Preppers Bartering Guide

bartering items for preppers

“Bartering, for many, conjures up images from post-apocalyptic movies where throngs of people gather, masses of hands waving in the air offering up their last bits of whatever they have left to trade for the simplest of life’s essentials, an auctioneer standing elevated above the desperation, the sole authority over who is worthy.”

prepper economyOkay, somewhat extreme but maybe not all that far-fetched should the right dominoes fall in the correct order. Only a few short years ago threat of a full economic collapse seemed more credible than many people would otherwise have thought.

Some feel the danger has passed while others pay heed to their feeling of foreboding. These are the ones who have, and continue building up, a stockpile of goods and skills valuable for when the economy falls back on bartering as a crutch after the imminent collapse.

But, is an economic collapse the only time bartering will be relied on? After widespread disasters when people are left to their own devices as recovery funds and materials work their way through drawn out processes, a system of community bartering can bridge the gap until full recovery necessities arrive.

Not too long ago, after the Eastern Seaboard’s hurricane Sandy and the Gulf Coast’s hurricane Katrina the materials and services for recovery took months to reach communities in need with some areas lingering still in a perpetual state of disaster recovery. Bartering with your neighbors and the surrounding community, for example, trading carpentry or electrical skills for food, is a sure way to survive until resources arrive.

Bartering for Preppers

Understanding the need to prepare for bartering is one thing but figuring out what to store for trade is another. Start with the vital emergency essentials you will need yourself. It’s a safe bet those are items other people will need as well. Then move out from there asking yourself what skills and long-term needs will surface as yours and other people’s stockpiles begin dwindling. Below is a list of such items to get you off to a good start.


Food is one the three survival essentials. Stockpiling non-perishable foods overtime, learning how to preserve seeds and grow your own food will keep you and your family alive but can also be a valuable resource for bartering. Hunting, and the knowledge to prepare and preserve meat, is a way to supplement your food stores and provide bartering supplies. Animal husbandry, the know-how to keep animals healthy and happy and process their meat, milk or fur is an invaluable skill for long-term post-disaster situations.


Water, along with food and shelter, is another of the survival essentials. Building up a large stockpile of water is, of course, important for your family’s survival but it is also a tradable commodity. A water capture and filtration system will not only supplement your own supply but will produce quantities to set aside for bartering. Additionally, skills for building and repairing such water systems are, in of themselves, tradable for your family’s other needs.

First Aid, Herbal Medicines and Antibiotics

prepper bartering herbal medicine

A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any injury or illness that should arise but those supplies and the skills to use them effectively are valuable in a barter economy. Learning about medicinal herbs and alternative treatments will prove essential when, and if, traditional supplies run out.


Ammunition for hunting and protection will become invaluable the longer the post-disaster situation lasts, as food diminishes, ammo supplies are used up and as desperation increases. Storage, of course, is advisable for initial planning but take steps to prepare for what happens when supplies run out. Teach your family how to make ammunition and other weaponry, like crafting arrows for bows.

Alcohol, Coffee and Cigarettes

Vices and habits will not go away after a disaster. Most likely their demand will only grow as they do amidst stressful times. These simple items may be great bartering items to satisfy those desires.


This alternative to flowing electricity is another storable commodity sure to be in high demand. Propane canisters in various sizes are inexpensive and a good item to store away as a fuel source for anything from lighting to heat to cooking.

Toilet Paper & Toiletries

These items may seem somewhat unnecessary for survival but a little comfort goes a long way to keeping people’s sanity intact so items that will provide a semblance of convenience or relief will be valuable bartering material.


Everyone needs light. Candles will provide for that need once the electricity and batteries run out. Also learning to make candles from animal fat or beeswax is a great way to inexpensively stock up on this emergency essential.

Unique Skills

preppers preparing economy for colapseUnique skills, those not normally associated with survival or recovery situations can prove useful in a bartering system. Learn how to be a masseuse, make music, tell stories, repair bicycles, brew beer, build a set of stairs or rewire a radio. Your unique skills are going to be needed, and will allow you to meet your own needs in a bartering society.

Self-sufficiency is the goal of any prepper but there are times after a disaster and during extended recoveries, possibly devolving into TEOTWAWKI, when reconnecting with the larger community outside becomes necessary to pool resources to survive and recover overall. Learning the skills and stockpiling the items of demand for a potential barter system will benefit both your own family and those others participating throughout your community.

About US Preppers

Welcome and thanks for visiting! My name is Robert and our mission at US Preppers is to help you prepare for emergencies or disasters before they happen. As a family man and father of two boys, I am concerned about the future of our modern way of life. We know things can happen and we are not going to be complacent and let society dictate our survival.

We are US Preppers!