MARGARITA SHOT BLOKS
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 and Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.clifbar.com
Listed Weight: 2.1 oz (60 g) per packet of 6
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g)
Other details: The Margarita flavor Shot Bloks contain 3 times the sodium of other Bloks flavors to help prevent cramping.
|Nutrition Information from Box|
The Margarita flavor Shot Bloks arrived in an easy to open box (described as a "caddy" at the manufacturer's website) that contained 12 packets of 6 Bloks each. The caddy is easy to open, and is designed with perforations that would allow for it to act as an open top display.
|Box, 2 Packages, and 3 Bloks|
The packets containing the Bloks are made of plastic, and are designed with an sawtooth edge on the top clearly marked "Tear Here."
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 as "Certified Organic by OAI."
On the back of the package is a paragraph stating:
"The Natural Performance Enhancer(tm). Cramp Buster. For 20 years, I dealt with a common problem many athletes experience - CRAMPING! I've had to pull out of bike races and stop running marathons, until a few years ago when I discovered that taking extra sodium - good old salt - solved the problem. Margarita Bloks, made with Real Salt(R), combine carbs, electrolytes, and extra sodium into one simple solution for athletes looking to prevent cramping. Check it out and enjoy the moment. -Gary/Clif Bar Founder and Owner."
The ingredients list printed below the nutrition facts includes:
|Close-up of Bloks|
*Organic Brown Rice Syrup
*Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
*Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids
The individual bloks measure approximately 7/8 in (22 mm) square at the bottom, tapering to a slightly smaller size at the top, and are approximately 5/8 in (16 mm) in height.
The bloks are a yellowish brown in color, and somewhat translucent.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The package states: "For Best Results: Consume 3 to 6 CLIF SHOT BLOKS(tm) every hour during activity. Always follow consumption with water."
These instructions seem pretty clear to me.
TRYING IT OUT
Opening the packet was quite easy with the sawtooth edge top, and the package tore easily at the part marked "tear here." As I tore the corner down, however, the tear ran off the side after a very short distance, providing just enough of an opening to squeeze a blok through.
The best description I can think of for the Blok is it is similar to a children's fruit snack, only square and softer. It is relatively soft, and has a surface that feels slightly moist and sticky, but it doesn't seem to make my hand sticky. It did, however, leave a residue on my finger that I can only describe as somewhat waxy, somewhat oily. The residue seemed to disappear from my fingers after a few minutes.
The Bloks had a firm but very smooth consistency when I chewed them. They seemed to almost dissolve in my mouth in about 30 seconds, leaving only some small pieces stuck to my teeth.
My initial thoughts on taste were mixed. While I haven't had a margarita in over a decade, the flavor is vaguely reminiscent of what I remember. What struck me immediately, however, was the salt. The salt flavor was immediately noticeable. I will monitor closely how I react to this flavor when these are eaten on backpacking trips.
I did find myself picking pieces of the Blok off my teeth with my tongue for several minutes after eating one, but they seemed to stick less than most fruit snacks I've eaten.
There were no aftertastes that I immediately noticed, though the flavor stayed in my mouth for several minutes.
Overall, I'd describe the flavor as ok, but perhaps a little on the salty side for me.
My testing strategy is to use these Shot Bloks while backpacking, and focus my report on the following:
*TASTE - Do I like the flavor over the course of the test? Are there any aftertastes?
*TEXTURE - How do they feel in my mouth (gritty, gooey, slimy)? Do the Bloks stick to my teeth or dental work? Do any of the products leave a residue in my mouth?
*CONVENIENCE - Are they convenient to carry in my pack? Is the packaging convenient to carry back for disposal?
*AFTEREFFECTS - Do I notice any changes in my fatigue after using the products? Do they help energize me? Do they have any negative aftereffects (bloating, gas, etc.)? Do I experience any cramping (muscle or digestive!)?
*STAINING - I will rub a moistened Shot Blok on an old white shirt and describe my experiences in cleaning it (and any staining that occurs). Given enough time, I'm bound to have one end up next to my favorite shirt in my pack.
My initial impressions of the Margarita Shot Bloks were favorable, though the taste wasn't my favorite.
I would like to thank Clif Bar & Co. and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test this product. My Field Report will be appended to this report within three months, as soon as the product has been consumed. Please check back at that time for additional 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 Margarita Shot Bloks during day hikes and on backpacking trips (one- and two-night). The product was consumed over a total of 6 days in the field. Exertion ranged from mild to moderate for me, and I did my best to follow the recommendation of 3-6 Shot Bloks an hour' during the more stenuous parts of the day.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I'm not going to mince words here . . . I don't like the flavor of the Margarita Shot Bloks. It isn't even the salt so much as the flavor itself. I consumed all that were shipped to me, but if I had purchased them myself, I'd have given them away after the first couple of packs. There doesn't seem to be an aftertaste, but the flavor lingers for quite a while. The texture is pleasant enough, though it does stick to my teeth. The more of them I eat the more I dislike the flavor, though.
That's not to say the Margarita Shot Bloks don't have some redeeming factors. The packaging is lightweight and easy to open. It would be nice if the package were re-sealable so I didn't have to worry about them falling out. On one trip I moved them to a re-sealable plastic bag and found this quite satisfactory. Though the Bloks sometimes made sticky spots on my clothes when they come in contact with them (only when wet it seems to me), they don't appear to stain cotton, even when the Bloks are wet. Also, I didn't experience any cramping while using them (but then again, I don't normally).
I did not experience any benefit I can attribute to the product. Perhaps if I had been doing some very strenuous hiking in very warm weather (my trips during the test period have been moderate exertion in very mild weather) I might have seen a benefit to the higher sodium content. I did find myself retaining a lot of fluids, however, which I suspect may have been due to the higher sodium content. I suspect this may have played a role in reviving an old knee injury that hasn't bothered me in over a year, but the knee swelling may have been a coincidence. I suspect the Shot Bloks may have played a role mostly because as my overall fluid retention subsided after a day or so, my knee pain went away as well.
I also found myself to be much thirstier when consuming the Bloks. My mouth felt drier than I'm used to when consuming them, I suspect due to the sodium content.
I find the flavor of the Clif Margarita Shot Blok downright icky. I experienced no noticeable change in performance I can contribute to the product, though the high sodium content did seem to make me retain fluids. If I ever plan a high-exertion trip in extremely hot weather I might consider this product despite my aversion to the taste. Barring long, hard days on the trail in extreme heat (or other high-exertion activities in hot weather) I will not likely use this product again.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Mike Curry