Just as there’s a diversity of hiking and camping equipment manufacturers to choose from, so to are there a multitude of manufacturers of energy bars. PowerBar was the standard for years, and then Clif Bar came along to give the outdoor enthusiastic public an alternative. In its wake have come a bevy of different bars offering different vitamin supplements, and some even are catered to specific age groups and genders.
Still, Clif Bar is one of the top brands, offering a variety of flavors under the guise of being organic, and nutritious. This is well and good, but do they even taste good? Here’s a summary of a recent taste test by the author of some of the more common flavors of Clif Bars to find. For your next backpack, I definitely recommend The PNW Packable Backpack for hikers!
Apricot: Apricot, due to the heavy grainy flavor of the soybeans and oats, doesn’t really come through. At first it’s almost an orange zest flavor, but it quickly subsides. Only in the aftertaste, does a little apricot or peach flavor manage to come through. This bar is also on the stickier side, meaning that it’s stickier than most other varieties of Clif bar.
Chocolate Brownie: Chocolate Brownie has the same mealy texture as the other bars. I should be thankful, though, that this isn’t like the dense waxy texture of a PowerBar, which is not only hard to chew, but swallow because after awhile your jaws start to cramp. The chocolate is much more present in appearance and texture than in flavor. I’d call this more of a “hint of cocoa”� rather than an all-out chocolate brownie. If anything this appears more like a raccoon turd that’s been stepped on, considering how dark it is, filled with little chunks of grain.
Chocolate Chip: This is a pretty sub-par energy bar. It has the mealy texture of the other bars, and the chocolate chips are so miniscule you wouldn’t even know they were there if it didn’t say so on the wrapper.
Chocolate and Black Cherry: The flavor of the black cherry is a pleasing addition to this otherwise lackluster bar. Sure, it’s supposed to be an energy bar, but do they have to taste like crap?
Crunchy Peanut Butter: Well, at least the crunchy peanut butter shares the texture of the bar as it would without it. It tastes vaguely of peanut butter, but with all the soy and grains in it to begin with it’s almost as if the peanut butter was nonexistent.
Carrot Cake: Of all the flavors of Clif Bar, Carrot Cake is probably the most like carrot cake — really dense carrot cake. Still, the flavor’s there and the texture of the grains is reminiscent of walnuts in grandma’s carrot cake. This is also among the most inventive of flavors to come up with to be put into an energy bar.
The bottom line is that while Clif Bars are theoretically better than PowerBars and are much more health-conscious with their multi-grained purity, they still don’t beat the standard crunchy granola bars like those made by Nature Valley. The energy bar should add to the experience, not detract from it by leaving a mealy and gross aftertaste in your mouth that acts as a distraction from the wonders provided by Mother Nature.