- Apr 21, 2012 at 5:53 am #1288986
We are travelling to the Grand Canyon in May and my 11 year old son and I will be doing a 3 day rim to rim during that time. I know the canyon is a different world and presents serious challenges unlike any I can replicate here in Fl. But we have been training (including an awesome 50 miler along the Suwannee River) and preparing for a couple of months and I am confident we will have a great trip.
My question is regarding electrolyte replacements. I have read several (mostly older) threads on electrolyte and carb replacement powders, but I wanted to pose the request specific to our trip. We will be eating well, with a lot of homemade jerky, dried fruits, bar recipes found here as well as good fbc meals. My goal of course is to keep our electrolytes in balance while drinking the water we need. A secondary benefit is good flavor to help him want to drink a lot.
Given the duration and parameters of our trip, would we be just as well off with powdered gatorade (G2 would be my first thought)?
Thanks for any input.Apr 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm #1869695
chris smeadBPL Member
@hamsterfishLocale: San Jose, CA
Sodium seems to be in everything, so thats no issue, but where do we find a good source of potassium?Apr 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm #1869699
drowning in spamMember
Bananas. It looks like dried fruits are already being carried, and many of those have bananas in them.Apr 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm #1869702
Gary DunckelBPL Member
How about Nuun tablets?Apr 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm #1869710
NUUN seems pretty popular, I wonder how they taste. I am really curious whether we would see much difference between some of the higher tech additives like Hammer products or Nuun vs just gatorade. I understand that people who ultra run or other long duration treks would really want to use the best mixes. What about a relatively short (3 day) trek?Apr 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm #1869720
Gary DunckelBPL Member
I think Nuun tastes great. It is a slightly fizzy drink with a very mild flavor of your choice. I like the fruit punch, strawberry/lemonade, and tri-berry myself. If I think I might want a Nuun or a Crystal Light drink for lunch or at the end of the day, I'll take a dedicated 16 oz. wide mouth aluminum beer bottle (1.0 oz.). I don't want my regular water to have a taste. The Nuun tablets are an inch in diameter, so the wide mouth accomodates them. The tablets are scored though, so they can be easily broken and popped into a regular PET bottle. Nuun has no carbs, just simple electrolytes, including potassium.
The real thing is, for short trips, do we really even need to do electrolyte supplements? The food we eat will likely replenish things for a trip of a few days duration.
Having said that, I have been in a few situations where I felt the need to preventively pound down the water and Gator Ade all day long (a liter of something, usually just water, or half-and-half, every hour). I have deployed with a Federal disaster medical response team to several hurricanes, working in the direct sun in humidity and 100* F temperatures for 6-10 hours at a time (wearing dark blue uniforms!). There were very few cases of a teammate having electrolyte issues, but plenty that became dehydrated in varying degrees of severity. Drink, drink, drink!
Keep in mind that the body doesn't rehydrate very fast. Once you get into fluid debt, it's nearly impossible to get back to normal quickly. The key is to become fully hydrated 24 hours before you start exerting, and then sip a few ounces of water every 15 minutes while you sweat it out on the trail. Chugging a full liter at a time doesn't really work, physiologically, because the stomach can only absorb it so fast. But maybe it saves on stopping so often, since the water sits in your stomach while it waits to be absorbed, rather than in your bottle. One other thing I've learned about heat and dehydration while on deployment, and while living in Saudi Arabia, is to get out of the sun at every opportunity. Deserts don't offer much shade, but take advantage of the ones that do present themselves.
I hope the desert hikers will chime in and lend their expertise on this topic.Apr 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm #1869722
"I am really curious whether we would see much difference between some of the higher tech additives like Hammer products or Nuun vs just gatorade"
It's hard to go wrong with Perpetuem when you're on the move, IME. Its carbs are in a far better form, maltodextrin, than Gatorade, which contains mostly sucrose, a little dextrose, no protein or fat, and minimal sodium and potassium. Perpetuem also contains about 3 times the sodium and potassium in Gatorade. The downside is that it is more expensive. If you use Gatorade, I would consider adding ~1/4 tsp of Mortons Lite salt substitute to each quart to get 290 mg of sodium and 350 mg of potassium into your system. There are other ways to do this, but Perpetuem and Mortons Lite in a liter of water, alternated, have served me well for years on hot East Side Sierra approaches. My 2 cents.
NUUN is waaaay overpriced, IMO.Apr 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm #1869732
Brad FisherBPL Member
@wufpackfnLocale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
+1 on Perpetuem.
I have good using Endurolytes and have been using Fizz lately.
Egels are the best gel in my opinion and they include electrolytes.Apr 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm #1869739
Art …BPL Member
simply as an electrolyte replacement, Nuun is very expensive. I love Nuun tabs but use them mostly for stomach issues. It has buffering agents in it that helps calm upset stomach when on the run. I like their flavors.
For pure electrolyte replacement I use Hammer Endurolytes.
They are full spectrum, and do not have an excessive amount of sodium.
Perpetuem is great, but I consider it a food rather than a pure electrolyte source.Apr 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1869742
Jake DBPL Member
in the UK they have High5 brand electrolyte tablets similar to NUUN except they are bigger (1tab for 24oz instead of 16oz) and cheaper. i get them shipped free from Probikekit.comApr 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm #1869748
"Perpetuem is great, but I consider it a food rather than a pure electrolyte source."
+1 That's why I supplement it with Mortons Lite.Apr 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm #1869754
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I think you might be overthinking this Robert.
Drink water consistently, stay on top of your caloric intake (eating foods you mentioned), and keep the sun off your skin as much as you can.Apr 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm #1869769
You may certainly be right and given your recent experience there, I appreciate the advice. This is a big trip for us and I just want to do all I can to ensure it is safe and fun. Hydration is one of the last things I wanted to sort out before leaving, but I believe we would be fine with just water and our food. I will probably bring some powdered gatorade packets for insurance and taste, but that's about it. As another poster pointed out, being well hydrated in the days leading up to the trip will be important as well.
As far as the sun, we are going to try a couple of the Chrome domes I picked up from the Golite sale. those and appropriate clothes should do this melanoma survivor well.
Thanks everyone for the advice and input.Apr 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm #1869959
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I find considerable difference using water with electrolyte solution added over plain water. Instead of the water seemingly going in one end and out the other while I remain thirsty, the electrolyte solution satisfies my thirst and definitely reduces fatigue. Last summer I got really tired coming out a really horrible trail into which the maintainers had built enormously high steps that did a horrible number on my bad knee and really slowed me down. (I'll never go there again!) I was sure I would have to car camp in the trailhead area because I felt too tired to drive home. My 11-year-old grandson had a fit because he really wanted to go home that night! About half an hour before reaching the trailhead, I remembered to put some of the electrolyte mix in my water. By the time I got to the trailhead, loaded the car, cleaned up a little and changed clothes, I felt just fine! Of course stopping at the first pizza place down the road helped, too!
I use Vitalyte (formerly Gookinaid) which has less sugar than many of these mixes. REI carries it. I also dilute it half strength. I stay away from Gatoraid because at least the stuff that comes in bottles contains high fructose corn syrup (yuck). I haven't checked ingredients of the powdered Gatoraid.
My grandkids (12, 10, 7) are all reluctant to drink water ("never touch the stuff") while backpacking. Using the electrolyte mix gives the water enough flavor that they drink a lot more. The important thing is to make sure your son stays hydrated. If it requires high-sugar, tooth-decaying drinks to persuade him to drink enough, so be it!Apr 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #1869974
Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
If you listen to the marketing hype you'll conclude that humans were unable to survive on planet Earth before electrolyte replacement drinks. Bah. Drink plenty of water, snack often, and you'll be fine. A good mix of lightly salted nuts with lots of dried fruit, especially bananas and raisins; granola bars; jerky; etc. As long as I force feed myself a healthy snack (even if not hungry) at least every hour, I never hit the electrolyte wall.
Gatorade is mostly sugar, and it's HEAVY. I'd rather replace that weight with more useful calories. That said, I do carry little Emergen-C packets for vitamins and electrolyte emergencies :-) .Apr 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm #1869980
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> If you listen to the marketing hype you'll conclude that humans were unable to survive
> on planet Earth before electrolyte replacement drinks. Bah. Drink plenty of water, snack
> often, and you'll be fine.
The main aim of all these products is to transfer dollar notes from your wallet to theirs.
All the rest is marketing hype.
I have never used any of these drinks, and the brand-name one I tasted was awful.
Try ordinary water, in moderation, and ordinary food.
CheersApr 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm #1869982
drowning in spamMember
Mary, that's a good point about making water more palatable. I'm going to try doing that myself. It's tough enough to camel up at water sources, and this would almost certainly help and have other benefits too. I typically use Electromix and Emergen-C, but mostly because they come in easy to find individually sized packets.Oct 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm #1925183
@flutingaroundLocale: Rocky Mtn. West
You all might think I'm completely crazy, but what about trying an inexpensive electrolyte powder from a farm supply store? I've been looking through these at Farm and Fleet and it looks like there are some good options:Oct 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm #1925195
"You all might think I'm completely crazy, but what about trying an inexpensive electrolyte powder from a farm supply store? I've been looking through these at Farm and Fleet and it looks like there are some good options:"
I don't think you're crazy at all. Thinking out of the box like you did is a trait I really respect. I read the ingredients on one of the packets as best I could(they were pretty fuzzy), and they all looked good until I got down to MSG and a bunch of fermentation agents, including acidophilus, a good one for humans, along with a bunch of others I am not familiar with. I suspect that this is where products designed for humans and those designed for bovines part ways. MSG is not something I would want to fool around with, and the fermentation agents are probably there to help with bovine digestion.
Thanks for a really original post!Oct 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm #1925205
@flutingaroundLocale: Rocky Mtn. West
What about this one for horses? It seems a little more basic:Oct 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm #1925228
"What about this one for horses? It seems a little more basic:"
A step in the right direction, but I'm still a bit sceptical because I'm not sure where magnesium sulfate,potassium sulfate, and calcium lactate pentahydrate fit in.
Personally, I prefer to keep it simple with compounds I'm familiar with, e.g sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, and calcium carbonate. I'm also comfortable with citrate salts of the above, especially calcium citrate. This is not to say the Farnam product is bad, just that I'd be a bit reluctant to try it, especially since they don't specify the proportions of the different salts in the product. If you do decide to give it a try, would you post back on your results? I, for one, would be interested to hear how it turns out.Oct 30, 2012 at 2:33 am #1925293
I like the Emergen-C fizzy packs or other electrolyte fizzies. You can find many brands in any health food store. You can also try the electrolytes in tablet form, but they take a bit of time to dissolve in your tummy. Again, many brands in athletic stores or health food stores. You can match the dose to you expected activity level and weather conditions.Oct 30, 2012 at 3:32 am #1925294
John DonewarBPL Member
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Texas
In this area I kind of lean towards what Eugene Smith said;
"Drink water consistently, stay on top of your caloric intake (eating foods you mentioned), and keep the sun off your skin as much as you can".
I don't mean to oversimplify things but I find that staying fueled up means adequate water intake, fuel (food) and I supplement this with walking snacks of Clif Bars. They are a good source of calories and electrolytes.
Also I will on occasion use a weak mix of a sports drink like Gatorade. It can help with taste issues and the electrolytes are an added bonus in staying fueled up for hiking. I've recently moved back towards the H2O only but I'll carry a 20 oz bottle of pure Gatorade or some of the powder to mix in if I feel it's necessary.
The downside of the liquid Gatorade and Clif Bars is the weight. You can offset the liquid weight by carrying the powder and mixing your own.
I've used this method with good success since I bonked badly in my local state park about a year and a half ago. YMMV
NewtonOct 30, 2012 at 6:14 am #1925309
Erik BasilBPL Member
Personally, I will carry the weight of powdered electrolyte mix (or even drink mix, see below) and my personal favorite is Cytomax. Here's why:
–comes in an Orange flavor that tastes like Tang. I love Tang. Astronauts used Tang.
–uses complex sugars, rather than sucrose that's in Gatorade and…Tang.
–includes an electrolyte and lactic acid buffer mixture that's very effective.
–I know it's very effective because the US Olympic Team and US Olympic Training Center in Otay Mesa, California use Cytomax. In fact, just before the Sydney Olympics, one of my employees was an Olympic rower who lived at the OTC and, over the course of discussion about her extremely limited diet (bag lunches from the OTC kitchen, to ensure no failed blood tests due to some surprise ingredient at a restaurant), I learned that Cytomax not only "cleared" the OTC limitations but was popular with the athletes. Heck, it was already popular with me.
–So, it tastes like what the astronauts use, works well for Olympic athletes and can be purchased in big tubs from bike shops. Done. It even comes in grape and a disgusting lemon-lime, ha ha! (Two other flavors of Tang over the years.)Oct 30, 2012 at 8:02 am #1925334
Mike MBPL Member
I think metabolisms vary, but on long runs (3+ hours) if I don't supplement electrolytes I will feel the effect, hiking pace probably not near the worry.
I use one endurolyte and one saltstick/hour, for me the endurolytes didn't have enough Sodium (this surfaced on our Grand Canyon run where the last couple of hours my stomach was in great distress) 40mg vs 215mg for the Saltstick
I get additional electrolytes (and calories) w/ Cliff shot blocks and Perpetuem
the stomach distress compounds problems as you don't want to eat or drink and yet you know you have to, not fun
After a lot of reading, I found that stomach distress during ultras is often (not always) due to lack of Sodium, knock on wood I haven't experienced that distress since
I've used this same strategy on a couple of 30+ mile day hikes w/ no ill effects
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