CLIF SHOT ENERGY GEL
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 07, 2010
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 hiking poles.
Manufacturer: Clif Bar & Co.
|Photo courtesy of Clif|
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.clifbar.com
MSRP: Not Listed
Listed Weight: 34 g (1.2 oz) of gel per package
Measured Weight: 1.2 oz (34 g) in package
Flavors Available: Chocolate, Citrus, Mocha, Razz, Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate Cherry, Double Espresso
I've tried: Chocolate, Mocha, Razz, Vanilla and Double Espresso
Clif Shot Energy Gel is a carbohydrate and electrolyte mixture in a gel form that is easily digestible for use during athletic activity. The electrolytes are in the form of sodium and potassium. Depending on which flavor is chosen they contain 3 different levels of caffeine and some flavors contain no caffeine at all. The Turbo Energy Gel contains the most caffeine. They contain no animal products and are thus vegan-friendly.
Ingredients and Caffeine Content:
The nutrition information varies slightly for each flavor but most have no fat (except for Chocolate) and have 100 - 110 calories. They contain 85 - 90 % organic ingredients.
Chocolate: No caffeine
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor.
Citrus: 25 mg caffeine (noted as equivalent to 1/2 cup of coffee)
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Green Tea Extract (contains caffeine).
Mocha: 50 mg caffeine (noted as equivalent to 1 cup of coffee)
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Organic Cocoa (processed with alkali), Coffee Extract, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Green Tea Extract (contains caffeine), Potassium Citrate.
Razz: No caffeine
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Raspberry Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Citric Acid.
Strawberry: 25 mg caffeine
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Organic Strawberry Concentrate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Citric Acid, Green Tea Extract (contains caffeine).
Vanilla: No caffeine
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate.
Chocolate Cherry: 100 mg caffeine (noted as equivalent to 2 cups of coffee)
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cherry Juice Concentrate, Green Tea Extract (contains caffeine), Natural Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt.
Double Espresso: 100 mg caffeine
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Coffee Extract, Natural Flavor, Green Tea Extract (contains caffeine), Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate.
2010 was my year to focus on variety in our backpacking diet. With plans to do a 10-day trip in late summer, I wanted to provide plenty of food options. One idea was to try gels which I had rarely consumed before. The Clif Shot Energy Gels were the most readily available, so I gave them a shot (no pun intended). I used them on several day hikes and backpacking trips to give a quick energy boost. Overall I've consumed them on 5 backpacking trips for a total of 20 days and on multiple day hikes and mountain bike rides.
|Photo courtesy of Clif|
Some examples include the following trips.
Western States Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 3 days; 18 mi (30 km); 1,800 to 4,365 ft (549 to 1,330 m) elevation; 45 to 72 F (7 to 22 C)
Mumford Bar Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 2 days; 13 mi (21 km); 2,640 to 5,360 ft (805 to 1634 m) elevation; 53 to 90 F (12 to 32 C)
Desolation Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California; 3 days; 19.5 mi (31.4 km); 6,560 to 8,220 ft (2,000 to 2,505 m) elevation; 40 to 80 F (4 to 27 C)
Wonderland Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington; 10 days; 100 mi (161 km); 2,600 to 7,200 ft (792 to 2,195 m) elevation; 32 to 62 F (0 to 17 C)
I try to limit my caffeine intake so that when I do use caffeine it is effective against headaches. This means that I don't drink caffeinated beverages daily and probably have some caffeine every few weeks or so. This allows products like Excedrin or just plain coffee to be useful for me in controlling migraines. So, I generally opted for the non-caffeinated gels (Chocolate, Razz and Vanilla). I also consumed the Mocha occasionally and even the Double Espresso a few times (shared).
I liked both the Chocolate and Razz flavors individually, but my absolute favorite was to combine the two of them. My husband and I often shared this combo since I usually didn't want to consume two packets at one time. I also liked the Mocha flavor quite a bit. I am a fan of coffee flavor and found the Mocha flavor to be especially good since it also contains cocoa. The Double Espresso has a strong coffee flavor and is less desirable to me just due to being pretty strong. The Vanilla was my least favorite…ok, let's just admit that I loathed it. I am a great lover of vanilla and was disturbed to see that there is NO vanilla extract in the ingredient list. It did not remind me of vanilla at all.
Texture and Color:
I have had similar products in the past that were mostly reminiscent of prepared icing with an opaque white-based color. The Clif Shots are different in that they are a clear gel. The Chocolate, Mocha, Vanilla and Double Espresso are all brown in color which makes sense for all but the Vanilla. I was expecting the Vanilla to be a lighter (whitish) color. When I saw that it was brown, I realized that it was due to the vanilla extract which is brown. Then when I read the ingredient list and saw no vanilla extract I just thought it was odd. My hiking partners even commented on its color when I shared one with them. The Razz is a red color which would be expected from raspberry juice.
The texture is similar to a thin version of a clear fruit jam or jelly and is much more palatable to me than those icing-like products. It is too thick to simply drink and I found myself chewing it. It sounds odd to chew a gel but the density actually made this pleasurable to me. It isn't exactly like eating something but it gave me satisfaction of enjoying and savoring the flavor.
Packaging, Convenience & Results:
I typically consumed a gel when I needed an energy boost to get me up that last push of elevation or for another hour until something more substantial could be consumed. I liked that they provided an easy way for me to keep my blood sugar constant without having to stop for frequent snacks.
I found the packaging to be very convenient. They fit easily in my pants pocket or in my pack hip pocket so that I could easily access one during activity. They pack easily since they slip into small spaces and are durable so that I didn't have to worry about what they'd come in contact with. I've never had one puncture or leak. My favorite thing about the packaging is the 'litter leash'. It is a simple yet ingenious way of keeping the top tab of the package that is torn open attached to the rest of the package. It worked without fail and certainly keeps lots of small package tabs from littering the trail.
The Clif Shot Energy Gels are a convenient and compact way to carry and consume quick energy without having to stop hiking.
THEY GOT IT RIGHT
Good taste (except for Vanilla)
Great packaging especially the litter leash
Quick, convenient energy boost
Taste of Vanilla flavor
Lack of flavor variety for caffeine-free versions
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith