High5 Energy Gel Refill
The High5 Energy Gel Refill is a great way to keep your energy reserves up and your plastic waste levels down.
This handy little gel flask from High5 goes a long way to reducing my amount of single-use plastic. It’s a simple idea, rather than taking multiple sachets of energy gel on a ride, take one Energy Gel Refill. I tend to only use gels on long hard days or in races: so I don’t use a lot. And when I do, I make an effort to put the empty sachet back in my pocket, or under my shorts.
There’s nothing worse than coming across a load of empty wrappers on a ride. While I know most riders will pocket them, a minority don’t. And there’s always the accidentally dropped ones: I’ll go back and collect it if I’m on a ride, but in a race? Plus there’s always the tip that you have to rip off to get at the gel. Some brands incorporate a little strap to stop it coming off, but most don’t. This leaves you with a tiny piece that you generally spit out: it’s small, but it’s still another piece in the environment.
And there’s also the mess associated with gels. I always seems to end up with a sticky mass of wrappers and gel in my pocket. And if I’ve put anything else in there, then that’s coated in the stuff: not good. Also, no matter how careful I am, I always end up with sticky fingers, bars and levers: or maybe that’s just me?
The problem with plastic
The problem is that plastic is just too useful a material. It’s light, strong, cheap and easy to use. This means it’s everywhere, not just in gel wrappers. So it’s good to see companies making an effort to reduce their usage of single-use plastic. High5 is also helping through their Sports Nutrition Recycling Programme. While you can’t recycle their wrappers at home, the High5 programme can. If you buy their packs, they will come with a pre-paid envelope. Pop your used wrappers in there and they’ll be recycled: sorted. High5 have also partnered with various events who use their products. Wrappers are collected after and sent off to be recycled.
So High5’s Energy Gel Refill is a neat solution. You have a soft gel flask that comes in two sizes – 250 or 150ml – and a bulk refill bottle. High5’s gels come in 40ml sachets, which means three or six sachets per flask. You fill the gel flask before your ride and then use this. Once you’ve finished, take it home, wash it out and it’s ready to use again. The refill bottles come in two flavours, berry or orange and contain the equivalent of thirteen gels. Once you’ve opened the refill, store it in the fridge: not on the back seat of your car in the sun!
What’s it like to use?
I used the Energy Gel Refill for the first time at the Gralloch in Scotland. The race is being held for the first in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. So you definitely do not want to be dropping any litter there. Reading about this is what prompted me to use the Energy Gel Refill. Another reason is that on fast off-road events like this, it can be hard to consume a gel. You have to rummage in your pocket, remove the tip, squeeze and then replace it. All the while bouncing over rough terrain and avoiding other riders.
I found it a lot easier getting at the flask in the first place: it’s a lot bigger than a gel sachet and there’s only one. No tip to bite off either, just squeeze the soft flask, bite down and suck! Getting it back in my pocket was easy to, I just balled it up and stuffed it in! The soft outer also seems to grip the fabric of my jersey well and it didn’t move once in: so no chance of it flying out on a rough section.
For a race that was going to take me over four hours I figured the 250ml flask would be about right. I could have used two of the smaller ones and mixed the flavours up for variation, but I like the berry flavour. However it’s something I might do in the future, especially on longer events.
After the ride I filled it with soapy water and squirted this out through the valve a few times. Then separated the parts and left them to drain. Looking at the bite valve I can’t see any obvious signs of wear, so hopefully I should get quite a bit of use out of the Energy Gel Refill flask. High5 sell them separately, so replacements are easy to get hold of. The flask is made from a recyclable plastic and is BPA free.
So what do I think of the High5 Energy Gel Refill? For me it’s a great little product. As I said I don’t use a lot of gels, keeping them for important events. However when I have used them, I’ve always been aware of the environmental cost. So while the Energy Gel Refills are made from plastic – as are the bulk refill bottles – I’m keeping my usage down of single-use plastic. Both the bottle and flask can be recycled and from my experience, I’m not going to lose a flask out of my pocket on a ride. So well done High5!