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I carry electrolyte tabs on multi-day bike rides, especially in hot weather. I use a container like this (though not necessarily this brand — the picture is just for illustration):

Electrolyte tabs

What I find is that after a few days on rough terrain the tablets turn into powder (from rubbing against each other and, to a lesser extent, against the container.)

This is a bit inconvenient, so I'm wondering if anyone has any tricks for how to solve this?

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I've got a few individually wrapped tablets (and equivalent powders) that came as samples. I never use them when starting from home instead saving them for carrying with me. This works for long hot days, but on a multi-day trip would soon run out, and the packaging is wasteful.

The tubes protect the tablets from crushing, though they add bulk compared to decanting into a small resealable bag and packing that carefully into your luggage.

Assuming you want to carry on using the original tube, you need to fill the empty space. You could use something as simple as paper or cotton wool, or even the wrappers from cereal bars, screwed up. I wouldn't use gel wrappers as they'll make the tablets damp. If touring with the ability to make hot drinks you could even use tea bags as padding. Some of the tubes of tablets have a sort of plastic spring that takes up the space when only a few have gone. This seems effective for as long as it lasts, so I suggest filling the space under the tablets. For that you could even use a few sweets (making assumptions about what else you carry). Under the tablets, enclosed in a bag, would be a good place to carry some emergency cash, making good use of the space.

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Stuffing the free space in the container with tissue paper has worked for me fairly well in the past.

Alternatively, just embrace it and move from tablets to a powder, which is what I use now - it's easier to pack into other containers / bags and can be easier to fit into luggage or pockets etc. Just make sure the container you choose seals well - that stuff can be awfully sticky when combined with sweat / rain / dew.

As an added bonus, powder can be bought in bulk and is often cheaper than tubes of tablets.

  • One potential issue is that Nuun's powder formulation appears to have 24g carbs per serving. @NPE linked an image of Nuun's tablets, which have minimal carbs. I'm not currently aware of low-carb electrolyte drinks in powder form, and the OP may or may not want to go to something with carbs. That said, if this is for a multi-day ride, carbs may be good. Personally, I've been shifting away from Nuun towards Skratch, which is a powder that contains carbs, on long rides. I don't do multi-day rides. – Weiwen Ng Aug 16 at 12:51
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    I was under the impression the OP was just using that image to illustrate the type of container they're using, rather than the brand or type of electrolyte drink. I'm surprised Nuun don't do a low carb electrolyte powder. Personally I tend to use a 4:1 carbs to protein powder for multi-day rides, but different people have different requirements. There are plenty of low carb electrolyte drink powders available though - a quick search found ones from MyProtein, Bulk Powders and a number of others. – Diado Aug 16 at 13:37
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    @WeiwenNg I have some individual sachets of powder that's not got carbs in. I thought it was Skratch but it's not. Ultima and Precision Hydration both do low- or no-carb powders – Chris H Aug 16 at 14:36
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    If you carry powder in a bag, problems could arise in the shape of an over zealous cop! :-D – Carel Aug 16 at 18:43

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