The 6 Best Electrolytes for Hiking

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Electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining the body’s hydration levels and supporting optimal performance during physical activities like hiking. The best electrolytes for hiking offer a blend of essential minerals that help regulate fluid balance, nerve function, muscle contractions, and overall hydration. 

In this guide, we will explore some of the best electrolytes for hiking, highlighting their specs, mineral makeup, and other key features. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just beginning to hike or backpack. It’s essential to understand the importance of electrolyte replenishment and how it can help enhance your performance, endurance, and overall well-being on the trail.

Best Electrolytes for Hiking 

Quick Summary

For more hiking recommendations, read our other popular hiking gear reviews:

Best Overall: Ultima Replenisher 

Price Per Serving: $1.05 for pack of 20 

Flavors: 9 main flavors 

Sweetener: Organic stevia leaf

Other Specs: Vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, keto and paleo friendly, Natural coloring and flavors

Bottom Line: 

Ultima Replenisher is an overall amazing electrolyte blend. I have been drinking Ultima for the last year trying various flavors such as lemonade, pink lemonade, blue raspberry, and grape. Every flavor I tried mixed well and tasted great, my favorite being lemonade. 

One thing that really sets Ultima Replenisher above most of the other electrolyte powders. Is that all the ingredients in Ultima are completely natural based and not artificial. Also, for what you get Ultima has a remarkable value to performance ratio which is why we placed it as our top pick. 

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Best Taste: Liquid IV

Price per serving: $1.56 pack of 16 

Flavors: 12 flavors, 3 zero sugar flavors 

Sweetener: Cane Sugar, Dextrose, Stevia

Other Specs: non – GMO, gluten free, soy and dairy free 

Bottom Line: 

Hands down Liquid IV is hard to beat when it comes to flavors and taste. I have tried the Acai berry, passionfruit, guava, lemon-lime, concord grape, and strawberry. All of which have been absolutely amazing. 

Liquid IV has gained massive popularity among outdoor enthusiasts and rightfully so. It’s a super convenient way to replenish electrolytes. The key to Liquid IV’s effectiveness lies in its Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), a proprietary blend of sodium, potassium, and glucose. This unique combination helps to enhance water absorption at the cellular level, allowing for faster hydration and better electrolyte delivery to the body.

Furthermore, Liquid IV is committed to making a difference and partners with non-profit organizations to help hydrate people in need. This means you can feel even better knowing what your drinking is helping to support others. 

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Best Budget: Propel

Price per serving: $0.37 for a 10 pack 

Flavors: 7 flavors 

Sweetener: Sucralose, Ace-K 

Other Specs: Sugar free

Bottom Line: 

Propel has been in the hydration game for a long time and is one that is available almost everywhere. I really enjoy the light flavors of Propel and have tried grape, strawberry kiwi, berry, and cherry. All of these flavors taste great and are smooth. 

Propel offers a balanced number of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium which help with hydration and muscle function. In addition to electrolytes Propel also has added vitamins, specifically B vitamins that help contribute to overall health and wellness. Overall, propel is an excellent budget pick with the lowest price out of any other electrolytes on this list. 

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Best for Kids: Bitsy’s Swish 

Price per serving: $0.83 for a 6 pack 

Flavors: 4 flavors 

Sweetener: Cane Sugar, stevia, and Monk fruit

Other Specs: No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Bottom Line: 

Bitsy’s Swish is an electrolyte powder starting to show up in your typical grocery store. At first glance the box and packets appear to be marketed to more younger users but do not let this fool you. Bitsy’s Swish works amazingly for everybody and the flavors are delicious. I have tried the blue raspberry and fruit punch multiple times and they have some of the best natural tasting flavors when it comes to electrolyte blend. 

Another awesome thing about Bitsy’s Swish electrolyte mixes is that they are natural without any artificial ingredients so you can for sure feel good about drinking it and providing it for your kids. Overall, this blend is right up there with Ultima but really excels with flavor and provides essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. 

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Best Electrolyte Tablet: Nuun Sport 

Price per serving: $0.75 for 10 tablets 

Flavors: 9 flavors, 4 caffeinated flavors 

Sweetener: Dextrose, Stevia 

Other Specs: Vegan, Kosher, Gluten free, non-gmo, informed choice

Bottom Line: 

Nuun Hydration Sport is one of my favorites when it comes to tablet-based electrolytes for hiking. Due to its packaging, it makes it very convenient for hiking and backpacking where portability is more of a concern. The flavor of Nuun Hydration Sport is light and refreshing. So far, my top favorites have been cherry limeade and strawberry lemonade. Also, if you are a sparkling water fan like I am you will like the effervescence of this hydration drink. 

Overall, Nuun Hydration Sport is a great pick for an electrolyte supplement for hiking. Nuun as a company uses pure natural ingredients in their products. Is a climate neutral company that believes in giving back to the planet. In addition, Nuun supports various foundations and believes in accessibility for communities and individuals. When drinking Nuun you can feel better knowing that you are supporting a wholesome company. 

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Best Chewable: SaltStick Fast Chews

Price per serving: $0.33 for a pack of 10 chews

Flavors: 7 flavors 

Sweetener: Dextrose, stevia 

Other Specs: non gmo, vegan, gluten free, informed choice 

Bottom Line

SaltStick is a popular electrolyte chew that works to prevent dehydration related issues out on the trails. SaltStick is formulated with sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Which are effective in helping to optimize muscle function and recovery. The supplement is super convenient as it comes with a resealable package and the chews are lightweight and do not take up much room. 

When trying SaltStick Fast Chews I really like the classic lemon-lime. Overall, it tasted kind of like a margarita, to balance some of the saltiness I took a swig of water with it. Overall, this is one of the best electrolyte chews for hiking. 

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Others That We Reviewed

Drip Drop

Price per serving: $1.19 for a 16 pack

Flavors: 6 flavors, 3 variety bundles

Sweetener: Sugar, fructose, sucralose 

Other specs: No artificial preservatives, vegan, kosher, gluten free

Bottom Line:

Drip Drop Hydration is another popular brand that is often found at your local grocery stores. Drip Drop is designed by a doctor who created a patented formula based on ORS to help enhance electrolyte absorption in the body. Due to this formula Drip Drop is supposed to be absorbed by the body more quickly. 

During my testing with Drip Drop I really enjoyed the lighter taste of the formula. I tried many of the flavors and variety packs, my favorite flavors were grape and cherry. Overall, Drip Drop is another excellent choice out of this list of top electrolytes for hiking. Though I found Drip Drop a little pricier compared to the majority of options on this list. And although this is a great supplement, I found that its flavor still gets beat by Liquid IV, putting Drip Drop in the best of the rest. 

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Drinking electrolytes on a hike

How to Choose the Best Electrolytes for Hiking 

When selecting the best electrolytes for hiking, there are several factors to consider to ensure you choose a product that suits your needs. Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision:

Electrolyte Composition

When looking for the best electrolyte supplements you should consider ones that have the essential electrolytes in them. Though some electrolytes are more significant than others the five main electrolytes play a crucial role in rehydration and muscle function. The best electrolytes for hiking will have at least the two main electrolytes which are sodium and potassium. However, when it comes down to it a rehydration supplement should have the majority of these essential electrolytes in their ingredient list.

Mineral Benefits
Sodium (Na+)Sodium helps regulate fluid balance, supports nerve and muscle function, and assists in nutrient absorption. Sodium also plays a vital role in maintaining blood pressure levels and the balance of electrolytes in the body. 
Potassium (K+)Potassium helps to maintain proper fluid balance, supporting healthy heart function, and promoting nerve and muscle function. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium, thus promoting cardiovascular health.
Calcium (Ca++)Calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium also plays a role in supporting proper muscle function, including muscle contraction and relaxation. It aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, promotes blood clotting, and supports cardiovascular health.
Magnesium (Mg++)Magnesium helps with normal muscle and nerve function, supporting a healthy immune system, and strong bones and teeth. It is also involved in energy production. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, maintain a steady heartbeat, and supports cardiovascular health. Additionally, it plays a role in promoting relaxation and reducing stress by supporting the function of the nervous system. 
Chloride (Cl-)Salt which is a combo of a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride together is one of the most common sources of chloride in electrolytes. Chloride helps with proper fluid balance, along with sodium and potassium. Chloride is also involved in maintaining the pH balance of body fluids, proper digestion and nutrient absorption. It also plays a role in transmitting nerve impulses, supporting muscle function, and contributing to the body’s immune response. 
Electrolyte powders are easy to pack

Electrolyte Formulation

Consider the form in which the electrolytes are provided. Some options include effervescent tablets, powders, capsules, or ready-to-drink solutions. Choose a form that is convenient for you and suits your preferences while hiking. 


For example, if you prefer a lightweight option, powder or tablets may be preferable. An electrolyte tablet is easy to store and is highly packable. Tablets are meant to be dropped into water to dissolve in which they react to create a nice to go electrolyte beverage. Tablets are a great quick option for backpackers due to how packable they are. 


Powdered electrolytes can be dissolved in water, some of which are flavored to create a sports drink, while others are flavorless. Manufacturers recommend mixing the powder with 12 to 16 ounces of water to reap the benefits. However, there are considerations when it comes to mixability and ease of transport with powders. When using powders be sure to have a way to mix them so they evenly mix. Luckily it is not that difficult to shake electrolyte powder in a Smart Water bottle but if using a cup you will need something to mix it with like a spoon. 

When traveling, backpacking, or on the go, powders can be messy or inconvenient to mix. Nevertheless, the advantage of using powders is that they ensure hydration while providing electrolytes. The flavored options also taste good, acting as an incentive to stay hydrated and maintain electrolyte balance. Additionally, when backpacking, electrolyte powders can sometimes mask the taste of less-than-clean water sources. Since powders dissolve in water before consumption, they may be able to be absorbed more quickly by your system. I tend to prefer powders as my choice of electrolytes when hiking.


Electrolyte capsules serve as an excellent alternative when you do not want to flavor your water bottle with an off flavor or just do not want to use water for mixing with powdered electrolytes. They offer a high level of convenience, particularly in situations where access to water may be limited. With their compact and portable nature, electrolyte capsules are easy to carry and can be taken on the go making them a great choice for hiking and backpacking. 

Additionally, electrolyte capsules are formulated without added sugar, making them a healthier option. The absence of the need for measurement allows for quick and straightforward consumption of multiple servings, ensuring optimal electrolyte replenishment without any guesswork.


Most electrolytes for hikers are pretty reasonably priced, usually about a dollar a packet which is significantly cheaper than any sports drinks you can buy off the shelf. Most of the electrolytes on this list do have bulk options which make them significantly cheaper. The best budget option we found was Propel. But it depends on the bulk you buy because Ultima, Liquid IV and Drip Drop both have really good bulk options. 


The palatability of hydration drinks is crucial to encourage regular consumption. Taste is frequently cited as a significant concern among electrolyte users, emphasizing the importance of pleasant-tasting powders or alternatives like capsules to address this issue. Powdered electrolytes with a bland, sour, or unpleasant taste are more likely to remain unused on kitchen shelves rather than being consumed.

In our analysis we found all of these electrolytes to be excellent in taste and all great options. Our favorite in overall taste goes to Liquid IV but the others on this list are not far behind. Ensuring an appealing taste is key to promoting the uptake of electrolyte products and ensuring they are enjoyed and effectively utilized.

Bitsy’s Swish is full of natural ingredients.

Other Ingredients 

In order to enhance the taste of drink mixes, numerous manufacturers incorporate artificial flavors, substantial quantities of sugar, or other synthetic additives. However, in our selection process, we tried to focus on mixes containing non-artificial ingredients or non-artificial sweeteners. 

Our top picks Ultima, Liquid IV, Bitsy Swish, NUUN, and Salt Stick all use natural based ingredients and sweeteners like Stevia, dextrose, and cane sugar. Also, these are the most natural and minimally processed options we have tried on the market so far.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do electrolytes work?

Electrolytes are essential minerals that help to regulate bodily functions. They work by carrying electrical charges that enable cells to communicate and conduct nerve impulses. When dissolved in bodily fluids like blood and extracellular fluid, electrolytes form ions that help regulate fluid balance, transmit nerve signals, and support muscle contractions. The major electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sodium and potassium maintain fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, and facilitate nerve and muscle function. Calcium is involved in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and bone health, while magnesium contributes to nerve function, muscle relaxation, and energy production. 

How do you know if you need electrolytes?

When figuring out if you need electrolytes, think about the activity you will be doing. Electrolyte imbalances can occur due to excessive sweating, intense physical activity, and inadequate hydration intake. Signs that you may need electrolytes include muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, increased thirst, decreased urine output, and irregular heartbeats. If you’re engaging in strenuous exercise or exposed to hot weather conditions, electrolyte loss through sweat is more likely, and replenishing them may be necessary. 

When should I take electrolytes?

Electrolytes should be taken in various situations to support hydration and maintain proper bodily functions. It is recommended to consume electrolytes during intense physical activity or exercise, particularly if it lasts for more than an hour or involves excessive sweating. This helps replenish the electrolytes lost through sweat and prevents dehydration. It’s also important to consume electrolytes when exposed to hot weather conditions, as increased sweating leads to electrolyte loss. Overall, adding electrolytes into your routine during situations that involve physical exertion, fluid loss, or symptoms of electrolyte imbalance can support optimal hydration and overall well-being.

Ultima Replenisher was our top favorite

Why Trust Us

We are a small independent team that makes it our mission to produce honest reviews. We do not receive any money for reviews and do not accept sponsored reviews which allows us to remain truly unbiased and transparent. All our comments are based on years of research and experience on the field. 

In making our list for the best electrolytes for hiking we spent countless hours researching and reading reviews for the best electrolyte brands. In addition, used our experience from supplements we had previously used out on trails. We tested each electrolyte based on taste, ingredient profile, and functionality to create this list. 

We are always constantly evaluating and in the process of testing products and gear. As we continually research, evaluate, and try emerging brands, we will update our recommendations. As a product user or consumer if you have any suggestions feel free to let us know and we will do our best to test them. We hope you found this list helpful for your next trip, stay hydrated!

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