Bartering after TSHTF

In the event that there is some type of cataclysmic situation that reduces society and the economy back to the stone ages (or close to it) – bartering will become a common method of commerce. With that in mind – I have been putting some additional items in my preps with “barter” in mind.


Here is a list of worthy additions to a “barter list”:

  • Seeds
  • Bottled water
  • Food of any kind – especially those in cans/jars in small quantities
  • Alcohol
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Blankets
  • Radio
  • Condoms
  • First aid kits
  • Soap
  • Tooth brush
  • Toothpaste
  • Water containers
  • Water filters or any kind
  • Propane
  • Mess kits/cookware
  • Tools of any kind – especially those most common (hammers, saws, hand drills, screwdrivers, etc.)
  • Nails and screws
  • Toilet paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Rope/cord/string
  • Fishing line and hooks/lures
  • Bug spray/insect repellent
  • Duct tape
  • Tarps
  • Bleach
  • First aid kits & supplies
  • Knives & sharpening stones/supplies
  • Ammunition (be careful with this one)
  • Razors for shaving
  • Clothing of  any kind – especially socks/underwear
  • Work gloves
  • Coffee/Tea/Flavored drink mixes
  • SPAM – I know its in the food category – but I feel like it deserves to be mentioned separately – great barter item
  • Cigarettes/Cigars
  • Gardening tools
  • Canning jars and supplies
  • Fire starting supplies – including fire-steels, magnesium, etc.
  • Spices

Something else to consider – bartering does not always have to involve some-“thing”. In many cases skills can be bartered as well. If you know how to get a garden going and another person can repair a roof – just do a swap and work things out. Maybe someone has some fuel that they will give you if you can fix their vehicle. After TSHTF the bartering of materials and skills may very well become the only method of commerce – as money will be worthless.

In the above list I mention ammunition and state to be careful with this one. Reason being is those seeking ammunition may trade for it – with the idea of using it to take the rest of your supplies. Not a good scenario.

Setting a tote or two to the side and filling with items for barter may be a worthy use of resources. If nothing happens – you still have these supplies for use yourself.

Have I left anything off the list?


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25 thoughts on “Bartering after TSHTF”

  1. In barter, you want what you are bartering to be useful. In a SHTF scenario, it will need to be recognized and be desirable, so I may put batteries a bit farther down the list. How many times have you bought the ‘low cost’ batteries, but them in a flashlight or kids toy, only to have them have a very limited lifetime?

    Batteries require specific storage conditions. On top of that, some of the ‘Better quality’ (read longer lasting) batteries cost more. Another alternative would be some of the newer rechargeable batteries. But, then, in a grid down scenario you will be limited in access to power to re-charge the batteries. So, I would suggest getting a solar battery charger. (More than one if you want to sell the chargers, as well). And here, some of the chargers have a higher wattage solar panel, reducing charge time, and may be worth the extra cost.

    I have a stack of rechargeable batteries that I rotate through the wall powered charger on a month to month basis. The ‘older’ rechargeable batteries lose some of their power over time. But some of the newest, though more expensive (again), batteries don’t lose as much, and have a longer shelf life between recharges.

  2. Dichloro-s-triazinetrione, in it’s 99% pure granular form, to make bleach and purify water. I’ve not tried it but was researching how to store bleach. I bought a ton of plastic bottles, but they started to leak when I left them in the garage w/ the texas heat. I needed a powder form to store. I read on Rawles site that this stuff will purify a 55 gallon drum of water with only a 1/4 teaspoon of product. Provided that the water to be treated was somewhat pre-filtered, that equals up to 4 million gallons of treated water from one 50 pound bucket.

    Bleach is good for several things. Water purification. I have a daughter with severe eczema and i can put a little in her bath water to fight skin infection. it will also be useful in cleaning during a pandemic. A bucket of this stuff will be over $100, but very cheap per ‘serving.’

    For bartering, you could sell these in smaller quantities with ziplock sandwich bags.

  3. Pepper was used as Money once. A spice I know, but Perhaps it will be in great demand.

    I once saw a list of the 100 items that will disappear post SHTF. I am going to look for it.

  4. my top barter items i’m stocking up on are:

    ammo……22 and 223
    pre 64 silver dimes and quarters.
    cheap chinese led lights.

  5. Knowing how to build and install solar panels and knowing how and where to get the materials could be quite an invaluable asset, especially if the power grid is hit.

    Plus, to add to the tools list, bits. Like drill and screw bits.

  6. Another thought . . . what would you trade? What would you trade it for? When would you consider trading?

    We don’t know now, and probably won’t know then, while in the collapse, what the entire situation will be. Will there be external interference via the UN or ??? Will this go ‘grid down’? Will we have power, but restricted travel capacity due to fuel restrictions? Will this be for a year? or 5 years? Will people with specific technological skills be targeted for some forced ‘assistance’ to rebuild systems? Or will people ‘disappear’ as they do in Iran, and other less than hospitable places in the world?

    Without some estimate or educated guess to answer some of the above questions, when would you decide to trade? With whom? Your neighbors? Friends? Outsiders? Travelers? Do you trade based on just getting what you need? Or to make a profit in the process or take advantage of others?

    If this is REAL LONG TERM, might you trade out of your stores with nothing left to trade, only to find you have nothing to work from / with to maintain the lives of your family, friends and neighbors?

    I think having items to trade is somewhat beneficial, but only if you gain LONG TERM benefit. Acquire tools, skills, knowledge. Hammers and nails do little to make you more secure if you don’t have the skills to build a home or cold storage system that works. You MUST have more than just trading items. There is time, now, today, to learn new skills that our grandparents, and great-grandparents knew and used to live through tough times and long, cold, subzero winters.

    Trading can help, but, do it wisely. And learn all you can in the mean time.

    • Excellant thoughts CM. A quick thought on what you wrote……For me – I do not think I would trade/barter anything unless I felt like I was on the winning end of the deal. Now – the person I am trading might feel the same – and that is fine. I would not trade something that I valued more than for what I was getting. The only exception of couse would be food. If I was desperate and starving – I would probably trade anything I had for food. Let’s hope it never gets to that.

      Thanks – Rourke

  7. I have really started paying more attention to the survival forums. I am concerned for the future of my family and the world. I have started getting things together that i can around the house and from local vendors. Where do you store survival kits and goods? What is a safe place from disasters and thieves? Thanks for any info, books, etc. that will help. I am new to all this.

  8. Rourke and everyone- exc. ideas. Its great to see so many new folks participating.Welcome Huggy Bear (love that name-smile!) I will get a list of books together for you soon.
    I will add pens and pencils ( and a sharpener) and writing material. Writing is good therapy. and those with children will need to be educating at home.
    Matches and fire starters.
    Canning supplies.
    Rourke I always vote for you -MSO .

  9. I keep several pounds of vacuum sealed bricks of coffee in the freezer for trade SHTF. They occupy little space and should keep for a long long time when frozen.

  10. great list and ideas from all. . . . the list could probably be endless. . . . My one worry is that if people know you have stuff to barter, they will come and try to take it. . . .

  11. What Casey said.. coffee cocoa. Look in the up-scale shops for ‘solid’ compressed block cocoa European/South American. Stores well and would barter well.

  12. Besides just nails and screws I’m putting other types of “Hardware” away- hinges, gate latches, bar stock, corks, plastic pipe fittings, copper tubing, rolled sheet metal, lead, wire, etc.

    Bleach is a good start but why not add other basic chemicals/substances too like Borax, limes, soda ash, acetone, lye, sulfur, Linseed oil, some basic acids, etc.

    Leather and canvas repair equipment and supplies.

    Think of ways to bater something that is re-newable. Offer to recharge batteries or to fix/alter items post-SHTF. Sharpening saws is a dying art being able to sharpen hand saw as well as chain saw chains could be lucrative. Being able to work on small engine, set batteries up in parallel, replace an ax or hammer handle or better yet make axe or hammer handles would be better yet. People for the most part don’t know how to do any of this stuff anymore.

    When I think of the need to barter I think of a major CME or EMP that has taken away at least 100 or more years of technology. Being able to have the foresight to understand that people may have those old rusty hand tools around a but have no idea how to get those tools back into shape for everyday use is key. People who don’t know how to use or maintain their tools will needed them fixed. Having the tools, supplies and know how to do that will be the best thing to barter.

  13. Welcome Huggy. Check back here, read older articles from here, but glad you were able to wake up in time. Don’t get overwhelmed, just let this be your slow and steady part time job for now. In general just to answer briefly. Store things away from sunlight, away from heat, and consistently cool places. NOT the attic or shed. Just realize, hey for now. I’m giving up this big closet until I find a better place/location. The safest place…in general is far away from the city and suburbs in some remote wooded area or what not. Food, water, shelter, protection, and medical. Good luck and remember if nothing happens, you win. Just keep your supplies for natural disasters that may occur in your area. Still making you one smart cookie.

    Good lists and info. Thank all of you for sharing. I’m still betting on dark chocolate, rubbing alcohol, and Hydrogen Peroxide among other things listed. Dark chocolate lasts practically forever, it’s one of the few cheap items to stock up on. Buried under ground it’s not going to melt. It’s definitely a comfort food or delicacy in SHTF, and people will most likely NOT stalk you to come steal it. It’s worth just enough to trade, but not enough to risk your life. Now gold and silver..pfft. Not taking the risk personally and can better spend my money. Besides, who’s going to be the “official”, (guarantee of rate + weight + value) to regulate your gold and silver trade when you make that trade. Not to mention someone might set you up to rob you of it eventually if that’s all use as your main trade.

  14. Bartering skills is certainly best. The reason is we only have a finite amount of stored stuff but you don’t run out of knowledge.

    Ammo is a touchy one. I wouldn’t be worried about trading a box of shotgun shells to Farmer Joe down the road for some food or whatever. On the other hand swapping a case of 7.62×39 to the 1% Biker Club is going to cause a real problem for somebody, maybe even me.

  15. Iodized salt is necessary .Stores for years if kept dry.Foot and medicated powder can ease problems from wet feet.
    Homeopathic meds can be very effective when you dont have access to a Dr. or medication. They work I have used them for a bronchial infection.(Hylands Bronchial cough is exc.)
    I hope you all had a safe and meaningful 4th of July. Arlene


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