Review: Range Alpine Start Meal Bar
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the Alpine Start Meal Bar from Range was how calorie packed it was and my first thought was “This thing can’t be good for you.” I immediately flipped it over to find out what this thing was made of and found nothing but whole ingredients that I could pronounce. Try turning over your average protein/meal bar and you’d be hard pressed to be able to do the same with out consulting a professional nutritionist.
The front of the Range bar packaging, brags that the bar contains 700 calories and 19g of protein. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t scare me a bit. This isn’t the kind of bar that you grab on your way to work because you didn’t have time to make a proper breakfast. I have a feeling that if you at one of these puppies and then sat at a desk all day, your body would not be very happy with you. This bar is designed to fuel an adventure not an average day (unless your average day consists of lengthy adventures). With 35g of fat and 88g of carbs, the Alpine Start is densely packed fuel that can keep you going for a long time while you’re out on the mountain without making you feel weighed down or sluggish with a crash afterwords. The Range bar is also gluten free, non-GMO, and organic so if you have dietary restrictions or just want to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body, this bar has you covered!
The first flavor that I pick up on the the Alpine Start bar is definitely the honey, which is closely followed by coffee and peanut butter. This bar is quite flavorful and doesn’t have to try to cover up what it’s made of because its made of high quality, delicious ingredients. I found that I have to eat the bar slowly instead of just scarfing it down like some of the other bars on the market that I can just inhale during a short water break. I don’t see this as a bad thing though, especially after I did a bit of research to put the 700 calories into perspective. It helps me to slow down and actually rest, which is often times what my body needs on long hikes. I do think that if your were eating these bars often, the flavor would begin to get a bit old and I’m hoping that Zach (the owner of Range Bar) is working on some new flavors to spice things up a bit and provide some variety.
I took a few Range bars up Mt. Adams with me a couple weeks ago. When we made it to the summit, I tore a couple open and shared them among my friends. They all thoroughly enjoyed the bars and were surprised at how much fuel is packed into such a small bar. To put this into perspective, this bar has 700 calories while a BigMac with fries from McDonalds has 770 calories, and the Range bar won’t make you regret every decision you’ve ever made if you eat one and go for a hike afterwords. After our alpine lunch on the summit of Adams, we headed back down the mountain toward the car. I’m usually a big snacker while I hike but I was totally content the whole hike back down and didn’t have to dig into my snack bag at all. I will say that a couple of hours after we began our decent, the 54% daily value of fiber that is packed into the Alpine Start hit me and I had to take an impromptu pit stop but other than that little detour, I felt well fueled for the entire descent and never felt any sort of crash, even toward the end of the day. The major down side, which I touched on earlier is the weight of this bar. If you’re going out for a day hike like we were, weight isn’t a big issue, but if you’re hunting in the backcountry or doing a through hike, you want to make sure everything that you have on your back is as light as possible. If you’re counting ounces, this product might not be for you because, weighing in at 5.7oz this bar is anything but ultralight, but if you can handle the weight, I would be surprised if you can find something as high quality and nutrient packed as the Range bar.
Range Bar is a small company that was started by a college student from Montana named Zach. Zach was tired of dry, overpriced meal bars that wouldn’t cut it for his long adventures in Big Sky country, so he developed his own bar. Thus Range Bar was born. At almost 7 bucks per bar, the Range Bar is by no means cheap, but if you can stomach the cost, you will be getting much higher quality bars and similar calorie to dollar ratio as some of the competitor bars on the market. I’ve grown to love smaller companies in the outdoor industry because they are often very passionate about their product and it’s not just a business to the company owners. Zach is no exception to this. He is passionate about his product and at the end of the day, he’s producing possibly the highest calorie, and highest quality meal bar on the market. When that’s put into perspective, $7 starts to sound like a pretty great deal to me! It all comes down to where you want to spend your budget and if you want quality food to fuel your next adventure.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!