I have been trying Hydration drinks and getting discouraged. Here is a different approach. Making your own is sounding much more attractive now then when I started this search. Logic tells me that replacing electrolytes is important but the carbs and caffeine seem easier to get from a coffee or a bar. So take this article as an opinion not as a set of facts.
I am not a believer that one tool does all jobs or that using a single drink to cover all of your needs while touring makes sense.
From eHow Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Select isotonic sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade or Accelerade for general electrolyte replacement. Unless you’re training for a marathon, or exercising for more than 4 hours at a time, you don’t need anything more than the electrolyte levels present in most sports drinks. Look for a combination that includes up to 80 g of potassium, 45 g of sodium and up to 25 mg of magnesium. (per unit of volume? seemed like that is critical information)
Save money and make your own electrolyte replacement drink. Pick up a packet of sweetened fruit drink (taste), and mix in 2 qts. of water, 1/2 cup of sugar (carbohydrates), 1/2 tsp. of salt (sodium) and 1/2 cup orange juice (potassium). You can also replace sodium quickly by adding a pinch of salt to 8 oz. of water.
Select a hypertonic (high carbohydrate content) electrolyte replacement drink to help your body recover from long and intense workouts. Look for drinks with added protein for energy and antioxidants to help muscles recover from the strain and stress of longer workouts. Pick up high endurance powdered drinks from Cytomax, EFS and Revenge Sport and mix them at home to save money. [so far not convinced that this helps touring riders]
Stock up on Pedialyte if you’ve got an infant or you’re taking care of an elderly parent who is suffering from dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea. Dehydration often goes hand in hand with a loss of essential elements like potassium and sodium. Make sure parent or child sips his beverage slowly if he’s having trouble keeping food down. As long as he replaces more fluids than he loses, he will replace lost electrolytes over time.
Hit the health food store and pick up some coconut water for a refreshing alternative to sports drinks. Coconut water contains higher than average levels of potassium, one of the more important electrolytes for muscle function.