HONEY STINGER ORGANIC ENERGY GEL
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
May 04, 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: Honey Stinger
|Photo courtesy of Honey Stinger|
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.honeystinger.com
MSRP: $1.35 US for a single packet; $32.40 US for a box of 24
Listed Weight: 1 oz (32 g) contents of package
Measured Weight: 1.2 oz (34 g) in package
Flavors available: Vanilla, Fruit Smoothie, Acai & Pomegranate
Flavors tested: All three
Made in USA
Best By Date: 18 months from date of manufacture
Best By Date (on wrapper): 02/14
Ingredients (same for all three flavors): Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, sodium chloride. Contains 95% organic ingredients.
Allergens: Packaged on equipment shared with milk products.
May Contain: milk, egg, soy and shellfish products
Total Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 50 g
Potassium: 50 g
Total Carb: 23 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 13 g
Protein: 0 g
Honey Stinger Organic Gel is carbohydrate and electrolyte mixture in a gel form that is easily digestible for use during athletic activity. The carbohydrates are a blend of both simple (honey) and complex (tapioca syrup) carbs in order to give a quick boost of energy and some sustained energy. This is the main difference from their classic gel which uses honey solely as the carbohydrate source. The electrolytes are in the form of sodium, magnesium and potassium. 95% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic. They have no added vitamins.
They contain no caffeine unlike many other gels that I have tried. I generally avoid caffeine and most 'energy' products seem to feel the need to add caffeine, so I really appreciate that these contain none. The gels do not have any gluten but they are made in a facility that processes gluten. In between production runs the lines are meticulously cleaned. Since they contain honey, they are not vegan-friendly.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
The gels arrived in a similar package and size as most of the other gels that I have tried. Several of them were quite sticky but I couldn't find any broken package. I washed them off with clear water and it seemed to remove the residue.
Since vanilla is my favorite flavor in general, I decided to try it first. The package is easy to tear open but leaves a pesky small piece of trash similar to ones I see on many trails. I am always careful to find these and get them in a secure place so that I don't contribute to the litter.
The vanilla gel has a clear light amber color and flows easily. It is more the consistency of light syrup versus a gel and is runnier than any other gel that I've tried. The taste was very good and was like a genuine vanilla flavor rather than some vanilla flavorings that taste artificial to me.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The website says that consumption every 30-45 minutes will help keep your blood sugar elevated resulting in increased output and endurance.
Honey Stinger developed these gels with Lance Armstrong and is a sponsor of cycling teams where the required energy is a bit different than that for backpacking. But for a quick burst of energy on the trail at the end of the day or before a big climb it may be just what I need.
The Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are a convenient and compact way to carry and consume quick energy without having to stop hiking.
- Good taste
- No caffeine
- Quick, convenient energy boost
- Would prefer a way to keep the tear off tab attached to reduce litter
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I took the gels with me for backpacking, snowshoeing, hiking and mountain biking.
Loon Lake Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 nights; 16.2 mi (26 km); 6,327 to 7,030 ft (1,928 to 2,143 m) elevation; 22 to 50 F (-5 to 10 C); clear to cloudy conditions with light wind. Snow conditions were packed powder of 4 ft (1.2 m) depth.
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days; 10 mi (16 km); 6,327 to 6,500 (1,928 to 1,981 m); 34 to 59 F (1 to 15 C) with clear conditions.
Mount Rose, Carson Range, Nevada: 8,900 to 9,300 ft (2,713 to 2,835 m) elevation; 29 to 33 F (-2 to 0 C); clear conditions with little breeze. Snow conditions were deep powder.
Donner Lake State Park, California: 5,935 to 6,362 ft (1,809 to 1,939 m) elevation; 35 F (2 C); mostly sunny conditions. Snow conditions were moderate depth powder.
Cronan Ranch East Ridge, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 mi (6 km); 743 to 1,262 ft (226 to 385 m) elevation; 50 to 55 F (10 to 13 C); mostly sunny conditions.
Western States Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 12.8 mi (20.6 km); 715 to 1,200 ft (218 to 366 m); 55 to 70 F (13 to 21 C).
South Fork American River Trail, California: 13 mi (21 km); 800 to 1,200 ft (240 to 370 m) elevation; 50 to 64 F (10 to 18 C); mostly cloudy conditions.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I liked the gels for a quick burst of energy on strenuous sections of trail. On the Mount Rose snowshoe hike I had eaten a healthy lunch of complex carbs and protein but as we hit a steep climb in deep powder I could feel the need for some simple carbs. I pulled out a gel and appreciated the boost it gave me to get to the top.
I tried using the gels in different ways rather than just eating them directly from the package. For one I used them with nut butter or sunflower seed butter on tortillas or bread. The gels are quite runny so I found it to work best to just add the gel one bite at a time otherwise it was dripping off before I could eat it. I also tried the vanilla gel in hot tea which was quite tasty by using about half a package. A whole package made a large cup of tea too sweet for me.
The taste of the gels have a predominant flavor of honey since they contain so much of it and I find that to be very good since I am a fan of honey.
I wish the tear tab had a section to connect it to the rest of the package so that it wouldn't be so easy to lose. I am very careful not to drop these and cause litter but I see them everywhere on the trails not just of this brand but from the many brands that use this type of packaging.
Overall I like the flavor of the Honey Stinger gels better than other gels that I've tried due to the predominant flavor of honey which I like. I found the gels to be a convenient and tasty way to get quick energy in the form of simple carbs.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Quick energy boost
Easy to open
Honey base is yummy
Tear tab is easily dropped
Consistency is runny
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Honey Stinger and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Honey Stinger gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith