Camelbak Elixir Review

Nutrition Pro Reviews

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Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

I started using Camelbak Elixir when they accidentally sent me a batch instead of an anticipated test hydration pack. I am sure glad the mix up happened, else I would never have tried the product. I had always prided myself on only using water during rides, and I found most sport and hydration drinks either too sweet, sugary or just plain bad tasting. The Camelbak Elixir was a welcome surprise, and is pleasant tasting, with a mild sweetness, is easy to use, and actually offers athletic benefits due to its electrolyte additives.

Camelbak Elixir
Elixir contains a special blend of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to help maintain body fluid balance, for optimal athletic performance and normal metabolic functioning. Your body requires water, and during vigorous exercise you lose water through perspiration, along with vital minerals and electrolytes. You can re-hydrate faster and more efficiently drinking an electrolyte rich water. Elixir is sugar free, so you don’t get the usual sugar boost from most sport drinks followed by the inevitable bonk. The lack of sugar also means no sticky residue in your water bottle or reservoir, so cleanup is easy. The self-dissolving effervescent tablets are suited for the mountain bike set, since one tablet per 24 oz of water works nicely for a hydration reservoir, but the tablets can easily be broken apart for water bottle usage. Elixir comes in a plastic tube that contains 12 tablets, costs $10, and comes in three flavors, orange (caffeinated), lemon-lime, and berry (my favorite).

Impressions
The product is very easy to use, just add a tablet to 24 ounces of water, and it fizzes up. I never found the small addition of gas from the effervescence an issue in either a hydration reservoir or water bottle, since a slight burp or drink took care of the issue. For a water bottle, it’s easy to break them in half, and add to the typical 16 ounce bottle. They worked with either room temperature or ice water, the latter was nice in the hot summer weather. Berry and lemon lime left the water clear with a slight haze, while orange left an orange tint.

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My Wife got a kick out of my statement, “water was boring tasting”, and that Elixir’s flavor and mild background sweetness (and slight tartness) made me drink more water on a ride. I tend not to drink enough water, and it sort of forced me to drink more often since it tasted good. On rides, I noticed the electrolyte performance kicked in towards the end of my rides, and I cramped less and could push harder on long climbs. It sort of gave me an extra boast of strength.

I liked the berry flavor the best of all, and thought the orange was a bit chemical tasting, while lemon lime was fine (more lime), although it had a slight bitterness to it. They all had some astringency, which made them more palatable without the sticky residue in your mouth. The orange (also known as Orange Alert) does have caffeine and other ingredients that energy drinks usually contain, and I found it useful during some rides, but I preferred the additional electrolytes in the other flavors. The very mild sweetness, was in the background, and left nor sugary feeling in the mouth no stickiness in the water containers.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • gorgedon says:

    My favorite liquid for long rides is a 50-50 mix of OJ & water with a dash of salt mixed in. Gives you all the benefits of the electrolyte drinks at a fraction of the cost. And it doesn’t have anything in it that looks like a science class term.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Sounds interesting, thks for the info, drinking 3 liter of that solution is to much acidity for me, but that is personal thing, OJ also has quite a bit of sugar even at half strength, in the future I will checking out some other mixes and see how they stand up

  • kristian says:

    Hey Brian,

    Any residual taste leftover on the next time you filled up with water? That’s always my fear when putting anything other than H2O in my camelbak… Well, that and forgetting that I have something other than water, leaving it in the pack, and discovering a new life form next time I open it…

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Adding plain old water back in gave no hint of anything, just make sure to clean it out well, after drying the plastic has a very slight hint of berry smell, but that’s about it

  • Michael Alan Bielat says:

    I prefer this Elixr from Camelbak. Have you ever tried the Alert Tablets? They are good and work and are only like $6 or $7 bucks.

  • Duderino says:

    tried this stuff the other day, really like the lemon/lime

  • Logan says:

    Good write-up! Another great product that is very similar is nuun. I’ve had great success with it for racing and riding. Doesn’t funk up your bottle or bladder which is a bonus.

    http://www.nuun.com/

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Michael:
    The Alert is just the Orange flavor, which I did try, and is noted in the review, I am updating the review to make it more obvious.

  • jaji says:

    picked up some orange alert because it was right by the register. turned out to be the best impulse buy. it really works like the write-up says. gave me a boost of energy when needed and the added caffeine truly made my more “alert” as the bottle says, which in turn increased my confidence. it wont make you ride like a pro, but it will give you the extra edge that you thought was lacking.

  • colin says:

    I don’t think sucralose has any place in any diet – $hit’s bad

  • colin says:

    want some potassium and electrolytes? pick up some coconut water – that $hit’s good

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Colin: I would have preferred that they had just use Sorbitol

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I tried some coconut water, tastes like you are licking the inside of a green coconut, yuk!

  • Zuke says:

    Did you leave the Elixired water in your pack (unwashed) for any decent period of time? Since I only use straight water, I usually only need to wash my Camelbak every month or two. I’m wondering if this treated water would not mold even if left in there for weeks?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Zuke,
    I might leave my Elixir mix in the reservoir at most for a week and then I flush it out, but I do that with plain water also. I find it gets sort of stale (water or Elixir mixture), and it can contain micro organisms, your backwash, etc., and can go bad (get the funks). Sealed and distilled water on the other hand can have a indefinite shelf life (filtering helps, as does boiling, chlorine or water purification drops, etc.).

  • Terry says:

    I guess I’m one of those people who hate the taste of atificial sweetners or any kind. I’d rather have to clean sticky water bottles, that contained something that gave me an energy boost when I needed it. If you’re concerned about drinking something that doubles as a water bottle cleaner just put some Dr. Bonners in your water bottle – same nutrional value…

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Terry, quite a few companies make stuff without artificial sweeteners, Cytomax and Zym use the natural Stevia sweetener.

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