Guest article, by ‘NRP’… Does “Practice” make one better at what they do, allowing them to know “how to do it” and what to expect while they do it? When you visit the Dentist, do you expect someone who has had enough “practice” filling that cavity? When needing help at the Library do you look for that one person who actually knows what they’re doing? When the truck/car breaks down, do you look for an “experienced” mechanic? When you’re at a Nursery looking for that certain plant, who do you look for?   It’s common sense that practice makes perfect, and it’s the same when doing “stuff” for ourselves. Knowing what to do and what to expect when a skill-set is called upon (especially when least expected) is important and probably critical for success. I have done many of “Lights Out Weekends” during the past few years. Now this may sound silly to some whom might ask, “Why would you spend a few days in the back yard or in the woods when you have a very comfortable house sitting right there?” Well there’s an easy answer, “When is TSHTF going to happen?” Maybe when you’re home? Or away at work? Or in town, Or how about when visiting Aunt Martha 40 miles away? One never knows; so is it not better to “practice” for “Lights Out?” ———————– A great book (novel) of a lights-out experience: LIGHTS OUT by David Crawford ———————– Would it be good to know if you are ready to spend a few days, OR LONGER, living out of your Get-Home-Bag (GHB) or your Bug-Out-Bag (BOB)? We all have seen many MANY lists telling us we need “this or that” in the BOB-GHB, right? Well everyone has “lists”, I’m sure I’m on a few lists myself 😉 , BUT without using the skills, the “bags”, the “kits”, the “practice”, how will you know how well you will fare when “something” happens? The only way is to actually spend a few days without; meaning on a Friday night, or whenever, when you drive into that nice warm Garage, just grab the GHB and park yourself in the back yard. Or better yet, park the truck a few miles away and walk home, then march to the Bug-Out-Location (BOL), aka back yard and let the fun begin. I believe 90% of us will be very surprised how difficult this “practice” will be:   – Build that shelter you plan on with a Tarp and some Para-cord – Get that fire started (not in the propane BBQ sitting there on the porch) – Get a bucket of river water (or mix a hand full of mud into a bucket) and filter it to drink – Try cooking over that fire you built, or use that little rocket stove you have. – Now the hard part, build that nice comfortable bed from some sticks and leaves. FYI, the ground gets really REALLY hard at 2:00AM. – OK OK, you made it so far, time for some sleep, yeah right, every little noise will wake you, did you remember a sleeping bag in your BOB-GHB? – Forget about the coffee in the morning, because you need to get up, pack everything, and take a 5 mile+ hike; now do it all again, TWO more times/days. – Don’t forget to clean that Firearm and make sure it’s in good working order. – Ohhh YEAH, where are you going to use that TP? – How about the second day you practice cleaning an (imaginary) deep cut or splinting up a broken arm?   Remember no cheating; I bet you will find very fast how much “stuff” you have and really DON’T need, and what you may need and don’t have. And remember how heavy all that stuff/water is when you need to walk 30 miles home. Personally I try to do a Lights Out Weekend every 5-6 weeks, yes even in the mud and snow. I’m NO expert by any measure, but I have refined my thinking and the “bags” to reflect what it will take for me to get home or hold up somewhere for a few days-weeks. Are you up to the challenge of a “Lights Out Weekend”? -NRP   Ken adds: I’ll bet that many ‘preppers’ (ordinary preparedness-minded people) have not tried any version of “Lights Out Weekend”. I would suggest to at least start ‘small’ by going over to your circuit-breaker panel and shut off the power to your home. Then begin dealing with the consequences of life in your home without electricity. What are you going to do about the refrigerator and freezer(s) that are now sitting there slowly warming up? Do you have a well pump that now is not pumping water? If you have city water, pretend as though the water stopped, or has become contaminated. Is it winter and your house is now getting cold? Etc… It will really open your eyes (and help you figure out what you really need to do!)