What Is Gorp and What Does the Name Mean?

Let us speak of the legend of Gorp. A huge, hulking beast, covered in matted fur, stalking through North America’s deep, dark forests. A hiker’s worst nightmare. The mightiest of grizzlies and mountain lions cower in fear at its presence. The mighty gorp! An ever-constant reminder that man is not the world’s alpha species! All hail gorp! 

Just kidding. Gorp is a trail mix. Let’s talk about all things gorp! 

What is gorp?

Popular with hikers, Boy Scouts, and hashtag Vanlifers, gorp is a mix of high protein and high fat foods that can be eaten by the handful. It’s a compact, easy-to-transport energy source for people who, in my opinion, spend way too much time outdoors.

Some of the earliest records of a gorp-like recipe are found in 1833 Denmark. On-the-go students would eat a mixture of raisins and almonds called studenterhavre. Records of trail mix also appeared in early 20th century America, and even Jack Kerouac wrote about a gorp-like food in his book The Dharma Bums.

Today, pre-packaged gorp is reserved not just for outdoor adventurers. Many companies market it as a healthy snacking alternative to things like potato chips or pretzels.

What does gorp stand for?

Truth, honor, and the American way. Just kidding, again. I am in a mood today!

Many believe that GORP is an acronym for granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts. Other, more folksy translations claim it stands for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts.” However, in 1913 the word gorp appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary with a definition “to eat greedily.” So you can actually gorp your gorp.

Fun fact: In New Zealand, gorp is called scroggin or schmogle. Now THAT sounds like a terrifying forest monster.

What is in gorp?

Gorp is uniquely customizable; one man’s trash could be another man’s gorp. The basic formula of granola, raisins, and peanuts often form a base for other ingredients. And there are loads of varieties that are available for sale in stores.

The “Cape Cod” mix, for example, calls for almonds, cashews, and craisins instead of raisins. The “Hawaiian” mix has lots of dried fruit, including pineapple, mango, banana, and coconut. The “Monster” mix is more chocolate heavy, including peanut butter chips and M&Ms.

Whatever floats your boat, gorp can provide. All hail gorp!


About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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