Guest Gear Review by Two Gear Guys:
A few weeks ago, I started a running program. Since I have never really been ‘a runner’, I knew it was going to be somewhat difficult. However, it was a couch to 5k program, so it didn’t kill me right away, which I appreciated. One thing I learned very quickly, was that proper hydration is not only critical to keeping your body running efficiently, but also that dehydration can happen fairly quickly if you are not drinking water constantly.
So I did the logical thing, and strapped on my old Camelbak hydration pack, so I could drink on the go. I had recently replaced the bladder with a platypus hoser, but had yet to use it. So, I took it out on a short jog and realized that the platypus bladder had the same problem as all the others I had used over the years: there was a slightly funky taste to the water that could best be described as ‘a hint of plastic’. I had heard that platypus bladders didn’t cause your water to taste bad, like other bladders, which is why I bought one. Instantly, I felt lied to. As if someone had intentionally brewed espresso and put it into the decaf pot without telling me.
Well, even if the water tasted bad, I still had to hydrate, and running with a bottle in my hand was out of the question. So, what was I gonna do? Fortunately, Brian (Brian’s Backpacking Blog) had sent me some Camelbak Elixir tablets to try out. Was this divine providence at work? Who can know? But I was happy to try them out.
Electrolyte Replacement Tablets
Camelbak’s ‘Elixir‘ is a small effervescent electrolyte replacement tablet. Very easy to use, you just drop them into some water and they begin to dissolve immediately. No stirring or mixing required. It takes a couple minutes for a tablet to fully dissolve, kinda like an Alka-seltzer.
They come in a small tube you can stick in your pocket for easy carrying. Also, you can fill the tube with pennies, wrap them in duct tape and use them in your next street fight. (I’m only kidding. Don’t do that.)
You get twelve tablets per tube and one tablet will flavor up to 24 ounces of water. (So a 100 ounce bladder will need 4 of these. ) If you want to increase or decrease the strength, just break them in half. Personally, I prefer one tablet to 20 oz of water, because I like the flavor a little stronger.
As I said, Elixir tablets serve as electrolyte replacement, which is important when you’re sweating buckets. If you’re losing fluids during strenuous activity, you’re gonna need more than just water to drink.
Each tablet is very low cal. Drop one into a 20 oz bottle of water and you’re looking at a mere 10 calories, then compare that to Gatorade at 130 calories per 20 oz. I don’t know about you, but when I’m running, I don’t want to be consuming calories that I don’t have to.
No More Bladder Gunk
Also, pouring Gatorade into your bladder can gunk up it up and increase the chances of mold growing in there (I know this from experience). But with Elixir tablets, there’s no sugar, so cleaning your bladder is easy.You just rinse with water. No scrubbing necessary.
Before these, I had been using “Mio” brand flavor enhancer in my water bottles, which tasted pretty good and also offered electrolyte replacement in a few flavors. Elixir is pretty clear, unlike Mio, so there’s less chance of it staining your bladder or water bottle.
And unlike Mio, each Elixir tablet contains a modest amount of vitamins and minerals. The orange flavor has larger doses, but also has caffeine, glucuronolactone and taurine, some of the same ingredients you’ll find in popular energy drinks. I was worried that since they were effervescent, they may cause my stomach to feel bloated, as if I had just drank a carbonated beverage. I really didn’t have that problem, thankfully.
Elixir doesn’t taste quite as sweet as regular gatorade but it still has a pleasant flavor. They were definitely better than the newer zero calorie sports drinks. It does have a slight ‘bite’ (for lack of a better term), similar to an Emergence-C tablet or Alka seltzer, however, the effervescence disappears after a short while. I prefer to let most of the bubbles disappear before drinking, but that’s just my personal preference.
Even if you don’t have a problem with your bladder water tasting funky, these are still worth a try. I’m not always crazy about the taste of water, so I like to drink something with a little flavor to it every now and then. Camelbak makes 3 flavors: orange (which has caffeine), berry and lemon/lime. I haven’t tried the lemon/lime, but I’m pretty happy with the other two flavors.
One tube will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of six – ten bucks, which isn’t too bad, considering that it will flavor around 2.25 gallons of water and it has a few extra goodies thrown into each tablet. Overall, I really liked these and I’ll be buying more.
Infographic: Camelbak Elixir Electrolyte Tablets
Two Gear Guys – Guest Contributors
Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Adam Bassett and Keith Stone as guest contributors to Brian’s Backpacking Blog. Adam and Keith are the geniuses behind the hilariously funny Two Gear Guys video gear reviews that you may have already stumbled upon. I loved their sense of humor and fresh approach to making gear videos the very minute I saw them, I also think they are going to be a big sensation in the outdoor gear reviewing world – mark my words. You’ll be seeing much more of them here in the future! Here’s a little more information about TGGs:
Adam Bassett is not only one of the Two Gear Guys, he is also a real person and has loved the outdoors since he was itty bitty. His first real hike was a twelve mile trek on the Pinhoti Trail at age eleven. He’s a scuba diver, painter, potter, musician and videographer. He loves shooting videos for his favorite non-profit, MountainChild.org. He has a wonderful wife of fifteen years and an awesome son. TGG allows him to forget the stresses of the world and be as goofy as humanly possible.
Keith Stone is the other half of Two Gear Guys. He lives in Alabama with his amazing wife of 11 years, Crystal. When not hiking or making gear review videos, he draws comic books as a ministry tool for missionaries. Some of his favorite places to backpack are Bankhead Forest and the Smoky Mountains. The most memorable hike he ever went on was his first group hike out to Charlie’s Bunion, along the Appalachian Trail. “It was life changing”, he says. Keith decided to start doing gear review videos after he realized most gear videos had trouble keeping his attention for more than a minute. He tries to do reviews with ‘ADD-prone hikers’ in mind.