Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix
Historic Range: $1.95-$35.00
Reviewers Paid: $1.75
Finally an exercise drink with real ingredients and no bellyache
- Less concentraded, absorbs faster
- Low-ish calorie
- No phlegm
- No side-ache
- Small amount of white precipitate that doesn't mix well
Oh great, another sports drink! A powdered mix of something you can’t pronounce that promises to make you run faster, the hills flatter and drive the women crazy. Heard it all before? Me too, and truly I am kinda tired of it.
“So wait a minute Jeff, why the heck are you reviewing a sports drink?”
Good question. In my opinion the world of sports drinks has, for too long, been dominated by huge companies that care more about marketing hype than real performance and nutrition. Their syrupy offerings, loaded with overdoses of random vitamins you don’t need and flavors that have long since dropped any pretense of resembling food seem to me to go against the whole idea of backcountry which is to simplify and enjoy the natural world. Call me Hippy, but shouldn’t food taste like food and have real food in the ingredients list?
Enter Skratch Labs. They make a hydration/sports drink too and the difference is that the food the drink is flavored like is actually a listed ingredient on the label. A novel concept. The raspberry flavored drink has raspberries as the fourth ingredient on the list! I know, I was shocked too.
I told my daughter, “I don’t think God intended us to eat things with weird ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.”
She replied, “Well, we’re the ones who named them that.” So she won that argument.
The idea of Skratch hydration mix is that less sugars and more electrolytes are easier to absorb than highly concentrated mixes. Skratch Labs believes that you are better off eating REAL FOOD to fuel your activities rather than goo and food-like products.
Not only do these guys offer the drink but cool recipes for real food to eat which they make for pro cyclists all over California. They offer a cookbook I might be purchasing soon as well. If you get a chance, visit their website http://www.skratchlabs.com/ to get a feel for who they are. I have been making some rice cakes with their recipe and the family and I love them. Skratch Labs has sent this mix to areas of Africa to help people who get dehydrated from cholera. I thought that was cool of them.
Does it mix well with water?
Maybe I’m picky but I don’t like drinks that settle to the bottom and give you a concentrated surprise with your last gulp. Unfortunately you need to remember to give this stuff a jiggle before you gulp. One consequence of using real food instead of fire retardant in your beverage and is that some of the solids settle. So I guess it’s a penalty you have to pay for something with real ingredients. There was just a light dusting of white powder in the bottom of my Nalgene bottle, no matter how much I shook it.
So, how’s it taste?
Skratch Labs raspberry mix hit the ball out of the park in the flavor department! Since it has real raspberries in it there is no surprise that it tastes just like them. Raspberry is my favorite followed by orange, lemon-lime and pineapple. I must say that I personally found pineapple to be only so-so and my kids all hated it. I tried to give some away but my friends disliked it too. Three out of four isn’t bad. Pineapple was a bold effort, it just didn’t work so well.
For me though it's all about hydration, I live in a semi-desert and we dry out here. The 80 calories in this drink is a small penalty for the electrolytes and the good flavor that keeps me drinking. I get bored of plain water so the good flavor is a bonus.
I am drinking this mix before my morning trail runs where I try in vain to keep up with my whippet of a daughter. I feel zero weight in my belly for drinking 16 oz of this 15 minutes before my runs and I appreciate being able to run without getting parched.
I like that, with less sugar it doesn’t cause me to need to spit the phlegm out like sugary offerings. I also drank this fifteen minutes before a 5k mud run last weekend in 80 degree heat. I was well hydrated, had zero side-ache and finished the race strong. This is a good mix for working hard in the heat where dehydration is the main risk.
I am giving this drink powder 4.5 stars. I would give 5 if anyone I met liked the pineapple flavored ones. I’ll also add the last half star if they figure a way for it to stay mixed better. Having said that I’d gladly run several more 5k runs for another box of the raspberry flavored mix.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by Skratch Labs for testing and review)
An excellent hydration mix that tastes great, supplies balanced electrolytes, and won't slow you down.
- Good taste
- Contains ingredients you can pronounce
- East to mix
- Still tastes good when your water gets warm
- A little pricey
Skratch Labs hydration mix started life in the professional cycling peloton. Alan Lim was the nutritionist for several pro cycling teams including BMC, Garmin, and Radio Shack, and had received many complaints about the electrolyte drinks that riders had to use. They complained about rotten taste, too much sugar, and the tendency for it to sit in the "bottom of your gut."
So he developed this drink mix. The word got out about the "secret drink mix," and pretty soon other teams were dumping their drinks out and using Alan's concoction. Finally he decided to get it to market, and the company has been beyond successful.
One of the things that makes this mix a little different is, that it contains actual freeze-dried fruit, which has been ground up into a fine powder and added to cane sugar and dextrose, plus those electrolytes we need during hard exercise. Because it has real fruit in it, it also sometimes has real fruit sediment in it. For instance, one occasionally gets the tiny seeds in the raspberry flavor!
There are five flavors to choose from: orange (my favorite), raspberries, lemons and limes (least favorite), pineapples, and matcha green tea and lemons (contains caffeine for that extra little kick),
The taste is excellent, and stays excellent all day. There is always a point where the drink might get warm, and with many hydration drinks, it tastes awful at that point. Skratch tastes great whether cold or warm. It doesn't have that excess "sodiumy" flavor from having too much salt, another common complaint about electrolyte drinks.
I have used Skratch on long road bike rides, long day hikes, and backpacking trips, and it is now a standard part of my exercise nutrition plan.
Skratch Labs exercise mix is available in single serving packets or in a resealable bag. Highly recommended!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1.75
Skratch has good product, it has good taste, and doesn't cause GI issues.
- Lower calorie count so you don't get digestion issues
- Good electrolyte balance
- Can be hard to carry and mix on long runs
I for one love the pineapple, enjoy the raspberry but I'm not as big of a fan of it. After two triathlon seasons using other sports drinks and having poor results, including GI issues, cramping and other issues. I found skratch labs, and I've had really good results. With no GI distress or cramping. I've also found that I can drink it and not get sick of it on the bike and run.
I am also impressed with the company.
Source: bought it new