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May 2001

The Great Gorp Contest

From "good old raisins and peanuts" to trail mixes spiced with hot peppers, Michigan cherries, beer nuts, and dried carrots, the ultimate backwoods snack comes your way, courtesy of Backpacker readers.

Chocoholic’s Dream

North Michigan Blend

Chef: Brett C. Claxton,

Gaylord, Michigan

By our reckoning, at least one out of every three backpackers is a self-professed chocoholic, which is why this gorp quickly became a staff favorite. Sample comments: “One word: fantastic!” and “perfect for a tired, death-march boost.” Chef Brett Claxton (above) boasts (and rightly so): “What makes it unique is the slight smoky perfume from the smoked almonds and how, if the gorp gets warm, the chocolates melt together. Keep in a zipper-lock bag and dip in a cool trout stream to firm up the chocolate.”

  • 2 ounces dried mangoes
  • 2 ounces dried blueberries
  • 2 ounces dried tart Michigan cherries
  • 2 ounces smoked almonds
  • 2 ounces beer nuts
  • 3 ounces white chocolate coins
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate coins

Mix ingredients in a zipper-lock bag. Yield: 1 pound.


Heartfelt Gorp

Chef: Wayne Limberg,

Arlington, Virginia

“Calories are seldom a problem for the hiker, but fat and cholesterol can be, especially for us aging boomers,” professes Wayne Limberg . “This recipe is designed to keep those bad numbers down and save wear and tear on aging arteries. The secret is the corn nuts: They’re low in fat, but salty enough to keep you drinking water.” Our testers agreed that the unusual elements work well together and satisfy those familiar on-the-trail salt cravings.

  • 1 part almonds
  • 1 part corn nuts
  • 1 part dried bananas
  • 1 part other dried fruit
  • 1 part Wheat Chex cereal or Goldfish pretzels

Mix ingredients in a zipper-lock bag.

Best Twist On The Original


Chef: Bevan Quinn,

Guilford, Vermont

“Tastes standard at first chomp, but then the cinnamon kicks in for a nice surprise,” reported one editor after subsisting on little more than Cinna-Gorp and water on a round-trip climb of Washington’s Mt. St. Helens. Another likened it to “cinnamon toast with chocolate.” Creator Bevan Quinn claims backpackers aren’t the only fans of this recipe. “On a 0°F February night at the Perch shelter on Mt. Adams, New Hampshire, I had a few handfuls of gorp before bed and left the bag on the floor next to me. The next morning, I noticed a little hole in the bag and a trail of Cinna-Gorp on the floor. Mountain mice like it, too!”

  • 1 1-pound, 14-ounce jardry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 or 2 141/2-ounce bags Crispy M&M’s
  • 1 or 2 9-ounce bags Dole CinnaRaisins

Mix ingredients in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Yield: 4 pounds.


Trail Mix from India

Chef: Barbara Burke,

Birmingham, Alabama

At first, only a few of the diehard “heat” lovers among the editors appreciated this spicy gorp. But after 5 days of taste bud-numbing dehydrated food, our crew finally saw the light: sprinkle a handful of this crispy heat over pasta to add a kick. We quickly dubbed it “backpacker’s hot sauce!”

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 2 cups raisin bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup sliced, dried jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup cashew halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 250°F. Warm the oil in a large skillet over low heat. Brown both cereals in the oil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, add remaining ingredients, and mix well. Yield: 6 cups.

Best Breakfast Gorp

Cup of Wow!!!

Chef: Sharon Burrer,

Silverdale, Washington

“No time for coffee? Grab a handful of this stuff.” That’s the verdict from our taste testers, who praised this simple but imaginative concoction. “Just three ingredients, but they’re darned good ones,” said one editor. The only downside is that the chocolate-covered coffee beans are expensive—$6 to $8 for a 10-ounce bag. Fortunately, you don’t need much of this gorp to reap its energy-boosting or taste bud-titillating benefits. Starbucks, eat your heart out.

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chocolate-covered coffee beans

Mix ingredients in a zipper-lock bag. Yield: 3 cups.

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  1. Julia Childs, Desolate places, and Mark 6 | Beyond a Ruled Page

    […] The circumstances are even more crucial. They are in the middle of nowhere, yet need access to a substantial amount of basic food staples, just for themselves. These grown men sat there exposed to nature, after having burned calories operating a boat. I’m surprised they had five loaves and two fish left as a snack. Maybe these were just the less desirable staples; maybe someone had already hammered through their first-century GORP! […]

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