Make Your Own Trail Mix

10 recipes and the secret to building a better gorp.

Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Trail mix combines dried fruit, nuts and other ingredients for a healthy “on the go” snack.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Trail mix combines dried fruit, nuts and other ingredients for a healthy “on the go” snack.

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In Germany, it’s known as “studentenfutter” (student’s food).  In New Zealand it’s “scroggin” and many in the US refer to it as “gorp” (possibly shorthand for “good old raisins and peanuts”). Whatever you call it, trail mix is a must for hikers, athletes or anyone looking for a burst of energy on the go. Typically a blend of cereals, dried fruits, nuts and often sweets, trail mix can be a melange of crunchy and chewy, salty or sweet. Trail mix can be tailored to any taste, but ideally will include protein, vitamins and carbohydrates to provide quick energy.  Easy to pack and carry, trail mix is the perfect solution when energy begins to wane, but is often high in calories and portions should be kept small. About ⅓ cup of a well-balanced trail mix is usually enough to provide a boost of energy and satisfy a grumbling tummy when stopping isn’t an option.

It may be tempting to fill a plastic baggie with your favorite cereal and a handful of gummy bears and call it scroggin, but the secret of good trail mix is balance. A little sugar may help perk you up, but without protein and easily metabolized carbs, that energy spike won’t last. Breaking the components of trail mix into categories, it becomes easy to make your own blend with the flavors you want and the fuel you need to keep on keepin’ on.

We break down trail mix into 5 components: Fruits, nuts and seeds, cereals, sweet and savory. Build a trail mix to call your own using a ratio of 1 cup cereal, 1 cup fruit, 1 cup nuts or seeds, ½ cup sweet, ½ cup savory as a jumping off point. Not every recipe will include every category and the ratios can be adjusted to taste, but balance is key. If your favorite trail mix ingredients aren’t on the list, determine what category best describes them and plug them in to the formula (note: crunchberries are not a fruit).


  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Apple chips
  • Banana chips
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried apricots

Nuts and Seeds

  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds


  • Granola
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Chex
  • Cheerios


  • M&Ms
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate covered nuts
  • Yogurt covered raisins


  • Wasabi peas
  • Sesame sticks
  • Dried edamame

Making your own trail mix is an easy way to get the taste you want and the energy you need whether hiking the Appalachian Trail or trekking across the quad between classes. Make your own mix or try the recipes below to help get you started. Mix thoroughly and pack in ziploc bags to store and carry.

Trail Mix Recipes

Basic Blend: 1 cup cereal, 1 cup fruit, 1 cup nuts or seeds, ½ cup sweet, ½ cup savory

Crunchy Mix: Peanuts, banana chips, pretzels, chocolate covered nuts. sesame sticks

Harvest Blend: Granola, pecans, apple chips, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds

Sweet and Spicy: Almonds, pretzels, dried cranberries, yogurt covered raisins, wasabi peas

Protein Punch: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, granola, chocolate covered nuts, dried edamame

Five O’clock Blend:  Peanuts, popcorn, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, sesame sticks.

Saturday Morning: Almonds, cheerios, raisins, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips

Classic Gorp: Peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips.

Salty Snack: Almonds, pretzels, chex, sunflower seeds, raisins

Sweet Tooth: Cheerios, cashews, dried apricots, M&Ms.

Sushi Bar: Goldfish crackers, walnuts, dried blueberries, wasabi peas, dried edamame.

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