Enjoy Happy Trails, the free monthly newsletter from Hiking For Her

RunGum Review:
Is This A Useful Product
For Hikers?

By Diane Spicer

Need extra energy on a long tough hike? Run Gum might be the answer. Read Hiking For Her's review and decide for yourself.

In this RunGum review, you'll find out whether or not this caffeinated gum is useful for you during a tough hike.

But first...

in this RunGum review

Hiking For Her was asked if a sample of this caffeinated gum for review purposes would be welcome.

And because HFH is always focused on finding the best stuff for your trail time, the answer was yes.

So three free packets of gum found their way into the Hiking For Her review queue.

RunGum is the brain child of Nick Symmonds (competitive athlete) and Sam Lapray (coach), two men who know a few things about how to coax the best performance from the human body.

There is no affiliate relationship between RunGum and HFH, and no money was paid for this review.

In other words, there is no financial incentive to write these words.

  • The motivation for this review is simply to answer the question "Is this product useful for hikers?"

All of the photos and opinions in this RunGum review belong to Hiking For Her.

Closeup of gum package

The theory behind RunGum

Caffeine is a stimulant to the human nervous system.

And humans have known that for a long, long time.

  • Starbucks is just the latest example of the human craving for caffeine. Living in Seattle, I have a front row seat for the long early morning lines at the caffeine circus!

One piece of RunGum contains the same amount of caffeine (50mg) as a typical serving of a cola beverage.

Chew two pieces (the number found in one package), and you've ingested the amount of caffeine you get in your 8 ounces of morning coffee or an energy drink.

Energy gum can be a useful tool for outdoor enthusiasts for these reasons:

  • lightweight
  • small footprint in your food bag
  • easy to use
  • no need to carry or ingest heavy fluids
  • fast uptake and therefore quick energy
  • the amount of caffeine you receive can be tailored to your needs
  • skip the sour stomach and acidity of coffee

That all sounds great!

But how does it taste?

Flavor options and taste

It's easy to imagine what mint and cinnamon gum taste like, but the fruit option was intriguing.

So that's what I popped into my mouth.

The gum tablets are about average size for a piece of gum, and are rounded.

  • But I would not recommend giving them to small children, or tossing them into your mouth while you're moving fast.
Two white pellets of caffeinated chewing gum in the palm of a hand

Chewing starts out a bit crunchy, then softens up.

  • Note that if you're carrying this gum in cold weather it will take more effort to begin the softening process.

The taste of the gum really got my attention, and for a logical reason: caffeine is perceived as bitter by human taste buds.

However, the bitterness did not last more than a few chews.

  • And it would be easy to wash it away with a mouthful of water should it become too bothersome.

The tropical fruit flavoring was not able to overpower the bitterness. In my opinion, it wasn't exactly a tasty experiernce, but did have a slight sweetness.

  • Sweeteners listed in this gum include isomalt, maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and sucralose.
  • If you're reactive to any of these, this gum is not for you.

You have three flavor options, so it might take a bit of trial and error to settle on your preferred flavor.

And really, taste is not the point of chewing this gum!

Red, yellow and blue packets of performance gum

Energy buzz?
Why, yes!

Cautious by nature, I chewed only one tablet mid-morning and monitored my reactions to it over the next few hours.

I can report a definite boost in my energy level.

What I didn't expect was how it improved my mental focus by a noticeable margin.

  • Maybe I'm drinking the wrong kind of caffeinated green tea every morning??

I can predict several scenarios when this additional energy and focus would be handy on the trail:

  • being delayed due to gear failures or medical issues and needing to push through to a designated camp site;
  • getting zero sleep the night before thanks to Mother Nature's gift of a storm, wind gusts, snow or sudden temperature extremes - but needing to hike out the next morning to make a rendezvous or trail head pick up;
  • getting into a tough situation and needing mental focus to navigate or make critical decisions.

You can probably think of more scenarios from your own hiking career when a quick energy boost would have been welcome.

This energy gum earns its name! But it's up to you to decide when you should be using it.

The highest level of RunGum consumption recommended on the package is eight pieces a day.

  • That works out to 32 ounces of coffee, which is a lot of caffeine for some of us!
  • As with any energy supplement, use this supplement cautiously the first few times, and wisely thereafter.

Nutrition notes in this
RunGum review

Humans are wired to respond quickly to stimulants like caffeine.

Fair enough. That's why this gum is billed as an "energy" supplement to amp up your appetite for trail work.

But there are other ways to enhance an endurance athlete's performance.

  • You did know that you're in this elite category as a hiker, right?

Let's look at two more ingredients in RunGum from the angle of enhancing your trail performance.

Closeup of round pellets of performance gum sitting on top of a yellow package

RunGum review: B vitamins

B vitamins are essential for energy production at the cellular level.

RunGum contains both B12 (as cyanocobalamin) and B6 (as pyridoxine HCl).

When there are plentiful amounts of these water soluble vitamins available, your body can be efficient in sustaining your energy levels.

  • Water soluble means you can't store up these critical molecules, unlike fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • So it makes sense to get re-supplied via your hiking food, or in this case, a small dose in chewing gum.

The daily values for someone ingesting 2,000 calories per day (low for a backpacker) in one piece of gum include:

  • 110% of daily recommended Vitamin B6
  • 50% of Vitamin B12

These percentages will jump up with each package of gum that you chew, but because these vitamins are water soluble, they will not accumulate inside your body.

What you don't use will be disposed of in bright yellow urine.

RunGum review: taurine

What the heck is that?

It's just one of many amino acids, the building blocks of protein molecules in your body.

And it's commonly found in the human food supply.

But this amino acid is a little different than most of the others.

  • It's found in concentrated amounts in your skeletal muscles, central nervous system, and heart without being incorporated into proteins.
  • That's because it's built differently (has an amino group but not a carboxyl group), therefore it has a unique function.

Why might a hiker be interested in supplementing taurine?

The answer lies in regulation of water and mineral balance.

  • As you work hard on the trail, hour after hour, you lose water and minerals in your breath, sweat and urine.
  • Your body must maintain its physiologic balance regardless, and taurine has been alleged to help keep neurons and muscle cells going strong.

Taurine is also known as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from the harsh effects of molecular oxygen (free radicals).

The amount of taurine per tablet was not disclosed on the package, and there are no legal requirements to do so.

Out of curiosity, I looked up how much taurine is recommended as safe for human consumption:

  • 3,000 milligrams (mg) is the upper level according to Mayo Clinic, USA.
  • Typical daily ingestion via food is estimated to be 40 - 400 mg.

So a little goes a long way!

Cautionary notes in this RunGum review

Caffeine is not a great thing to put into your body in large amounts if you're pregnant or nursing, due to its unknown effects on fetal development and babies.

And it's going to cause jitters in your kids, something you don't want to deal with in a tent or on the trail.

If you're taking prescription medications, you might have unexpected reactions to this combination of caffeine and taurine.

There is a helpful warning on each package to remind everyone that caffeine is not a benign substance.

  • It can elevate heart rate, cause insomnia, and throw a sensitive person into overdrive.

Older hikers (or anyone) with dental issues might find this gum's compressed formulation a bit too hard to chew, especially at cooler temperatures.

One more category of hikers might take exception to RunGum's ingredients: food purists.

  • This gum is formulated with artificial flavors, silicon dioxide, carnauba wax, titanium dioxide and confectioner's glaze - albeit in small amounts.

Conclusions in this
Run Gum Review

Bottom line on the usefulness of this energy gum for hikers:

Get your B vitamins and amino acids from good trail food.

Enjoy a caffeinated beverage with breakfast or lunch for a pick-me-up that also delivers water to your bloodstream.

But when you need a quick jolt of energy during a hike without stopping for food or hydration, a few pieces of RunGum might be the answer.

  • If you're not interested in carrying heavy containers of expensive and sugar laden energy drinks, or don't like the taste of any of them, now you have a viable alternative in this energy gum.

What makes RunGum so handy for hikers is the ability to carry a supply on a multi-day hiking trip without sacrificing a lot of room or weight in your backpack.

And while I wouldn't recommend that you rely upon this gum every day for an energy boost, I do see where it can be useful on a long day when you've still got several miles to go but you're flagging a bit.

Try all three flavors to find the one that appeals to your taste buds.

  • Tip: You can receive 10% off your first order when you sign up on the website. There is also a rewards program and free shipping.

Questions about anything
in this RunGum review?

As always, Hiking For Her welcomes questions about all things hiking, so don't hesitate to contact me regarding anything you're wondering about in this RunGum review or elsewhere on this website.

And please do let me know when and how you've used this energy gum during a hike.

I'm all about learning new tips and tricks to share with hikers :)

Home page > Hiking Gear and Food Reviews >

Run Gum Review