Give them a try
Months ago I went out and bought two of almost every brand of gel I could find in the store. With long training runs and a lot of races I get to use gels fairly often. I recommend that you personally try a few different brands and flavors to find what works best for you. My taste buds and stomach say one thing, but yours say something completely different.
Hammer Gels where the first gel for me to try. I like them a lot, not too sweet, not too tart. They are thicker than GU’s but thinner than Clif Shots. They seem to sit a little heavier on my stomach and need a little more water than others. I really like hammer gels, it doesn’t feel really gritty or sugary on your teeth when you use for a while. I just wish that the creative packaging (the hammer shape) didn’t get caught on everything.
The only one I have used so far
This is the only gel that I have used so far so I have nothing to compare it to, but I do like the effect. I took this gel about 15 minutes before I ran 7 miles. It did not bother my stomach at all, in fact it made my stomach wall feel like it was lightly coated, kind of like taking pepto bismol. The taste was not bad, I had the apple cinnamon but taste bud is truely a personla preference so I can't speak for you. I have not used these mid-race yet, and I am a bit concerned because you need a good swig of water to wash it down. I guess just use it near a water stop during a race to solve that issue.
I took about 6 of these on my 16 mile Half Dome hike. They aren't the easiest things to choke down, but they are a lot better than some of the others I've tried. The consistency is somewhat like a half-melted gummy bears... Not that appetizing. Of all the flavors, I favored the Huckleberry one the best. The energy they give you is undeniable, which is more important than the taste in my book. Definitely a must-have for any strenuous hike / activity!
Works so well you can get over the taste
I used these at the halfway point on the bike in a few olympic distance tris last year and they really give me a great sustained boost that lasted all the way through the run. For whatever reason, the Hammer Gels had a staying power that some other gels/chews that I've tried did not. Personally, I hate the taste of these things (hence the 4 stars), but performance wise they're the best I've used.
These are the best ones so far
This helped me get through the last 2 miles of my long run, just when I wanted to quit. I don't like sugary sweet gels but this one tasted pretty good and it was just like doing a shot of espresso - except in gel form. I didn't think I'd find a gel that I liked, but I went back to REI and bought a bunch more, all in Espresso flavor.
Best gel there is!
The best thing about Hammer Gel is that is easily mixes with other Hammer calorie replacement or electrolyte drink mixes. I mix chocolate gel with unflavored Perpetuem and Sustained Energy to give it a chocolate milk flavor. Orange, Vanilla, and raspberry also work well. While not scientific, if it mixes this easily with drinks, it must break down quickly on its own.
If I could live on this stuff, I would..
I bounced around a few other gels before I landed on Hammer. This stuff is fantastic. It's not too sugary, so it's easy on the stomach. I'm a huge fan of the espresso flavor. It's gotten me through a couple of Ironman races as well as a few marathons. Recently, it helped me to a 2:42 marathon with no issues.
Red Rider Watching Sugar Intake
I carry 3 of these when I ride my bicycle, and use them when feel my sugar levels dropping after 25 miles in the pedals. I find the Raspberry taste is very acceptable.
I find it is always difficult to locate low sugar items that can provide a boost when it is needed.
Awesome taste and great energy boost
These gels are great in taste and provide a great energy boost. Took 6 of these packs on a century bike ride and kept me going nicely. If you're unsure of which flavors to try, I would recommend getting the sampler, which provides a flavor of each along with the powdered drinks.
Great for on the slopes!
It's so easy to toss a few packets of gel in your pockets on the way to the hill. Eat one on the lift when you're feeling a little hungry and you won't have to stop at the lodge for overpriced junk food!