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We Bought and Tested 11 Sports Drink Mixes, Tabs, and Caps at REI


What’s in your water bottle today? If it’s extra than simply water, you’re not alone; Many endurance athletes and out of doors adventurers are reaching for sports activities drink mixes, tablets and caps.

The explanations transcend simply including taste. Many of those mixes are designed for refueling, enhanced efficiency and in some instances boosting restoration.

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On a visit to REI, we bought all the things we may get our fingers on within the power drink division, with the aim of testing them within the discipline. The next is a listing of our high picks, from our favourite to least favourite, based mostly on style, diet, and efficiency.

1. NUUN Hydration Electrolytes – Contemporary Lime ($7.00/10 servings; $0.70/serving)

A serving is 1 pill dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

That is our high decide largely as a result of it tastes nice and likewise provides 40 mg of caffeine. Typically on longer runs you need and want that additional little burst of power that caffeine offers. Along with caffeine, one pill additionally contains 38 mg of vitamin C in addition to 360 mg of sodium and 100 mg of potassium. There are additionally a number of different electrolytes on this pill which assist hold your system regulated. Plus, the flavour beat out all the remaining.

Professionals: It smells good and tastes nice. It’s simple to drink at room temperature however is admittedly good chilled. The lime taste is especially refreshing when it’s sizzling out. It’s additionally low in sugar at 1 gram per serving.

Cons: In the event you’re not into caffeine, you’ll need to select one thing else.


2. NUUN Hydration Electrolytes – Strawberry Lemonade ($7.00/10 servings; $0.70/serving)

A serving is 1 pill dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

What’s to not love about strawberry lemonade? It greater than lived as much as our expectations and reveals up commonly in our water bottles. It’s very related in make-up to the NUUN Contemporary Lime talked about above with 38 mg of vitamin C, 360 mg of sodium and 100 mg of potassium.

Professionals: Tastes such as you’d anticipate it to: a little bit candy and a little bit tart. It’s low in sugar at 1 gram per serving. Tremendous refreshing on each lengthy runs and rides. We additionally like simply sipping on it all through the day.

Cons: Has a barely ‘faux sugar’ aftertaste.


3. Hammer Vitamin Endurolytes Fizz – Grape ($4.96/13 servings; $0.38 cents/serving)

A serving is 1 pill dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

The basic grape taste is acquainted and simple to drink. It reminds us of Kool-Support with simply the tiniest trace of bubbles. It doesn’t have caffeine so we didn’t expertise elevated power however we did keep hydrated and loved ingesting early and sometimes with this drink. In contrast to the NUUN merchandise talked about above, this pill has Zero mg of vitamin C, 200 mg of sodium and 100 mg of potassium (a barely totally different composition however no much less efficient in our trial).

Professionals: This drink will not be overly candy, is gluten free and dissolves rapidly. It doesn’t comprise any sugar. In the event you don’t prefer it, there’s likelihood your youngsters will.

Cons: The stevia leaf extract gave the drink a barely odd aftertaste.


4. NUUN Hydration Electrolytes – Grape ($7.00/10 servings; $0.70/serving)

A serving is one pill dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

In the event you’re searching for a drink with only a trace of taste, do this one. It’s a little bit weaker in style than the Hammer hydration drink listed above. Like the opposite NUUN tablets we reviewed, this providing has 38 mg of vitamin C, 360 mg of sodium and 100 mg of potassium.

Professionals: Barely effervescent. It’s additionally gluten free and vegan. It’s low in sugar at 1 gram.

Cons: The style is weaker and a little bit sweeter than we want.


5. Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Combine with Strawberries ($1.95/1 serving)

A serving is 1 packet dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

See one thing floating in your drink? Don’t fear, this combine is definitely made with items of strawberries. Plus it’s Non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and kosher. It has 380 mg of sodium, and likewise comprises the very best quantity of sugar per serving (19 grams) out of all of the drinks we examined.

Professionals: It has a extremely pure style. (Much less like strawberry flavoring and extra like water that’s been flavored with precise fruit.)

Cons: You might not need to take care of the seeds for those who’re racing. Plus, if you’re planning a shorter exercise or run, the sugar this one comprises could possibly be overkill.


Picture: Erin McGrady

6. Hammer Vitamin Heed Hydrating Power Electrolyte Drink – Lemon Lime ($2.00/1 serving)

A serving is one packet dissolved into 16-28 ounces of water.

We have been anticipating to love this one much more than we really did, particularly as a result of we actually favored Hammer’s grape drink. Sadly, the flavour fell flat and we didn’t actually discover it to be energizing (there’s no caffeine.) It does have 40 mg of sodium and 27 mg of potassium.

Professionals: This one smells good and can also be refreshing due to the citrus flavors. We loved it higher chilly slightly than room temp. It’s low in sugar at 2 grams per serving.

Cons: It has a syrupy style and was a bit too candy for us. The aftertaste was paying homage to sunscreen.


7. Hammer Vitamin Recoverite Restoration Drink – Strawberry ($3.50/1 serving)

A serving is one packet dissolved in 4-Eight ounces of water.

This drink is made with grass-fed whey protein and delivers a 3:1 (carbs:protein) ratio that can assist you get better after exercise. The combo comprises 50 mg of sodium, 20 mg of potassium and 10 grams of protein. Although the packet comprises milk, very like different whey protein powders, it doesn’t should be refrigerated. For greatest style and general outcomes, combine the packet with chilly water and drink it instantly after a exercise. We skilled diminished muscle soreness after utilizing this product following a long term and trip, and have been in a position to prepare onerous the next day.

Professionals: It smells good and it’s low in sugar at 2 grams. Incorporates 50 mg of sodium in addition to 60 mg of l-carnosine (an antioxidant) and 20 mg of potassium. There are not any preservatives on this drink.

Cons: This drink is a little bit too candy for our style buds. It was nearly as if we have been ingesting strawberry flavored bubble gum.


8. Hammer Vitamin Perpetuem Extremely Endurance Gas – Orange Vanilla ($3.25/1 serving)

A serving is one packet dissolved in 16-28 ounces of water.

This drink is beneficial for endurance athletes who’re coaching for a number of hours or extra. It comprises 210 mg of sodium, 80 mg of potassium and seven grams of protein. We used it on a two hour street trip and although we favored it initially, we discovered it tough to eat afterward within the exercise.

Professionals: Low in sugar at 2 grams and no preservatives. Incorporates a small quantity of fats which comes from soy lecithin (the extract from soybean oil). Our power felt steady all through the trip.

Cons: This drink doesn’t style good except it’s chilly. When the drink is heat it reminded us of watery oatmeal. It additionally comprises soy, so it might not be choice for these with allergic reactions or attempting to keep away from soy merchandise. As well as, we don’t beneficial utilizing this drink in hydration bladders because the protein element tends to separate and settle on the backside. Put it in a bottle the place you may shake it as obligatory. Lastly, if this drink is premixed and not noted in heat climate, it could spoil so plan accordingly. (Hammer recommends ingesting this inside 3-5 hours of blending it.)


9. NUUN Hydration Efficiency Electrolytes + Carbohydrates ($2.00/ 1 serving)

A serving is one packet dissolved in 16 ounces of water.

We had excessive hopes for this drink as a result of we like blueberries and strawberries, however we may barely abdomen the flavour. It comprises 380 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium and 80 mg of chloride.

Professionals: That is made with dried fruit powder. It’s a Non-GMO product.

Cons: The scent was overpowering and the style was barely bitter. It’s additionally pretty excessive in sugar at 12 grams.


10. SaltStick Caps ($2.00/Three servings; $0.66/serving)

A serving is one cap.

Along with the drinks and tablets above, we additionally tried SaltStick Caps. Each are vegetarian and comprise electrolytes in addition to vitamin D, in addition to zero grams of sugar. In keeping with SaltStick, the system is designed to assist decrease warmth stress and muscle cramping. We discovered this to be true after testing them on a number of totally different mid-day runs. Be aware: we took the tablets about 15 minutes previous to exercise.

Professionals: Consists of 215 mg of sodium, 63 mg of potassium, 22 mg of calcium and 11 mg of magnesium. The capsule has little or no style for those who get it down in a single swallow.

Cons: It’s a reasonably large capsule, and for those who don’t like swallowing tablets it’s possible you’ll not like this complement. Contemplate opening the capsule and dissolving it in a sports activities drink for those who don’t like swallowing tablets.


11. SaltStick Caps Plus ($3.00/ Three servings; $1.00/serving)

A serving is one cap.

SaltStick Caps Plus have the entire advantages of normal SaltStick Caps along with a small shot of caffeine. After testing the caps on two totally different six-mile runs in 90-degree climate, we felt robust and skilled zero cramps.

Professionals: The SaltStick Caps Plus have 30 mg of caffeine in addition to 190 mg of sodium, 53 mg of potassium, 14 mg of calcium and seven mg of magnesium.

Cons: Similar dimension capsule (pretty giant) because the SaltStick Cap so it could be tough for some to swallow. Once more, for those who don’t get pleasure from tablets, take into account opening the capsule and dissolving it in a sports activities drink.



There are such a lot of sports activities drink decisions on the market that it may be onerous to know what to decide on. After doing a little testing, NUUN Hydration Electrolytes Contemporary Lime stood out head and shoulders above the remaining. We cherished not solely the flavour, but additionally the enhance it gave from the added caffeine and the worth.

Whereas everybody has totally different preferences and wishes, this information is supposed to be a leaping off level to information you in the suitable path the following time you end up within the sports activities drink aisle. Our high picks are beneath.

Finest Style: NUUN Hydration Electrolytes – Contemporary Lime
Finest Worth: Hammer Vitamin Endurolytes Fizz – Grape
Finest Gas/Efficiency: NUUN Hydration Electrolytes – Contemporary Lime
Least quantity of sugar: Hammer Vitamin Endurolytes Fizz – Grape

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