I haven't eaten one of these bars in a while. They are tasty, fill you up, and have a good ratio of protein to carbs for endurance activities. I agree with the other reviewers that these can be bricks-in-the-stomach if you don't eat them with plenty of fluids.
I mostly want to comment on the expiration date, I wouldn't worry about it so much. The first time I ever ate one of these bars, I found about a half dozen of them in a hiker box at a hostel on the AT. They were over half a year past the expiration date, but I ate them anyway and they tasted great.
Personally I think expiration dates on dry goods are more of a bureaucratic/legal formality than an actual safety measure. An expiration date simply states "We guarantee this product will be totally fresh until [such and such date]. After that, you're on your own."
I recommend the thru-hiker test: Inspect the package for tears and leaks. If it appears well sealed, open it. Inspect the food for mold or insect damage. Smell it. If it smells good and looks good, lick it. If it tastes o.k, for goodness sake eat it! There's a whole lot of people on this planet who would be ecstatic to eat a six month old Pemmican bar.
Close to a perfect food
I've used these food bars for years as a major part of eating right on long distance hikes on the PCT and CDT. For the first two weeks of hiking I would eat two a day, and after two weeks three to four a day. Every time I purchase more than 100 (450 in '05) one of the "Mealpack Ladies" gave me a call to make sure I got my order. I got the sense this is a small company (Albany, CA, next to Berkeley) that hadn't sold out to corporate interests like the other food bar manufacturers.
The bars are nutritious, tasty, and chewy. Unlike powerbars and their ilk, they actually taste and feel like food.
I took to many with me on my 05 two months section hike of the PCT and put the bars I didn't eat in the "free food hiker boxes" at resupply points. Most people liked them, but not all...
I have not yet found this item in the REI stores, only by net ordering. Frequently I will buy food items to try out before purchasing for a trip. This is one of those buys.
This bar is soft, not too sweet, and goes down easily. I tried the fruit and nut which was ok, and the carob-cocoa, which I liked, and will buy again.
I often will buy items in quantity, for earthquake preparedness, and future hikes. I bought these in January of '09, and was very disappointed to see that they both would expire 2 months later, in March '09!
I am now placing an order for a hike I will be on in June, but with the flimsy packaging obviously being the cause of the short storage duration, these will only be bought for immediate use.
Try them, these are good tasting, I think you'll like them.
Great food base
I love to use these as one of my "base foods" = I eat one a day on the trail as a meal while on the go. The taste is great and they have a long term filling feeling. Just drink at least 8 oz water otherwise they sit heavy in the gut. They taste great. They do expire after a short time for which I only gave 4 stars. Good calorie /weight ratio (1/2 serving per bar?, ya sure).
These are good... really!
These are great to keep in the car, or your pack. Living in Florida, these do well when they are heated up (from sitting on my front seat in the car), brownie-ish. I keep several with me so that if I am running late at work I can eat one of these and not skip a meal. I would recommend drinking plenty of water with these and ladies, the protein may cause a little stomach bloat / gas!
Great Meal Bar for the Trail
I used these bars as meal replacements for several meals on my 21 day backpacking trip of the John Muir Trail. I tried every variety and enjoyed them all. They taste good and are very filling! I recommend as a meal replacement where space is limited such as was the case on the trail. We had to fit many days of food in a small bear can.
I buy this bar for every backpack trip,&
I use these bars for backpacking every breakfast to get me going fast. I can eat a bar in less time others can get their water to boil for cereal or whatever. And it is more nutritious than most. My bag of GORP & M&M's for the trail give me all the calories I need. The only commercially available bar the replaces a meal.
Great for backpacking breakfast
As DonA said, great backpacking breakfast. No need to cook or clean up from cold cereal, just open the package and start munching while I break camp. Healthy, non-chemical ingredients, good mix of protein-fats-carbs, keeps me going for several hours.
REI should carry the Sesame Lemon flavor, too!
Concentrated good food at a good price
These are like giant fudge brownies, but not fluffy. Instead they are almost like they've been compressed so the maximum nutrition is crammed into the package. All the flavors are good tasting and filled with energy (i.e. carbohydrates). Packaging is super strong which keeps them fresh longer.