How Much GORP to Bring Backpacking?

For all those newbies to backpacking, GORP stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. Of course, you can all sorts of other dried fruits and nuts to the mix, or even goodies like yogurt-covered pretzels and candies. What makes GORP so great for backpacking is that it is incredibly nutrient-dense. Since GORP is going to be one of your main foods for your backpacking trip, you need to make sure you plan the amounts right.


There Is No One Answer to How Much GORP to Bring!

“How much GORP should I bring” is one of the most common questions on backpacking forums. If you bother to read through these forums, you will quickly realize that there is no one good answer to this question. There are simply too many variables to consider.

Are you a large man with lots of muscle or a small-framed woman hiker?

Are you going to be doing hardcore hikes, or just short walks through the woods?

Are you going to be eating GORP all day, just for lunch, or as a snack?

With these variables in mind, I’m going to do my best to answer the question of how much GORP.  Here is how you can calculate how much GORP you need.


1) First Calculate Your Total Calorie Needs

Again, this is going to vary depending on your body mass, and how much energy you will be using on your backpacking trip. I’m a small woman and go hiking with my daughter (now 5 years old). I definitely don’t get very far or on tough terrain with my girl! So, I calculate that I need about 2000 calories per day while backpacking. For a large man who is doing intense hikes, the number will be more around 3000 or even 3500.


2) What Other Meals Are You Bringing?

In theory, you could eat GORP all day, everyday on your backpacking trip. But that would get boring really quickly. So, most backpackers will make a hot breakfast (something like oatmeal) and hot dinner, and eat GORP for lunch and as a snack.


3) Now Calculate How Many GORP Calories You Need

Calculate roughly how many calories you are going to get from your other backpacking meals. Then calculate how many calories you have remaining. I get about 1000 calories from my breakfast and dinner, so that leaves me with 1000 calories I need to get from GORP daily.  When I’m with my daughter, I also make a hot lunch (something quick and easy like dehydrated hummus and crackers), so I only need about 500 calories of GORP through the day as a snack.


4) Calories In GORP

An ounce of peanuts and raisins will have about 120 calories. 1 cup of GORP = about 5 ounces. So:

1 cup of GORP has about 600 calories.

*Please note that these are all estimates.  Some things you add to your GORP might have more calories (like chocolate), or be more compact so there will be more than 5oz in a cup (like flax seeds)

Based on this, we can estimate that you need:

  • 1 cup of GORP per day if you are eating it just as a snack
  • 2-3 1/2 cups of GORP per day if you are eating it for lunch

Again, this is going to vary depending on your personal caloric requirements, what you are eating for breakfast and dinner, how intense of hiking you do, and what you put in your GORP.


How much GORP do you bring backpacking? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on Facebook.

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