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How much gorp/trail mix is enough?
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Tim Halberg
(Turtlehead) - F
How much gorp/trail mix is enough? on 06/16/2008 16:54:46 MDT Print View

I just made a SWEET mix for my hiking coming up on the JMT.

I have a nice mix of:
Blue berries
Dark chocolate covered blue berries
Dark Chocolate covered raisins
Pine nuts
Sunflower seeds
(I think that's all)

It tastes amazing and I'm stoked about having it for lunch on the trail each day.

I started out by putting one pound in a ziplock bag and figuring I'd eat that for a day and be really well fed on the trail.

Well, I added up my breakfast, lunch and dinner and came out to just over 2 pounds for a day's eats.

I'd like to stay closer to 1.5 pounds.

Would 1/2 pound of trail mix, 2 power gel packets and 1 snickers bar be enough for lunch? (I plan on snacking on lunch throughout the day.

Or, should I just go heavy on food and do 1 pound of trailmix/gorp?

At this point I'm thinking about cutting the trail mix down to 1/2 pound?


Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Trail mix on 03/04/2009 19:48:57 MST Print View

I did the 1 lb gorp lunch on the PCT and quickly regretted it. It is a lot of trail mix in one sitting, plus it melted like crazy with all the chocolate (though it made a great breakfast after it solidified into bite-size clusters). It was great at first, but within the first week I grew tired of it and started taking about half of my trail mix bags from my maildrops onto the trail with me. So, 1/2 lb is what worked for me. However, you could do a lb and have that be your breakfast and snacks, then your dinner could be that last 1/2 lb to get you to 1.5 lbs/day.
You also might want to make a second batch of trail mix completely different than the other to mix things up. My body (and taste buds) always craves diversity while exerting myself on the trail. I like the following for its simplicity and easy taste-I might be totally wrong, but I think I figured it out once to be about 150 calories/ounce:
1 part raisins
.5 part craisins
1 part peanuts
.5 part almonds
1 part m&ms

Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
RE: How much gorp/trail mix is enough? on 03/05/2009 08:21:23 MST Print View

I'd cut down to 1/2 lb and throw in some other stuff for variety... and I would definitely go to the hard candy shell chocolate in lieu of the chocolate covered stuff... Did you know that m&m's were invented for soldiers in the Spanish civil war to prevent the chocolate from melting?

Other options that I like to carry so I don't O.D. on trail mix.
* jerky
* fruit leather (the real 100% fruit kind)
* laughing cow cheese packets (the ones that don't need to be refrigerated)
* meat sticks
* granola - sometimes i mix this into my trail mix as well.
* gardetto/party mix - not much nutrition, but light and adds variety
* sometimes I throw in salami and tortillas, add some laughing cow to make a delicious lunch. Hard salami is good for a few days not being refrigerated.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: How much gorp/trail mix is enough? on 03/05/2009 09:31:21 MST Print View

I second the melting issue. Go with hard shell chocolate.

Also try mixing up a batch and keeping it in a warm place for a couple weeks. (I would say your car dashboard but I note you're in Minnesota). My trail mix last summer had yummy cashew clusters in it. Unfortunately they seemed to absorb moisture from the other ingredients in storage and became very, very stale and nasty tasting. So give it a shelf-life test.

In the future I'll keep fruits, nuts, and chocolate separate.

Regarding the quantity- it's really your call. I hiked the JMT last summer and did more miles than my prior experience so figured I would need a lot more calories. I packed 3500 per day which turned out to be way, way too much. For a future two week trip I'll probably do 2500 per day the first week and maybe 3000 after that. I lost about 10 pounds over two weeks- if you don't have extra fat to spare you may need to carry more food in the pack. I'm guessing your mix is close to 150 calories per ounce (or 5 cal/gram)

I have learned in the past, and relearned on this trip, that I don't do well at digesting dietary fat while hiking above 10,000 feet. They make me feel very tired. I presume it's because of the oxygen required to burn fat. Typically my fats mostly come from the nuts in trail mix. For future trips I'll try to consume more fat at dinner, less at breakfast and lunch.

NYC Hiker
(NYCHiker) - F

Locale: NYC
Laughing Cow... on 03/05/2009 11:59:08 MST Print View

Which of the Laughing Cows don't need to be refrigerated? The ones wrapped in wax or the soft ones in foil? How long are they good for unrefrigerated?

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Laughing Cow... on 03/05/2009 12:01:29 MST Print View

For the wax coated....I don't know how long they'll stay fresh, but in cooler weather I'd say AT LEAST several days, cold weather....over a week.

I love 'em.

As for the foil ones, no go for long.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Laughing Cow... on 03/05/2009 12:18:32 MST Print View

The ones in foil are fully shelf stable. Just pack them very, very carefully - if one gets squeezed you will have a mess on hand. I just carry the whole wheel as the paper box doesn't weigh a lot.

Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
RE: Laughing Cow on 03/05/2009 13:14:10 MST Print View

The Laughing Cow website says they all need to be refrigerated, but I bet that's a CYA thing for them. We never refrigerate the wax covered at home and have never been sick from them.

Besides it's cheese, that's how they make it right? ;-) Leave it out, let it mold and then cut the mold off.

I have taken both the foil and the wax on 5 day trips and yes leave the foil in the box or you will have a mess!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Laughing Cow on 03/05/2009 16:29:22 MST Print View

Going on a tangent a bit -- but seemingly ALL the cheeses on ALL the buffet tables at ALL the hotels in the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, etc.) are ALL Laughing Cow brand (tin foil in triangular wedge form) for some reason. They must have a choke hold on that whole section of the world...

The only time I see them refrigerated is at the supermarkets here in the US.

Edited by ben2world on 03/05/2009 16:35:33 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
RE: Laughing Cow on 03/05/2009 17:20:42 MST Print View

No, no...take a close look at the wheels of Laughing Cow cheese (the wheels where inside are foil lined wedges). It is marked refrigerate after opening. That means if you don't eat a whole wedge, you need to stash it in the frig. A wedge though is not big. It is a soft cheese, designed to melt into food or to spread on bread/crackers.

Now the little round Babybels they sell, the ones dipped in wax, yes, those should be kept in the frig for long term storage. They can survive for a couple days out of it with no issues, they will get soft though and a bit oily. Once out of the wax, do eat it. The wax protects it from dirt and grubby hands.

ed dzierzak
(dzierzak) - F

Locale: SE
Cheese on 03/06/2009 09:18:50 MST Print View

I've had the Baby Bell on a section last year (mid-late April). They seemed to be fine for 4-5 days. They did get a little oily toward the end, but I had no problems, gastric or spoilage. I'l probably do it again this year.


Edited by dzierzak on 03/06/2009 09:19:34 MST.

David Dixon
Cheese on 03/06/2009 12:15:42 MST Print View has three flavors of cheese wedges that don't require refridgeration. If they get hot, however, they do get a little oily. I keep them in a cozy now and they have done ok.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Cheese on 03/06/2009 12:43:38 MST Print View

The cheese thing comes up frequently. Lynn did a nice experiment where she coated some cheese and salami in wax. After 6 weeks sitting on the counter at room temperature it was still good.

Cheese was invented as a preservative after all. I think the modern warnings are more of a CYA type thing.

Of course I find on the trail cheese only lasts several days. Just too tasty to leave in my bag any longer than that.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Cheese on 03/06/2009 21:22:20 MST Print View

I've been using the Babybel for years. It keeps just fine... and it really is too tasty to leave in the pack. I carry BB and dry salami. Perfect for lunch on the trail, especially with a chunk of sweet french baguette.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Cheese on 03/07/2009 11:14:39 MST Print View

Um, contributing to the transition of gorp/trail mix quantity to questions of cheese... I've been taking individually-wrapped cheeses (string-cheese looking, but colby, etc) for years now. I ration two per day, and they're still fine after a couple weeks. Maybe a little oily, maybe the texture isn't quite as good... but still good eatin'!

Michael Landman
(malndman) - F

Locale: Central NC, USA
Re: Trail mix on 04/06/2009 10:42:45 MDT Print View

I forgo the Chocolate due to it's melting. Mine is made from 2 parts Cashews, 2 parts Macadamia nuts, .5 parts pine nuts, .5 parts sunflower seeds and a little bit of dried pineapple for sweetness and flavor.
The Cashews and Macadamia nuts are real high calories per oz. The pine nuts and sunflower seeds add flavor and high oil content.
I limit myself to no more than 4 oz per day for two reasons:
1 - After a while, it gets really tiresome to eat all that gorp, day after day.
2 - all that fiber from the nuts loosens one up till your GI track gets accustomed to it.

BTW...dried fruit is not all that light for the calories.

Edited by malndman on 04/06/2009 10:43:33 MDT.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Cheese & trail mix on 04/14/2009 23:59:16 MDT Print View

String cheese and Babybel are great for dayhikes and short trips, but as others have observed they tend to exude a lot of oil when they get warm. For that reason I take a hard cheese like asiago or aged gouda on longer trips...much less oil comes out and they'll keep indefinitely without refrigeration. If you've read any stories or fairy tales from the Middle Ages you'll remember someone is always putting a cheese in their pocket before starting out on a long journey, a hard cheese no doubt or else quite a mess would result.

A sweet tooth is something I've never had - the exception being chocolate - so I tend to like a savory trailmix. Making my own I vary it by adding sesame sticks, chili powder or wasabe crackers to the nuts and dried fruit. Once I tried raw nuts but that didn't work out too well as I discovered I craved the salt.

James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Good cheese will keep for days! on 05/01/2009 20:46:10 MDT Print View

Hey, guys... My first post here has to be about CHEESE! If you buy cheap processed "supermarket" cheese it probably won't keep very well, but go to a good cheese shop and buy a good quality cheddar or manchego, and you're good for as long as you want. It will literally keep for ever, if it molds over a little, just scrape it off (or eat it if you want).

I'm heading out to the Brecon Beacons (Wales) next week, and I'm planning to pick up a lb of good cheddar, cut into chunks, and a nice fresh french bread for delicious snacks on trail. The cheese will last much longer than the bread!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
cheesy on 05/02/2009 06:47:44 MDT Print View

Yum... you are right about good cheese and the harder aged cheeses often contain less moisture which means they won't mold over near as fast as that medium cheddar from the grocery store. Nothing better than some cheese and bannock bread on day 8 of a wilderness trip.