As you peruse the Internet, you'll invariably come across various "life hacks" for camping. Turns out, most of those things are just burdensome, cumbersome items that have no need to be on a camping trip in the first place. You might feel it depends on what kind of camping you're doing, but either way, less is always more.
It's important to focus on the basics of camping, and look to the items you already use and have in your home. When you read a camping tip, see if it actually cuts down on the amount of items you'll be taking to the campsite, or helps make things easier.
This is where people could go crazy taking large amounts of bedding but keep it simple. If you have an air mattress or pad, it should be soft enough to sleep on the ground with. If you find yourself investing in multiple items (like a children's puzzle mat...) to make the ground softer, then you should reconsider your mattress choice. It's better to just have a higher quality air mattress or pad.
When it comes to food, people have different motivations for what they bring. Some people are looking to make great food, so they're more likely to bring more food and equipment along. It's understandable, that's why most people buy a Dutch oven in the first place. Others are more focused on just surviving as they plan to rough it out in the wilderness for a few days.
Whatever your cooking purpose is, Ziploc bags are your best friend. Even for Dutch oven fanatics, you don't want to bring your entire food storage when you go. It's best to portion out the food you're going to use and prepare as much ahead of time as possible. Not only does this cut down on the food you'll take, but the kitchen utensils as well.
Another item that's cheap and most households have is aluminum foil. Aluminum foil dinners are popular because they save money, time and space. You can prepare and spice meals ahead of time by preparing aluminum foil dinners.
Also, don't hang your pots and pans out in the open all night after you've used them. When they're cooked in, they retain the smell of food and can attract some unwanted visitors to your campsite. Rather, keep food and utensils in your car or in a bear canister. You can find bear canisters relatively cheap, and they work to keep away other wild animals as well.
Easily the most annoying insect when camping is the mosquito. There are multiple methods to repelling these pests that go beyond the usual chemical repellent route (use only repellent with DEET). One natural and cheap solution is burning sage and rosemary in the fire. As the herbs burn, it creates a smoke that repels mosquitoes.
When camping, wear pants and a long-sleeve shirt to protect yourself against mosquitoes and other insects. Another pest to consider is the tick. This obnoxious pest can infect its host with potential diseases and suck its blood. Have a pair of tweezers at the campsite to help pull out a tick. Get as far down as you can, and try not to leave the head buried in the unfortunate victim.
On various social media sites, you'll find a number of ways to light up your campsite. Of course your main source of light during the night is the campfire. For other sources of light, just stick with the flashlight and have extra batteries on hand.
Speaking of fire, you can find a number of ways to get a blaze going. Some people suggest Doritos. Others say dryer lint in a toilet paper roll works. These are fine options for kindling, but remember that kindling you find works great as well. These are supposed to be options when there is no kindling on hand. To start the fire, some people suggest multiple ways of packing matches. It's best to just bring weather proof matches and a backup lighter.
There are some interesting ways people have suggested to pack toilet paper or use a makeshift toilet. If there is an outhouse, this shouldn't be something you're worrying about. If you're camping and there are no facilities, use biodegradable toilet paper.
For cleaning your dishes and hands, look for Dr. Bronner's Organic Soap. You can get it any form, but it's gentle on the environment and is multi-purpose. Otherwise, embrace the dirt and the outdoor elements because that's kind of the point of camping.
Just be practical. Stick with some tried and true methods, but still keep an ear out for what experienced campers have to say.