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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Probar Sweet and Savory > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

ProBar Sweet and Savoury plus Superfood Slam
Initial Report
 
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (74 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
Date: 6 April 2009

 

Backpacking Background:

I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last two years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri. I moved to South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my fifteen year-old son.

 

Product Information
Manufacturer:  ProBar
Year of Manufacture:  2009
URL:  www.theprobar.com
Actual measurements of bar:  3.25 in (83 mm) x 3 in (76 mm)
Listed weight: 3 oz. (85 g)
Actual weight: 3 oz. (85 g)
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $3.29 usd per bar, $35.48 usd per 12 pack.

 

probar pics

nutrition info  

 

photographs courtesy of the manufacturer's website
 
Initial Impressions
 
I got a 12 pack of each flavor packed in a display box.
 
The website and packaging emphasize that the bars are all organic.  As well, the Cocoa Pistachio is suitable for vegans. The wrappers advertise that they are "the whole food meal."  They are rather high in calories (Cocoa Pistachio and Cran-Lemon Twist at 350, and Superfood Slam at 400) and would only be suitable for daily diets that are active enough to burn that many calories.  
 
The wrapper is larger than the actual bar itself and there is some air trapped inside the wrapper.  However, the amount of air inside does not appear to fill the entire volume of the package.  The product inside is able to slide around and the packaging can be folded over on itself to a certain extent.  Makes me wonder how well the bars will be protected from crushing when crammed in a food bag.  The extra volume produced by the excess air could be a problem if space is an issue when packing for multi-day trips.  I don't see this as much of a problem for day hikes, but I plan to keep an eye on this during the testing. 
 
Though I was tempted to try them, I decided to save them for trail use.  I am especially interested to know if they are truly meal bars, like they state on the packaging.  I will use them for my meal or main food source on day hikes to see if they give me enough energy to carry me through the day.  I will use them as supplements for backpacking, biking and kayaking.


Long Term Report
20 July 2009

Field Conditions and Trips

The caloric count on these bars was really scary to me.  I understand that I need calories when I am paddling and hiking hard, but 400 calories per small bar is a daunting for me, personally.  I ate these bars on several hiking, paddling, backpacking trips, and especially during my backpacking trip in Mexico. A few events that I made specific notes about are listed below.

6 May -  Went on a 2.5 mile (4 km) geocaching hike on the Florence Rail Trails in Florence, South Carolina. This city trail in the woods is part sand, part dirt, and part pavement.  Ate half of the cocoa pistachio at 9:15 am. I was hungry by 11:00 am, so I ate the other half. I got really hungry by 12:30 pm. My pace was about the same throughout the hike.  It tasted really good with lots of chunks of nuts. The chocolate melted in 78 degrees F (25.5 C). It got squished in my pack, but the sticky stuff held it together.  

15-17 May - Camping in Asheville, North Carolina near the Pisgah National Forest. I ate a Lemon-Cranberry bar at 9:00 am for breakfast the first day.  I was hungry by 11:30 am.  We walked all of Asheville that day (about 5 hours of walking). The next day was a hiking day.  I ate half of a Superfood Slam bar at 8:30 am and was hungry for the other half by 10:00 am. I also ate the Chocolate Pistachio for lunch.  After a good day of hiking, I was satisfied until about 3:00pm.

29-30 May - Backpacking on private land near Florence, South Carolina. Used the bars as lunches. 

18 June-18 July - Backpacking trip through South Texas, Mexico and Belize. Some days in Mexico, 3 bars were my entire meal for the day.

I tried the Superfood Slam once as breakfast on my way to work. I ate half before I began my 8 mile (13 km)/1 hour ride, then the other half when I got there. I was hungry in about 3 hours. 

Taste - There is a lot of substance to these bars.  They are not grainy, instead I felt like I was eating nuts and fruit.  I thought each had a very pleasant texture. And overall they tasted  very good (at least the Lemon-Cranberry and Cocoa Pistachio did).  I have listed below in order in which I tried them.

Lemon-Cranberry
I would have never thought to mix peanut butter and lemon. The look of the bar was appetizing and appealing. It smelled like lemon. I tried this flavor first because I thought it would be horrible, but it was “tangy,” moist, chewy and very sweet. I got a big cranberry. I am a little allergic to white sugar (the inside of my mouth breaks out), but the sweetness of the rice syrup was fine. Overall, I thought this would be my least favorite, but it tasted best to me. 

Superfood Slam
The look of this green bar was daunting. The smell was kind of off-putting too, like grass. The initial taste was very berry-like (blackberries, etc.). The finish was date-ish (yuck) and sort of grass-like, or possibly alfalfa. It wasn’t terribly unpleasant, but not great. I didn’t taste peanut butter at all. It was more fruity than even the Lemon one. This is my least favorite though, because after the fruit taste is gone, it tastes like grass.

Cocoa Pistachio
The initial taste was great, very pistachio-y and I got a chocolate chip. The smell was appealing and so is the look. But the finish taste was sort of like cardboard. This one was my second favorite because I’m such a chocoholic.

Heat/Cold - I put all three kinds of the bars in my hot car to see what would happen.  The Cocoa Pistachio fared the least well because of the chocolate chips in it. They melted and were pretty messy when I tried to eat the bar. The other two just softened, but the heat did not affect the taste.  I also froze and thawed all three. The chocolate chips discolored, but it didn't affect the taste.

Packaging - It was difficult to get open. I wonder why the company feels it needs all the excess room in each package. I don’t think it protects it any more than packaging that fit the size of the bar would. They crushed in my pack even with the extra air and packaging.  Though there is enough sticky substance in the bars to keep them "glued" together.  For one backpacking trip, I repackaged each of them in a sandwich bag to save pack space and they fared just as well that way.  They were all in one place and I could fold the baggie around them so it actually used less space.

Contents - The fibre in these bars is very helpful.  I tend to get a little constipated when I backpack, probably because of dehydration issues.  These bars seemed to help.  I wanted a toothpick after eating them, however.  I also really liked the rice syrup as a sweetener.  I am a little hypo-glycemic and can really crash with white refined sugar.  I never seemed to do that with these bars.

Hunger - It seemed that no matter how hard I was hiking or paddling, if I ate half of a bar, I got hungry in an hour and a half to two hours.  If I ate a whole bar, it lasted about three hours.  If I ate a whole bar, I didn't feel bloated at all, it just lasted a little longer before I got hungry again. I ate 3 bars for my only meals in Mexico on 2 days that I was walking around Mexico City.  I got hungry between meals and was very hungry at the end of the day.  

Summary
Though they tasted good for the most part and I really appreciate the organic contents, I would probably not choose to purchase these bars because of the high caloric content.
Making a bar with fewer calories just for women might be a good idea. 

What I Liked
They are organic.
The Lemon-Cranberry tasted really great.

What I Didn't Like
There is too much wrapper for the little bar.
Too many calories for me.

This concludes my Long Term Report.  Many thanks to ProBar for providing their products for testing and to BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in the evaluation process. 

 



Read more reviews of Probar gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Probar Sweet and Savory > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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