Power Up Your Hike With This Homemade Snack

Trail Mix
Trail Mix. Nancy Nehring/E+/Getty Images

When you are on the trail or on a long walk, you should take along an energy snack with protein, carbohydrates, and a little salt to replace what you sweat away.

Trail mix or gorp ("good old raisins and peanuts") is the natural answer. The nuts provide protein and salt while the raisins provide carbohydrates. Trail mix doesn't need any refrigeration and is food-safe for weeks. That makes it the perfect walking and hiking snack.

Trail mix is energy-dense, meaning there are lots of calories in a smaller portion. That makes it lighter to take along to eat for the replenishment you need. But that means you need to use portion control so you don't end up eating too many calories. On average, trail mix has 140 calories and 9 grams of fat per ounce.

While you can buy pre-packaged trail mix, it is easy and cheaper to make your own and then portion it out for use. The ingredients are easy to find in the bulk bins at the supermarket, and you can be creative in finding the mixture you enjoy the most.

Basic Trail Mix Recipe

The classic trail mix recipe calls for equal parts of nuts and various dried fruits. Then you can jazz it up with additions, chocolate, or coconut and with salty snacks such as pretzels or breakfast cereal. Let's make a basic 3-cup batch of trail mix. This keeps the proportions easy — a cup of each. And by cup, you don't need to get out the measuring cup; any mug will do.

This isn't baking, it's just mixing equal parts.


  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup M&Ms (these are preferred over chocolate chips because they won't melt in your pack or pocket.)

Mix and portion out, remembering that 1 ounce provides 140 calories. If you are watching your calories, you may want to weigh it out into single-serving sizes in plastic bags to take along.

Then you won't be tempted to eat the whole batch at once. Basic trail mix is gluten-free. But it does have plenty of sugar and fat, which will give you quick energy as well as sustained energy.

You can adjust the proportions to taste. Maybe you only want a few M&Ms, maybe you want more. It's your mix, make it your way!

Common Additions to Trail Mix

You don't have to stop at good-old-raisins-and-peanuts, with or without chocolate chips. Here is where it is fun to go browsing the bulk bins at the grocery store. They are filled with different nuts, dried fruit, candy, and salty snacks you can add.

  • Dried fruit: raisins, dried apricots, date nuggets, banana chips, apple chips, dried papaya, dried cranberries, dried cherries. You can substituted these for the raisins in the basic recipe, or add them as a separate ingredient.
  • Nuts and seeds: peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more. Any nut will do.
  • Chocolate and more: M&Ms, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, carob chips, dried coconut, Reese's Pieces.
  • Salty Stuff: Pretzels, sesame sticks, oriental rice crackers, salty "party mix" cereal.
  • Cereals: Any breakfast cereal, granola.

More Trail Mix Recipes

Low Carb Trail Mix
Nut-Free Trail Mix
Kids' Trail Mix

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