Determine ahead of time what kind of camping experience you wish to have. There are campgrounds that provide every amenity possible, while others are very basic. Let the destination determine your needs. Some of the best camping experiences I’ve had were in a campground with nothing to offer other than a nearby bath house and a lake. We were able to completely relax, depend on ourselves to create entertainment if needed, and truly enjoy the nature surrounding us.
Primitive camping is also an option. These areas allow you to hike and place your tent, but provide nothing else – no bathrooms, water or electric. Also, if you are hiking in to your site, you’ll want to limit the gear you take – that backpack gets heavy after a few hours of hauling it on your back!
The fewer amenities the campground provides usually means the less they charge for the campsite. National and state parks are the exception to that rule; these parks sometimes offer many amenities, yet their prices are usually lower than most privately-owned campgrounds.
There are certain foods that are naturally camping-friendly. Most of these foods are part of your regular routine, so just raid your pantry when you get ready to camp. Hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, eggs, peanut butter and marshmallows are always good camping staples. Hot dogs and marshmallows can be cooked over the campfire with an ordinary stick. Cheap pouches of muffin mix make wonderful coffee cakes – just mix together and pour into one of the pie plates (greased or buttered). Cover with another pie plate and put on the campfire grill.
Remember, the simpler the food is to cook, the more time you’ll spend relaxing, rather than cooking!