Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Do You Eat?

Hey Everyone,

I was just recently up in the Appalachian mountains for the first ever Appalachian Tenkara Jam. There is a ton of good water up that way but some of the best streams to fish are off the beaten trail so to say. I don't know about you but there is something about hiking back into the high country and catching some eight inch brook trout that is just plain fun. I understand that some folks like big fish I mean who doesn't. However, to catch the only native salmonidae to eastern North America in its home water is a real treat. The only issue is that some of this water can be quite remote and require a hike to get to. I always recommend or advise that when headed into the back country that you go prepared. If you read just a couple post back I covered some simple gear that you may want to bring. I, however, did not mention food. I was in a rather health based grocery the other day and stumbled upon their "bar isle". It was kind of like an organic, protein, super bar mecca. I'm sure any seasoned hiker or backpacker has some favorites that they bring with them as do I but what do you look for in a bar? Be aware that not all bars are created equal. Some are full of sugar and are nothing more than glorified candy bars.

Here is a little list of some things to look for in a great back country bar. I understand that some folks have dietary restrictions so you may have to add to this list.
  1. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for the muscles and brain. Carbohydrates are pure energy and get used up by your activity. If you are hiking all day or participating in other strenuous activities like running from bears, you will want an energy bar in the high carbohydrate range, around 40 grams.
  2. Protein. This important nutrient provides the high amount of energy you need while hiking and fishing and keeps you feeling full longer. Energy bars that are high in protein are great snacks when hiking or partaking other activities that aren’t extremely intense (example marathons). Nine grams of protein is plenty high, but you can easily find ones with well over 20.
  3. Calorie count. Calories are units of energy that will result in sustained energy throughout your back country trip. Although not the healthy way to go for day-to-day activities if you are replacing a meal with your bar you may want to find one with 300 calories or more.
  4. Price tag. Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few different bars, the price may be a deciding factor in your final decision. The price of energy bars can get steep, so if you are interested in saving money compare its nutritional content to its cost.
Now if you read any web site you will see that most of the advise is for people that are doing the normal everyday things work, gym, home, kids practice, etc. The thing that we need to remember is that we are hiking, climbing, fishing, and running from bears just kidding. We may not however be eating normal meals that day so although these bars may be the bad kids for normal folk, they are just right for us adventurers. I should ad that bars are not the only choice and there are some foods that are fairly easy to pack, don't weigh much, and are great sources of the above mentioned. If you have a favorite bar or a cool home made recipe share it with us it may just be the next big thing.

See you on the trail,


  1. Had one of those Boone Barrs when I hit up a blue line on the side of Mt. Mitchell leaving the Jam. Good stuff, filling and dense. I like to carry a banana and a pb&j on most trips longer than a half day. Supplement that with bars in case I can't stop getting "one more cast" or "one more fish" on a good day. Dates are good for energy bumps too.

    Carry a Sawyer squeeze filter for water so you don't have to lug it around. That's a great thing about blue lines, carry a filter and you have cold fresh water all day!

  2. I'm a cliff bar fan. Even with the bad press Cliff Bars get about not being that healthy I find they do their job. Help me stay full and give me energy for lengths of time. I do like the KIND bars too but many of them are tiny.