We ain’t coming back; lessons learned:

This weekend, I’ve been running exercises to see how fast I could get things loaded and ready to leave if I had to.  I’m of the mindset to bug-in for most scenarios, but there could always come a time where we need to leave.  So in addition to the bug out bags that are always at the ready, I wanted to gauge what it would take to get us ready to go in a get out of Dodge (GOOD)/ we ain’t coming back scenario. 

The parameters:

1)      Approach this as we will not be coming back home ever

2)      This is one of those scenarios where no matter where we go, the conditions are just as bad.  We just can’t go to our parents or brother’s house.  It will be just as bad, if not worse there. 

3)      Only one vehicle will be used

4)      Each family member was responsible for their own clothing choices

I learned several valuable lessons that will make the next time a little smoother and hopefully better. 

1)      I recently went through an reorganized all my supplies and equipment.  The organization is good for an stay at home situation, but if I have to leave quick, it leaves a lot to be desired.  I store most things in buckets or Rubbermaid containers with labels as to the category and contents.  The tendency in this exercise was just to grab all the containers, after all, we are not coming back.  So my space was rapidly filled up by a lot of stuff that would provide only a short term benefit.  For example, my Base Camp category contains items such as camp stoves.  Do I really need the propane camp stove, or would I be better served just taking the DeadWood stove.  The lesson here is to create and load my base set of containers focused a GOOD scenario and cross reference on the other containers so I know where to find it.  This way, we just grab anything with GOOD on it and will be comfortable knowing we have bare necessities.  Anything beyond that will be gravy.   

2)       My food storage is not organized for GOOD either.  I need to create some containers focused just on GOOD.  I will start with a 10 day focus and build up from there. 

3)      Checklists were not clear.  With this initial exercise, I had to stop what I was doing and either answer a question or show how to do something.  Again, a GOOD –focused organization will help, plus, after running through this, things are clearer so next time it shouldn’t be an issue. 

4)      One problem I spotted right away was if someone wasn’t home or out of town.  I need to devise a way to reallocate tasks quickly.  

5)      Our clothing choices were poor.  The rest of the family packed only for the current season and didn’t think long term, plus, it took way too long to pull stuff together.  Boots and wool socks were severely lacking. 

6)      We didn’t think about seeds or basic gardening items

7)      Ammo is heavy.  You will have to make some tough choices regarding number and type of firearms as well as amount of ammo.

8)      Water is heavy.  My goal was to carry 7 gallons of water per person.

9)      Somebody is always watching.  I told the neighbors that inquired that it was a family camping trip.  Fortunately it rained so no one gave it a second thought when I started unloading.  Next time, I will pull the vehicle around back.   Not only that, but the containers you use should conceal the contents and be weatherproof.  

10)   I forgot the topo/backroads maps. 

11)   I forgot the important documents and the digital backups. 

12)   Our personal choices could have been better.  For example why would we need hair spray or gel.  Or handheld video games.  Precious battery resources will be for flashlights, not games. 

13)   Need to acquire some new skills and knowledge.  For example, we can only take so much toothpaste.  Baking soda is a good alternative during a bug-in, but what happens when both of those run out.  How will we maintain good dental hygiene when the good stuff runs out.  I know what to do, but getting my family to accept it could be problematic. 

14)   Predetermined destination with supplies as well as caches along the way would be ideal.  I need to spend some time researching potential areas. 

15)    The family is probably going to be in some sort of denial and paralysis. 

16)   Leaving as a matter of life and death may not improve our chances. 

17)   What would we do with the house and all the supplies and food we leave behind?      

These are by no means all the lessons learned, just the ones that jumped out at me initially.  Just know that it isn’t as easy as it looks on paper,  don’t underestimate what it will take, and don’t overestimate your capabilities.  As Eisenhower said; “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”.

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