Gorp is a high energy foodstuff which is designed to be very portable, allowing people to carry it on hikes and trips for a quick burst of energy. It consists of a mixture of nuts, dried fruits, grains, and seeds, and it is classically eaten straight out of hand as a snack food. Many grocery stores and outdoor supply companies sell gorp, often with several varieties available, sometimes including a “house blend,” and it is also possible to make gorp at home.
A variety of slang terms are used to describe this food. Some people know it as trail mix or scroggin, for example, and other regional terms can be found in use among outdoor clubs and groups of friends. The origins of the word “gorp” are a bit unclear. Several people have suggest that it is an acronym of “good old raisins and peanuts” or “granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts,” but these acronyms are probably backformations, invented to fit the word rather than predating it. The only reference to “gorp” in many dictionaries is a turn of the twentieth century slang term meaning “to eat greedily.”
Whatever the origins of the word, gorp is immensely popular with hikers, travelers, and backpackers all of the world. It is also sometimes eaten as a snack by students and other people who are often on the go. The high calorie value of gorp is extremely useful for people who want some energy in a hurry, but it can also be dangerous for people who are sedentary, because it is easy to eat a lot of gorp, thereby consuming a high percentage of the recommended daily caloric value without feeling like very much has been eaten.
Any number of dried goods can be included in gorp, including rolled wheat, oats, peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apples, sesame seeds, pecans, dried blueberries, sunflower seeds, and barley. Some companies also add sweets to their gorp to make it more appealing, adding chocolate, crystallized fruit, or candy pieces. Candy also adds energy. In all cases, the ingredients are very shelf-stable at room temperature for prolonged periods of time.
A well-balanced serving of gorp provides ample protein from the nuts and seeds, paired with vitamins and minerals from the mixture. The food is designed to be energy-dense, allowing people to eat a small amount for a high calorie value, since energy-dense foods are easy to pack on the trail. Some versions of gorp may cross the line into sweet treats, resembling a mixture of candy more than a healthy snack, and this is something to be careful of when preparing or purchasing gorp.