Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trail Food: Market Pantry Nutrition Bar

Midway in our 2011 section hike of the Appalachian Trail, we lost our appetite and felt a bit lethargic. If you followed our adventure in our TrailJournal, you'll recall we were concerned about a lack of nutrition. We thought perhaps we were too low sugar and low salt and the wilderness EMT suggested low potassium.

We've long noted the nutrition bar aisle at our local Target department store. Looking through the racks of various nutrition bars we noted that calories and content varied. We long wanted to taste test some of these, but recall our first taste of Gatorade many decades ago. Foul! Salty! Since then we have shied away from anything related to sports nutrition and went with everyday nutrition as practiced by ordinary citizens.

So, it was with some trepidation that we selected and purchased a Market Pantry nutrition bar. Target provides individual nutrition bars for purchase, so we were relieved not to have to purchase an entire box, only to find us holding an expensive box of what we refer to as "wood chips". To improve the chances of our taste buds accepting the strange new food, we opted for a nutrition bar marked "chocolate peanut butter".

The wrapper on our bar stated it contained 210 calories, so we decided to eat half one day and half the next. Late in the day when we normally have a wee bit of carbs we tore open the wrapper and bit in.

Not bad. Not bad at all!

This was certainly not the nutrition food of our 1970's youth.

Our first taste was similar to a less sweet candy bar. After two or three bites, we definitely could taste the difference.

We do note the taste was not so inspiring that we weren't able to resist folding up the remaining half of the bar and leaving in front of us until the next afternoon.

Bottom line: Its a keeper. We plan to buy two boxes of the bars for our planned 2012 section hike in CT and NY. We'll update you on our field results after our trip.

UPDATE 5/31/12 - We bought one box of bars for our upcoming 10-day section hike of New York. Plan to eat them on one long day and the three ending mountainous days. Most will be mailed ahead in a resupply dropbox.

Disclosure: We select and purchase the product(s) reviewed. We have no material connection to either the manufacturer nor the retailer(s).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trail Food: Justin's Honey Peanut Butter

While shopping at a local Target department store, we were browsed the food aisles looking for possible backpacking fare. While standing in front of a wall of peanut butter, we noticed some small boxes with individual packets of peanut butter. From the four boxes we selected a small packet of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter to sample at the office. Today was the day.

The packet of peanut butter stated to knead before opening. Being a military veteran, this brought back memories of little green packets of peanut butter in the ubiquitous Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs). We once failed to knead and were punished with oil and a thick peanut flavored nougat. We rolled the packet between our palms rapidly.

Finding a small nick along the side, we opened the packet slightly and squeezed a dollop onto a waiting cracker. We definitely tasted peanut butter, but not a heavy taste of peanut butter. On our second dollop we distinctly could identify the taste of honey. Finally, we tore open the pouch and dug in with a small plastic spoon. The peanut butter was tasty, but a bit mealy feeling in the mouth. Perhaps we had not spent enough tie kneading it before use.

The packet indicates Justin's Honey Peanut Butter is kosher and gluten-free. A 1.15 oz. (32 grams) packet provides 190 calories. The very high calories to weight ratio and the good taste makes packets of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter a new inclusion on our backpacking meal plan this year. Last year we flagged a bit after a few days out, so we'll toss in some peanut butter packets to see if that helps us maintain our appetite around day four.

UPDATE 5/31/12 - We bought ten packets of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter for our upcoming 10-day section hike of New York.

Disclosure: We select and purchase the product(s) reviewed. We have no material connection to either the manufacturer nor the retailer(s).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Video: Ultralight Hiking

Rather unusual video by "lint" who has hiked the Appalachian Trail twice and is a triple crown (AT, CDT, PCT) hiker. Lint hikes a 8 pound pack plus food & water. We like his idea to use an umbrella with a bug net and his use of raw foods, such as carrots and brocolli. His "knife skills" while preparing food is extremely unusual (gross to some).

Want to read more about Lint’s adventures? He kept a trail journal of his Continental Divide Trail hike. Online:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pinterest Appalachian Trail Board

Have you been invited to join Pinterest?

If not, you may not know about this rapidly growing new social media site.

We received a Pinterest invitation and have added an Appalachian Trail board to our many Pinterests. Interestingly, even though Pinterest is populated largely with women users (83%), we found a number of people using Pinterest for their gear lists for a future hike. Pinterest allows for easy commenting, which we did to aid our fellow Pinterest users in making good buying decisions.