OK. I'm putting this here because this is the megathread and this is where this belongs. We have all these camping and resting threads everywhere, and we're ignoring the megathread. (I admit... I started a lot of it.)
So, the purpose of this response is to hopefully better explain what my ultimate suggestion is for resting:
Imagine the amount of replayability with just these changes:
1. Forget food. Remove it altogether from the game. All it does is provide lots of additional item management. If you are going to keep it, for immersion purposes, give it a better, more meaningful purpose and for the love of all that is holy, food should perish after X number of long rests depending on the type of food.
2. No hard limits for either Long or Short Rests. In other words, Short Rests should not be limited to 2 per day. ESPECIALLY if you're going to have unlimited Long Rests, you need to make Short Rests unlimited so that you are encouraged to Short Rest more than Long Rest.
3. Short Rests managed by Hit Dice. This gives some strategy to it and makes it more interesting. If you unlimit Short Rests as I am suggesting, there does need to be at least some way to limit regaining HP via Short Rests or a push of the button can heal you to full between every battle. Hit Dice is 5e. This game is supposed to be 5e. Besides that, it makes sense and provides limitations of some kind to healing between battles. Even if you run out of Hit Dice, however, there is still value in the short rests for classes like Fighter and Monk and Druid and Warlock, and such.
4. Long Rests are locked until you find the first Camp in the area. So, you start on the beach and have to go until you reach the Dank Crypt before you unlock a camp - the first camp being the mini-camp within the dank crypt. This forces you to use short rests and items to recover until you unlock the camp in the crypt. If you bypass the dank crypt and go to the grove right away, the grove is the first location where you unlock a camp, and Long Rest is now unlocked upon reaching the grove. If you fall into the Underdark, you have to find a camp location before you can Long Rest there. Once your first camp is unlocked, you can then fast travel, etc. back to your unlocked camps at any point in time - except when restricted by specific events, but that's the next point.
5. Some areas restrict fast travel and long rest, such as the goblin camp after you've killed the goblin leaders. You have to find your way out before you can either fast travel or long rest. Only Short Rests are enabled during this time. It's much more plausible that you could hide for maybe an hour somewhere and patch yourself up than find a place to hide for most of a day and patch yourselves up.
6. And this is the big one. I've posted this one before, but I'll say it again. Please read this part carefully. Long Rests are not limited, but they trigger events in the game.
Now let me elaborate on this last point. As I said above, imagine the amount of replayability with this.
First Playthrough - You fight the intellect devourers and get your butt handed to you. You're not doing so well. (This touches more on point 4 as well). You try to Long Rest, but SH tells you, "No way.
We could turn at any moment. I know we're tired and in bad shape right now, but if we rest for a day, we'll start turning into mind flayers. It'll be too late. Let's take a break for an hour or two at most and then continue." Short Rest is available and tutorial tells you how it works. You fight your way to the crypt and finally you unlock a Long Rest. By this point, you have met Gale. You take him with. You REALLY need a Long Rest now. So you try again. Dialogue occurs. Gale's Mirror Image dialogue occurs. At the end, he says, "Looks like we could maybe chance a rest." After all, the dialogue implies that things aren't happening the way they normally should with the tadpoles. So, Long Rest is unlocked at last and you can sleep in the Dank Crypt.
Second Playthrough - You can go a lot longer, AND you reject Gale. You don't like him and you don't bring him with you. You long rest at the Dank Crypt, but Gale isn't with you. A cutscene occurs where you are explaining to your companions basically the same thing Gale said in his Mirror Image dialogue. "We aren't turning as fast as we should, and we need rest. I think we can risk taking the rest of the day to recover. We need to."
Third Playthrough - You skip the dank crypt and head to the grove. You only have SH and Astarion with you. You've completely bypassed Gale and Lae'zel. You do the grove fight and enter the grove and do the convos with Zevlor, etc. Camp unlocked. Long Rest available. You don't even finish going through the grove yet. You try to long rest. Cutscene. "We could rest here, but we might find a healer," says SH. "Let's at least try to see if we can speak with Nettie first. Then let's rest." So, it doesn't let you Long Rest until after you've talked to Nettie. Even though it says Camp available and Long Rest unlocked, the game won't let you until you talk to Nettie - suggesting that you should go straight there.
Basically, the point is that the game is pushing you to keep going and suggesting to you where you should go first before you long rest.
Now, skip ahead until later. After visiting the grove, long rests are now available at any time. However, in your first playthrough, you take 5 days to save the grove and make reconciliation between the druids and tieflings. The ritual would have completed in 3 days, so in this playthrough, Rath had to interrupt the ritual to stop it from being completed in 3 days. He was consequently locked up for it and is unavailable to help you. In the second playthrough, you save the grove in 3 days. Rath isn't locked up and is able to help you. Third playthrough, you beat it in 8 days. Rath interrupted it on Day 3 and was locked up, and on Day 6 it is interrupted by Mol who has vanished with the idol somewhere. You now have to do something before the druids find Mol and kill the kid. Different playthroughs. Different results all because you long rested differently. It's not limiting long rests. It's providing different outcomes depending on how many you used. It's creating a semblance of time in the game.