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DIY Electrolyte Mix for training in the Backcountry

I'm constantly on the lookout for two things when it comes to making nutrition easy and relatable for folks: options that are both inexpensive and effective.

This DIY electrolyte certainly meets the criteria for both of those things.

Electrolyte mixes aren't magic.

They're an assortment of ingredients you already have on hand with ALOT of fancy packaging and expensive marketing.

SODIUM: The most abundant electrolyte lost in sweat.

POTASSIUM: An equally important electrolyte found in sweat and replaced by fruit juice.

FUEL: Not only does the recipe provide adequate AMOUNTS of carbs to replace used stores, it does so with DUAL-SOURCE carbs from both fruit juice (fructose) and sucrose

Here's a much cheaper alternative you can use for training or any trip into the backcountry*. The recipe mirrors the fuel ratio of many commercially made products (about 50-70kcal/8 oz and 110mg of sodium). The best part about the DIY route is you can customize it to your taste and fuel needs during training or your hikes into the backcountry.

Begin by dissolving the sugar and salt in hot water at the bottom of a pitcher. Add in the remaining ingredients and put in the fridge to cool until you're ready to use it.

Remember, this is a starting point. The more you play with the ratios, flavors, and amounts, the closer you'll get to something that not only tastes great, but fuels you well. Admittedly, the downfall is that it'd be tough to haul a bunch of this stuff into the backcountry (however, slide 6 addresses some options to fix that). Enjoy!

Here’s some additional ideas on tailoring to your personal needs:

  • Adjust salt up or down depending on sweat rate and summer months.

  • Increase or decrease juice for desired flavor.

  • Swap juice for others for variety (OJ, Cran, etc.).

  • Adjust sugar content to desired amount based on fueling OR gut tolerance.

  • Add sugar-free packets (Crystal Light) to enhance flavor, but keep kcal/oz the same.

  • Play with ratios in the recipe and an inexpensive powder (Tang, etc.) for DIY option in the backcountry.

For more tips on staying hydrated in the outdoors, check out our articles on overall hydration needs and hydration tips when picking a commercial powder.

*recipe adapted from Sports Nutr. Guidebook (N. Clark, 2008).


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