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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Ola Loa SPORT Hydrating Drink Mix > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Ola Loa SPORT Drink

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - November 21, 2009

Field Report - March 18, 2010

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 56
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 225 lbs (102 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking background has mostly been in Minnesota where I have lived most of my adult life.  My preferred/typical backpack trip has been one week, mostly in the Spring/Fall seasons.  I recently moved to Tucson to take a new job, and am excitedly exploring the surrounding mountain ranges.  I am acclimating to the southern Arizona climate where I find I have to force myself to drink copious amounts of fluids to avoid dehydration.  I normally carry powdered electrolyte drink with me, and mix it at about half-strength when I am hiking.  I normally take a daily multi-vitamin tablet.

Initial Report

Product Facts

Boxes of 30 packets

Ola Loa has a line of four types of powdered drink mixes:
  1. Energy: effervescent multi-vitamin-mineral-amino formula.  A one-a-day multivitamin that is drunk by dissolving in water instead of taken in pill form.
  2. REPAIR: effervescent multi-vitamin targeted for bone and joint pain.
  3. SPORT: hydration electrolyte drink with vitamins.
  4. KIDS: drinkable multi-vitamin for children.
This review is for the sport drink.  Please see the parallel test report on the energy drink to compare and contrast the information on that product.

Product Information
Ola Loa, LLC
Manufacturer website
Year manufactured
SPORT (Energy, KIDS, and REPAIR also available)
Flavors tested
Mango Tangerine, Mixed Berry and Lemon Lime.  These are all of the available SPORT flavors.
US $24.99 for box of 30 packets, or approximately US $1 per packet
Total Weight (measured)
Measurement is average of 10 packets
Lemon Lime 9.1 g (0.32 oz)
Mixed Berry 9.2 g (0.32 oz)
Mango Tangerine 9.5 g (0.34 oz)
Net Weight (specs)
Lemon Lime 7.4 g (0.26 oz)
Mixed Berry 8.0 g (0.28 oz)
Mango Tangerine 8.0 g (0.28 oz)
Packet dimensions 2.75 in x 4 in (7 cm x 10.1 cm), thickness was very small and highly irregular
Serving size (1 packet)
4-6 oz (118-177 ml) of water
Quantity to be tested
30 packets of each flavor were supplied

The discrepancy between measured and manufacturer's weight specification appears to be the packaging, as an empty packet weighs approximately 1 g (0.04 oz)

In the table below, all three flavors have the same nutritional information, though the other ingredients do differ slightly. "*" in the table indicates no recommended daily value has been established.

Product Contents
Mango Tangerine
Mixed Berry
Lemon Lime
Other Ingredients
Fructose, Organic Cane Juice, Citric Acid, Natural Tangerine and Mango Flavor from Fruit, Turmeric, Annato and Maltodextrin (Color), Stevia Fructose, Organic Cane Juice, Natural Flavors from Fruit, Citric Acid, Beet Juice Powder (Color), Stevia Fructose, Organic Cane Juice, Natural Flavors from Fruit, Annato and Tumeric (color), Citric Acid, and Stevia
Nutritional Information
Calories from fat
Total carbohydrates
1 g
1 g
Amount per serving
% Daily Value
Vitamin C
1000 mg
1670 %
Vitamin B1
2 mg
Vitamin B2
2 mg
Vitamin B3
10 mg
Vitamin B6
10 mg
Folic Acid
400 mcg
Vitamin B12
30 mcg
Pantothenic Acid
10 mg
Lipoic Acid
1 mg
Citrus Bioflavonoids
100 mg
200 mg
40 mg
50 mg
100 mg
5 mg
1.5 mg
1 mg
50 mcg
100 mcg
500 mcg
Amino Acids
N-Acetyl Cysteine 50 mg
L-Carnitine 50 mg

L-Glycine 250 mg

TMG- Betaine 250 mg

Notable in the table above are the low amount of calories and sodium.  I am accustomed to drinking Gatorade, which has much higher sugar and salt content.  Of course also notable are the large variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  My hope is drinking this stuff will be like Popeye having his can of spinach!

Initial Inspection

Packet of sport drink

The picture above shows one package of the drink mix.  They are nicely compact and will pack into my backpacking food bag with no issues.

Initial Experiences

The packets open easily with no tools -- they tear open with no problems or spillage.  The powder is easily poured into a water bottle, even with a very small mouth, by forming the packet into a V.  I was able to pour the powder into a bottle without spilling any powder in the process.  The powder dissolved easily with just a few shakes.

I followed my usual procedure and attempted to use the product without first reading the instructions.  I mixed it with 1 L (1 qt) of tap water.  The color seemed a little light, but pleasant.  The taste of the mango tangerine was pleasant, very slightly sweet, but seemed very weak.  I couldn't detect any of the effervescence.

Then I read the package instructions: it called for mixing with 4-6 oz (118-177 ml) of water.  I mixed a packet of the lemon lime with 4 oz (118 ml) of water, and it frothed immediately, and dissolved with no problem with a quick stir.  I took a sip, and it had a very flavorful lemon-lime tang.  Yum.  I quaffed the remainder with one big gulp.

First Impressions

I am really excited to test this product in the field.  I have difficulty staying hydrated in the extremely dry Tucson climate, and I am hoping the nicely flavored sport drink will induce me to drink more.  My initial thoughts include the following.


  • Packaged well for backpacking -- very compact.
  • The two flavors I've tried are delicious.
  • I won't have to worry about a vitamin deficiency.


  • I'll have to pack quite a bit of the powder.  With as many as 8 packets per liter of fluid, I'll have to carry quite a few with me and stow the packaging material.
  • To drink at full strength, it would cost about US$8 per liter.  This is substantially more expensive than the powdered electrolyte drinks I would normally use.
Please return to the site in about 3 months for the Field Report when I've had a chance to use the drink mixes on backpacking trips.

Field Report

Test Conditions

During the Field Report I used the Ola Loa Sport drink as my main hiking hydration supplement.  The product accompanied me on the following hiking trips:

November 14-15, 2009
December 5, 2009 December 6, 2009 January 1, 2010 February 27, 2010 March 1, 2010 March 3, 2010 March 5, 2010 March 6,  2010
Saguaro National Park, just east of Tucson, Arizona in the Rincon Mountains Catalina State Park, Romero Canyon Trail, northeast of Tucson in the Catalina Mountains Picacho Peak State Park, northwest of Tucson Upper Javelina Trail, Tortolita Mountains northwest of Tucson Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson, Arizona Tortolita Mountains, northwest of Tucson, Arizona Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson, Arizona.  Pima Canyon. Chiricahua Mountains, southeastern corner of Arizona.  Echo loop trail in the Chiricahua National Monument. Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson, Arizona.  Bug Spring Trail.
Altitude range
3088 ft to 5979 ft
(941 m to 1822 m)
2758 ft to 3735 ft
(841 m to 1138 m)
1900 ft to 2960 ft
(579 m to 902 m)
2650 ft to 3600 ft
(808 m to 1097 m)
5400 ft to 7200 ft (1646 m to 2195 m) 2400 ft to 2900 ft
(732 m to 884 m)
2900 ft to 3400 ft
(884 m to 1036 m)
6050 ft to 6800 ft
(1844 m to 2073 m)
5850 ft to 6300 ft
(1783 m to 1920 m)
13.81 miles (22.23 km)
About 5 miles
(8 km)
5.1 miles (8.2 km) 6.2 miles
(10 km)
6.0 miles (9.66 km) 4.2 miles (6.76 km) 3.3 miles
(5.31 km)
3.3 miles
(5.31 km)
4.0 miles
(6.44 km)
25 F to 75 F (-4 C to 24 C) and sunny
About 65 F (18 C) and sunny About 60 F (16 C) and sunny About 70 F (21 C) and sunny 52 F to 65 F (11 C to 18 C), mostly cloudy
70 F (21 C), mostly sunny
65F to 70 F (18 C to 21 C), sunny
60 F (16 C), sunny
50 F to 60 F (10 C to 16 C), mostly cloudy with a few rain showers

Saguaro National Park

Ever since I moved to Tucson I had good intentions of doing some backpacking in Saguaro National Park.  There are actually two parts to this park, one on the west side of the city in the Tucson Mountains, and one on the east side in the Rincon Mountains.  I heard the view from the Rincons was spectacular, so on the weekend of November 14th I thought I'd give it a try.

I took one pre-mixed liter of the Sport drink with me on the trip and drank it on the ascent, and brought two packets with me in my food bag for the descent.  In both cases I mixed two packets with 1 liter of water, approximately half-strength from the product recommendations.  I found this strength worked pretty well for me, with enough flavor that I did not tire from drinking plain water, yet not so strong that I felt I was over-dosing on vitamins and minerals and the taste was not cloying.

Other Observations from Day Hikes

Ola Loa Sport in the Tortolitas
Ola Loa Sport in the Tortolitas - Lemon Lime flavor

On each of the day hikes listed in the above table I took 2 L of fluid, 1 L of water, and 1 L of Ola Loa Sport.  In all cases I used 2 packets of powder to 1 L of water, and found this to be a nice amount of flavor.  I liked being able to choose between straight water and the Sport drink on my hikes; sometimes I feel like flavor, sometimes I feel like straight water.

On almost all hikes I finished my 2 L just before returning to the car and trail head.  I typically hike for two to three hours, and here in the desert I will consume just under 1 L per hour on a vigorous hike.

Ola Loa Sport in the Chiricahua National Monument - almost all gone!

Ola Loa Mixed Berry in the Santa Catalina Mountains on the Bug Spring trail


Overall I enjoyed supplementing my daily dose of vitamins with a good-tasting hydration drink.  I found the Ola Loa Sport drink to be very refreshing.

Of the three flavors the Mango Tangerine was the first one to run out, as it was clearly my favorite.  After a morning run or other workout I enjoyed mixing it with fresh orange juice in a 50% blend.

Next was the Lemon Lime flavor.  I particularly liked this one for the trail.

My least favorite was the Mixed Berry.  The color and flavor reminded me a bit of a tropical punch drink, which I do not personally find particularly appetizing.  As the cliche states "there is no accounting for taste", and I wouldn't be surprised if someone else had exactly the opposite opinion of the various tastes.  Even though it was my least favorite, I still had no problem consuming it on the trail.

One of the questions I asked myself at the conclusion of the test was "could I really detect a difference in how I felt as a result of the vitamins and minerals in the drink?"  It is very hard to distinguish the "placebo effect" from a real difference in the impact of the nutrients.  All I can say for sure is I did feel good on the trail after drinking Ola Loa Sport.

What I like about the product

  • Good-tasting drink
  • Nice bubbles
  • Powerful dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids every time I took a drink on the trail
  • Packaging works well for mixing up a drink bottle at home or on the trail

What might be improved

  • Very spendy.  At almost two dollars per liter I would find it difficult to justify the expense of the product unless I could feel certain I was achieving a detectable increase in health and well-being from the nutrients.

Many thanks to Ola Loa and for the opportunity to test this product.

Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Ola Loa SPORT Hydrating Drink Mix > Test Report by Kurt Papke

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