Are You Highly Campetent? (Stephen Colbert Would Be, If He Went Camping)

Like my new word? Thanks, so do I.

Since I really will backpack for chocolate, and since I just got home from doing just that, I’ve been making mental lists of the little extras that, over the years, have made ordinary camping trips extraordinary.

Though they’re most effective in backpacking, where luxury is harder to come by, I see no reason why these tips can’t be adapted for car-camping too.

Ready? Here we go:

Campetent campers pack mac & cheese. Highly Campetent campers do that too, but they add a small, chopped-up brick of real, extra-sharp cheddar…and some fresh greens. (Mustard greens are the best!)

Campetent campers pack a sleeping pad. Highly Campetent campers pack a chunk of carpet padding, 4 inches thick, 18 inches wide, long enough to pad a tired body from shoulders to knees, compressed in a sack to the size of a small sleeping bag. (I give all credit to my Mate on this one! Best camping sleep EVER.)


Campetent campers bring rope to hang their food out of reach of critters. Highly Campetent campers bring bright orange rope, so they don’t trip over it at the edge of their campsite.

Campetent campers stay fully hydrated. Highly Campetent campers stay fully hydrated in the knowledge that they can safely enjoy a small box of Cabernet after dinner and still be ready to hike next morning.

Campetent campers pack biodegradable soap. Highly Campetent campers make sure that soap is lavender, or peppermint, so when they take that icy, delicious creek-or-lake bath at the end of a hot trail day, not only does their body thank them, their fellow campers do too.

Campetent campers pack a change of clean clothes. Highly Campetent campers leave a change of clothes in the car to change into when they arrive, sweaty and dusty (or cold and wet).


 My dad used to mix Tang into Cream of Wheat to make camp breakfasts more fun. Not necessarily recommending that, but…Got any tips of your own?

8 thoughts on “Are You Highly Campetent? (Stephen Colbert Would Be, If He Went Camping)

  1. I loved this! The tips, the images – the carpet padding! I may need to try that rather than an air mattress..too many leaks!

    The best thing I ever got on a camping trip was a marriage proposal in the turquoise pools beneath Mooney Falls, at Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon.

    Looks like you had a lovely adventure!

      • Yes, indeedy. He said it was too beautiful a place to waste – it was pretty spontaneous. I think the fact that I’m terrified of falling, and he more or less needed to be with me to get me back up the cliff face, might’ve had something to do with it, too.

        He more or less had me trapped down there! And I am so glad. We’ll celebrate our 17th anniversary later this month, and it does seem to get better and better. ❤

  2. Hubs and I camped while we were dating, but we had enough miserable experiences that I’m pretty much soured on the whole concept. Between the time we almost got rained off the mountain and the time it was so cold I wore everything I had with me to bed, but still only slept in 20 minutes snatches, I am now a hotel kind of girl!

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