GORP, more commonly called ‘trail mix,’ is a staple of backcountry enthusiasts everywhere. I love the stuff. I used to buy four-pound bags of Kirkland brand Trail Mix at Costco. “Used to” is the key phrase.
But first, a little history of GORP. What does GORP stand for? According to Wiktionary (remember: the internet is never wrong) GORP or gorp is: “a loose mixture of dried fruit, nuts, frequently salt, and sometimes other ingredients; designed as an energy supplement for use while hiking, climbing, canoeing, etc.”
I found the etymology more interesting: “The Oxford English Dictionary cites a 1913 reference to the verb “gorp,” meaning “to eat greedily.” The occasionally theorized good old raisins and peanuts is probably a backronym1.” “To eat greedily.” Have you ever witnessed a hungry hiker attacking a bag of quality GORP? Sometimes said person doesn’t even stop to chew!
Back to making your own gorp. Last year I picked up a copy of Brendan Leonard and Anna Brones’ book “Best Served Wild: Real Food For Real Adventures.” Page 156 of the book is titled “NO SHIT, YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX.” I remember staring at the text and experiencing a BFO2: I can make my own trail mix! Why hadn’t I thought of that before? Making trail mix is easy, and it doesn’t even require any cooking. Brendan & Anna provide simple guidelines for a five-piece recipe. After some research and experimenting, I came up with a nine-item concoction, and most of the ingredients can be found at Costco.
Here’s what I put into my signature trail mix:
Dry Roasted Almonds
Dark Chocolate M&Ms
Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry
Pumpkin Seeds (I found some which are roasted and coated with maple sugar and sea salt)
Instructions: Add one cup of each ingredient and mix well. Store in a sealed bag. Refrigerate if not using right away (mostly to keep the walnuts fresh.) Feel free to add, delete, modify, the recipe to suit your taste.
Obviously you don’t have to be so elaborate making your own gorp. You can cobble together almost anything and make trail mix out of it. And that’s the point. You can make it simple, or make it fancy; but try making your own mixture, at least once.
Finally, a few words about trail mix etiquette:
Rule 1: Don’t ever stick your hand into someone else’s bag of trail mix.
Rule 2: If you offer someone your trail mix, pour the trail mix into their hands. (Better to lose a couple of pieces than risk getting their germs into your food.)
Rule 3: If you plan to share your trail mix with other people, don’t put your hand into your own bag of trail mix.
1Note: I had never seen the term backronym before writing this article.
2BFO: Blinding Flash of the Obvious