I am happy to bring food bars along on the trail for the simple facts that they provide tasty mid-day snacking, are ready-to-go, and can be help maintain nutritional balance.
With literally hundreds of bars on the market though, which ones should a backpacker bring?
I'm glad you asked. I've put together a list of bars with basic nutrition information.
Yes, although I wouldn't generally consider them food, I did include Snickers on here. I did so because many backpackers are taking them out and I wanted to show how they compare to other food bars on the market.
Andy Skurka, for example, is taking them I believe and in his blog makes mention that though the candy bars are high in sugar, the high fat content will slow the rate at which they are burned.
I would still consider them luxury items because by and large they are nutritionally bankrupt. The sugar may burn slowler, but your body is going to crash after you process it, and you aren't getting a lot of the vitamins, electrolytes and trace minerals you pick up from the other food bars.
Heat stability is another problem worth considering. If you're hiking in moderate weather with solar exposure, you're likely going to be opening a bag of melted chocolate. If you want a cacao snack, consider taking raw nibs or dark chocolate.
The list is currently at about