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How to Make Your Own GORP Trail Mix

How to Make Your Own GORP Trail Mix


There isn’t a hiker or cyclist out there who isn’t familiar with trail mix, that sweet and savory combination of fruits and nuts that sustains us during our most strenuous journeys. Traditionally called GORP (some say Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts), it has since evolved to be many combinations of ingredients, including dried fruit, seeds, chocolate, nuts, granola, toasted bread, pretzels, and candy. Trail mix has become so popular that many people eat it as a snack even while at home or at work. 

Commercial products come in a variety of flavor profiles, including tropical, Asian, spicy, Cajun, and sugary sweet. Many include lots of added sugars and salt to enhance the flavor, although there are many products on the market that are made with all natural ingredients, non-GMO and no added enhancers. When enjoying as a generic snack, any of these flavor profiles and commercial products will do fine. While on the trail, however, GORP serves a specific and important purpose – to provide sustained energy to continue the trek. Cyclists, hikers and backpackers need to maintain sufficient energy levels so they do not “bonk out”, or lose the energy to continue. Excursions continuously consume energy, and our muscles need to have the supply continuously replenished. Eat too little and you will tire out quickly. Eat too much and you will have consumed wasted calories. The goal is to eat a small handful throughout the day or during scheduled breaks to “refill your tank” as you go (along with other healthy foods, of course). 

It's Easy to Make Your Own

A good trail mix will include a combination of ingredients that provides simple sugars for a quick energy boost, complex sugars for longer term energy, and salty snacks to replenish those electrolytes. Making your own trail mix ensures you have clean healthy ingredients or your choice that exactly matches your own tastes. Just mix and match the flavor profiles you enjoy. 

I am a huge fan a dried fruit. If you have a dehydrator, or even some air fryer models with a dehydrate setting, making your own is super easy. Many fruits dehydrate well and provide excellent nutritional value. Try firm fruits sliced thin such as apples, mangoes, pears, papaya, coconut, apricots, or peaches. Softer fruits such as bananas, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, or cherries may need extra time to dry due to the additional moisture content. While you’re at it, throw in some small slices of rye bread or pumpernickel (or slice up a day-old bagel) to make your own bread crisps. Dab the bread slices in some Kosher salt before dehydrating. 

Granola is a popular trail mix ingredient. Commercial versions are good but there are many recipes online for making your own (it’s amazingly easy!). If you want to add some sweetness, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces are a good choice especially in warmer weather as the softened chocolate remains somewhat contained in the candy shell and won’t make a mess. If you’re a little braver and it’s not too hot, mix in some chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips. 

For added flavor, mix it all together in a zipper-lock bag with a small amount of some spices such as cinnamon, chili powder, or ginger.




Dried fruit

Peanuts, or any type of nut such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, or pistachios, all without shells


Sunflower or Pumpkin seeds

M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces

Pretzel pieces or sticks

Cheerios or Chex cereal

Dried pumpernickel or rye bread

Chocolate covered coffee beans

Sesame sticks


Photo by Cianna Woods


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