I ate my first Larabar wearing a pair of snowshoes atop Shuteye Peak. It was love at first bite. I immediately sensed that these folks had created a killer bar that met the rigorous demands of the serious outdoorsman, given here in order of importance:
- Tasty. This is where most other bar companies drop the ball: the darn thing needs to taste good. I don't really care about antioxidants and bioflavinoids and complex carbohydrates if I can barely even eat the bar in the first place.
- Caloric. Outdoorsmen hoard calories like misers hoard money; no "low-calorie" milkshakes here. When you're putting in a long day of hiking, you're counting calories by the thousand - especially if it's cold. Most Larabars pack over 200 calories, which is excellent for their size.
- Tough. Too many bars are fine on a grocery store shelf at 72º, but quickly turn into gooey disasters or handfuls of granola on the trail. It's important that a bar be able to take heat and abuse in pockets and backpacks, and Larabars pass this test with flying colors.
- Lightweight. This point is really just another angle on point #2, as lightweight basically means a good calorie-to-ounce ratio. Most commercially available foods average around 100 calories per ounce; for backpacking, I try and avoid anything lower than that. Larabars have up to 129 calories per ounce. Incredible.
- Natural. Too many energy bar labels remind me of chemistry class. Not Larabars. The ingredients in the Cherry Pie bar are as follows: unsweetened cherries, dates, and almonds. It just doesn't get much simpler than that. I appreciate Larabar's commitment to real, raw food, and I also appreciate their common-sense approach to the "Organic" issue:
We'll consider using organic ingredients at the point that suppliers can meet both our quality and volume standards consistently, which, to date, has not been possible.For you and me, as consumers, that means a reasonably-priced, quality bar. (For some, I'm sure point #5 would be higher on the list. It's important to me as well, but I think it is rather overrated most of the time.)