ReviewsStoves and Cooking Gear

Kate’s Bars Review

Kate's bars review

Years ago, I decided that the best food in the world would be a bar named “Food Bar.” You’d eat it in the morning, and it would sustain you throughout the day. While that still isn’t available, many energy bars do the trick for me. Years ago I settled on Clif Bar’s Crunchy Peanut Butter, and that’s what I stuck with. While I’ve tired other bars, I always go back to Clif bars. I was excited when I heard about Kate’s Real Food, which makes beefy energy bars with peanut butter as one of the core ingredients. Peanut butter energy bars with extra ingredients, such as rice, oats, honey, bananas, apricots, raisins and more, sounded great to me.  Could Kate’s bars usurp Clif’s Crunchy Peanut Butter as the king of energy bars? When a box full of samples showed up at my door I was ready to try.

About Kate’s Real Food

You can read the the entire story on Kate’s About page, so I’ll just hit the highlights.

  • Started in Jackson Hole, the third coolest town in the world after Grand Marais, MN and Hill City, SD.
  • Supports sustainable organic farming practices.
  • Interested in getting more people into the outdoors.
  • Uses real food ingredients. You won’t see some unpronounceable chemical thingy in the ingredient list.

The Bar

The bars come in four flavors, Tram Bar, Grizzly Bar, Handle Bar and the Stash Bar. They all have organic oats and honey as the first two ingredients and then vary a bit after than. If you like peanut butter, then the Tram, Grizzly or Stash is the way to go. If you don’t, then the Handle Bar is for you. The Stash includes hemp seeds. All have chocolate in them, so they taste slightly sweet.

When you hold one of Kate’s bars in your hand, the first thing you notice is that they feel substantial, especially the Tram and Grizzly which weigh 3 ounces each. The Handle and Stash weigh about the same as a Clif bar, which is about 2.2 ounces. The size also reflects the calories, and the bigger bars have 360 calories per bar. That’s substantial, and by having that many calories in a bar, Kate’s makes it easy to grab a quick snack when you’re paddling. On the long distance trips that I’ve taken, I usually eat one or two granola bars for a mid-morning snack and this provides the fuel to go until lunch at noon or one. The problem with eating two granola bars is that you have to unwrap each one. In waves, I don’t care for doing that, especially when solo. With a 360 calorie bar in one wrapper, it’s an easy way to get lots of calories in a short period of time. The bigger bars also work well as a breakfast, and I’ve used them that way a couple of times. In the afternoon, I like a lighter snack. The Handle and Stash bars are just enough to fill me up.

The Taste

While I always think that everything could be more peanut buttery, these come pretty close to ideal. The chocolate and dried fruits add enough interest and sweetness to keep it tasty, there’s a light peanut taste and the seeds add a nice soft crunch. One problem that I personally run into with energy bars is that they don’t digest well. Kate’s bars don’t bother my stomach.

I personally like the Grizzly Bar the best, but the Tram Bar tastes similar, so it’s a close second.


Overall, Kate’s Real Food has a winner with these bars. Kate’s bars digest easily and taste good plus they provide lots of energy to fuel hours of long distance kayak touring. I’m sold.

Subscribe! Get PaddlingLight in your inbox. Enter your email address:


  • About 1% of Americans have a nut allergy. There aren’t a lot of nut free commercial energy bars. Any recommendations?

  • Hi Brian, kate’s Bars sound great, ill have to track some down.

    have you tried a pro bar? I had one last summer at a paddling fest out west here and it was suprisingly good. I’m w you, everything could be more peanut buttery, and these guys had a good one. They also (according to their rep, and what I saw on the ingredients list) use whole ingredients. Just looking at their web site they seemed to have gotten a whole variety now, there was just 3 or 4 when I tasted them.

    • I have tried them. It was a while ago though and I don’t really remember them that well. I’ll have to try them again.

  • Oh is that true? That sounds good and interesting! I will try that Kate’s Real Food.

  • That’s great news, since the last thing you’d want to worry about is stomach indigestion, especially if it’s a very long trip. I might try these out soon, we’re about to go on our annual camping trip this coming June.

Comments are closed.