When hiking and camping, nutrition is something that many people overlook. While it may be difficult to eat entire, three-course meals on the trail, maintaining health and ideal energy levels are an integral part of the outdoors and go a long way towards ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. There are several companies that offer freeze-dried, ready-to-eat meals than can be made with boiling water. Some prefer to bring snack bars that can be easily stowed and eaten along the way. However, one food item that is easy to make, very healthy, and takes up very little room is a tried and true classic: GORP.

“Good ole raisins and peanuts,” or “granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts,” GORP is basically a synonym of trail mix. Not everyone has the means to sit down and cook an entire meal during their trip, which makes it necessary to bring foods that pack as much nutritional value as possible into small packages. The basic ingredients in GORP—raisins and peanuts—are great energy boosters that provide energy from carbohydrates (raisins), as well as protein, healthy fats, and salt (peanuts). These nutrients will help you maintain the energy and strength needed to endure a long day of hiking. Also, eating a substantial amount of GORP at the end of each day will make you feel refreshed and recharged each morning.

Of course, the real beauty of GORP is that it can pretty much consist of nearly anything you want. I always suggest using raw varieties of items like nuts, as I like to limit how much salt I take in, but it’s ultimately up to you. Items that make great additions to GORP include, but are not limited to, the following: dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, cherries, apricots, dates, papaya chunks, mango slices, pineapple bits), nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.), chocolate (I’d make sure to use something coated, like M&M’s, so they don’t melt), and other random additions, such as coconut, granola chunks, and pretzels. I personally like to add Kashi Go Lean Crunch to my GORP, for that little extra bit of protein. The cereal also already contains many of the conventional ingredients found in GORP.

When my hiking season kicks into full gear, I make a trip to the grocery store, pick up all the ingredients for my own GORP recipe, and mix it all together in a big bowl. Each time I head out, I fill a small container with it, and I’m all set. The fact that GORP is so nutritional, easily packed, and is pretty much the most customizable recipe in the world is what has enabled it to maintain such a strong presence in the outdoors community. Let’s face it, it’s called trail mix for a reason. 

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