The Mountain Berry flavor is the newest
addition to the Shot Blok line. They are so new that
this flavor and packaging is not listed on the manufacturer's
website nor are they for sale at my local retailer.
Also this new flavor comes with new packaging indicated
on the manufacturer's website as referenced as the FASTPAK.
This packaging is tubular in shape and the Shot Bloks
are stacked on top of one another. The package reminds
me of the shape of a Rollo package. At the end where
the word "CLIF" is printed there is a small hole, I
am assuming to hang on a retail display. Also on this
end, in the right corner, are the words "CUT HERE".
According to the manufacturer's press release the Mountain
Berry flavor and the redesigned packaging is due to
appear in retail stores in November.
I was provided with two retail boxes
for testing, that contain 18 packages each of Shot Bloks.
The retail box has a diagram of how to remove the Bloks
from the packaging. It is indicated that the packaging
is easy access. The diagram states to cut the FASTPAK
then push CLIF SHOT BLOKS up and out. The retail box
also indicates that this new packaging is "Sleek and
Portable" and intended for one-handed use. The FASTPAK
is also claimed to easily fit in a bike jersey, running
shorts, or in a backpack.
The package contains two servings of
Shot Bloks with a total of six Bloks. A serving size
(three Bloks) contains 100 calories and 0 calories from
fat. There is also no cholesterol. The nutritional content
is as follows: sodium 70 mg, potassium 20 mg, total
carb. 24 g, dietary fiber 0 g, sugars 12 g, protein
0 g, vitamin A & C 0%, calcium 0%, and iron 0%.
The Shot Bloks are 95% organic.
Each serving consists of three blocks
that are approximately 1 in (2.54 cm) cubes. The Blocks
are sticky to the touch and remind me of a gummy licorice
candy. The semi-solid consistency of the Bloks are indicated
to affect the blood sugar levels more slowly than a
gel type of nutritional supplement.
The manufacturer states on their website
"They're simple-to-handle, easy-to-chew, and provide
similar nutrition to SHOT® gel, so they'll fit seamlessly
into your training and racing nutrition program."
The primary ingredient in the Shot
Bloks is brown rice syrup. The manufacturer states on
their website that the rice syrup provides easily assimilated
carbohydrates for working muscles. Brown Rice Syrup
is very sweet and consists of approximately 50% soluble
complex carbohydrates, 45% maltose and 3% glucose. The
glucose in brown rice syrup is easily absorbed thus
leaving lesser provision for fat accumulation. The maltose
and complex carbohydrates components of this kind of
syrup takes a longer time to digest thus maintaining
the energy flow for a longer period.
The Bloks contain carbohydrates from
the following sources: brown rice syrup, evaporated
cane juice, and brown rice syrup solids. The pectin
serves as a gelling agent or a thickening agent of the
Bloks. This is how the Bloks keep their shape and texture.
The citric acid ingredient serves as a natural preservative
and can also used to add an acidic (sour) taste to foods.
The manufacturer indicates on their website that the
Bloks are composed of 50% complex carbohydrates and
50% simple carbohydrates.
The Bloks contain mineral salts known
as electrolytes. The electrolytes allow for normal bodily
function by allowing electrical impulses to travel properly
throughout the body. Electrolytes are lost while sweating
during physical activity. So these Shot Bloks should
help me maintain my body's electrolyte balance or increase
my electrolyte level as needed.
The packaging indicates
to consume 3 to 6 Bloks every hour during activity.
The packaging also indicates to follow consumption of
the Bloks with water. There is no suggestion of how
much water to consume.
The manufacturer's website
is very informative listing all the products that are
manufactured by Clif Bar & Company. There is nutritional
information on the products along with frequently asked
questions. The website classifies the Bloks as part
of the Shot line. The manufacturer states the following:
"CLIF SHOT is all about delivering great-tasting, scientifically-backed,
and sustainably-produced products to performance athletes.
In other words, energy food can taste great and be made
from good-for-the-planet ingredients. It's that simple."
the four month testing period I have consumed the Bloks
on the trips outlined below. I have used them while
day hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, mountain biking,
and on my fitness walks on the beach path.
California: The temperature was recorded at
55 to 57 F (13 to 14 C) with heavy rain over a course
of two days. During one of these these days I ate the
Shot Bloks on a day hike in the Newport Beach area totaling
4 mi (6 km).
Mount San Jacinto
State Park, California: This was a 6 mi (10
km) two day snowshoe/backpacking trip. We camped at
an elevation of 9,100 ft (2,775 m) on 5 ft (1.5 m) of
snow pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C).
Red Rocks, Nevada:
This was a three day climbing/camping trip. At the locations
where we were climbing that there was no sun and it
was about 41 F (5 C) with a light wind. The highs were
around 55 F (13 C). The lows at night were around 30
F (-1 C).
Crystal Cove State Park, California:
This was a day hike for a total of 5 mi (8 km). The
temperature was recorded at 53 F (12 C) with light rain
in the early morning. The elevation here is just above
Cleveland National Forest,
California (San Mateo Wilderness): This was
a two day backpacking trip on the Tenaja Trail to Fisherman's
Camp then to Tenaja Falls. From Tenaja Falls we went
back to Fisherman's Camp to spend the night. We hiked
9 mi (14 km) on the first day and 3.5 mi (6 km) on the
second day, all up-hill. It hit 75 F (24 C) for a high
and got down to 28 F (-2 C) at night. The high elevation
was 2,000 ft (610 m) with a total of 1,300 ft (396 m)
of elevation gain and loss.
Crystal Cove State Park, California:
The Shot Bloks were consumed on two day hikes at this
location. The elevation was from sea level to 60 ft
(18 m). The one day hike completed was on the beach
mostly in wet sand as we followed the coast in and out
of the tide pools. It was raining right before we left
so it was a bit cool. The temperatures were between
50 F to 68 F (10 C to 20 C). Both trips were 5 mi (8
km) each. On one of the hikes in this location there
was a light misty rain.
Huntington Beach, California:
I consumed the Shot Bloks several times during my exercise
walks on the beach path. Sometimes I consumed the Bloks
just starting on the path as a snack after work. The
elevation is at sea level and the temperatures ranged
from 55 F to 81 F (13 C to 27 C). On my walks I average
5 mi (8 km).
I also used the Shot Bloks on Mountain
Bike rides in Southern California in the Cleveland National
Forest and at Crystal Cove State Park.
in the Field
The Mountain Berry Shot Bloks have
a pleasant taste. They have a berry flavor that is not
overpowering, not overly sweet, and they are not tart.
They have a gummy and chewy consistency. The Bloks do
not stick to my teeth and they fit perfectly in my mouth
when I consume them one at a time. I find them to be
a satisfying supplement. On all my hikes, mountain bike
rides, snowshoe, backpacking trips, and daily walks
I consumed 1 to 4 packs of Shot Bloks per day.
The Bloks do not leave a coating on my teeth until
I consume three packages or more in one day. At that
point I also begin to get bored of the taste of having
just one flavor. The manufacturer recommends on the
packaging to consume the Bloks followed by water. I
feel thirsty after I eat the Bloks. But, I am satisfied
if I drink water right away. There are times that I
forgot to drink water right after eating the Bloks.
As soon as I became thirsty I drank some water and I
felt fine. Sometimes I drank Clif Shot powder mixed
with water after eating the Bloks. I have a few flavors
of Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink and I found this combination
to be overly sweet when I had the lemonade flavor. The
Cran-Razz Electrolyte Drink complemented the taste of
the Mountain Berry Shot Bloks.
Even though these Bloks do not have caffeine in them
I noticed a spike in energy after I consumed them in
about 10 minutes. This energy lasts for about 30 minutes
to an hour depending how intense my activity is. My
muscles became tired when I only ate the Bloks during
intense activity without some added protein in my diet
for the day. I like to consume the Bloks before I have
to tackle long uphill climbs while hiking and backpacking.
They seem to give me more energy to help me push myself.
I like the tubular shape of the new packaging. The
package fits nicely in the side pockets of my hiking
pants or in the side pockets of my pack without added
bulk. They also fit better in my cycling jersey rear
pockets allowing me to carry more packages with this
new sleek design.
On the Mountain Berry retail box I was provided with
there was an illustration to push the Bloks from the
bottom as a stack for consumption. That is a good idea
if I was consuming the entire pack. This method leaves
the Bloks at the top of the package and there is no
way to store them effectively without having to push
them pack down the tubular package. If I only wanted
a few Bloks I found a better approach. I ripped open
the top and slid each Blok out one at a time at the
base of the Blok so that I had some extra wrapping to
fold over to store the Bloks for later use. When stored
overnight using this method they tasted fine, but not
as fresh as a newly opened package.
Bloks near the opening of
the package. This does not make for effective
My storage approach
I wish there were some perforations or a notch at the
opening of the package where it says "Cut Here".
This may make the package easier to open, especially
when I am riding my bike. Sometimes I end up opening
the packaging with my teeth or I make a cut in it with
my teeth. I have difficulty sometimes opening the packaging
with my fingers as they slide off the plastic and there
is no notch to assist in tearing the packaging more
Lack of perforations or notch at
After being exposed to high and low temperatures the
consistency did not change drastically. They became
hard and difficult to chew at an outside temperature
of approximately 22 F (-6 C). On one of my backpacking
trips I stored them overnight in my sleeping bag and
they were much easier to chew. While being exposed to
a high temperature of 81 F (27 C) they became softer
in consistency and more sticky in nature. However, the
Bloks showed no signs of melting. In warmer temperatures
I noticed that my fingers feel sticky after handling
It seems like I am always hungry on the trail. The
Shot Bloks provide me with an adequate amount of nutrition
as a supplement between meals, as a light lunch snack
or as a breakfast item. I could eat them on an empty
stomach with no queasiness. If I eat them for breakfast
or lunch with no other food I find myself hungry in
about an hour.
Things That Rock:
- Package design
- Yummy flavor
- Energy boost
Things That Are So-So:
- Taste after about three packages
- No perforation or notch to easily open the package
I enjoy the taste of the Mountain Berry Shot Bloks.
They are not overly sweet or tart. I found that they
provide me with an adequate amount of nutrition as a
supplement between meals while hiking, backpacking,
and mountain biking. They give me an extra spurt of
energy needed for long hikes or uphill climbs.
I like the tubular design of the new packaging. The
only change I would make to the packaging is adding
a notch or some type of perforation at the top so it
can be more easily opened.
concludes my reporting on the Clif Mountain Berry Shot
Bloks. Thank you Clif Bar & Company and backpackgeartest.org
for providing me with the opportunity to test the Mountain
Berry Shot Bloks.