CLIF SHOT HOT RECOVERY DRINK
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
May 07, 2008
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5' 11" (1.80 m)
205 lb (93.00 kg)
I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and
snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for
the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind
of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on
the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate
rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in
excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Clif Bar & Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.clifbar.com
Listed Weight: 1.5 oz (40 g) per single-serving packet
Measured Weight: 1.6 oz (45 g) per single-serving packet
Other details: Hot Chocolate Flavor
|Nutritional Information from Box|
The Hot Chocolate flavor Clif Shot Hot Recovery Drink arrived in an easy to open box that contained 12 individual serving packets. The box is designed with perforations that would allow for it to act as an open top display.
|Box and Individual Package|
The individual serving packets appear to be made of of a metal foil, and is similar to hot cocoa packets that do not have the paper covering. A single cut in the edge of each side has been made for ease of opening. These cuts are on the side of the packet approximately 1 in (25mm) from the top edge.
The packet included the standard "Nutrition Facts" shown in the photo in the "Product Information & Specifications" section above. In addition to this information, the packets are marked "87% organic ingredients."
Also, the package states "The protein in this product is sourced from cows not treated with rBGH."
Each packet makes 8 oz. (0.5 L).
On the back of the package is a paragraph stating:
"Hot Drinks for Cold Athletes(tm). CLIF SHOT(r) Electrolyte and Recovery drinks, made HOT, combine performance-enhancing nutrition with classic hot drink flavors."
|Individual Package Front|
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions printed on the package state: "For Best Results: Mix one packet of Recovery with 8 oz. of hot water (not boiling). Drink immediately following activity to rehydrate and replenish carbohydrate in the muscles. For richer taste and more protein mix with soy, rice, or dairy-based milk instead of water."
Storage Instructions state "Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight."
These seem very straightforward to me.
TRYING IT OUT
After heating some water to approximately 180 F (82 C), I opened the package. The packaged opened easily using the small perforation. The packaged contained a powdery mixture similar to ordinary hot cocoa mixes. The aroma was slightly different than I'm used to. I can only describe it as smelling plant-like. It smelled like regular cocoa powder (for baking), only stronger.
I poured the powder into the hot water. It dissolved completely with stirring in less than 6 seconds, something I very much liked.
The plant-like smell wasn't present once mixed. It smelled more like baking cocoa powder when mixed
Then came the moment of truth . . . the first taste.
I wasn't that impressed with my first taste. It wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't the creamy sweetness I expect with hot chocolate. After a few more tastes it grew on me. It isn't as sweet as most hot cocoa, but it does have a strong chocolate flavor. It is not what I normally think of when I think of hot chocolate, but has more of a cocoa powder flavor. I really like dark chocolate and milk chocolate. The flavor of this product rests somewhere between those extremes. If I made a triangle with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate at the points, this flavor would be floating somewhere around in the middle.
The more I sipped, the more I liked it. Once I removed my expectation of lots of sweetness, I realized this is a cocoa flavor built around the cocoa itself, not the sugar it's usually mixed with. It has a creamy taste, with only the slightest hint of graininess, and has a nice full body. It seems to have an aftertaste that is at least as pleasant to me as the flavor itself.
It did leave a small amount of mix in the bottom of the mug. This residue was dissolved but fairly thick, like it had settled out of solution. It was less residue than I find with most powdered hot chocolates, and I will evaluate how difficult it is to clean up in the field during further testing.
My plan is to consume this product while backpacking, and report on my experiences with the following:
*TASTE - Do I like the flavor? Are there any aftertastes? Since I get my water from a variety of different sources, some of which don't taste that great, I'll also describe the ability of the drink flavors to mask nasty-tasting water.
*TEXTURE - How does it feel in my mouth? Does the beverage leave a residue in my mouth?
*CONVENIENCE - Is it convenient to carry in my pack? Is it convenient to prepare? Is the packaging convenient to carry back for disposal?
*PREPARATION - I'll describe my experiences in preparing the drink. Also, though it is designed to be served hot, I will test it prepared both hot and cold, as sometimes you just can't make hot water (out of fuel, too tired, stove not working), but you want a flavored drink.
*AFTEREFFECTS - Do I notice any changes in my fatigue after using the product? Does it help energize me? Does it have any negative aftereffects (bloating, gas, etc.)? Does it quench my thirst? Do I experience any cramping (muscle or digestive!)?
*STAINING - I will spill some of the drink on an old white shirt, and describe my experiences in cleaning it (and any staining that occurs). I offer to do this only because I can't guarantee this will accidentally happen during the test, but given enough time, I'm sure to do it eventually.
*FAMILY - I have a four and a six year old that often backpack with me, and they'll sense I'm making something tasty from a mile a way, so I'll be offering them some to try. I'll include their reaction to it in my report.
While my first sip was something less than I expected, the flavor of this product quickly grew on me. It dissolves rapidly in hot water. I look forward to testing it in the field.
I would like to thank Clif Bar & Co. and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test this product. This concludes my Initial Report. My Field Report will be appended to this report within three months of the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Field Conditions during testing were reflective of our mild spring, with high temperatures averaging about 55 F (13 C). Overnight lows have been just below or just above freezing. I consumed the Clif Shot Hot Recovery drink after day hikes, as an evening drink on backpacking trips (one- and two-night), and after a bike-and-hike trip. 7 packets were consumed over the course of 6 backpacking days, with the remaining four consumed near the conclusion of day trips (one was consumed for Initial Reporting). Exertion ranged from mild to moderate for me.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I found the Clif Shot Hot Recovery Drink Hot Chocolate flavor to grow on me over time. It still isn't what I expect when I think "Hot Chocolate . . . I would describe the flavor as more carob-like . . . but I've come to enjoy it. The aftertaste (which I hesitate to even call it because the word so often has negative connotations) is very similar to the drink itself, and I did not find it at all unpleasant. The mix seems to mask the flavor of less desirable water sources very well, though bitter coastal water did change the flavor (but it was still better than plain water under those conditions). The mixed product, however, wasn't as tasty as it was with better water sources. The product seemed to have a slight (barely perceptible) grittiness to it even when well mixed, but the particle size was so fine that I didn't find it bothersome.
As far as convenience is concerned, I found the package fairly convenient to carry and use. Preparation was not a problem, although dissolving the mix in cold water was a chore compared to mixing it in hot water. In hot or warm water, the mix dissolves tolerably for my preferences (I don't mind a few chewy balls of un-dissolved mix in the drink) in under 30 seconds. In cold water, I would usually mix it by shaking in my water bottle, and estimate it took several minutes to get rid of most of the larger clumps of un-dissolved mix.
The packaging seems very durable, but the trade off is that it is slightly heavier than I would like. I think that hits on the one drawback for me with this product . . . weight. My usual evening drink while backpacking is water, or occasionally tea (no teabag . . . just steeped loose tea carried in a small re-sealable plastic bag). Even if I elected to have tea every night, for the weight of one packet of the Clif Shot Hot Recovery drink I could carry enough tea to last me several mornings, if not weeks, with less package weight to carry home.
Regarding the after-effects of the product, I did not notice any negative effects such as bloating, cramping, or gas. With some hesitation, I would state that it did seem to improve my recovery from muscle fatigue when consumed immediately after hiking or at the end of a backpacking day. Usually I have some muscle soreness in my legs in the morning after a long day hike or tough day backpacking. My morning-after muscle soreness was less than I usually experience when I consumed one package of the Clif Shot Hot Recovery drink as soon as possible after ceasing walking, and another just before going to sleep. A million other factors could have played into this, including psycho-somatic effects, but I'm convinced that, for me, it made a difference in my recovery time.
Regarding staining, I did conduct a test by spilling a small amount of the mixed beverage on the bottom seam of an old white cotton t-shirt. I allowed the drink to dry fully on the shirt (several days), and laundered it as I normally would assuming I didn't notice the stain (warm water, tumble dry high). Though the product did stain slightly, it was barely noticeable. I suspect even the most basic attempt to clean it prior to drying could have eliminated most (if not all) of the staining.
Another important factor for me, since my children join me a lot on trips, is how they like the taste of things. My son (who just turned 5) and my daughter (who just turned 7) both tasted the drink while lukewarm, and both stated they liked it (though they weren't jumping up and down about it). Both are fairly picky eaters that avoid new things, so I consider their rather lukewarm response to be quite positive.
Overall, I like this product's taste, find it fairly convenient, and will likely purchase additional product to take on trips with me in the future. I find the taste to be very good, and believe it does assist me with recovery from muscle fatigue. Since I'm usually watching the weight in my pack fairly closely, I'll likely only use this product on trips where I expect a greater than normal degree of muscle fatigue, as under those conditions the added weight in my pack would be worth it to me.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Mike Curry