Today we are testing the new Rapid Hydration System from Honey Stinger. This is a three-part system that features a “Prepare, Perform, and Recover” set of options. There are 6 total flavors, with 2 flavors in each category.
In the world of sports drinks and electrolyte mixes there are scores of choices. You may already have your favorite, or you may be looking for a new one. Either way, here are some thoughts on the Honey Stinger system.
First, I think it’s important to give you some background on my own history with drink mixes. I’ve tried well over a dozen in trials like this one, and also tried several more at races or by taking them on test runs because a friend turned me onto something different. Over the past couple of years I have settled on a well known brand due to it not affecting my gut in a negative way, which is kind of big deal as an ultra runner. Even though I have sampled other things, I have always returned to what I know works.
With that said, I happen to also love the Honey Stinger brand, and currently use their waffles and performance chews. Their name brand recognition has gained them a strong foot-hold in the ultra running community as a solid choice for fueling. For these reasons I was very excited to have a chance to review this product.
Like all of their products, honey is more than just part of their name, it’s a primary ingredient. The same can be said for their new hydration system. Where this mix differs from many others is in the addition of sodium, while eliminating glucose in chemical form. What this means is better absorption of carbohydrates during intense, and/or long workouts. However, quick note, these are obviously not vegan.
I started with the Pomegranate Passionfruit, which is one of the 2 Prepare flavors. The flavor was good and also subdued, meaning it wasn’t overpowering. As suggested, I drank this about an hour before heading out for a run. A quick note about the packaging seems important here. The easy tear-off top means this can easily be something to load into your vest or pack and be able to add to water at an aid station or water fountain. The packets were super easy to open.
Next, I loaded up 2 soft flasks with both flavors of Perform, one in each, along with a 3rd flask of straight water, and headed out for a day in the hills. The first flavor I had on tap was Black Cherry. After having the Passionfruit, I expected all the flavors to be of a similar nature, meaning they wouldn’t be very strong. I was very wrong, although, not in a bad way. Let’s just say that the flavors are far sweeter than I was prepared for, but after a few sips I found myself really enjoying both flavors. I fully went through both and prefer the Mango, as it really tastes like it. But it’s important to point out that they are quite sweet.
During the run I ingested a couple of gels and a couple of waffles, all of which went down like usual. The noted benefit was actually feeling like I was more full than usual, but not bloated by any means. I’m believing the sodium content, along with the honey, was the right combination to allow my body to more properly take in the calories from my fuel. It certainly was a good outing.
Once I got home, I mixed up the Tangerine Defense flavor and was treated to a really nice drink that was more like the Passionfruit, which was far more mellow.
The following weekend, I tried the Strawberry Lemonade option for my pre-run prep, then enjoyed the Berry Defense flavor when I got home. Both were tasty and both were mellow, without any weird after-taste or sugary let down.
It’s massively beneficial to also note that at no time did I feel sick or have any gut issues while using this product. In looking at hydration options it is crucial to find one that works for your own digestive system. Since every one of us is different, there is no one size fits all hydration mix out there. With that in mind, Honey Stinger has a really great sample pack that allows you to try 2 of every flavor for a great price, without investing in a single part of the system to start.
Overall, I give the product 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a higher mark is the cost. Other options out there are well under a dollar per serving, with nearly identical benefits. Honey Stinger has produced a great hydration option, and one I may return to from time to time, especially since the flavors are quite good.