Gorp - the personalised 'trail mix' Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Gorp - the personalised 'trail mix'

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The idea of gorp is something that is easy to eat and provides energy between meals when somebody is walking, hiking or out on the trail. Your body loses protein when doing anything really physical. Your body needs salt to retain water in your body, because you lose water like crazy (like through sweating for one). You need sugar for that extra boost. Gorp is the essential food for any backpacking, hiking or camping trip that you may embark on.

An old urban myth claimed that gorp was originally an acronym for 'good old raisins and peanuts' and was eventually accepted as a real English word by the Oxford English Dictionary. Another theory as to how gorp got its name was from the verb 'to gorp', which means to eat greedily. Other words it may have originated from include gawp, gawk, gowp, gaup, or gauk which all have a meaning close to 'wide-open mouth.' Gorp can be made in many ways, but it does contain essential items. Here are some examples of the ingredients you could use to create your own personalised gorp:

  • Peanuts1 - These are essential to any gorp and are the main source of protein on the trail. They will also provide your salt if they are salted peanuts.

  • M&Ms (or other, similar, sweets like Smarties or Minstrels) - Another essential. These taste really good during the hike, and help to provide that extra sugar boost to get to your destination.

  • Raisins - These are an essential addition to any gorp because they taste good in the mix and help provide even more sugar.

  • Banana Chips - These are slices of bananas that have been cooked in sugar to a very hard consistency, similar to crisps.

  • Dehydrated Fruit - Good dehydrated fruit is really good for you because of the concentrated vitamins and minerals due to the extraction of the water. You can buy it from most supermarkets. Don't try and dehydrate it yourself unless you know what you're doing. It can be quite difficult.

  • Pretzels - These give you the salt you need so you don't lose water too quickly.

Just put all the ingredients in a bag, give it a good shake to mix it up and... voila! You've got gorp! You can use just about anything in gorps long as it has protein, sugar, or salt. Also, think light, especially if you are going to be backpacking for a long time; the lighter the food is the better your back will feel.

1Any other nut would work too, but peanuts are most common (just look at the acronym).

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