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Welcome! Ultralight backpacking is my passion, and keeping up on new technologies, gear, and techniques relevant to UL backpacking is what floats my boat. I'm always looking for the lightest, most functional gear to improve a lightweight or ultralight backpacking kit, and report my impressions and field testing results here. For hikers wanting to keep up on the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking gear, this is a good place to hang out. Also, there is a lot of information here (and on our informational website Southwest Ultralight Backpacking) on useful techniques and backcountry etiquette -- food for thought for hikers wanting to lighten their load and their impacts.

My goal for Ultralight Insights is to understand, test, and report on new technologies and gear of interest to lightweight and ultralight backpackers. It's a passion after all, so we just plain enjoy talking about it. I hope readers will add their own wisdom and comments, respond to my questions, ask their own questions, and correct me if I get something wrong. Happy hiking! Will

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016: FOOD



By Will Rietveld

I always enjoy sampling and reporting on new energy bars and snacks at OR, especially those offered by new companies. Please note that this article simply highlights new energy food products of interest, and by no means is it comprehensive of the category or constitute a review of the item. It’s simply a collection of items of interest for lightweight backcountry travel.

Compete Energy Bites. I covered these in my summer 2015 OR coverage, but I am including them again because they have been reformulated. Each bite contains 135 mg of caffeine, equivalent to a cup of coffee, and the caffeine is encapsulated to provide slow release, so no caffeine high followed by a crash. A 6-pack costs $4,49 and a 2-pack is $1.99.

Go Raw Sprouted Watermelon Seeds. According to their literature, “Sprouting seeds multiplies powerful nutrients and unlocks enzymes to supercharge digestion and support optimal health”. A bit of hype there… The sprouted watermelon seeds taste quite good, and an ounce provides 160 calories and 10 grams of protein. A 10 ounce package costs $10. As shown in the right photo, they have lots of other sprouted seed snacks, and all are claimed to be 100% junk free.

KaKookies. This is an energy bar in the form of a cookie, a healthy cookie. While many energy bars get rock hard when cold, KaKookies stay soft and are arguably a more inviting way to fuel up. They contain no wheat, dairy, or egg products. The Pecan Apricot flavor shown has 220 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein per cookie. They cost $2.25 to $2.99 each.

K’UL Chocolate. These dark chocolate bars are labeled as a superfood with a glycemic index of 23 for long lasting energy and no crash. They contain guarana a natural energy booster and maca a natural stamina booster, plus seeds, algae protein, currants, pomegranates, and peanuts. One 50 gram bar provides 260 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein. The bars cost $1.74 each.
Navitas Naturals Power Snacks. A new flavor featured at the show is Coffee-Cacao, which is delicious. Three pieces provide 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. An 8 ounce package costs $10.

Rx Bar. This is a tasty protein bar, providing 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 12 grams of protein per bar. No added sugar, dairy, soy, or gluten. Each bar contains three egg whites. They are available in eight flavors for $2.50 each.

Wildway Grainless Cereals. Grainless cereal – what? Yep, they are grain, wheat, and gluten free, non GMO, sweetner free, and Paleo friendly. And they taste great. It’s claimed to be calorie dense, but no specifics were provided. A 1.75 ounce package is claimed to be a meal. It’s available in six flavors, and a box of four packages costs $6.

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