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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Olympic Granola Bars > Test Report by Shawn Wakefield

Olympic Granola - Bars
Test Series by Shawn Wakefield
Initial Report: April 15, 2010
Long Term Report: August 23, 2010

Olympic Granola Bars - All Flavors

Reviewer Information

Name: Shawn Wakefield
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
City, State, Country: Tishomingo, Oklahoma, United States

Backpacking Background: I started camping and backpacking about 25 years ago as a teenager in the Boy Scouts. I am enjoying backpacking again, and I really like going lightweight now and covering a lot of miles. My wife and I take frequent backpacking trips together, and our kids (all under 13) go occasionally. We like to hike in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas for short trips, but enjoy Wyoming and Colorado for longer trips. My current pack averages 16 lb (7.3 kg) including water and three days' food.

INITIAL REPORT: April 15, 2010

Product Information

Manufacturer: Olympic Granola, Inc.
MSRP: $49.99 US for an 18 pack, $25.99 US for a 8 bar sampler pack
Flavors: Available in Espresso Almond Chocolate, Turtle Mocha, Mocha Mint, Green Tea Zest, Lemon Chamomile, Almond Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut, Honey Almond
Listed weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Weight as delivered: 3.07 oz (87 g) in package
Bar size as delivered: 2.76 x 2.95 x 0.71 in (70 x 75 x 18 mm)

Product Description

Olympic Granola bars are individually packaged granola bars in eight flavors. They are advertised as having all natural ingredients and as being a good source of fiber and protein. They are also wheat and dairy free, contain no trans fats, and are non-gmo (genetically modified organisms).

Initial Impressions

I received a box of 18 granola bars from Olympic Granola that contained the following flavors: Espresso Almond Chocolate (2), Turtle Mocha (3), Mocha Mint (1), Green Tea Zest (1), Lemon Chamomile(2), Almond Chocolate (3), Chocolate Peanut (3), and Honey Almond (3). This is actually the Variety Pack of 18 bars as listed on their website store.

The bars are essentially square, in a clear plastic wrapper. The back of the wrapper contains the ingredient list and nutrition information for that flavor. Each package is also stamped with a 'SELL BY' date. The bars in my box had dates within October 2010. With the exception of Chocolate Peanut, the first two ingredients in every flavor are rolled oats and nutty rice (rice flour, raisin juice concentrate, rice bran, salt). The Chocolate Peanut bar had peanuts as its second ingredient, and nutty rice after that. The other ingredients vary by flavor. The serving size is listed as one half of a bar, and the calories for the serving size are 190 or 200, depending on the flavor.

The product literature includes this statement: "...natural ingredients you can actually recognize." Upon opening an Espresso Almond Chocolate bar, I can certainly understand that statement. The picture to the right is a Chocolate Peanut bar, and you can easily see the oats, peanuts, sunflower kernels, and other ingredients. The bars are slightly soft and flexible. They are not hard and brittle, and they are not encased in some substance that was previously a fluid, as are some bars I have seen. My only concern with the composition of the bars is that they may crumble or break in the package while being transported in my pack.

I first tried the Espresso Almond Chocolate bar. It was soft and chewy, and the texture was crunchy. That may sound contradictory, but the bar itself was soft to bite into, and the ingredients, being mostly oats, nuts, and rice, were crunchy. The bar did have a slight flavor of chocolate and espresso, but it was not very strong. The primary ingredients that I could taste were the oats and nuts. There were some bites that had a stronger flavor than others, so I believe the chocolate and espresso flavors are not completely uniform throughout the bar. I liked the taste - it was not too sweet or sugary.

I like the 3 oz (85 g) size. It is larger than my typical trail snack, but the literature also mentions using the bar "as a healthy meal replacement", so I may try the granola bars instead of meal on some of my trips. The whole bar (2 actual servings) may actually provide a good energy boost when backpacking - we shall see.

I look forward to the next two months of trying these bars on hiking and backpacking trips.

Initial Likes:
1. Nice size
2. Good taste

Initial Concern:
1. Durability (will they get crushed or crumble in my pack)

This concludes my Initial Report.

LONG TERM REPORT: August 23, 2010

Total use of the bars has been over 18 days and 10 nights during the following trips:

Day Hike in OK: I ate an Almond Chocolate bar on a day hike in southern Oklahoma in late April. The temperature was about 80 F (27 C) for this hike. I mostly tasted oats and nuts and a slight chocolate taste. The bar was not sweet, and was crunchy. In fact, the nuts tended to stick in my teeth, as there were a lot of them.
Overnight Trip in OK: I ate a Chocolate Peanut bar on a trip in April near Pennington Creek in southern Oklahoma. The temperatures for the trip were around 80 F (27 C) for highs and 55 F (13 C) for lows with light rain the second day. I could see and taste the peanuts in the bar, and it was quite crunchy. The chocolate flavor was very mild.
3 Days Backpacking in AR: I was on a 22 mile (35 km) backpacking trip over three days on the Ozark Highlands Trail in northern Arkansas during mid-May. We primarily covered section 5 of that trail. The temperatures were 65 F (18 C) at night and 85 F (29 C) during the day. I carried and ate a Honey Almond, Chocolate Peanut, and Turtle Mocha bar on this trip. I primarily used the bars for mid-morning or afternoon snacks between meals. The substantial size and calorie content of the bars kept me from being hungry until the next meal.
6 Days Backpacking the AT: I carried several bars on a 6 day section hike of the Appalachian Trail in late May. We started at Springer Mountain, GA and ended at Deep Gap, NC - covering about 85 miles (137 km). Temperatures ranged from 58 F (14 C) to 85 F (29 C) on the trip. I ate the following bars: Green Tea Zest, Honey Almond, Lemon Chamomile, Mocha Mint, Chocolate Peanut, and Almond Chocolate.
Day Hike in OK: I ate two bars on an 11 mile (18 km) day hike in the Ouachita Mountains in eastern Oklahoma in early July. The temperature was about 85 F (29 C) for this trip. We hiked the Bohannon Creek and part of the Ouachita Trail on this hike. I ate a Lemon Chamomile before the hike and a Turtle Mocha during the hike.
Whitewater Rafting in CO: I was on a whitewater rafting trip on the Animas River in southeastern Colorado in late July. The temperature was about 80 F (27 C) for this trip. I ate a Turtle Mocha bar during the trip, and it crumbled apart easily.
Day Hike in CO: I ate a Honey Almond bar while day hiking in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in late July. The temperature was about 85 F (29 C) for this trip.
Two Night Trip in CO: I carried the bars on a trip in early August in the San Isabel National Forest in southern Colorado. The temperatures for the trip were around 75 F (24 C) for highs and 48 F (9 C) for lows with a mix of sun and clouds. We did several day hikes in the area, and we also climbed the East Spanish Peak one morning. I ate an Espresso Almond Chocolate bar on the climb up the peak, and I had an Almond Chocolate bar when hiking another day.

I have really enjoyed testing these bars. They are a good size, and they provide a good amount of calories when backpacking. After eating a bar, I find that I am not hungry for several hours. I do not notice a significant energy boost over my normal trail snacks, though. Regardless of the flavor, the bars are primarily oats and nuts. I can't tell a whole lot of difference between most of the flavors. The Lemon Chamomile and Mocha Mint seem to have the most distinct flavors of the group. The bars that contain chocolate have only a very mild chocolate taste.

My biggest complaint with the bars is the fact that they crumble apart very easily. After being carried in my pack for even a day, the bar cannot be easily eaten with one hand. In fact, a spoon is almost necessary if the bar has been carried in a bag for a couple of days. I would prefer that the bars were made to stay together better. The bars do seem expensive compared to other bars, and appear to have less calories and almost no vitamins compared to other bars.

1. Nice size
2. Plenty of calories

1. Crumble easily
2. High cost
3. Few vitamins

Thanks to Olympic Granola, Inc. and for allowing me to participate in this test.

- Shawn Wakefield

Read more gear reviews by Shawn Wakefield

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Olympic Granola Bars > Test Report by Shawn Wakefield

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