Also, I have a hard time forgiving Janeway for never bothering to look for any of the other refugees abducted by the Caretaker. They should've tracked them all down and banded together, traveling in a caravan for mutual support and protection. Maybe they could've found the Equinox earlier and spared them from five years of hell.
Based on what?
The info they received about the Caretaker taking others, came from the Ocampa. People who lived underground and didn't understand who, what or where the others went after the Caretaker was done with them. Janeway didn't know that there could be others until nearly 4 or 5 years later, in "Voyager Conspiracy" As vast as space is, it would be a waste of time and resources looking for people you aren't sure are out there. It was a billion to one chance they found the Equinox.