Most hikers and backpackers probably have their favorite trail mix which is some variety of good old raisins and peanuts. While there are many commercial varieties available, I prefer to make my own. Here is my go to recipe. It is simple, easy to mix, easy to store, and does not melt in the heat.
Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag:
1/2 16 oz jar of Planters Unsalted Peanuts
1 11.4 oz bag of dark chocolate M&M’s
2 5 oz bags of Ocean Spray Reduced Sugar Craisins
Yields about six cups
Mix all the ingredients so they are as equally distributed as possible. Each cup will contain about 600 calories. I measure out two cups each into three-pint size Zip Lock Freezer Bags, each bag containing about 1,200 calories of good looking, great tasting, long lasting energy. I usually carry a bag with me whenever I am hiking, cycling or kayaking. One bag will last for several day trips. Once a bag is almost empty, I will place another bag in my pack. If I am planning an extended trip, I will pack enough to provide a cup of GORP for each full day on the trail.
I use unsalted peanuts because I think I already receive enough salt in my diet, and salt in my trail mix would only make me thirstier than I might already be. Dark chocolate M&M’s add a nice color mixture to the GORP and unlike chocolate chips won’t melt in the heat unless they get crushed. When I cannot find dark chocolate M&M’s, I will use milk Chocolate M&M’s in their place. I am not of big fan of raisins; therefore I prefer Craisins. I opt for the reduced sugar variety because this GORP already provides enough calories for my needs and sweetness for my taste.
Be sure to follow this cautionary advice if you are going to be sharing your trail mix with others. DO NOT ALLOW anyone, even yourself, to stick a hand in the bag to grab a handful of GORP. Doing so will contaminate the contents for everyone. ALWAYS pour from the bag into the hand so that no one’s hands come into contact with the trail mix.
I usually make my own with peanuts, m&ms, and some form of dried fruit. I like mango and pineapple, but most any dried fruit will do. If I'm in a hurry I'll buy some Kars or Gourmet On The Go. I try to make up different mixes so that I get a change every day. I usually plan on about 3/4 to 1 cup a day, but I also take homemade beef jerky, usually about 3-4 oz.
Our recipes and per day ration are very similar.
I buy everything but the chocolate chunks in bulk, so I don't measure or weigh, just mix together at ratio that looks good to me. Also, I normally do not like salted nuts, but sometimes I use salted almonds because some extra salt tastes good and can be beneficial on a strenuous hike.
Are the "dried" blueberries somewhat chewy, like craisens or raisens?
Great topic. We tried some pre-mixed that you find in the store, however, they always put a lot of peanuts in them and not enough of the other.
We just bought some stuff and mixed our own in a gallon sized ziploc.
I believe we found some premixed blend of sunflower seeds, dried coconut, small pieces of chocolate, and dried cranberries. We also bought lightly salted cashews, added some butterscotch chips(kind of like the chocolate chip morsels), raisins, & dried banana chips.
We try to stay away from the m&m’s as well. The small pieces of dark chocolate don’t seem to melt as fast.
What a great topic!
I just got an air fryer and discovered how easy it is to roast almonds in it. So I can buy a large bag of raw almonds from Costco, roast enough for a batch or two of trail mix, and save a lot of money.
In my mix, I add dried strawberries and blueberries (also from the big C), dark chocolate chips, and peanuts.