Humor me: How many times have you reached into your backpack while on a hike or some other grand adventure, to find that the PB&J you so lovingly crafted at 4 am that morning is now a ball of mush? Or, you’re at the top of a 14’er and the snack bar you nestled into your pack has succumbed to the cold and turned into a tooth-chipping delicacy?
Probably too often.
On top of that, most trail nutrition is focused on situations where you need short bursts of energy. So while that peanut-butter-chocolate-waffle-candy-bar might be delicious going down, give it 15 minutes and you’ll be dealing with the sugar crash or just lusting after another since you’re still hungry. You also pay attention to what you eat when you’re not on the trail (we hope) and going on a hike shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice your excellent nutrition decisions.
Kevin and Patrick Webber, the founders of Fourpoints, had a slightly harrowing experience descending a 14’er that made them take a critical look at the current energy bar market and these situations we all put ourselves in by eating high sugar, low nutritional value bars. They were stuck in a thunderstorm at high elevation and, rather than being able to hustle off the mountain, the sugar rush they had moments before had passed and they were dragging themselves down to safer ground.
They also had one other thing to deal with: diabetes. It was something that affected their family and has made them very wary of high blood sugar and the food products that can affect that. When they couldn’t find a nutrition bar that met their needs of sustained energy, natural ingredients, and low sugar content, they decided to make their own.
Getting Their Start
After that fateful day, the Webbers decided to try to make their own nutrition bar. In doing so, they focused on four main goals –
- Optimal glycemic load
- Be macronutrient dense
- Contain only natural food
- Taste delicious under any condition
They made these for years, sharing thim with friends and family and enjoying them themselves. But eventually word spread about these bars and strangers began to ask about them. It was at this point the Webbers decided to finally go for it and make these bars available to the public.
Where did the name come from? Well, a compass has four points and it was also a nod to their focus on creating a bar that met four main goals.
Fourpoints Taste and Flavors
Most nutrition bars don’t sound very nutritious at all, in fact. Taking a gander at Powerbar’s flavor list we have Cookies N’ Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and the ever classic Vanilla. While these sound delicious, they are better served at an ice cream shop versus in a bar that gets shoved into your pack.
Four points went a slightly different route and focused on savory flavors. When I spoke with Kevin about this he said they wanted to create tastes that you would find at your grandmother’s house. The idea being that when you’re feeling drained and need a boost out on the trail, their flavors will sound more appealing and be more appetizing than cramming a re-branded Snickers bar down the hatch.
Take Powder Day PB&J (my favorite flavor) for example. It’s a classic taste we all know and love from our childhood and I get pretty jazzed when I can have a PB&J without all the mess. Another one? Alpine Apple Pie. Now I can’t stop thinking about delicious holiday pies.
When it comes to texture, Fourpoints bars are a little denser and a little drier than what you might be used to. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but the more I eat them the more I appreciate this – especially while out on a long ride or hike way up in the mountains. I say this because when you’re tired and sweaty the last thing you want is a bar getting stuck to your teeth or being a crumbly mess. You want to eat it, you want it to be easy to chew, and you want it to get into your stomach as soon as possible. A Fourpoints bar lets this happen and still maintains a palatable taste that makes the whole experience enjoyable.
Putting the Bars to the Test
Since learning about Fourpoints Bars I’ve had a few opportunities to try them out in various situations.
The Giddy-Up is an enduro mountain bike event based in Golden, Colorado. It features 6 timed stages and multiple liaisons between those stages. Some of these stages are climbs, some of them are descents. Overall it ends up being a multi-hour day and quite a bit of time in the saddle.
There are aid stations littered all over the course and they do a wonderful job of keeping them stocked. Though instead of relying on these for food, I stuffed a few Fourpoints bars into my pack and hoped for the best. Along the way I refilled my bottles and snagged a few bananas, but over the course of the event I used the bars as my main source of nutrition.
Not once did I feel like I was crashing and my levels of fatigue were fairly normal for an event of this nature. I never felt like I was low on power due to fueling. It was a hot day so hydration was key, but I was able to maintain composure and focus on my lines during the descents versus hanging on for dear life.
Long ride with Rick
Rick is a big fan of coming up with long rides and runs to fill the weekends. Following the weekend of the Giddy-Up he wanted to do a ride that connected multiple trails in the Golden area. We started at the Apex Trail parking lot, rode out of town towards Red Rocks, kept going to Mt. Falcon park, doubled back through Lair o’ the Bear, then headed towards Chimney Gulch and down Apex.
Leaving Lair and heading over to Chimney Gulch requires a climb out and by the time we got near the top I was completely blown apart. I hadn’t brought enough water and the sun was blazing at 2 in the afternoon. I eventually pulled over under a tree and ate a Fourpoints bar that was in my pocket. I didn’t have anything to wash it down, so it wasn’t the most pleasant eating experience, but not long after I was able to salvage the ride and get myself moving again. Not only are the bars great for eating before you start to lose energy, but also once you’ve gone too far into empty.
Having to be in an office 5 days a week forces me to be a little more diligent when it comes to getting my time on the trails. This means 5am alarms and quick drives out to Golden as the sun comes up.
Typically I’ll pre-pack my gear bag the night before and make sure the bike is prepped, but once I wake up I still don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast before I leave. Instead, I’ll pour a coffee, grab a Fourpoints bar, and hit the road.
Depending on what I’m doing that morning I may not eat the whole bar. If it’s a ride I’ll err on the more conservative side since I won’t be burning as many calories, while if I’m planning on running I’ll go for the whole thing. I’m not a runner by choice, so eating the entire bar also helps with that activity since I’ll be full and happy and it’ll make it a little more enjoyable.
On a recent morning I went out for a ride when the temperature was at 37 degrees. While some bars get hard to eat when they’re cold, I had no problem with the Fourpoints bar. It maintained the same consistency at that temperature as it does on a hot day.
Fourpoints Bars Nutrition Facts
Fourpoints bars are fairly comparable to other options on the market when you look at the numbers. Here’s a quick comparison to some of the competition –
|Fourpoints (PB&J)||Clif (Chocolate Chip)||Powerbar (Chocolate)|
Where they stand out is when you start to look at the ingredients themselves. Fourpoints uses ingredients that have a low-moderate glycemic load which means the amount of glucose released into your body is much lower at a given point in time. Plum and fig are the main low glycemic ingredient in these bars, compared to Powerbar which comes out swinging with a first ingredient of cane syrup. Clif bar also has cane syrup and also lists cane sugar as a main ingredient. While that will give you an energy boost, it will come on come on strong and fade just as quickly.
Where to Get Them
If you want some Fourpoints bars delivered right to your door, shop on their website and choose from all of their flavors.
For a stockist near you, check out their store locator.