If you're going to be out on course for longer than an hour, you should have some type of fuel with you. Typically "solid" food is hard to eat/digest while running, so most people trend toward gels or electrolyte and calorie-dense powders to put in their water. I personally do not like taking a camelback out on an obstacle racing course. It gets in my way. For that reason, I lean towards gels.
If you are planning on using gels during a race, then you should have already used them many times in your training. If you don't, you might end up learning the hard way that you should have. Buy enough gels to use in your training, and for your race(s). One last note - we don't work with any of these gels companies. This is just my opinion. Everyone has their own preferences for these things, so find which you like best and which works best for you.
BOOM ENERGY: 24 pack for $35.00 ($1.46 per gel)
This is my favorite brand right now. I'll be honest, I've only tried the Apple Cinnamon flavor so far, but I like it. I used this exclusively for my 2nd place Elite Spartan Ultra finish at the Fayetteville race back in April, and it was great. For me, this brand is the best overall as far as price and quality. That's just my opinion though.
HUMA: 12 pack for $31.00 ($2.58 per gel)
When I did my first ever Spartan Ultra back in 2019, this was the gel I used in my training and during the Mill Spring Ultra that year. I liked it. It seemed to work well, and Huma, as far as all of their promotional material describes, is a very natural/healthy option as far as gels go. They have caffeinated options for when you need some extra kick. The only downfall is the price. They aren't cheap. If you can afford the price, I'd say give it a try.
HONEY STINGER: 24 pack for $41.85 ($1.74 per gel)
If I didn't already like, and train with, BOOM Energy gels, I'd be using Honey Stinger. I've tried multiple samples in the past, and I like it. The price per gel is affordable for me, and (based on all I've read about them) they are organic. I'm not married to organic, but I certainly prefer it. Is it possible that I randomly switch from BOOM to Honey Stinger in the future? It is very possible. Everyone I know who uses Honey Stinger really likes it. It's worth a go.
GU ENERGY LABS: 24 pack for $35.46 ($1.48 per gel)
Another gel for the price-sensitive athlete (like myself). Some people refer to gels as GUs - it's like asking for a Kleenex when you want a tissue. This is one I have not tried. That being said, they are extremely well-liked throughout endurance sports. GU also has a TON of different products - not just gels. If you're looking to use the same brand for more than just gels, this might be your best option.
SPRING SPORTS NUTRITION: 20 pack for $68.00 ($3.40 per gel)
The price is VERY high here. If you want top ingredients/quality in your energy gel, then this is a top option. However, for me, the price is what pushes this so far down on the list. The quality is there...but I can't afford it. I've tried a handful of these, and I liked the flavor. They sat well in my stomach and were good overall. I can't say it enough though...the price. More power to you if you have the cash for them.
We'd love to hear which brand of gel you use, which is your favorite flavor, and why you chose that brand. Let us know in the comments! If you hate gels and refuse to use them, let us know why!
About the Author: Joel Hayes
Joel has been competing at the Elite level in OCR since 2017. He's taken Elite/Pro podiums at Spartan Race, Savage Race, Bone Frog Challenge, Terrain Race, multiple local OCR's, and has qualified and competed in multiple OCR world championships. Most recently, Joel was a competitor in the 2022 GORUCK Games, took 2nd place at the Fayetteville Elite Spartan Ultra, won the Myrtle Beast Terrain Race, and qualified in his age group for the Deka Mile World Championship.