Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Nutrition

We Taste-Tested 19 of 2022’s Best (And Weirdest) Drinks, Gels, and Chews

We put dozens of drinks, gels, chews, and bars to the test and picked out best bets for every palate preference—from unflavored to “wow, that’s weird!” These were our favorites.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$2.49 / month*

  • World-class journalism from publications like Outside, Ski, Trail Runner, Climbing, and Backpacker.
  • Outside Watch – Award-winning adventure films, documentaries, and series.
  • Gaia GPS – Premium backcountry navigation app.
  • Trailforks – Discover trails around the globe.
  • Outside Learn – Expert-led online classes on climbing, cooking, skiing, fitness, and beyond.
Join O+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

You can get just about any flavor of sports nutrition these days, from sweet to savory. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose? We put dozens of drinks, gels, chews, and bars to the test and picked out best bets for every palate preference—from unflavored to “wow, that’s weird!” Use this guide to find your favorite flavor for long rides, race day, and more.

RELATED: Triathlete’s Complete Guide to Nutrition and Fueling

Flavor Intensity Key

Mild
★★
★★★
★★★★
★★★★★ Wild
Section divider

LIQUIDS

Tailwind Naked Endurance Fuel

Tailwind Endurance Fuel Naked (Unflavored)

$38 | 50 servings
Flavor: ★
100 calories, 25g carbs, 310mg sodium
$28, 30 servings, rei.com

Slightly sweet, slightly tart, but with no distinctly overwhelming flavor, this “naked” option for calories and electrolytes is well tolerated when syrupy-sweet formulas seem too much. Despite it being a powder, the product mixes cleanly into a standard water bottle without any grittiness or clumping. M.K.

Nuun Citrus Fruit

Nuun Sport Citrus Fruit

$7 | 10 servings
Flavor: ★★
10 calories, 4g carbs, 300mg sodium
$8, 10 servings, rei.com

Plop-plop, fizz-fizz—this effervescent electrolyte drink comes in handy tablets you can dissolve in your water bottle. The citrus fruit flavor is especially popular for a light taste that is well tolerated during rides and runs. K.J.

Skratch Lemon Lime Sport Hydration Mix

Skratch Sport Hydration Lemon & Lime

$20 | 20 servings
Flavor: ★★
80 calories, 21g carbs, 380mg sodium
$20, 20 servings, rei.com

This not-too-sweet lemon-lime blend combats palate fatigue on long rides. With no fructose or maltodextrin, it can also help some triathletes combat GI distress, too. Bonus: Skratch offers single-serving packets for on-the-go replenishment, simply drop in a bottle of plain water and go. S.K.

Gatorade Orange Endurance Formula

Gatorade Endurance Orange

$20 | 38 servings
Flavor: ★★★
90 calories, 22g carbs, 310mg sodium
$29, 38 servings, gatorade.com

If you’re racing an Ironman-branded event this year, chances are you’ll be served this high-sodium formula in tiny paper cups. The orange flavor is exactly the same as you remember it from the giant dispensers at youth baseball games or soccer matches, but the endurance formula packs two times the sodium and three times the potassium. S.K.

Gnarly Fuel2O Cherry Cola

Gnarly Fuel2O Cherry Cola

$35 | 25 servings
Flavor: ★★★
100 calories, 25g carbs, 250mg sodium
$35, 25 servings, gognarly.com

This sports drink powder with a flavor profile reminiscent of a certain popular soda supplies a quick hit of easily digested carbs—perfect for when you need to drink your energy instead of eating it. There’s even a shot of caffeine (from green tea extract) that may help perk up your run, ride, or swim. M.K.

Can of Red Bull

Red Bull Original

$10 | 4 servings
Flavor: ★★★★
111 calories, 26g carbs, 101mg sodium
$3, 1 serving, supermarkets and convenience stories

The most-consumed energy drink on the planet can be a triathlete’s best friend—so long as it’s only consumed on special occasions. The caffeine, sugar, and mild carbonation can be quite nice in the middle of a five-hour ride, or better yet, in your special needs run bag at your next Ironman. B.C.

Boa Blast Berry Infusion

Boa Blast Berry Infusion

$20 | 25 servings
Flavor: ★★★★★
0 calories, 0g carbs, 150mg sodium
$20, 50 sprays, boablast.com

Don’t sip, spray! A two-second “blast” of this berry-flavored liquid delivers 150mg of sodium, absorbed through your mouth’s lining. It’s not a replacement for calories or hydration, but a good boost for water-only hydration plans or in hot and humid climates when traditional sports drinks just won’t cut it. S.K.

RELATED: How Much Salt Do You Need While Training and Racing?

Section divider

GELS

Maurten gel

Maurten

$43 | 12 servings
Flavor: ★
100 calories, 25g carbs, 34mg sodium
$44, box of 12, maurten.com

25g of sugar…yet no flavor whatsoever. This plain goo is designed to match your gut’s osmotic pressure, so the texture is more gelatin than gel. Weird? Yes. Effective? Also yes. K.J.

Endurance Tap Classic

Endurance Tap Classic

$18 | 6 servings
Flavor: ★★
100 calories, 25g carbs, 50mg sodium
$18, pack of 6, endurancetap.com

This thin-consistency gel forgoes the engineered sugars in favor of good old-fashioned maple syrup. A hint of ginger adds a little bit of excitement without feeling too overwhelming. M.K.

Honey Stinger Gold

Honey Stinger Gold

$37 | 24 servings
Flavor: ★★★
110 calories, 26g carbs, 45mg sodium
$2, 1 serving, rei.com

It turns out Mother Nature’s original energy gel still slaps. Honey Stinger Gold is 95% high-quality honey, making it slightly thicker than most energy gels, so bring water. If you’re into simple and delicious fueling, this is it. –B.C.

Hammer Gel Peanut Butter Chocolate

Hammer Gel Peanut Butter Chocolate

$2 | 1 serving
Flavor: ★★★★
90 calories, 20g carbs, 35mg sodium
$2, 1 serving, hammernutrition.com

Why wait until the finish line to treat yourself? This rich peanut butter chocolate gel feels like you’re eating dessert in the middle of your race. K.J.

GU Espresso Love

GU Espresso Love

$36 | 24 servings
Flavor: ★★★★
100 calories, 25g carbs, 60mg sodium
$39, box of 24, guenergy.com

One of the oldest GU flavors is still the gel GOAT, packing a ton of coffee flavor to go with 40mg of caffeine. It’s the ultimate in-case-of-emergency item to keep in your jersey pocket for when you hit the dreaded bonk. B.C.

Science in Sport Turbo+

Science in Sport Turbo+ Blueberry Freeze

$13 | 6 servings
Flavor: ★★★★★
89 calories, 22g carbs, 20mg sodium
$7, pack of 6, scienceinsport.com

A hit of menthol provides the cooling “freeze” flavor in these isotonic gels, which also serve up carbohydrates and a hefty wallop of caffeine (150mg to be precise!). S.K.

RELATED: A Half-Ironman (70.3) Nutrition Plan

Section divider

SOLIDS

Ginger Ale CLIF Bloks

Clif Bloks Ginger Ale

$41 | 18 servings
Flavor: ★
100 calories, 24g carbs, 50mg sodium
$3, 1 serving, rei.com

Similar to fruit snacks or gummy bears, these chews contain extra sodium, carbs, and electrolytes to get you through a big training session or race. The mild ginger ale flavor is a great alternative to the sugary sweetness of typical berry- or chocolate-flavored endurance treats. K.J.

Honey Stinger Cookies and Cream Waffles

Honey Stinger Cookies and Cream Waffle

$18 | 12 servings
Flavor: ★★
140 calories, 21g carbs, 90mg sodium
$18, box of 12, honeystinger.com

You’ll feel like a kid again when fueling with this creamy vanilla center pressed between two chocolatey wafers. Don’t resist the temptation to dip it into a mid-ride Americano—it’s the best pit stop you can imagine. –M.K.

Bearded Brothers Vanilla Pecan Bar

Bearded Brothers Lone Star Vanilla Pecan Bar

$27 | 12 servings
Flavor: ★★
200 calories, 23g carbs, 25mg sodium
$3, 1 serving, rei.com

Did someone order a slice of pie? This real-food combo of vanilla bean, pecans, dates, and cinnamon is a tasty and filling jersey pocket option for long rides. –B.T.

Solely Pineapple Jerky

Solely Pineapple Fruit Jerky

$20 | 12 servings
Flavor: ★★★
70 calories, 17g carbs, 5mg sodium
$20, pack of 12, solely.com

Real-food fuelers, rejoice! This dried-fruit option made from organic pineapple smells great, chews easily, and packs a big natural-sugar punch. –B.T.

Joje Pancake and Bacon

Joje Pancake and Bacon Bar

$36 | 12 servings
Flavor: ★★★★
290 calories, 39g carbs, 180mg sodium
$3, 1 serving, rei.com

Each bite of this bar tastes like a trip to IHOP: maple syrup-slathered flapjacks with a side of bacon, coming right up. The texture has a perfect chew, and there is a nice balance of carbs, fat, and protein to power long training days. –M.K.

Green Bite cricket bar

Green Bite Raw Power Cocoa-Orange Cricket Bar

$27 | 8 servings
Flavor: ★★★★★
349 calories, 33g carbs, 10mg sodium
$3, 1 serving, greenbite.ee

You read that right: crickets. The little critters are consumed globally as a snack, and now you can fuel on them with these sport nutrition bars. You’d never guess they’re the secret ingredient in this rich, chocolatey bar—the taste and texture are surprisingly non-cricket-y. –K.J.

RELATED: How Race Fueling Evolved Beyond Chocolate Bars and Burgers

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.