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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > AcliMate Mountain Sports Drink > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink
By Raymond Estrella

October 23, 2012


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 52
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: Acli-Mate Formulations, LLC
Web site:
Product: Mountain Sport Drink
Year manufactured/received: 2012
MSRP: US $25.99 per 13.8 oz (390 g) bulk tub
Flavors: Colorado Cran-Raspberry, Elevation Orange, Mountain Grape
Weight per serving: 0.46 oz (13 g)
Suggested serving size (amount of water mixed with): 10-12 fl oz (0.3-0.35 L)

Acli-Mate tubs
Image courtesy Acli-Mate

Product Description

The Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink (hereafter referred to as Mountain Sport) is an electrolyte and carbohydrate boosting sport drink with some interesting features not found in any of my other sport drinks. The major difference is the claim that it helps with high altitude acclimatization, hence the name Acli-Mate. More on this later.

The Mountain Sport can be used as any other sports-related electrolyte and carbohydrate replacement and recovery drink. When compared to the overly-sweet (in my opinion) market leader in the sports drink field the Mountain Sport has about one third the carbs, a bit less than half the calories and sodium, and three times the potassium. But the Mountain Sport goes much further in the nutritional aspects with a lot more minerals and vitamins known to improve the brain and nervous system and circulation. See the nutritional label here for the complete list.

The second big difference is the ingredients. The Mountain Sport contains no artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup. Here is what they do have in

Colorado Cran-Raspberry
Organic Cane Sugar, Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking), Natural Raspberry Flavoring, Natural Cranberry Raspberry Flavoring, Xanthan Gum, Vegetable Juice Color, Stevia Leaf Extract, Lo Han Fruit Extract.

Elevation Orange
Organic Cane Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Orange Flavor, Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking), Malic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Orange Juice Powder, Beta Carotene (for Color), Stevia Leaf Extract, Lo Han Fruit Extract.

Mountain Grape
Organic Cane Sugar, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Natural Grape Flavor, Grape Skin Extract (for Color), Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking), Grape Juice Powder, Xanthan Gum, Stevia Leaf Extract, Lo Han Fruit Extract.

The web site has a lot of information about the acclimatization aspects of the Mountain Sport drink and I won't bother to repeat it all here. I do recommend reading it though as it is very informative. Some of the additives to their drink formulation that target the acclimatizing and then remaining comfortable once at altitude are the following. (This is from my own research and came from the internet and an October 2012 Wired Magazine article on nutritional supplents.)

CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. As there is evidence of CoQ10 deficiency in heart failure, and heart failure and angina can both be exacerbated by going to altitude, this makes sense to me to add it.

Rhodiola rosea, or golden root, is thought to be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression. Studies have shown that it improves physical and mental performance and may reduce fatigue, all things that are impacted at high altitude. Similar attributes are given to another ingredient Schizandra berries, along with some interesting claims from Russian animal studies.

The most recognizable addition to me (being raised by a health-nut mom;-) is the Ginko Biloba, which is commonly used as a memory and concentration enhancer, and anti-vertigo agent. The World Health Organization reported the medicinal uses of Ginkgo Biloba supported by clinical data include treatment of the effects of mild to moderate cerebrovascular insufficiency. Cerebrovascular insufficiency is insufficient blood flow to the brain, and may manifest itself as memory deficit, disturbed concentration, or headaches. Sounds just like altitude sickness to me.

Acli-Mate suggests starting use of the Mountain Sport drink three days before the actual climbing, and to use three servings per day. Then once on the trip to continue use before, during and after activity as desired.

The powdered mix comes in either bulk tubs, with a scoop for measuring, or in premeasured single-serving envelopes. The powder is very fine and floats in the air if disturbed too much while working with it. It is pretty sticky too, so I found that I wanted to have completely dry hands when working with it.

Field Conditions

I took the Mountain Sport drink on a long California trip that saw a 2-day backpacking trip in the southern Sierra Nevada, a 5-day backpacking trip in the northern Sierra Nevada, and a day-hike and 2-day trip in the Angeles National Forest. There was a total of 136.5 miles (220 km) with 23,575 ft (7186 m) of gain, in temps that ran from 31 F to a ridiculously warm for that time of year 90 F (-1 to 32 C). Almost all of it was on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This up-and-down trail saw constant elevation flux with the high points most days being at 9000+/- ft (2750 m).


As may be seen by my many drink mix and food reviews I am very interested in natural products. I don't have much of a sweet tooth and do not drink any sugared soda. (Actually as of August 2011 I no longer even drink sugar-free soda.) The only drink I use sugar in at home is in coffee, preferring to use Stevia for anything else. Most sport drinks, either bottled or powder, I dilute by half to keep it from being too sweet.

I really like the fact that the Mountain Sport drink is made with low sugar and uses Stevia for some of its sweetness instead. I also really appreciate the natural food colorings, although to be honest I would be fine with no colorings of any kind as I don't need visual assistance to "tell" me what flavor I am drinking. I did notice something funny about the Grape flavor. While most of the grape was used before I actually started the backpacking trips I did take some with me on the first section. The color faded quickly after making it and after a while in the side pocket of my pouch turned almost clear again. I don't know if the sun bleached it back out or what. It did not impact the flavor one bit. In this picture taken near Walker Pass in Sequoia National Forest there is just a tinge of color remaining.

In the mountains

I was first made aware of Acli-Mate's products when I tried them at the Outdoor Retailer Show Demo Day in August 2012. Interested in the product and wanting to learn more about it I met with the owner to discuss it. The Mountain Sport drink intrigued me a lot and I set plans in motion for to test the product, but I had to be honest and say that being in flat Minnesota I could not really evaluate this interesting product. I did pick up some of their Endurance drink mix which I have been using this fall.

The cancellation a big planned trip to Alaska led to suddenly having an airline ticket and a bunch of time available for some mountain backpacking in California's Sierra Nevada. After a year living in Minnesota at 400 ft (120 m) elevation I knew that the nine days at high elevation would be a perfect opportunity for evaluating the Mountain Sport drink.

I had already figured out the best way to use bulk powder drink mixes so as soon as I got it I put it into individual tubes I made from Food Saver bag stock. I weighed a couple to figure out what the included scoop actually holds and then used it to put around 35 g (1.23 oz) in each tube. This allows me to pour it into one liter of water. (This is slightly less than the recommended amount but makes it just right for my taste buds.) Here is a picture taken during the packaging operation.

custom packed

I even experimented with making a "fruit punch" flavor by making a couple tubes with one-third each of the cran-raz, orange and grape flavors. These are the two tubes in the middle (It actually turned out very good.)

All of the flavors are quite good. And while I normally dilute most of my drinks (even the company's Endurance drink) the Mountain Sport drink is just about right as they have it. The Cran-Raspberry is my favorite, with Orange a slight nod over the Grape. The powder mixes easily and well. Mostly I mixed it in my normal reused Aquafina water bottles but a couple times I put it in a Vapur soft-bottle.

Does it work for acclimatizing? I think it might. I have no way to do any clinical experiments while hiking. But I rushed from my place in Minnesota to California where I spent one night at sea level. The next day we were in the Sierra and topping 8000 ft (2440 m). That first day was pretty hard on me as I have lost all the elevation hardiness I have built over the past decade. The first evening in camp I slammed the Acli-Mate, drinking one liter slowly just after getting camp set, and another with dinner later. The next morning I started out with another liter (3 servings) as I got going. I felt a lot better that second day and had no problem at all over the next nine days of backpacking even though the elevations got higher. After that first day I went to using two liters per day, one starting out each morning and one during dinner. It should be noted that the main purpose for me is the electrolyte replacement as I sweat a lot no matter what and our trip was much warmer than we expected it to be.

I was very satisfied with my use of the Mountain Sport drink and plan to use it in the future whenever I get back to my beloved mountains. I may even use it on the flat terrain of Minnesota as I really like all the flavors and I see no reason it can't be used for low elevation travel.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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