SHAR NEXT-LEVEL TRAIL MIX
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - July 24, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - October 22, 2018
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Shar Snacks
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Handcrafted in: Austin, Texas
Manufacturer's Website: www.sharsnacks.com
MSRP: US$8.99 per one 4.5 oz (127.5 g) pack
US$24.99 per three 4.5 oz (127.5 g) packs
Listed Net Weight: 4.5 oz (127.5 g)
Measured Net Weight: 4.4 oz (125 g)
Measured Total Weight: 5 oz (141 g)
Measured Weight Without Carabiner: 4.6 oz (132 g)
The Next-Level Trail Mix is a responsibly sourced snack mix of dried fruits and nuts. It is made with ingredients that are organic, gluten free, vegan and paleo. There's more on ingredients in up coming section.
Six bags of Shar (pronounced share, long "a" indicated by the horizontal line about the "a") Next-Level Trail Mix arrived each with a carabiner. The bag has a small metal ring through the upper right hand corner. This is where the carabiner is attached to the bag. My guess is for attaching to ones pack, belt loop or other locations for easy access while on the go. I do not foresee myself using the carabiner as I prefer not to have items hanging from my pack when possible. I could see repurposing the carabiner for use when hanging my food on overnight backpacks. Further after about three or four carabiners I really do not have much need for them. I feel a "biners" on every bag is overkill.
The bag is on the plain and simple side, but at the same time attention grabbing and informative. Ingredient and nutrition information is provided on the bags. I've listed this info in the next section. Also on the bag is mention of Shar Snacks contribution to stewardship. Shar donates 20% of net profits to The Conservation Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting wild spaces. I feel this is a positive business practice and like to support socially responsible companies. Kudos to Shar Snacks for being such a company.
Included in the box with the Trail Mix packets were two pamphlets. One about "Ingredient #8 Pecans" and the farm they are sourced from in Texas. Shar identifies itself as a "farm to table snack" as part of responsible sourcing. The second pamphlet is "about" info describing the creator of Shar and motivation for making Next-Level Trail Mix. The other side of this pamphlet explains the Shar "mantra" for creating the best snack fuel possible, reason for using quality ingredients from the finest organic farms and their support of Conservation Alliance.
INGREDIENTS AND NUTRITION
The Next-Level Trail Mix is made with nine ingredients. Many of which are sourced from around the USA, listed in parenthesis.
- Almonds (Turlcock, CA)
- Wild Blueberries (Royal City, WA)
- Cashews (Vietnam / Portland, OR)
- Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries (Royal City, WA)
- Cranberries (Cape Cod, MA)
- Dark Chocolate Chips (San Francisco, CA)
- Pecans (Caldwell, TX)
- Pistachios (Santa Barbara, CA)
- Coconut Flakes (Philippines / Portland, OR)
- Evaporated Cane Juice (Not Listed)
- Organic Sunflower Oil (Not Listed)
A serving size is 1.85 oz (18 g) making for 2.5 servings per container. Per serving there are 260 calories with 160 calories from fat.
A serving provides 18 g total fat (28% DV - daily value), 4.5 g saturated fat (23% DV), 135 mg sodium, total carbohydrate 25 g (8% DV), dietary fiber 4 g (16% DV), sugars 17 g, no trans fat or cholesterol. Additionally there's 6% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 10% iron per serving.
TRYING IT OUT
First things first, getting into the bag, it rips open easily. Opening the bag reveals a resealable tab. It snaps closed easily with a light click and reopens just as easy. The mix inside looks great each ingredient is distinct and easily identifiable. The one exception being the chocolate chips they are more like blobs. My guess is they melted during shipping. Not a big deal as they re-solidified and are not making a mess in the bag I opened.
I poured a handful and popped it in my mouth. I really like trail mix and have tried lots of different blends at my local food store's bulk section. I can be picky about various mixes and have my favorites. Some have too many of one ingredient that dominates the flavoring. I find this makes for boring eating long term which leads to low consumption. But on first taste the Next-Level Trail Mix is wow! It tastes great with different textures and flavors. The best part each ingredient is apparent and recognizable. There's crunchy, sweet, chewy, savory and tart in each bite. I ate three handfuls while writing this and had to really control my urge not to eat the whole bag.
The Shar Next-Level Trail Mix is really good stuff. I like the simple, whole ingredients. The taste is amazing. And the company contributes to land conservation to boot. I have only two minor nitpicks at this point the melted chocolate pieces and the extra carabiners. Both understandable and I'm sure I will forget about it when I am enjoying the mix on the trail.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Mts. Flume and Liberty - Lincoln, NH
Distance and Elevation - 11 mi (18 km) from 1500 to 4450 ft (457 to 1356 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 78 F (25 C) breezy and clear
Mt Cardigan - Alexandria, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 1600 to 3155 ft (490 to 960 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 68 F (20 C) cloudy with light breeze
Monadnock - Sunapee Greenway, New Hampshire - Five days / Four nights
Distance and Elevation - 52 mi (84 km) from 1200 to 3165 ft (370 to 965 m)
Pack Weight - 38 lb start / 28 lb end (17 / 13 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 78 to 50 F (25 to 10 C) sunny and pleasant except for one night into
morning of heavy rain
Long Trail, Vermont - Six Days / Five Nights
Distance and Elevation - 93.5 mi (150.5 km) from 328 to 4395 ft (100 to 1132 m)
Pack Weight - 37 lb start / 24 lb end (17 / 11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 67 to 40 F (19 to 4 C) sunny and pleasant to cloudy and windy to drizzle and
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The first two hikes with the Shar Mix were day hikes. The first provided a very steep section with some real rock climbing. This section was very difficult and left me feeling pretty zapped of energy. But the views at the top were more than worth it and I took a prolonged break eating some Next-Level Trail Mix. The mix is so tasty with a great balance of sweet and salty that it was hard to not eat the whole bag. However I mustered some self control and sealed the bag for some snack on the way home.
The next day hike was a family trip to one of our favorites. The terrain is varied and interesting while the views are enjoyable even in so so weather. Here I was able to live up to the products name and share the trail mix with my family. Everyone was hungry and no self control was present. We polished off the whole bag quickly. Everyone agreed it was some of the best trail mix they had eaten.
The next two hikes were week long backpacks. I packed two bags for each hike. The plan was to eat two bags over two days eating a half each day. This worked out well when I hiked alone on the Long Trail. On the Monadnock-Sunapee hike my kids accompanied me. They saw the bag and remembered how much they liked it. There was some negotiation, bargaining and then sharing.
I find the Next-Level Trail Mix to be a great trail food. I am always more than happy for snack time when Next-Level is on the menu. The balance of ingredients provides lasting satisfying energy that last to meal time. I also like that the bag is resealable. It makes eating the mix in portions easier, with no risk of spills in my pack. I didn't use the carabiner to hang the trail mix bag. I did however bring it as a back up for hanging my food bag at night.
The Shar Snacks Next-Level Trail Mix is exceptionally good. The ratio of ingredients is spot on for my palette while satisfying my appetite. I really appreciate the environmentally, socially sourced organic ingredients that Shar supports. I would love to support them in return unfortunately at the current price I would only buy this mix if I could find it at a reduced rated. I will make do with my second rate in taste trail mix until then.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to send my gratitude to Shar Snacks and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to participate in this test series.
Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl