SHAR SNACKS NEXT-LEVEL TRAIL MIX
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
November 04, 2018
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mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Los Angeles County, California, USA
5' 5" (1.65 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Shar Snacks
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://sharsnacks.com/
MSRP: US $8.99 for 1 Pack 4.5 oz (128 g)
and US $24.99 for 3 Packs 13.5 oz (383 g)
Listed Net Weight: 4.5 oz (129 g)
Measured Net Weight: 4.3 oz (122 g)
Shar gives 20% of their net profits back to the Conservation Alliance, a non-profit organization by the outdoor industry's leading companies supporting the most effective conservation organizations.
|Front of pack
Shar Snacks are makers of Next-Level Trail Mix which is handcrafted in Austin, TX. I received six white packs of ORIGINAL MIX, along with two leaflets. One leaflet describes what inspired Peter Rushford to create the Shar Next-Level Trail Mix: he has worked on finetuning the ideal energizer for a body that is working out, combined with a carefully thought-out mix of flavors. The leaflet backside details the Shar Mantra as Next-Level Trail Mix being the perfect fuel that moves a body in motion. The other leaflet explains the magnificant Texas pecan with its health-promoting nutrients and bioactive compounds.
Shar ORIGINAL MIX contains nine organic ingredients:
Almonds from Turlock, California
Wild Blueberries from Royal City, Washington
Cashews from Vietnam (per the leaflet) / from Portland, Oregon (per the website)
Montmorency Cherries from Royal City, Washington (a variety of sour cherry)
Coconut Flakes from the Philippines (per the leaflet) / from Portland, Oregon (per the website)
Whole Cranberries from Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Dark Chocolate Chips from San Francisco, California
Pecans from Caldwell, Texas
Pistachios from Santa Barbara, California
The ingredients list starts with almonds*, then wild blueberries*, cashews*, dried tart montmorency cherries, cranberries*, (54%) dark chocolate chips, pecans*, pistachios*, coconut flakes*, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil.
* indicates organic. (On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts.)
One serving size is 1.85 oz (52 g) and there are 2.5 servings in one pack.
The trail mix is described as vegan, gluten free and Paleo (a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans).
The trail mix packaging is made of white plastic and has a tear-off seal and resealable zipper at its top. At its top right corner, each pack has a metal ring integrated into the pack's plastic material. A metal carabiner is inserted. I was surprised to see such an elaborate add-on of metal ring and carabiner for a one-time use bag. I will compare attaching the snack bag to the outside of my backpack using the carabiner, versus simply taking the snack bag out of my pack during snack breaks. Each pack is 4.6 in (11.75 cm) wide by 8 in (20.3 cm) tall and the pack bottom with its fill expands to 1.5 in (3.8 cm), so the gusseted pack can stand upright.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Instructions are not really needed to eat a snack. On the backside of the pack, Shar explains that this trail mix is quick to pack: then simply pour and enjoy.
TRYING IT OUT
It is easy to tear the white Shar pack open: I simply pull-remove the top of the bag from left to right. That gives me access to a zipper type resealable closure. The available pack opening is only 3 in (7.6 cm) wide: not really designed to stick my hand into the pack; ideal for pouring the contents into my hand.
To determine the pack's net weight, I poured the contents into a bowl and noticed the colorful ingredients: bright green pistachios; dark red cherries and cranberries; very dark blueberries; various brown tones of the pecans, cashews, almonds and the chocolate; white coconut flakes.
While continuing my initial report, I started nibbling and I have to say: great stuff!! Very flavorful. I kept picking up a few random pieces without looking to surprise myself by the flavors of each bite. Even though I do not care for coconut at all and avoid it always, the coconut flavor is quite well overshadowed by the fruity and nutty flavors. I love the pecans and was reminded of the second leaflet in the delivery box that praised the magnificent Texas pecan: yes, delicious. I feel it is worth mentioning that the almonds, cranberries and pistachios are full-sized; not small broken bits and tiny partials. I savored one Montmorency cherry and its flavor was tart and rich. Really a great combination of flavors.
The chocolate chips seem to have suffered during transportation (the country is currently experiencing an excessive summer heatwave) and the chocolate has glob-attached to its surrounding ingredients. That has not influenced the positive flavor at all. Still tasty.
Shar Next-Level Trail Mix is a superior blend of high quality ingredients of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate, really exciting my taste buds.
full-sized almonds, cashews and pistachios
rich flavors from fruity to nutty
healthy organic ingredients
metal ring + carabiner appear overkill for one-time use plastic pack
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
5 days/ 4 nights backpacking: 17 mi/ 27 km
Temperature: 75 - 44 F/ 24 - 7 C
Cerro Noroeste/Mt. Pinos, Southern California, USA
Dayhike: 11 mi/ 18 km
Temperature: 71 F/ 22 C
Mt. Pinos, Sawmill, Grouse, Southern California, USA
2 days/ 1 night backpacking: 11 mi/ 18 km
Temperature: 78 - 59 F/ 26 - 15 C
Mt. Pinos, Southern California, USA
Navigation Dayhike: 4 mi/ 6 km
Temperature: 75 - 58 F/ 24 - 14 C
Beartrap Bluff, Southern California, USA
2 days/ 1 night backpacking: 12 mi/ 19 km
Temperature: 79 - 42 F/ 26 - 6 C
Cedar Springs, San Jacinto area, USA
2 days/ 1 night backpacking: 7 mi/ 11 km
Temperature: 73 - 35 F/ 23 - 2 C
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
For the Yosemite backpack, I started out with one Shar pack in my bear canister. Then on day two, I took the Shar pack out and kept it in the top lid of my backpack to nibble on the snack whenever we stopped for a break. On the following outings, I attached the Shar packs to a few different spots on the outside of my backpack. But I did not like the dangling of the trail mix pack. Sometimes the pack hit my arm. Other times I sensed the trail mix pack sliding left to right in the back. I try to not have anything dangle loosely on my backpack outside. And I love to nibble on food while hiking (and not wait for a break).
|snack bag attached to pack
|I prefer using a resealable plastic bag
So finally I simply filled the Shar pack contents into two resealable plastic bags at home and was able to stuff one small bag in the hipbelt pocket of my backpack and store the second small plastic bag inside my pack for later. That way, I always had quick access and was easily able to nibble on the Shar snack whenever I was craving food. Long story short: I personally do not benefit from the Shar resealable packaging with metal carabiner.
The Shar snack is simply delicious. For the Mt. Pinos Navigation outing, I had to leave my house very early in the morning. I had a banana as quick breakfast and by the time I arrived at the trailhead, I needed a picker-upper. Two handfuls of Shar snack and I was ready for the navigation challenges.
I love digging into the bag and pulling out a few bits that I am randomly grabbing with my fingers, dropping the pieces into my mouth and being surprised by the burst of flavors from sweet to tart, fruity to nutty. No question: the Shar snack is super delicious. It did not matter that the chocolate in all of my six Shar packs had previously melted and hardened again, sticking to a few surrounding nuts and dried fruits. That just made it easier to grab a cluster, eat and enjoy the variety of ingredients.
One drawback for me is the price. I noticed that since my initial report end of July, Shar is now offering the pack as 4 oz (113 g) for $7.49. End of July, it was $8.99 for 1 Pack 4.5 oz (128 g) which would have meant $7.99 for a 4 oz pack. Still more than I typically spend on my snacks (and I admit that my self-prepared trail mix is nowhere near as good as the Shar Next-Level Trail mix). Plus shipping charges go on top of the product price.
Shar Next-Level Trail Mix is a superior blend of high quality organic ingredients of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate, really exciting my taste buds.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
great flavors from sweet to tart, fruity to nutty
quality snack ingredients
mostly full sized nuts (not tiny little broken pieces)
refilled in resealable plastic bag fits into hipbelt pouch
Shar pack is too big to fit into my backpack hipbelt pouch
one carabiner on each Shar pack
Thank you to Shar Snacks and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test and enjoy this great-tasting Next-Level Trail Mix these past few months.
Read more gear reviews by Marina Batzke