Friday, September 18, 2009


Hydration Cool-Ade - homemade sports drink for paddleboaters and other athletes.

Preventing dehydration in kayakers, IKers, canoers, rafters, innertubers & all workers or athletes who are active for many hours per day.

Sports drinks provide water, sugar, salt & flavor. You can buy these at the store for approximately $6 per gallon, but you can make your own sports drink at home for less than $1 per gallon. Packets of good, old-fashioned, unsweetened Kool-Aid® provide a very inexpensive starting material. The artificial colors and artificial flavors in Kool-Aid provide pretty much the same stuff that you get in fancy, expensive bottled sports drinks, so its not logical to like one and not the other. The traditional Kool-Aid flavors typically available in my local grocery stores are OK, but a wider range of more interesting Kool-Aid flavors are available online. (Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Pineapple, Watermelon Kiwi, Mango, Mandarin Tangerine, Strawberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi.)

My recipe for "Hydration Cool-Ade" uses water, sugar and salt in amounts recommended by Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Use of unsweetened Kool-Aid® for the flavor was recommended in articles at and (see below). This results in a sports drink recipe that is quick, easy and inexpensive to make from readily available ingredients.

The instructions on the Kool-Aid® package make an excessively sweet drink. The advantage of buying the unsweetened version is that we can add just the right amount of sugar that we need to make a high-quality, inexpensive sports drink. If the recipe below is too flat for your tastes do NOT add extra sugar because that will slow down the absorption of the liquid into your body and defeat the main purpose of the sports drink. You can get more sweetness and flavor enhancement by adding Stevia liquid concentrate (available online and at health food stores) or any artificial sweetener that you like. Some Kool-Aid flavors might benefit from addition of some lemon or lime juice for additional flavor. We could also try adding fruit flavor extracts from the baking section of our local grocery store (orange extract, cherry extract, etc.).

Morton Lite Salt provides both sodium and potassium, the two main electrolyte salts that you need to replenish during long, intense sports or work activities. The salt also helps to stimulate your thirst mechanism, prevents the drink from quenching your thirst and helps encourage you to keep drinking more liquid throughout your day of activities. It is very important to measure the salt very carefully because if you add just a little too much salt the liquid quickly becomes unbearable to drink. If the measured amount of salt is too much for you, then add a little less salt to the next batch of Hydration Cool-Ade that you make. You do want some salt in the drink, but it is most important to end up with a drink that is enjoyable enough to consume in large quantities throughout your day of activities.

Hydration Cool-Ade recipes for 2 quarts or 1 gallon.

2 Quarts: 2 quarts water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp Morton Lite Salt, 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid.
1 Gallon: 4 quarts water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp Morton Lite Salt, 2 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid.

Hydration Cool-Ade made in bulk.

a) 2 1/2 cups sugar, 2 1/2 tsp Morton Lite Salt, 10 pkgs Kool-Aid - Store in a cannister or resealable plastic bag. Makes 5 gallons.
b) Mix well to evenly distribute powder mixture, carefully measure out exactly 1/2 cup powder, add to 1 gallon water.

Hydration Cool-Ade - Home Version.

Whenever I'm not actively exercising I don't need a drink with the calories from the sugar or the electrolytes from the salt. I can sometimes trick myself or force myself to drink plain, old, boring water, but I definitely get more fluids into me throughout the day if my drinks contain a little flavor and some sweetness!!
2 Quarts: 2 quarts water, 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid, sweeten to taste with Stevia liquid concentrate.

What hydration fluids do you like to drink during paddle boating and other intense outdoor sports activities?

Please post a comment here to let me know if you try Hydration Cool-Ade. Let me know if you have a different recipe or a modified recipe that you like better than the Hydration Cool-Ade sports drinks described here.

More about:
Paddle boaters need good hydration for optimum paddling performance - BRT Insights.
Sports Drinks for Hydration of Kayakers, IKers, Rafters, Canoers, Innertubers & Paddleboaters - BRT Insights.
Food & Drink for Outdoor Activities - BRT Insights.
How to make a homemade sports drink - Helium.
Make Your Own Sports Drink -
Make Your Own Sports Drink on the Cheap - Lifehacker.
How to Make Your Own Sports Drink -

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Nice articles on sports drinks by the way, got it from the wwkayakers list serve from Outdoor Adventures at UC Davis.
Thanks, Casey
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