How to Make GORP – My Favorite Survival Food

by Tommy Grant

Welcome to the world of GORP, or as it’s commonly known, ‘Good Old Raisins and Peanuts’. This version of trail mix serves as the powerhouse snack for hikers and campers alike. When you’re up against rough terrains and challenging paths, GORP is the compact, lightweight, and high-energy food that keeps your stamina high.

Every bite is a delightful mix of textures and flavors, where sweet meets salty, crunchy meets chewy, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. This handy guide simplifies the process of creating your own GORP mix, tailored to your tastes and nutritional needs.

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What is GORP?

GORP is a classic trail mix that has been fueling adventurers for generations. Its origin traces back to hikers and campers who needed a nutritious, lightweight, and non-perishable snack to sustain their energy levels during strenuous outdoor activities.

The traditional GORP mix comprises dried fruit and nuts, though modern variations often include seeds, chocolate, and cereal. Its first recorded use dates back to the 19th century, however, it gained significant popularity during the 20th century, as more people embraced outdoor recreation and wilderness exploration.

The benefits of GORP for outdoor activities are numerous:

  • Energy Boost: Packed with carbohydrates and proteins, GORP provides a quick and sustained energy boost.
  • Easy to Carry: Lightweight and non-perishable, GORP is the perfect on-the-go snack for adventurers.
  • Versatile: GORP can be customized to suit individual dietary preferences and nutritional needs.
  • Satiating: The combination of fiber and protein keeps you feeling full for longer periods, reducing the need for frequent snacks. 

Hardcore hikers will tell you that GORP is more than a trail mix; it’s a time-honored tradition in the world of outdoor exploration, a testament to human ingenuity in harnessing nature’s bounty for sustenance.

The Basic GORP Recipe

Preparing a basic GORP mix is simple and requires only a few staple ingredients. This recipe yields approximately 4 cups, perfect for a long day of adventuring.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of nuts (for example, almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup of seeds (for example, sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup of dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, or apricots)
  • Optional extras: 1/2 cup of cocoa powder or mini chocolate chips, a handful of your favorite cereal, or some mini marshmallows

Procedure:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. If you’re adding cocoa powder, make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout the mix.
  3. Store your GORP in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

These particular foods are chosen for their long shelf-life and caloric density. Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and proteins, providing slow-burning energy. Dried fruit offers a quick energy boost thanks to its natural sugar content.

Optional extras like cocoa powder or marshmallows add a sweet touch to your trail mix, making it even more enjoyable to eat on the trail. Remember, the beauty of GORP is its versatility – feel free to experiment with your favorite ingredients!

Variations and Customizations of GORP

GORP can be wonderfully customized to fit a range of dietary needs and taste preferences. A variety of nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, and sweet treats can be mixed and matched to create a unique, energizing blend.

  • Nut-Free GORP: For those with nut allergies, replace nuts with chickpeas or soy nuts. Roast them for a crunchy, protein-packed alternative.
  • Grain-Inclusive GORP: The addition of whole grains like popcorn or granola can add a satisfying crunch and fiber to your mix.
  • Savory GORP: For a savory twist, consider including baked lentils, cheese crisps, or wasabi peas.
  • Luxury GORP: Treat yourself with additions of dark chocolate chunks, dried cherries, or even edible gold leaf for a touch of luxury.
  • Diet-Specific GORP: For the Paleo follower, use dried fruit, seeds, and nuts only. If you’re following a Keto diet, focus on high-fat, low-carb items like macadamia nuts and sugar-free dark chocolate.

When customizing your own GORP, consider the balance of flavors and textures, your nutritional needs, and the conditions in which you’ll be consuming it. A desert hike may not be the best place for chocolate chips, for instance.

The secret to a great GORP is variety, so don’t be afraid to throw random flavors that you like into the mix.

Pro Tips for Making and Storing GORP

Making and storing GORP requires a bit of knowledge to ensure it stays fresh and delicious. Here are some best practices:

  • Toast Your Nuts and Seeds: Toasting nuts and seeds before adding them to your GORP can significantly enhance their flavor and crunch. Simply spread your chosen nuts and seeds out on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to stir them occasionally to ensure even toasting.
  • Dry and Cool: Store your GORP in a cool, dry place to prevent the ingredients from going rancid. Ensure that you don’t seal the GORP until it is fully cooled as moisture can build up and potentially shorten the lifespan of the product.
  • Airtight Containers: Use airtight containers for storage to preserve freshness and prevent moisture from getting in. Mylar bags that have been heat-sealed are a great option for extended shelf life.
  • Portion Control: Consider pre-packaging individual servings for convenience on the go and to prolong the life of the remaining mix. Once you open an airtight package you should promptly consume the contents.
  • Shake Before Use: Ingredients can settle over time. Shake your GORP before snacking to enjoy a well-balanced mix of all components.

Once you’re out on the trail, try to keep moisture from getting inside or you might find the contents starting to go rancid or stale.

Final Thoughts

GORP is a versatile, customizable, and nutrient-dense snack, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Its balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provides sustained energy, making it an essential part of any outdoor adventure. Whether you follow a specific diet or just have specific taste preferences, GORP can be easily tailored to meet your needs.

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GORP

GORP is a classic trail mix that has been fueling adventurers for generations. it’s commonly known as, ‘Good Old Raisins and Peanuts’. Its origin traces back to hikers and campers who needed a nutritious, lightweight, and non-perishable snack to sustain their energy levels during strenuous outdoor activities.

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup nuts (for example, almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup seeds (for example, sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cuo dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, or apricots)
  • Optional extras: 1/2 cup of cocoa powder or mini chocolate chips, a handful of your favorite cereal, or some mini marshmallows

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  • If you’re adding cocoa powder, make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout the mix.

  • Store your GORP in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

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