It may seem surprising by looking at life in America today, however, it was but only a few decades ago that bartering existed as a common practice that many families relied upon for survival. For centuries, it has been key to our sustainability, and in the event of an economic collapse, or other potential catastrophe, bartering will likely return in full force.
That is why considering bartering and trade when you are creating your stockpile now could help you prepare for what we already know is coming. Here is a list of 50 items you can start collecting today to be much more prepared in any situation.
1. Gold & Silver
Gold and Silver are, or course, one of the first things many preppers consider when creating a stockpile for a SHTF scenario. Their worth is obvious and they will likely be the easiest items to barter with. It is wise to collect a smaller piece of gold, silver, or even platinum, often in coin, as it make them easier to trade with. You probably wouldn’t want to trade a bar of gold for a loaf of bread, so stockpiling bars might not be as useful as it first seems. If you do want bars consider Valcombi bars; they are perfect as they allow you to break off small pieces from the larger bar.
2. Water Filters/Life Straw
Water is one of the key elements of life, and proper filtration systems will be key to everyone’s survival. This makes filters and purifiers a potentially popular item for trade and bartering in a variety of survival or catastrophic situations. Water filter systems, tablets or personal filtrations systems like Life Straws, are not only great for bartering, but, like many of the items on this list, they are also important to have for yourself and your family too.
Guns are all good and well, but they are no better than a paperweight if you don’t have ammunition for them. That is why ammo is such a popular bartering item. Make sure to collect popular ammo sizes like 9mm, .38, .22, and 12 gauge shotgun shells. You may also consider Tasers, pepper spray and other defense devices as well.
Let’s not lie to ourselves, in the event of a disaster there is going to be a time when a drink is exactly what you need, and there are many people who are going to feel that way. That’s why in hard times, alcohol provides some of the best barter value out there. You may want to stick with plastic bottles to ease storage and weight concerns and also remember to think about smaller, single shot bottles; these can maximize their trade value at the lowest cost to you. Don’t forget alcohol can be used medicinally too; a person with a toothache would be happy to barter to get a little shot of whiskey.
People are addicted to their smokes and they would undoubtedly be a high value trade item in a time of need. This one is a no-brainer,
6. Coffee and Tea
Caffeine is something that many of us need to have every day. In a SHTF scenario, not only would many need coffee and tea just to satisfy their cravings, these beverages also provide a little-needed energy that comes in handy in more physically demanding survival situations. It can also help keep you alert, ramping up its trade value even more.
Having extra food for trade is probably one of the easiest items to acquire on your bartering list, you simply stockpile a little additional resources whenever you are adding survival foods and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) to your collection. There is never such a thing as too much food in a survival situation.
Any sort of fuel, gas, diesel, propane, or kerosene, could be the source of light and heat for some people. Fuel could even be providing power to others. Propane, for instance is easy to store, and better for trade if you buy the smaller camping tanks, which are easy to store.
When adding clothing to your bartering stockpile, consider the essentials first; underwear and socks are cheap to obtain and a basic need for most of us. They also provide universal sizes to fit a larger selection of people, making them more effective for bartering. Jackets and protective outerwear, such as rubber boots, ponchos, and gloves could also come in handy, or even become even a necessity depending on the disaster or situation.
10. Medical Kits/Band-aids
First aid kits and band aids are other items that can carry a lot of barter value. The basic first aid essentials could save someone’s life in a dire situation making medical supplies of nearly any kind a potentially popular bartering item.
11. Medicines/Pain Meds
In addition to basic first aid, many people may be in need of medication. Just simple aspirin and Tylenol could be a needed item, but in extremely dire situations, medicines for a variety of pains and illnesses may become impossible to get. Antibiotics, pain medication, asthma treatments, even a roll of Antacid tablets could become an item of high value in a barter situation.
12. Portable Solar Panels
People who did not prepare as well as you did for a disaster situation may be looking for alternative sources of power in a variety of SHTF scenarios. That is what makes portable solar panels a great item for barter, as many who did not prepare will be looking for solutions to their power needs in the bartering world.
13. Toilet Paper
It doesn’t need to be explained why this is a good bartering item. Toilet paper is just something people will need. Think of other items for hygienic comfort too, feminine products for instance, and even those free moist toilettes from the restaurant could be a desired item in a pinch.
For some people, batteries may be their only source of power, and to power certain things that are essential, like flashlights, there is nothing else that will do. Batteries have a fairly long shelf life too, making them a little easier to stockpile.
Light is essential to so many functions, and if the grid is down, people will be looking for any alternative light sources they can find.
16. AM/FM Radios
Radios are important, as they could be the only means of communication in a disaster-struck world. Radio are important lifelines of communication no matter what the situation.
Walkie-talkies are an easy way to communicate over short range distances, especially in the event that cell towers and connectivity is down. Having the ability to communicate with walkie-talkies could be the difference in certain survival situations making them a much desired item.
18. Chocolate and Sweets
People are often in need of comfort in times and need, and chocolate, as well as other sweets and specifically craved foods, could become a high value trade item.
19. Fire Starters
Fire starters can help us easily provide light, heat and cooking sources; a valuable thing to be able to have in a survival situation. Fire provides a variety of key comforts and less prepared individuals will be happy to trade to procure any sort of fire starting item.
20. Water Containers
Being able to transport water is the next most important thing after purifying it. A water container could be life or death to you in certain situations.
Spices have been a popular trade item for hundreds of years and they will likely provide a high barter value. Consider multi-use spices and herbs; a stockpile of salt not only provides food with the flavor people are accustomed to, it can also be used to preserve food. An herb like mint for instance, is not only a sought after flavor it also has numerous medicinal properties. Sugar could also fetch a high price from sweet tooth barterers.
22. Soap and Cleaning Products
Soap is a creature comfort that can also help keep us safe and healthy. Not only is it good for our psyche to be and feel clean in an unsure and unsafe situation, soap can help tame the spread of infection, germs and bacteria. Bars of soap are easy to store, but consider antibacterial options and other cleaning products. You can also easily stock pile baking soda and vinegar, they contain a variety of uses including being DIY household cleaners.
23. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
Dental health is a necessity, toothpaste, brushes and floss will be needed and desired items. Since toothbrushes don’t last forever, they will always need to be replaced, making them a commonly needed barter item.
24. Perfume, Cologne, and Deodorant
It doesn’t matter what the situation, people do not like to be smelly. Deodorant and other fragrance items will always be an item that can be used in trade.
25. Solar Showers
In the absence of running water, one of the greatest luxuries would be a solar shower. They pack up small, making them easy to store, yet they provide a comfort many people would consider worth trading for.
26. Garbage Bags
Garbage bags can be used for multiple applications, even as shelter in a pinch. Their multi-purpose ability is what makes them a great item to have on hand for trade.
27. Pet Food
Pet food will be essential for families with animals and pets.
28. Heirloom Seeds
Seeds would be a valuable commodity in many scenarios, as growing your own food could be a necessity in a variety of situations.
29. Duct Tape
Everyone knows how versatile duct tape is, with its many uses it will always be a popular and sought after item.
As long as there are humans on this earth, these will be an item we need.
31. Drink Mixes
Drink mixes are easy to store and the have generally long shelf lives. Consider single packets in lieu of larger packaging as it will make them easier to trade.
32. Backpacks and Cloth Bags
Backpacks are light and easy to store, and useful in a wide array of survival scenarios.
33. Fishing Poles and Gear
When you can’t just go down to the store, one of the easiest ways to find some dinner is to go fishing.
34. Multi-tools and Pocket Knives
Multi-tools are the best for bartering, because they cover a wide range of uses, meaning they are more universally needed. You can store a lot of multi-tools and pocket knives in a small space, unlike what their full size equivalents would be.
35. Screws, Nuts & Bolts
If basic supplies are hard to come by, having a stockpile of things like screws, nuts and bolts for trade will come in handy.
36. Gardening Tools
In a variety of different scenarios it is likely we may have to go out and find new ways to feed our families. For many that will mean farming in order to sustain their family. Gardening tools and resources like fertilizers will be highly sought after.
Another no brainer, fire is life and many of us will need firewood to keep us warm or help us cook our food.
Tarps are great temporary covers and shelters, not to mention their various other uses. They will always be a popular trade item.
39. Rope and Bungee cords
Everyone knows that rope is an important survival tool, and in a SHTF scenario it is not different.
40. Lotion and Chapstick
Dry conditions actually can provide painful situations, making lotion and chapstick necessary items for some people.
41. Sleeping Bags and Blankets
People will always need a place to sleep, and in disaster situations they could become quite the commodity.
42. Air Mattresses and Air Pump
Much like sleeping bags, but with a higher trade value, air mattresses provide comfort and restful sleep, a priceless benefit in a survival situation. Make sure you have an air pump as well, but consider the power sources, you probably want to invest in one that comes with a manual option, a car power source, or at least something more than just a traditional electric plug.
43. CDs and Musical Instruments
In tough times, there must be joy. Music is generally priceless, but in times of hardship instruments and musical sources could gain a pretty penny in trade.
44. Laundry Detergent
Keeping our clothes clean is psychologically beneficial, as well as in generally healthier.
Soda, much like coffee or tea, provides that caffeine boost that can be a much needed and added benefit in a survival situation. Sodas are also a luxury item, like chocolate, that will bring a higher trade value.
Candles are another obvious item, but needed nonetheless. They are also items that eventually burn out, meaning they will be a consistently needed item.
47. Paper, Pens and Pencils
Writing is not only a form of communication, it is a way to record history, tell stories, play games, send word, and draw pictures. Their worth is immeasurable.
48. Grooming Supplies
Grooming items are important. Like soap, they help us feel a little more human in an uncertain world. Items like hair brushes, shavers, shaving cream, and combs will be highly sought after and useful for trade.
49. Baby Supplies
Baby diapers, wipes, formula and food may be a more specialized item to trade, but their value would be huge to a mother or father just looking for some creature comforts for their baby.
Those things called books that people used before “Google” may actually prove some use if the Internet and electricity is down. Books still hold a vast amount of knowledge that you can’t put a price on. Not to mention their entertainment value.