with wholesome ingredients tend to taste good to me in both places though, and I found that to be the case with the FourPoints Trail Bars. I only ate the first PB&J at home for my Initial Report and the rest were eaten out in the wilderness. There were times on the trail that they particularly hit the spot but generally they just tasted good.

My first trip with the bars was a boat camping trip to Loon Lake. I tried the Banana Nut Bread and was disappointed that I barely got any sensation of banana. Plum and nut were the overwhelming flavors. The bar was kind of dry and hard to finish even though I was sharing it with my husband. Unfortunately I only received one of this flavor so I didn't have the opportunity to try it out again on another day.

macaroonLater on that same trip I tried the Coconut Macaroon. I could smell coconut but didn't get a strong taste of it. I could taste the cacao nibs. Plum and nut were overwhelming flavors again but this bar was better than the banana nut bread. At just my third bar tested, these were already not my first choice of bars mainly due to them tasting fairly similar and not being very moist.

My next trip was the Shadow Lake trip where I ate the Chocolate Peanut bar after the hike to lake. The 'chocolate' is provided by cacao nibs so there was no strong taste of chocolate. Peanut is third ingredient but doesn't come through very much. I got a stronger taste of plum. They taste nutritious and provide needed energy but were not very tempting even after a long hike.

The true test came with our six-week hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. I divided up the remaining bars and shipped them off into resupply packages so that I had one or two bars every week during the hike. They were incredibly resilient. In fact I started calling these 'indestructabars' since they did not fall apart or even crush despite being shipped in resupply buckets, stuffed into my pack and carried in my hipbelt pocket. Since the bars with 'chocolate' use cacao as the ingredient, there was no issue with any melting of any of the bars.

I like to prepare my own healthy food at home and for the trail so I've experimented quite a bit with making bars. Using dates as a base is a typical recipe and works well. However, I have never been able to add protein (whey, pea, soy or other) to any bars without them just crumbling and being completely dry. Four Points has certainly figured this out! While I found the bars to occasionally seem a little dry, they are amazing in that they stay together with the addition of a good amount of whey protein.

exp dateOn this trip I ate another Coconut Macaroon bar near the end of a particularly taxing day. I was hoping for some miraculous energy boost and while I'm sure that the wholesome ingredients were needed, I didn't feel any special lift. Again I didn't really taste the coconut and thought that it was a bit dry. It triggered me to check the expiration date which was two months out so that didn't explain the slightly dry texture.

Next I tried the Gingerbread and enjoyed it quite a bit. I love molasses and gingerbread so I was excited to try this one. The plum base still seems to overpower the other flavors and I felt that there could be more ginger, spice and molasses taste to this one. I noticed that I was starting to be happy to find a Four Points bar in my pocket and enjoyed them more than previously. I ate the other Gingerbread later in the trip for second breakfast. Second breakfast is the first snack break after hitting the trail in the morning. I find the bars to be a bit large so I usually would eat half and save the rest for another time. The packaging worked well for being able to keep half of a bar, fold over the top of the package and store it in my hip pocket for later. However, I enjoyed this flavor so much that the second half was gone in no time.

Next I tried the Mountain Mocha Espresso and loved it! Again I had this one for second breakfast and again ate half with the intention to save the other half for later. I kept nibbling at the other half so later never came...the bar was gone. I could taste the coffee flavor and the 'mocha' was provided by cocoa nibs. This bar tasted the most like its flavor which made it my favorite.

double layerAnother favorite was Alpine Apple Pie. The plum base blended well with the apple to give it a yummy apple pie taste. Again I would have enjoyed it even more if it had a little more apple or cinnamon flavor but it was a winner with me. I put both of these in the same resupply bucket so these were eaten within a few days of each other. I was disappointed at first to see that I packed two of the same flavor, but I liked it so much that I was happy to have the second one.

The packaging seems to be a double-layer so the only wear of the bars that I saw was a slight delamination of the outer package. There was never any breach though and the plastic packaging is about as indestructible as the bars themselves.

Overall I found the flavors to be just a little overwhelmed by the plum base and all could use a fortification of the stated flavor. However, I really loved these bars for their overall healthy ingredients, protein content and real food energy. All of them stuck to my teeth a little but it wasn't a major problem and I was easily able to clean my teeth with my tongue in short order.




SUMMARY

The Four Points trail bars are a convenient trail snack with a substantial pack of nutrition using wholesome ingredients. While I found the stated flavors to be a bit muted, these bars really grew on me. I love them!

Plusses:
Whole food ingredients
Contain protein
Don't melt
Incredibly durable

Minuses:
Plum base outweighed other flavors
A little dry probably from protein powder

This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and FourPoints Bar for the opportunity to test out these bars.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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