Per the Vital 4U About Us page: “Vital 4U® was born in Los Angeles in 1987 and introduced the nation’s first ginseng energy drink. We set out to create the most effective and efficient formulas possible to support the daily performance and overall well-being of hard working people”. I am a hard working person, and a backpacker to boot.
For this backpacking trip and review of the Vital 4U products, I didn’t tackle any terrain that could be considered extreme. I encountered lots of ups and downs, the type of terrain would expect to find on some of the easier portions of the Appalachian Trail and Pinhoti Trail.
When backpacking, my morning routine starts with a quick breakfast consisting of something like oatmeal or a couple of nutrition/energy bars AND coffee. Coffee is part of my everyday breakfast, whether I’m at home or out on the trail. Coffee is something that I am never without, even on the trail. To give the Vital 4U products a fair test, I eliminated the nutrition/energy bars and the coffee from my normal breakfast routine. I had a bowl of oatmeal and replaced the coffee with a pouch of the Vital 4U Panax Ginseng Liquid Energy. For no particular reason I picked the Chocolate Cherry flavor. There are products out there that advertise a particular flavor and sometimes you have to search hard to find a hint of the flavor advertised. Not so with the Vital 4U Chocolate Cherry blend. I immediately and definitely tasted a chocolate and cherry blend. I was pleased with the taste. I also tend to suffer somewhat from some acid reflux. This can kick in when there are higher concentrations of caffeine in a drink. I was wondering if the acid reflux would kick in, but it never did.
After breaking camp in the morning, my pace tends to be a bit slower as I work myself in a hiking rhythm. Finding my rhythm can take a half hour or so depending on how well I slept the night before and the terrain I encounter when I first set out. I did find that I was able to come to a comfortable pace quicker than I normally would, based on the terrain I encountered. After hiking for an hour or so, I realized that there didn’t appear to be any slowing or only a minimal slowing of my pace.
I continued my hike, the ups and downs and incorporated my usual mid-morning break and my lunch break (I take a fifteen minute morning break and a half hour lunch break.) Really wanting to see how the Vital 4U products affected my energy, I went without a pouch for my mid-morning break and lunch break. What I discovered is that I felt like I normally do after a morning break and a lunch break, a little fatigued but able to find my pace again within my usual time frame.
My pace in the afternoons (after a break) is slower as I move along the trail. I have 6 – 8 hours of hiking under my belt and I’m starting to look for a place to camp for the night. For my mid-afternoon break, I opened up a pouch of the Vital 4U Screamin Energy Max Hit Coffee Mocha flavor. Again, the taste is immediately evident and true. Again, after a short period of time (15 minutes or so) I felt pretty darned good and full of energy. My pace was quick and the uphill portions were easier to tolerate. Over the next couple of days, I followed the same routine and achieved similar results.
I am pleased with the effect the Vital 4U energy pouches had on me. A quick up-tick in energy along with no jittery feelings, no acid reflux, and also no hard come down with the associated feelings of being drained and tired as the effects wore off.
For the weight conscious backpacker, each of the Vital 4U Energy Pouches weighs in at 23 – 26 grams (per my scale). The Vital 4U Panax Ginseng Liquid Energy pouches contain 1/2 fl. oz. (15mL) and the Vital 4U Screamin Energy Max Hit pouches contain 3/5 fl. oz. (18mL).
In addition to the liquid energy products, I also received a Vital 4U Dad Hat, a Stainless Steel Water Bottle and a Signature Carabineer. There were also a couple of other products that Vital 4U provided to me that I did not sample on this particular backpacking trip. The Vital 4U Fiber Drink (26 grams, 3/5 fl. oz., 18mL) and a Vital 4U Vitamin Essentials pack (17 grams). I didn’t feel that I could give an adequate review of these products as received. But, based upon my experiences with the Vital 4U Panax Ginseng Liquid Energy and the Vital 4U Screamin Energy Max Hit, I would expect that the Vital 4U Fiber Drink and Vital 4U Vitamin Essentials would provide positive results.
From the Vital 4U Product Page:
Liquid Energy® Ginseng Drink is our original strength formula and was created with hard working people in mind. Our distinct formula is a simple yet highly effective blend of Ginseng, Caffeine and B Vitamins all in just a ½ fluid ounce per serving.
Screamin Energy® Max Hit® is our maximum strength formula and was created for hard working people that need a fast acting and long lasting boost of energy. Our proven formula is a simple yet highly effective blend of Ginseng, Caffeine and B Vitamins all in just 3/5 fluid ounce per serving.