I don’t know about you, but I’m really bad at drinking water on a multiday trip. While I’d normally manage to down up to 2 litres, plus copious amounts of coffee on a normal day, I get nowhere close to this on backpacking trips. I get thirsty, but the chemical flavour of the tablets I use puts me off and I don’t take enough on board. I’ve lost patience with the pump water filter and I’m not willing to shell out for a UV steriliser as I drink from the stream directly as often as I can.
So I was quite pleased to find the Mountain Fuel drink sachets (Xtreme Energy Fuel), available in blackcurrant and tropical flavours. I’ve used some other similar sachets in the past, but found that they dissolved poorly without using a shaker bottle, and the taste wasn’t too great either. These, while i made them up the previous evening, did mostly dissolve, and had fully by the time I drank them, still need a bit of work to get fully dissolved, but this can be achieved easily in a half full platy (on second attempt!)
So like Oliver Reed at a party, they might mix well, but do they pass muster on the taste test? It has to be a resounding yes. Blackcurrant tastes somewhere between blackcurrant jelly and a black jelly baby, and the tropical is also pretty moreish. You can even dilute them further if you want, and get 2 litres of weaker tasting dring out of a sachet.
Mountain Fuel also make a recovery drink, a bedtime drink and a breakfast. The recovery drink – Ultimate Recovery Fuel – makes up around 4-500ml of chocolate drink with added water, and i found it could be made with little effort in a camping mug. This is just the kind of thing i need after a hard day, but is usually the last thing I can get my hands on. It’s designed to provide the nutrition you need after walking, running or biking, and is a way to replenish your energy as soon as you stop as it packs a mighty 400cals, or just under. It’s usually a matter of pitching tent and a few hours before I normally eat, whereas it’s recommended you do so a lot sooner, so this is definitely going to find itself onto my essential food list.
The Night Fuel drink is a bit of an odd one. Designed to help you sleep, this is again a chocolate drink with a load of calories. The full pack is again just shy of 400 calories, but thankfully it makes 2 drinks that are as good as any other instant hot chocolate I’ve tasted with the added bonus of keeping you full and kept me from snacking after lights out. I’m not sure if this one’s as essential as the others, but i can see it being a useful extra on multiday trips, and being rich in protein it can help you keep warm on those colder wild camps.
Their final offering, Morning Fuel, is an oaty, coconutty concoction that I couldn’t try as I can’t stand coconut. Mark did however give it a go and it falls somewhere between a Ready Brek and a Bounty, but a little gloopy for his tastes. I can certainly vouch for the coconut aspect as I could smell it from my tent! As a no messing breakfast though, it packs around the 400 calorie mark and certainly sets you up for the day. As a comparison, Oats so Simple is under 200 cals and a packet of Complan around 250.
With a trip to Knoydart in the offing this summer, I’m confident that drinks during the day and a recovery drink for when I stop are now sorted, though there are similar products available from Lucozade that might also supplement, if not replace these, it’s difficult to find these individually and the only way I can buy them is in cases of 24 from the Lucozade website. Expect to pay £1.75 for the Mountain Fuel products (Cotswolds in Betws y Coed) or order them in multiples of 5 direct from the manufacturer ( £8.75- 9.75 depending on variety), or a 3 day variety pack of 15 for £24.
On the Plus Side – Reasonably priced, easy to mix, decent flavours.
But not so good – Limited range at the moment (though hopefully that’ll increase) so you’ll need to like coconut for the breakfast!