During the pandemic years I saw so, so many ads on Facebook and Instagram for various products. Some I actually bought. Others I considered. One was Cirkul, a hydration system. But maybe I didn’t get shown the ad enough to drive me to try it out.However recently I kept seeing it in person in big box stores. The display at Fred Meyer’s didn’t get me, but the 3 separate displays at Wal-Mart did me in. How could I pass that up?
The starter kit sets you back about $20 and the refills were $3.58 each. In theory you get up to 6 bottles water through each cartridge, if you pace the flavoring (which I will discuss below). If you are weaning off of pop or heavy sugar, this may take time to lower the flavor. It’s a fun way to have many flavors to choose from, and not have a messy water bottle. Never any fear of the dreaded “hot summer sugar growth” mess that can happen in traditional water bottles.
The starter kit has a 22 ounce bottle and collar, along with 2 drinks to try out. Fruit Punch, which is under the hydrate flavors, and Mixed Berry, which is under the active flavors (having electrolytes in it). Each cartridge is preloaded and ready to use. Put water in the bottle, screw the collar on. Then insert and screw in the cartridge. That’s it.
To use, pop the cap cover off, and sip, like through a sippy cup. To figure out what strength of drink you prefer, play with the dial on it. I am used to drinking diluted beverages, so I set it at 2. You can go as high as 10 if you prefer, but wow, that would be strong. And it would depend on flavors to be honest. I can see drinking the tea and coffee flavors stronger. First flavor we tried was the Classic Lemonade, and at 6 it was like drinking lemonade beverage through a soda fountain at a fast food place. Way too strong! Dialed down though it was good. The boys really liked it and the fruit punch.
I also picked up 4 more flavors to try out, as Wal-Mart had a number of flavor cartridges to buy. I picked up Watermelon, Strawberry Kiwi, Lemonade and Sweet Tea.
The flavors are all sweetened with Sucralose, however on their website they sell a Stevia sweetened line, and also have a line that uses essences of the flavor with no sweetener added. So options. They have a flavor for pretty much anyone, including one that is simply a filter to remove the taste of chemically altered water (city water).
The beauty of the system is the cartridge is the mouth piece. So after each 6 water refills you get rid of that. Maybe it’s wasteful, but honestly? After having cleaned far too many drink bottles and hydration tubing over the years, I’d take this. Because unlike a regular water bottle or hydration pouch? The flavoring is not added to the water itself, in the container. So that means your container stays CLEAN. No funky bottle if you put sugary drink mixes in it and it gets hot, or your drool gets into, and then you are trying to scrub the whole system. Instead, toss and go. Sometimes I am truly OK with disposable items. I try to use few, so I am not going to feel guilty over this.
For example, normally I drink True Lime Limeade Black Cherry. I drink it at 50% diluted (I make 1 packet in a 32 ounce jug). It’s not cheap either. It’s one downside is over a few jugs worth, no matter the container, it gets cloudy from the ingredients and I really have to scrub it. So my thought process is maybe this will be a nice variation for when I travel and hike. To not have to worry about deep cleaning constantly.
Both the boys and I have our own bottles now, and can change up flavors as we want. Our youngest has really taken to the bottle and loves his. The middle kid, he isn’t quite sold on it. But I know by summer he will be.
The bottles fit well in our backpacks and are easily refilled. If for one thing it is saving us a lot of money when we travel by transit bus to hikes. No stopping at a store for drinks and snacks, and $25 later me grinding my teeth. All we need to do is find a water source and they have a good tasting beverage. With no added sugar. And not having to stop at a store means I don’t get hit up for “treats” by 2 boys anymore.
And that is a win-win.