Skratch's Sport Hydration Mix keeps your mineral levels in check, gives you an energy boost, and keeps your mind at ease. The American brand makes a big deal about its mixes being verified non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and kosher, which is important for many, but what I'm more pleased about is that they taste good and perform well, with the only drawback being price.
- Pros: Seem to work, subtle flavour/pleasant taste, easily digestible
- Cons: Pricey
Skratch has been making hydration powders for a while now, but this Sport range is an updated formula, with 10% more sodium to better match what's lost in sweat, which it claims results in almost double the key electrolytes per litre than leading traditional sports drinks. Another update to the new range is the introduction of two new flavours, Passion Fruit and Strawberry. These join Orange, Lemon and Lime, and Matcha Green Tea & Lemon.
First things first, and perhaps the easiest to comment on: the flavour. Obviously, all of this is very subjective, but having tried them all, for me there are definite hits and misses. The Passion Fruit, and Lemon and Lime flavours are both favourites, with the Strawberry being far down the pecking order. I'm not a fan of strawberry flavoured anything (jam, jelly, etc) so this guy was on the back foot to start with. I was a little nervous about the Green Tea flavour too, as I'm not a fan of that overtly herbal taste, but was pleasantly surprised by how subtle this was, and with some lemon it's light and refreshing.
This variant does include some caffeine from the green tea element, but at 16mg per serving it's almost irrelevant, with most caffeine gels offering around 40mg per shot, or hydration tabs from SIS and High5 offering around 75mg per serve.
As a general point on the flavouring, all the Skratch mixes offer very subtle flavours, more akin to water that has had the fresh fruit sitting in it for a few hours, gently infusing, as opposed to the more overtly sweet flavour of some drink mixes more like a cordial or fruit juice. This makes it easy to drink and refreshing, but somehow doesn't feel as thirst-quenching when you want some sweetness during a hard ride.
One benefit is that they sit easily in the stomach. Sometimes, an overly sweet and sugary energy drink can leave you feeling a bit sick and bloated over a long session, whereas Skratch's more delicate flavouring and carbohydrate content make it something you could drink all day on an epic sportive or training ride if needs be.
Judging how well a product hydrates you is very tricky. However, I used the mixes on a three-hour ride in temperatures around 25 degrees and a two-hour turbo session and I didn't feel dehydrated afterwards.
A single serve of the mix provides 20g carbohydrate, which is light compared to a full-on 'energy drink', as most competitor drinks provide around 40g per serving. However, most electrolyte tablets contain no carbs at all, meaning that Skratch sits somewhere in the middle, which perhaps make them a good option for shorter rides or if you find full-on energy drinks a little harsh on the teeth and stomach.
One small point that I do like about this product is that, while the powders are available in large 440g bags to keep at home, they're also available in small single servings, which are around the size of the little sachets of instant coffee that mysteriously find their way into your bag when you visit a budget hotel. This makes them great for carrying on a long ride where you're going to need to stop to top up your bottle along the way.
Price-wise, the single serve sachets are quite pricey at £1.35 each, while the big bags work out at 75p a serving. If you compare this to non-carb electrolyte tablets, such as Wiggle's hydration tablets, which cost £2.99 for 20 servings, or a 10-tablet tube of Nuun for £6.99, you realise that they are towards the top end of the market. However, given the natural flavourings and the various diets they are compatible with, I'd say it's acceptable.
A nicely flavoured hydration mix with the benefit of a small dose of carbohydrate – it's pricey though
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix
Size tested: 440g
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These drinks powders are designed to keep you hydrated on a ride, replacing the essential minerals that are lost in sweat during exercise. Their carbohydrate content also gives an energy boost.
Flavouring is provided via real fruit so as to be kind on the stomach.
Skratch Labs says, "Sport Hydration Drink Mix is a new and improved version of our original Exercise Hydration Mix with 10% more electrolytes and certified Non GMO to be even more effective than before. It was created to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat using real fruit for flavor. This gives it a light taste that will delight your taste buds without offending your belly. We know you push yourself to be your best and this product was made to help you. When it comes to getting your hydration right, this is as simple as it gets. And as usual, simple is good."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
As part of an improved formula from Scratch, the powder has an extra 10% more sodium to better match what's lost in sweat, resulting in almost double the key electrolytes per liter than leading traditional sports drinks. One serving contains 20g carbohydrate, and 380mg sodium.
Skratch Labs says:
These drink mixes are verified non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and kosher.
Matcha Green Tea & Lemon contains about 16 mg of naturally occurring caffeine from the Matcha tea per 16 fl oz. For comparison, an 8 oz cup of coffee has 70-100 mg of caffeine. Read more here.
Available in 20 serving and 60 serving (Lemon & Lime only) resealable bags and single serve pouches (all 16 fl oz/500ml servings).
Lemon & Lime: cane sugar, dextrose, sodium citrate, citric acid, magnesium lactate, calcium citrate, potassium citrate, lemon oil, lime oil, lemon juice, lime juice, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Oranges: cane sugar, dextrose, sodium citrate, citric acid, oranges, magnesium lactate, calcium citrate, potassium citrate, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Matcha & Lemon: cane sugar, dextrose, sodium citrate, citric acid, matcha green tea, magnesium lactate, calcium citrate, potassium citrate, lemon oil, lemon juice, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Contains about 16 mg of naturally occurring caffeine from the Matcha tea (per 16 fl oz.). For comparison, an 8oz cup of coffee has 70-100 mg of caffeine.
Strawberries: Cane Sugar, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Strawberries, Citric Acid, Magnesium Lactate, Calcium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
Passion Fruit: Cane Sugar, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Passion Fruit, Citric Acid, Magnesium Lactate, Calcium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
The taste is very good for all of the flavours. I was less a fan of strawberry, but that is a personal preference, and this variant was still palatable enough.
It's quite hard to judge how well the drinks actually hydrated me, but on a longer turbo session and a ride in the heatwave, I used the drinks and felt no sense of dehydration afterwards.
The same goes for the carbohydrate content and energy delivery. The 20g of carbohydrate is quite a low dose, so it's hard to quantify the effectiveness.
At £26.95 for 20 servings (£1.35/serving), or £14.95 for a bag containing 20 servings (75p/serving) this product isn't cheap. Compared to zero carbohydrate electrolyte tablets, which typically cost £5-7 for 20 tablets, Skratch comes up very expensive. However, given these drink mixes also include carbohydrate, it's perhaps fairer to compare them to energy drinks, in which case they are more in line with competitors.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I didn't feel dehydrated after a couple of particularly hot and sweaty test rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The flavours are good, and subtle. The real fruit flavouring make them easy to stomach. I like the small single sachets, which can be carried easily to top up your bottles on a longer ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Skratch hydration mix is a nice tasting, very natural drink powder. It sits in between an electrolyte mix and a full-on energy powder, offering you the best of both worlds. It's expensive, but still warrants a 7 overall I'd say.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding