La Vida’s Secret Recipes: What Makes Freako Butter and GORP Taste So Good?

This article originally appeared in the spring 2021 issue of STILLPOINT, the magazine of Gordon College.

In celebration of La Vida’s 50th anniversary, La Vida Director of Education and Program Development Nate Hausman unveiled two of La Vida’s iconic secret recipes—GORP and Freako Butter. The wait is finally over! So go grab your spatulas and jars of peanut butter. . . it’s about to get messy.


Contrary to popular belief, GORP didn’t start out as an acronym for “granola, oats, raisins, peanuts” or “good ol’ raisins and peanuts.” It’s an old English verb that means “to eat greedily” (as if we needed encouragement!). And it’s a backpacking staple that La Vida has down to a science. With these massive proportions— intended to outfit one La Vida patrol before their 12-day expedition—your batch is sure to last you a long time and keep hunger at bay.

In following with GORP-etiquette, Nate Hausman advises against the “mining of favorite pieces, M&Ms of course being high on that list.” If they’re your favorite, simply save them for last (or maybe add a few extras to your batch).


  • 1 batch = 57 cups (which fit nicely into 3 gallon-sized zip lock bags)
  • 1 bag of Cheerios or other cereal
  • 1 large can of salted peanuts
  • 1 large can of dry roasted peanuts 2 1⁄4 lbs. of raisins
  • 1 large bag of M&M’S®


Freako Butter has been in La Vida bear bags since the 90s. Its contents have never been revealed—until now. Although exact quantities will remain a mystery, the ingredients for Freako Butter are no longer a secret. It’s up to you to find the perfect balance between chocolatey M&M’S®, powdered milk, peanut butter and honey.


  • chocolatey M&M’S®
  • powdered milk
  • peanut butter
  • honey

Want to know if your batch is up to snuff? See if you can convince Nate Hausman to give yours a try. He’s the official taste tester for every batch up at base camp. Hausman recommends pairing Freako Butter with Stone Ground Wheat Thins, if you want to relive (or re-taste) your days on the trail.

Read the full “Transformation on the Trail” issue of STILLPOINT magazine online for more La Vida content.