Monday, September 10, 2012

GU and HydraPak Review and Giveaway!




Ok... time for a quick shift over to a new fuel review, along with a give away.. just because I love giving stuff away whenever I get the opportunity!

Woolly Mammoth Insulated Bottle


Over the last few months I've had an opportunity to try out a variety of GU Energy Labs products, as well as a really great hydration bottle from HydraPak.


Ok... first off, my impressions about the GU Energy Lab products that I tried.  I sampled a variety of products that you can see in the first pic above. There was a variety of the standard GU Gels, as well as the Roctane variety.  Additionally, I tried out some hydration drinks in the form of drink mixes, and dissolving tablets.  Finally, there were a few energy Chomps as well. 

I've been experimenting a bit with different ways to fuel my runs. Since most of my runs now fall under 3 hours, I generally don't have to carry a lot, but I'm looking to continue to extend distance/time.  In May, I did  a review of Nuun, as well as Clif Shot Bloks which you can read here. 

As far as the gels go, I'm finding that you have to find the right flavors that work for you... if it's not a real favorite, it makes choking one down a few hours into a run kind of difficult. Regardless of the brand, I find that taking in a gel gets kind of old over time... and not really appealing.  However, from a GU perspective, I really enjoyed the Peanut Butter gel, as well as the Roctane Cherry-Lime or Island Nectar..  those seemed to go down the easiest, but I would recommend trying different ones out. Compared to other gels I've tried, the GU gels can also be a little thick... especially when temps are low.    Also, I find it difficult to fumble around with the gel packs while on the run.  To that end, Hydrapak does make a gel flask, that allows you to combine multiple gels into one container and allows easier dispensing.

Hydrapk SoftFlask


I have not tried this out yet, but since I have one here, I'm going to give it away, along with the selection of GU products pictured above.  If you can't stand the excitement, you can jump down to the bottom of the post and enter now... just come back and finish reading? :-)

I think the gel flask would eliminate opening multiple packets and also allow you to dispense your gel spread out over time.  The flask is small and flexible so would be easy to pack.  I'm really hoping to get an opportunity to try out another Hydrapak product called the Gel-bot, which combines your hydration and gel dispenser into one unit.

But as usual, I am getting sidetracked.  Let me finish up on the GU products. I found the GU Chomps to be a great way to fuel.  In my prior review I covered the Clif Shot Bloks which are a similar products. The GU Chomps are similar, however I found them to be a little less sticky, and just a tad smaller so it was easier to consume on the fly... however I still recommend caution that if you are huffing and puffing like I do... slow down so you don't inhale one!

The only con I have to GU products is that I wish they would use more natural ingredients, like Clif does.  Granted, I'm not a nutritional scientist, but for the most part, sugar based carbs are probably all the same.  But, I'm still much more inclined (pun intended) to go with as much organic and natural based fuels as I can.  For that reason I'm experimenting with my own food based energy sources as well. Regardless, as far as performance goes, the GU products provided me the necessary boost I need to keep plugging away, so no issues there.

Now, as far as the hydration tablets go, I really did like those. Compared to the Nuun tablets I've used, I noticed that the ingredients are basically the same, however GU seems to pack a little more sodium from a % stand point. My favorite combo? The strawberry-lemonade tablet dropped into a bottle that is half coconut water, half water.


Speaking of hydration, I have also been running with another Hydrapak product.. the Woolly Mammoth insulated bottle.

So what's cool about this bottle? It's a double walled, light-weight polyproplylene bottle that includes a layer of Primaloft insulation.  What is Primaloft? It's that amazing, lightweight insulating material found in serious mountaineering jackets etc...   And in the case of this bottle, works amazingly well.  What I noticed right off when holding the bottle was how warm my hand got, and how quickly.  I've not tried other insulated bottles, but apparently this outperforms all other insulated bottles on the market.

I generally run in the early mornings, so not as concerned about the temp of my drinks, but I did try it out on a few warm afternoons.  The bottle did surprisingly well at keeping drinks cold, especially if you tossed some ice in to start.  I also swapped it with the bottle in my Nathan handheld and I notice that I wasn't freezing my hand off like I've done before loading a cold bottle into the holder.  I haven't tried this yet, but the Woolly Mammoth works equally well with hot/warm drinks in cold weather.  Since we are rapidly heading that way in the Colorado mountains, I'll get an opportunity to try this when it gets nice and cold in the AM.

Ok... thanks for grinding through another verbose review.  And as usual, if I missed anything or you have questions or feedback on your own experiences, let me know!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... giveaway time! I swear I love giving stuff away as much as I do winning stuff... well almost :-)  Enter below to win the collection of GU products pictured at the top, as well as a Hydrapak SoftFlask gel dispenser.

Follow the instructions on each option below to earn entries.  Contest will close on Saturday, September 15th, at 10PM MST.  Winners will be selected at random from all entries using random.org.   Contest limited to residents of  the U.S. and Canada. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway





22 comments:

Anthony Matesi said...

I use GU for all my big runs and races. I've been getting the assortment packs on The Clymb.

Mike Neifert said...

Please pick me!

fitz1j said...

Love the reviews! And the contests. Thanks. I've been a GU user forever. I stick with Vanilla GU. I've only tried the GU Brew recovery, but I want to try their beverage products some more. Thanks again.

Stacey said...

On warm days when running more than 1 hour I use NUNN in my water and bring along either Cliff shot bloks, honey stinger energy chews or sharkies. During races I bring along shot bloks and an anergy gel, usually expresso.

Ed said...

I don't fuel since I go on long runs as of late....BUT when I do go on long runs I tend to use H20. So with that said I would love to try GU to see how much it helps...and work on getting my mileage up!

Andy V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy V said...

Forget to add this part. I use water and Honey Stinger Waffles typically. I like something with substance. Haven't ran past 15 yet but know I will be doing more than experimenting with the GU here and there. I Gatorade after long runs and will sometimes mix Gatorade with water on those longer runs too.

I think that Soft Flask is a great idea. My mouth doesn't get cut but it gets packet scrapes from the way GU/Cliffshots/etc. products are packaged. I also like the idea of not drinking warm water at the end of runs so a bottle like this would help. Crossing my fingers and toes for some freebies. Don't twat or stealuridentitybook, but posted to my blog. http://runacerun.blogspot.com/2012/09/30-mile-week.html

Unknown said...

love GU as an energy supplement on runs, but REALLY excited about this soft pouch!!!! makes PERFECT SENSE!

Lorraine Heyes said...

not tried any GU products, but the tablets sound interesting!

Wazzup said...

I hate GU's (not the brand, just any one). They all taste foul and are way too expensive. I do keep one or two in my running backpack though for emergency's (for like when I get really lost)

I do like the soft flask though.. I could make my own fluid food much thicker and put it in there (as opposed to bottle I drink it from now)

Coy Martinez said...

The little box above is acting weird on my computer screen. The one where I try and enter to win the beloved GU. I eat about 5-6 GU's a week when running. I want ALL OF THOSE :)

notimetow8.com said...

Love GU Brew. I have not had a chance to try the GU energy gels yet. In the past I have used Clif shots and they left a lot to be desired. Would love to try the GU ones.

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

I use clif shot blocks and good old h20 to fuel on my long runs. I'm a sucker for gummy stuff, feels like i'm eating candy, lol.

Damien Tougas said...

Right now I just use water (my runs aren't very long), but as they get longer I may start to try some of these.

Freakwency said...

I primarily hydrate with water and on longer runs, water with chia seeds. I have tried Gu shots in the past and liked them, but these are rough economic times ;).

muddyj.com said...

I usually rehydrate with whatever I can get from the water stations... on long runs I will bring along a camel bak with h2o... I like to refuel with "sport beans" before and after long runs (6+ miles)

Durty Feets said...

I'm mostly a water guy these days. Fuel is usually dates or sport beans because they are available at Walmart.

Angie Bee said...

I like clif products and GU but always have nuun and sometimes eat dates.

M. Louise Cunningham said...

I usually stick with water and or gatorade. I dont know much about the other products as I'm still kinda new to running!

Elle said...

For shorter runs, just water... anything over 6 miles I have used nuun, ZipFizz, Clif Shot Bloks, Chocolate #9 and GU gels.

Gabby Sida said...

Water and Power Bar Energy Gels

Laurel C said...

I always have water, sometimes with Nuun or Gu Brew, and either Gu gels or dates