Trail mix is an essential part of every hike. For some, it may even be the highlight of a treacherous multiple hour trek.

Recently, Scoutingwire took a list of 35 ingredients usable in making a trail mix by Boys’ Life magazine and ranked them from best to worst. We saw the list and yes, just like you, we were disturbed.

We took the liberty to re-rank this list in a way that would only be suitable for the refined palate of a true Scouter. We know you will be relieved after reading through our list, but if for some reason you are not, let us know.

  1. Raisins – Let’s all be honest here. Raisins do get stuck in your teeth sometimes, but they do taste good. Also, we can’t forget the nutritional value raisins have. Raisins are filled with nutrients including B vitamins, iron and potassium, which is great for avoiding cramping while on the hike. Plus, they are a great source of carbohydrates for energy.
  2. Peanuts – Yes, peanuts are definitely number two on the list. Ever heard of GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)? It is the original trail mix and peanuts are the must have staple.
  3.  M&M’s – m&ms
  1. Granola –  It’s a great substitute for peanuts if you’re allergic, and it’s contained inside a bag so no big messes while you eat.
  2. Reese’s Pieces – The trick is to not look in the bag when you are eating. Otherwise, these seem to just disappear on their own.
  3. Cashew -Whether it’s a nut, fruit or a seed, we don’t care. We just need it in our trail mix.
  4. Dried Cranberries – A nice natural sweet cousin to the raisin to add to the mix.
  5. Salt – Can you pass the salt, please? Enough said.
  6. Banana Chips – The best fruit chip around.
  7. Pretzels – Americans eat around two pounds of pretzels each year. We don’t recommend you eat that much on your hike, but they are very delicious.
  8. Almonds – Although they are better covered in chocolate, these are a must have in all trail mixes.
  9. Pistachio – In Iran, they are known as the smiling nut. In China, they are known as the happy nut. Both are perfect reasons to include them in a trail mix.
  10. Chex Cereals – Breakfast is good at all times of the day.
  11. Garlic Powder – A dash or two will be a nice compliment to a trail mix.
  12. Onion Powder – Because if you’re going to have garlic powder you might as well add onion powder.
  13. Chocolate Chips – These are great when scooped up with pretty much anything else in the mix.
  14. Peanut Butter Chips – If you put these in with chocolate chips, it’s almost like eating a Reese’s except for not that good, well, because almost nothing is that good.
  15. Wasabi Peas – Add a little spice to your life.
  16. Sunflower seeds – Although they’re not that great when all of them end up at the bottom of the bag, they’re like a diamond in the rough when you get a few in a handful.
  17. Dried Apples – Not much to offer but it’s always good to at least say you have some dried fruit in your mix. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?
  18. Cinnamon – I know what you’re thinking, and we’re not crazy. Give it a try first.
  19. Sweetened Cereal – Not the healthiest but still can be yummy. We recommend Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  20. Pecans – If they were holiday fried pecans, they would be higher on the list.
  21. Sweetened Coconut – If you know it’s going to be hot outside they at least can remind you of a nice tropical breeze.
  22. Pumpkin seeds – Yeah, we are going to be honest, this is where the list starts to go downhill.
  23. Curry Powder – We think this goes better on real food.
  24. Cheetos – Why? Just why?
  25. Cayenne Pepper – If you like spicy trail mix on a hike while you’re dying of thirst, go for it.
  26. White Chocolate Chips – Why would you ever use white chocolate chips when you could use real chocolate chips?
  27. Dried Blueberries – Not the greatest taste in the world.
  28. Chili Powder – Isn’t this the same as cayenne pepper?
  29. Walnuts – We decided this was the worst nut on the list, so we demoted it to the bottom.
  30. Dried Apricots – This reminds us of a treat our grandmother used to give us at her house.
  31. Popcorn – Takes up space and should be saved for the movies.
  32. Candied Orange Peel – We are still not sure what this is?

Do you agree with our list? What are some of your favorite GORP recipes? Share with us in the comments.

Jarom Shaver
Writer for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council.


  1. Avatar
    M. L. Petersen says:

    I liked your list. However I find that candy chips whether they be caramel, p-b, chocolate, mint, or whatever, have a tendency to turn into a sticky goo in hot climates. Although it may be, literately, finger licking good, the hard-candy coated m&m varieties may get squishy but are better in the heat. My son prefers a few jelly-beans in place of the candy chips in hot weather and prefers the candy chips in cooler weather.

    No, chili powder is not the same as cayenne. Chili is associated with a food that is hot or spicy; especially since it it flavored with chilies. The chilies are a variety of hot peppers like cayenne and jalapeno, each having its own flavor once you get past the ‘hot’. Chili powder is a blend of one or more hot pepper(s), combined with other spices (i.e.: oregano, cumin, black and/or white peppercorns, garlic, onion, milder peppers like paprika, parsley or cilantro) and sometimes salt. Occasionally, I have even seen chili powder with lime or lemon flavoring added. As you may now guess, all chili powders are not the same. You were wise to list it as a different ingredient. Awesome!! Good job on your list.

  2. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder says:

    I love your counter point! I certainly didn’t agree with the list and any GORP has to start with “good ole raisins and peanuts.” Like you I favor cashews, but I also like brazil nuts, filberts and now, because of your suggestion, pistachios. However, I never put any kind of cereal or candy in mine. That means NO granola, chex and sweetened cereals, but I will put MM nuts (peanut and almonds) in my mix. If the chex was chex mix I would give it a chance, since I like salty and savory. The main reason I add raisins and candied nuts is for quick energy on the trail, but this is just a trail snack not a meal. So plan ahead for real meals on the trail.

  3. Avatar
    Peter Shaver says:

    Good combination of nuts and fruit. Raisins are sugar bombs, so be careful of the amount. Cut back on the sugar with the chocolate chips and Reese. All these do is help dentists get rich.

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