LÄRABAR KEY LIME PIE & PISTACHIO
TEST SERIES BY DAVID BRADISH
April 26, 2008
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Southern California USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
I started hiking in my teens in Arizona and New Mexico, primarily focusing on winter hiking. Since 1991 I have hiked a lot with my brother-in-law Ray mostly in California's Sierra Nevada range, and the southern mountains. In winter I bring as much gear as necessary to be safe and comfortable. For 3-season hiking I try to follow the principles of ultra light.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Humm Foods Inc
Web site: http://www.larabar.com
Date received: February 2008
MSRP: $27.00 (US) for a box of 16 direct from Humm Foods
Flavor and weight listed Key Lime Pie: 51 g/1.8 oz
Flavor and weight listed Pistachio: 51 g/1.8 oz
Actual weight Key Lime Pie: 54 g/1.9 oz
Actual weight Pistachio: 54 g/1.9 oz
Ingredients of Key Lime Pie: dates, cashews, almonds, unsweetened coconut and lime juice concentrate. Here is the nutritional information from the LäraBar web site.
Ingredients of Pistachio: dates, pistachios and cashews. Here is the nutritional information from the LäraBar web site.
I received 32 of the LäraBars or 2 boxes to test, 16 of each flavor. They come in a foil wrapper and are slightly moist in texture. Each bar is 5.25 x 1.5 x .75 inches in size, or 13.3 x 3.8 x 1.9 cm.
The package says that they are "No Added Sugar, Unprocessed, Raw, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy-Free, Vegan and Kosher" While I do not care that they are kosher I care a lot about the rest.
That is because I am a self admitted health nut. I eat healthy most of the time and am right now in my second month of a completely raw-only diet. So the opportunity to test the LäraBars was something I was very interested in doing. I will also admit that I have been using them for a couple of years since being introduced to them by my brother-in-law Ray who tested some himself.
One of the things about the LäraBars that I noticed was the high fats ratio. It is hard to get away from that when using raw nuts. I make a raw gorp for backpacking and put sprouted buckwheat groats and dried fruit in it to get the carbohydrate and protein levels up to balance the fats found in the raw nuts and seeds I use also.
While I do not find the levels to be too high I think that it is better for me to not consume these at night, but instead have them during or before prolonged activity to let my body burn the fats off.
Both bars have a lot of potassium but the Pistachio really stands out at 410 mg. This is only 40 mg less than an average banana, something that while great for replacing potassium does not travel well in a backpack over many days. Because of this high content my game plan is going to be to eat the Key Lime Pie with its higher level of saturated fats in the mornings for breakfast. Then I will eat the potassium high Pistachio bars for lunch when it will help fight cramping.
I do a lot of snow backpacking and mountaineering in the winter months. Cold weather makes for better use of high fat content food. Who needs Yak butter in tea when I can try the LäraBars instead? I will be going on a three day peak attempt this weekend and will start using the LäraBars then. Please check here in a couple of months for my thoughts about the taste, texture and usefulness of the LäraBars.
This concludes my initial report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used the LäraBars on a few backpacking trips. One was a three day snow trip in horrible conditions at San Jacinto State Park. A couple of weeks later I took one of my daughters back up there on a two day trip. On the first trip it got down to 22F/-6 C, the second trip was warmer and got up to 50 F/10 C
The same daughter and I also went on a camping/hiking trip to Joshua Tree National Park for two days with Ray and Jennifer. The temperature got down to 51 F/11 C with highs around 72 F/22 C.
I also took them on a couple of day hikes to our local regional park Whiting Ranch.
I had them on a 25 mile/40 km hike up the Pacific Crest Trail at the south border of San Gorgonio Wilderness. The temps hit 86 F/30 C. This picture was taken on that trip next to the Whitewater River.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Since this test spanned as long as it took for me to eat all of the LäraBars, it was suggested to me to write my thoughts at first and then to write again later when I had more experience with the bars. So here is what I put after my first trip eating them.
The Key Lime Pie flavor is very moist and a bit sticky to the touch. I really notice the coconut with the lime coming in slowly, not a big burst of sourness. It has just enough tartness to keep from seeming sweet although the after taste does leave lingering sweetness.
The Pistachio flavor is not as sticky feeling nor as sweet as the Key Lime. It has a greenish tinge through the entire bar along with dark green pieces of the pistachio skin itself. The taste is very subtle. I really like this flavor addition.
Since I wrote that I used the rest of the LäraBars. When I was backpacking I ate 4 of them a day, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon although sometimes I snuck in one of their other flavors to keep from getting tired of them. When dayhiking I ate 2 or 3 a day.
One great thing about the LäraBars is they do not freeze. I have had bars that get as hard as a rock when backpacking in winter. Others become like hard taffy that can hardly be chewed. The LäraBars stay soft even when sitting on the floor of my tent on snow. The key lime pie actually tastes better cold. It is kind of like lime sherbet.
For reference, my normal distance covered in the winter ranges from 6 to 10 miles/10 to 16 km a day. For 3 season hiking I am going at least 20 miles/32 km a day. Trips with my daughter are of course lower in distance and duration. My average pack weight is under 20 lb/9 kg but in winter it can be double that. So I am burning a lot of calories. I eat some type of bar for all of my lunches and most of my breakfasts while backpacking, and the LäraBars have become my favorite brand.
As I mentioned in my Initial Report I have been using LäraBars for years now. These two new flavors have proven to be quite satisfying and filling on the trail. The texture is such that they are not bland or boring. I love the crunchy nuts in them. And on long hikes I always throw two extra bars in as emergency rations should something force me to spend and extra night. I am confident that I could go an extra morning and afternoon on the calories provided by a couple LäraBars.
The Key Lime pie flavor has become my favorite flavor of LäraBars already great line up. I will be buying a lot more of these in the future.
If there has to be a check mark against them it is with the pistachio flavor. I like the bar a lot. It is very mellow tasting and I like having them in the mornings. But I had three bars with major amounts of pistachio shells in them. And one of the times a piece of shell went sideways between my teeth where it was very stuck. It is not fun to be in the field with no toothpicks and what feels like a piece of steel splitting my teeth apart. I got to the point that I was hesitant about chewing them. A couple other bars had very small pieces of shell in them. I do not mind that much. But the big ones need to be addressed.
I hope that they can get the quality control down better on the Pistachio. I will try them again in the future and will definitely be purchasing more of the key lime pie. The raw aspect of the LäraBars is a big deal to me along with the other nutritional qualities of their entire line and company philosophy. I will look forward to any new offerings from them also. Thank you to LäraBar and backpackgeartest for feeding me.
LIKES & DISLIKES
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Good weight to calorie ratio
Does not freeze
Big shells in the Pistachio
Read more gear reviews by David Bradish