I met the guys from Zyro, Powerbar’s UK distributors at the Etape Caledonia cycling event in Pitlochry a few weeks back, and came back with samples of their new Natural Energy Bars to test.
I haven’t written them up as they’ve been in either my pack or my mouth, and with only one of each flavour left (and today, just one in total) on the trip on Monday, I thought I’d better get a photie.

PowerBar makes you think of sweaty folk, muscley folk, stern folk challenging both themselves and the patience of their friends, and the same goes for all “sports fuel” from whatever brand.
Or, it has often been that way, but times have changed, with more regular folk carry energy foods into the hills or indeed wherever. I was heartily sick of textureless sugary bars and drink mixes long ago. I went to Nuun tablets in my bottle and beef jerky in my pocket until I got a taste for the Honey Stinger gear, which is both fuel and enjoyable.
PowerBar have stepped up with the ordinary-human-friendly Natural Energy Bars, a mix of oats, fruit, pumpkin seeds and honey with other bits and pieces stuck in to give different flavours, Cacoa Crunch, Strawberry& Cranberry and the surprise addition; Sweet’n Salty Seeds & Pretzels“. I know how often I’ve craved something not-sugary on a trip, and usually Babybel or Pepperami hits the spot, but this is a refreshing (is salty refreshing?) change, so good job PowerBar.
The texture makes them feel like proper food, the flavours really are very good and I’ve had no digestion issues with them. The natural aspect is being pushed, good ingredients with no added crap or chemicals.
Whether or not you want or need sports bars is something for you, your dietitian and perhaps your aspirations, but for me it’s just compact, easy stowed on-the-move grub to keep my legs going. I like eating them when I’m out, and they seem to do the job. But it’s not a substitute, it’s just an addition to my Babybel and jerky.
Anyway, these bars were tasty. I’ll be buying some more.


The folks at Orbana sent me a couple of bottles of their energy drink to test through Twitter.
There’s two separate issues here, and the first one is the drink itself.

It’s a powder to which you add water, shake and drink (I have a pre-mixed version below) . It takes a bit of dissolving, I never managed it completely with either bottle which meant getting gritty blocks of powder on my tongue which fizzed away like Space Dust from the tuck shop at school. It tastes quite nice, with an odd kind of retro flavour to it, like Garvies Pineappleade or something.
This makes if different too, and I think a pleasant alternative to the sometimes harsh tasting and aggressively sugary alternatives.
It does have a refreshing kick to it, but to really learn what effects it has on the trail it would take a lot more regular use.

The bottle it comes in is empty apart from the powder, so you have to add water to it from a burn, a tap, or another bottle. I know for trips you could pre-mix it, or decant it into another bottle, but the principle is still wrong, it just seems so wasteful as whatever happens there’s a single-use plastic bottle to deal with. There’s a 20-serving tub available which is much better, but I’d prefer sachets for outdoor use so I can mix it up on the trail when I want it and keep my bottle for plain water most of the time.
The bottle thing  just looks like a lifestyle gimmick to me, selling product to folks in offices to fill up at the water cooler.

So, good product, poorly packaged. If you’re getting some, get the tub and mix your own.