ACLI-MATE MOUNTAIN SPORTS DRINK
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
January 13, 2013
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and trekking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Acli-Mate® Formulations, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.acli-mate.com
MSRP: $27.99 US for 30 one-serving packets
Also available in a 30-serving tub for $25.99 US
Listed Weight: Product weight on package is 0.46 oz (13 g)
Actual weight (in package): 0.5 oz (15 g)
Flavors Available: Mountain Grape, Elevation Orange and Colorado Cran-Raspberry
I'm testing the Mountain Mix which is 10 packets of each flavor.
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
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
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
Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink was developed to aid with acclimatization and sports performance in the mountains. It contains a combination of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and herbal extracts. B vitamins provide energy, stamina and adrenal support and CoQ10 supports a healthy cardiovascular system. Calcium and magnesium reduce risk of muscle cramping. Rhodiola root extract and Schizandra berry extract help the body adapt to stressors. Ginkgo biloba helps oxygenation and circulation. It comes in three flavors: orange, grape and cran-raspberry. All flavors are gluten, soy and dairy free. I really like that the ingredients are natural.
|Photo courtesy of Acli-Mate
Acli-Mate is sold in individual one-serving packets as well as in a 30-serving tub.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Instructions for Use:
On each package is listed the directions for mixing which says to mix one packet with 10 oz (300 ml) of cool water or to taste. It also states that it may be made warm. I'll have to try that out.
Then there are three different ways to use the product: Acclimatization, Performance and Recovery.
For acclimatization it is recommended to drink 1-3 servings daily for 3 days prior to travel to elevation and for the duration of the visit.
For performance it is recommended to drink it 30-60 minutes before exercise as a pre-sport energy supplement. It can also be used during and after activity.
For recovery it is recommended to drink 1-2 servings after exercise for replacement of essential vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
I found it interesting that this product was developed by a naturopathic doctor to help visitors traveling from the flatlands to the Rocky Mountains. My sister has lived in Colorado for many years and I have made that same journey several times to ski with her. At times we have gone from the airport directly to the ski resort but usually I stay with her overnight and then head for the slopes early the next morning. I can remember multiple times that I have felt sick (headache, nausea, vomiting) after a day of skiing. I have a tendency toward migraines so I attribute my illness to migraine and not as altitude sickness alone. However, dehydration and altitude are migraine triggers for me while backpacking. In my kit of prevention tools are always an electrolyte mix and a plan to stay hydrated among other things. I am looking forward to seeing how Acli-Mate works for me in this regard as well as how good it tastes which will keep me wanting to drink it and thus stay better hydrated.
|Climbing Pyramid Peak
My first use of Acli-Mate was in preparation for a summit attempt of the highest peak in our area, Pyramid Peak at 9,983 ft (3,043 m). We have been wanting to climb it for some time. With a nice fall weekend in the forecast, we decided to hike in to a base camp at 8,060 ft (2,457 m) after work on Friday. From there the climb to the top is an off-trail route-finding day trip. So, I followed the instructions for acclimatization and started drinking it 3 days prior to the trip.
I tried the orange flavor first by putting 10 oz (300 ml) of water into a water bottle then I added a packet of drink mix and shook. I wasn't ready to drink it, so I put it in the refrigerator at work. It was nicely chilled and completely dissolved when I pulled it out a few hours later. I really like orange in general but orange flavors can also be my least favorite because they don't always seem very authentic. My mother used to give us Tang when we ran out of orange juice and it tainted me for life. Anyway, I was pleased with the orange-flavored Acli-Mate. I could tell that there are added vitamins but the flavor is pleasing and I found myself enjoying it more as I drank more. I found the flavor to be quite strong but good and thought about trying it with more water in the future. There is no unpleasant aftertaste and I even said 'mmm' to myself afterwards. There was no sign of any undissolved bits in the bottom of my water bottle.
On the second day I tried the grape flavor again in 10 oz (300 ml) of water. This time I mixed it with room temperature water and shook it in my water bottle. It dissolved easily and nothing remained undissolved in bottom. The flavor was good and seemed more appropriate for the amount of water used. Again there was nothing unpleasant about it and I didn't seem to notice the vitamin taste as much. I did have an issue with opening the package. I ripped the top of it completely from side-to-side but it didn't tear into the product so I had to open it again from the bottom. The sealed area at the top is wider than most packaging, so a tear notch in the right spot would help.
|Trouble with opening
On the morning of the day we were leaving I had the orange again. I work at an elevation of approximately 60 ft (18 m). So after work I drove home to pick up my gear and meet my husband at an elevation of 2,000 ft (610 m). We then drove to the trailhead at 6,700 ft (2,042 m). This change in elevation from 60 ft (18 m) to 6,700 ft (2,042 m) took just 2-1/2 hours. Then we hiked in to our base camp at 8,060 ft (2,457 m) in a few hours during which time I tried the cran-raspberry. I found this flavor to be tasty and again would prefer to dilute it a little more.
The next morning I drank one packet along the way to the summit. Finally I drank another packet while eating lunch on the summit. While we were there, I couldn't resist throwing a small stone into the air just to hit the 10,000 ft (3,048 m) mark.
I felt pretty good the entire time but started to feel some headache symptoms just as we arrived back in camp that afternoon. But after some dinner I felt decent the rest of the evening. I did have a headache that night but nothing debilitating and awoke the next day ready to climb to the base via another route before heading back out to the car.
Based on the overall conditions I believe that the Acli-Mate provided some benefit for me in getting through this trip feeling pretty well. I'm looking forward to trying it on additional trips. The taste is good and I can't decide which flavor I like the best. I think that right now orange wins out with cran-raspberry a close second and grape barely in third place…but I swear that the order could re-shuffle by tomorrow!
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
In total have used Acli-Mate on three backpacking trips of three days each and for four days of snowshoeing along with day hiking and mountain biking. I also used it at work in the afternoons for a pick-me-up especially while I was recovering from a head cold.
I have used Acli-Mate in elevations ranging from sea level to nearly 10,000 feet (3,048 m) and in temperatures ranging from 18 to 65 F (-7 to 18 C). The least elapsed time to elevation was a drive from 60 to 6,700 feet (18 to 2,042 m) in 2.5 hours with an additional hike of 1,300 feet (400 m) in the subsequent 2 hours with an additional hike of 8 mi (13 km) and 2,000 ft (610 m) of climbing the next day. Another trip we drove from 1,866 feet (569 m) to 4,900 feet (1,494 m) in 1 hour followed by a 5 mile (8 km) snowshoe hike in deep powder.
Pyramid Peak, Desolation Wilderness, California, USA: 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 6,700 to 9,983 ft (2,042 to 3,043 m) elevation; 25 to 65 F (-4 to 18 C) with clear to partly cloudy conditions.
Two Peaks Trail, El Dorado National Forest, California, USA: 3 days; 17 mi (27 km); 6,560 and 8,220 ft (2,000 and 2,505 m) elevation; 28 to 60 F (-2 to 15 C) with clear to cloudy and windy conditions.
Point Reyes National Seashore, California, USA: 3 days; 9.3 mi (15 km); 0 to 1,407 ft (429 m) elevation; 40 to 55 F (4 to 13 C); sunny to partly cloudy conditions.
Bassi Falls, Sierra Nevada, California, USA: 4.8 mi (7.7 km); 4,900 to 5,500 ft (1,494 to 1,680 m) elevation; 25 to 30 F (-4 to -1 C); overcast to heavy snow conditions in 3 ft (1 m) of powder.
Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Nevada, California, USA: 4 mi (6.4 km); 7,382 to 7,800 ft (2,250 to 2,377 m) elevation; 18 to 23 F (-7 to -5 C); sunny and clear conditions in 4 ft (1.2 m) of powder.
Echo Lake, Sierra Nevada, California, USA: 4 mi (6.4 km); 7,300 to 8,000 ft (2,225 to 2,438 m) elevation; 19 F (-7 C); overcast and windy conditions in packed snow conditions.
University Falls, Sierra Nevada, California, USA: 2.2 miles (3.5 km): 4,000 to 4,200 ft (1,220 to 1,280 m); 35 F (2 C); mostly sunny conditions in 2 ft (0.6 m) of fresh snow
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Overall I have really enjoyed this product. It has worked well for preventing altitude and exertion related headaches. Since I am prone to migraines I am aware that exertion, altitude, dehydration and low blood sugar levels are all triggers for me. This is a particular problem since I love the outdoors and participate in mountain activities year-round. I consider migraines a part of the price for enjoying what I love. However, Acli-Mate certainly improved my symptoms. I twice felt symptoms; once at the end of an 8 mile off-trail scramble up 2,000 feet (610 m) of climbing in total exposure and once after a 10 mile (16 km) day of total exposure at 8,200 feet (2,500 m) and 1,500 feet (457 m) of climbing. Both times I was able to recover quickly after drinking a bottle of Acli-Mate and lying down for a short time. Otherwise, I felt no twinge of headache at all that I readily associate with altitude and completely expected to feel particularly on some of the snowshoe hikes in deep powder.
On the two higher elevation three-day trips, I used Acli-Mate per the instructions and started using it three days prior to the trip. Then I drank it at least once or twice daily during the trip. I found the flavor to be strong enough to use with 1 pint (1/2 L) of water and just mixed it in to my water bottle. I tried the orange flavor as a warm drink in the morning but it reminded me of warm orange juice so I prefer to drink it cold even on cold days. The warm version was pleasant enough but warm fruity drinks seem odd to me. I don't drink caffeinated beverages in the morning so a cool bottle of Acli-Mate is really welcome and refreshing and provides a natural pick-me-up.
On the Point Reyes trip we were near sea level and had short days of hiking due to my being sick. I had gotten a bad cold the day before the trip and didn't want to cancel so we shortened the hike instead. Although I didn't need the Acli-Mate for altitude I appreciated the extra vitamin boost and enjoyed drinking it very much on this trip. I felt fairly good on the trip and believe that it was in part due to the Acli-Mate.
Roanne, Acli-Mate President/Founder, suggested that I try it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up which I did several times at work when I hit the afternoon doldrums. This was particularly good during the week that I was fighting a head cold. The Acli-Mate tasted great and gave me a boost to make it through the work day.
The flavors are all very good although orange is my favorite with Cran-Raspberry in second place. Even in last place, Grape is still great and I never minded finding it in my pack. The colors seem to fade if I make the beverage in the morning for drinking on the hike especially the grape but it is still appealing and causes me no issue. I believe that the good flavor helps me to hydrate more and I love that it contains vitamins too.
The only downside that I can find is with the packaging. After my initial problem with opening the package I started to open them from the bottom. But my husband also had the same issue when he opened one for me from the top. Also, I would prefer the packaging to be smaller. All of my other electrolyte or beverage mixes are in a smaller package. This extra packaging adds up when backpacking so I will take advantage of Acli-Mate's bulk container and simply carry a bagful of my favorite flavor.
Acli-Mate is a wonderful beverage mix which works to prevent altitude sickness, provide vitamins and electrolytes and tastes great.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Pleasant taste - all flavors
Aids in acclimatization
Contains vitamins and electrolytes
Had trouble opening package from top
Would prefer a smaller package
Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Acli-Mate for introducing me to my favorite drink mix!
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith