Sunday, August 7th, 2011
Energy Drinks and the Hardcore Hunter
We looked at Energy Shots a while back and decided to revisit the issue this time around with the Energy “Drink”. As most self proclaimed “Hard-Core Hunters” will attest, our obsession with hunting is more than just a hobby as our families would have us believe. Getting up at O-dark Thirty is not really a choice. We have to do it, it’s in our blood. The urge to hunt is more powerful than the desire to roll over and keep on snoozing. Unfortunately, there are many other responsibilities in our lives (besides hunting) that we sometimes don’t have the available energy to accomplish after a long day’s hunt but have no choice in the matter. You know, the day to day grind of honey-do lists, children’s sporting events, home projects and of course the day job. I’m finding it much harder as I approach 40 to get a turkey hunt in before reporting for work and still having enough energy to stay awake through dinner. So in our quest for finding that extra boost, we decided to examine a variety of Energy “Drinks”. Here’s the lineup and what we thought of each (click on the logo above the description of each brand to visit the website of each)
(8.4 oz) $1.46 each if bought by the case
While we were originally interested in the Sugar Free variety of the XL brand, Aaron from www.xldrink.com sent along two other versions of the XL drink as well. The sugar free version was good (and only 10 calories!), but the cranberry drink exceeded expectations. Not only is there only 120 calories associated with the cranberry, it tasted excellent as well. I wasn’t used to an energy drink having so few calories. The regular XL drink has 110 calories and also tasted great. I could certainly get used to this brand at less than $1.50 a can! The XL Energy Drink gets our “Best Value” for the taste award in this review.
(8.4 oz) $1.99 each
This drink contains the a synthetic version of the secretion of the larvae of the Giant Asian Hornet and takes a little bit different angle on how the body obtains energy from this drink. The synthetic secretion contains amino acids which are supposed to metabolize fat stores and turn it into energy, just as these amino acids do for the Asian Hornet (allowing them to fly fast for great distances). When we heard that Killer Buzz could give us extra energy while helping us with our…….um…….excess fat storage, we were all over it. An extra bonus to this drink is that these amino acids (9 out of 10 in fact) contained in Killer Buzz are needed by our body. So you can almost think of this product as an energy burning, energy giving, daily multi-vitamin of sorts. Ok, so this drink has a great name and a cool concept but does it work? After our testing, I can conclude that this drink works about as well as any other energy drink but the fat burning aspect was……….well…….inconclusive! This drink does go very well with “mixed drinks” however. The kind that you might have after a long hunt.
(3.4 oz) $4.99 a bag
One thing I like about Energy Drink companies is their affinity for cool marketing schemes. Harcos Labs takes the cake on their marketing ploy as well as their packaging. The Blood Energy actually looks like blood and comes in a bag type container that looks like you could hang it from an I.V. The Zombie blood is a weird green color and has the biohazard markings on the same style bag. There are actually bloody finger prints on the bags! Awesome idea, especially since I referenced in my opening paragraph that hunting is in my “blood”! I thought they looked really creepy hanging on my picket fence out back (pictured above).
The taste of these two energy drinks was surprisingly very good. A little thicker than we expected but we’re guessing that is what gives it the “blood-like” appearance in the bag. The first time we chugged down on these drinks, we pulled up along side our fishing buddies in our boat and asked if they wanted anything from our cooler. We pulled out the “blood bags” and drank up! Needless to say, our fishing partners were pretty curious about our drink of choice and wouldn’t stop asking us “What was in that bag?” all day long.
The look on your friend’s faces will be priceless when you take these energy drinks out of your pack and start squeezing the bag into your mouth for a new style energy source.
(8.4 oz. cans) $38.62 per case of 24, $1.61 a can)
Another great 20 calorie choice is Ex Slim Energy Drink which boasts all natural ingredients, including one called “Kombucha” to promote an overall sense of well being. Ginseng (for stamina and boosted immune system) as well as Guarana (natural caffeine as the “energy” aid) are also found in this drink. So apparently, this one gets you pumped and mellows you out at the same time. I found this drink to have the least “Soda-like” taste to it of all the energy drinks. For some reason, it had what I would describe as a hint of cocoa taste but that could have just been me. I like the idea of boosted stamina with a relaxed mentality with this drink. Might be a good one to try on the way to the deer stand.
(16 oz. can, $1.99 – $2.50 a can)
I’m not thrilled with how much sugar is contained in the original versions of Rockstar, however I like the taste of Sugar Free Rockstar. They use artificial sweetener that doesn’t taste like crap but in a way the size of this can is almost a little bit of overkill for our hunting purposes. Drinking one of these on the truck ride to the hunting area is probably not the smartest thing to do during deer season. It’s 16 ounces of kick but you’ll be paying for it in the stand trying to hold it in your bladder. I would like to see a smaller version of this drink with the same energy kick. However, if your back from a hunt and needing to check some items off that “honey-do” list, give this drink a try.
(16 oz. can, $1.99 – $2.50 a can)
Similar sentiments with taste and size as written above. For some reason, the Lo Carb Monster tastes more like a soda to me and is a little more tart than the aforementioned Rockstar. It has approximately the same level of energy boost as the above Rockstar with all of it’s 16 oz. I have grown quite accustomed to mixing this beverage with spiced rum and making a cocktail of sorts on those nights out on the deck.
Summary on Energy Drinks:
For “on the go” daily hunting purposes, we like the XL and Killer Buzz. They are smaller, and can fit easily in your pack or pocket. On the other hand, the Blood Energy or Zombie Blood can be opened more quietly in your treestand and has the added bonus of being a hit at this year’s hunting camp! The upside to the Rockstar and Monster is that they can be obtained virtually anywhere that has a cash register. Get ya some of each and let us know what you think!