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Setting Up Your Camp Safely

Learn what to take camping. What you take will depend on where you're going and how long you plan to be away.

Take a few precautions when setting up your camp to ensure a safe and fun outting.

Arrive early so you have plenty of time to check your campsite and set up camp before dark. Give yourself two hours of daylight to set up camp. Traveling after dark can result in accidental falls, so travel during daylight. Set up camp well away from the edge of cliffs, and learn the terrain when it's still light. If you have to leave camp after dark, stay in areas you have seen in the daylight, go with a friend, and always use a good flashlight.

If you're not in a developed campground, check your site for any potential hazards (such as ant beds, poison oak, nearby cliffs, etc.) Make sure everyone in your party knows what the potential hazards are in the area and how to avoid them.

Make sure your tent is at least 15 feet upwind from grills and fires. Maintain at least a three-foot clear area around the tent, free from leaves and dry grass. Do not dig drainage channels or trenches around your tent or campsite. They are not effective at directing rainwater away from your tent and can become unexpected tripping hazards.

Use only battery-operated lights in or near tents or campers and never use heaters which emit carbon monoxide inside your tent or camping vehicle.

Mark tent stakes, poles and guy lines with bright fabrics or tennis balls to avoid tipping.