Prepper's Bartering List

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Prepper's Bartering List
Bartering ideas for preppers

Bartering is a sort of prepper currency for when the bullets,
beans and bandages run out (and cash and credit cards are
meaningless). It's also a prepper savings plan! Considering that
anything you can buy now cheaply will increase in value when it's
no longer available, it's time to stock up.

What survival items will you stash away? To help, we compiled
the bartering list below from multiple prepper sources with ideas
from prison bartering systems, and bartering records of the world
wars, as well as stories from the
Great Depression, and survivors
of Bosnia 1992-1995. Each crisis brings new ideas of what might
be valuable, for example:

  • Over the ten-year span of the Great Depression people
    cobbled and repaired shoes as best they could.

  • Soldiers in World War II were given rations of chewing gum,
    which was highly prized for barter overseas. They also
    learned to split matches carefully in two to double the use.

  • During strife in Bosnia, one survivor valued his BIC more
    than a generator. At about a dollar a BIC, you can imagine
    the bartering value you'd have in stockpiling this very
    important firestarter.

Prepper's Bartering List
Consider this prepper's bartering list as a starting point for your
  1. Apples and other home grown fruit.
  2. Aspirin.
  3. Analgesics (pain killers, such as HurriCaine and Lidocaine)
  4. Antacids
  5. Antibiotic Ointment
  6. Anti-diarrheals (a simple diarrhea problem can kill you
    quickly without medicine)
  7. Antiseptics
  8. Bandages
  9. Baking soda
  10. Batteries (rechargeable are best)
  11. Beans and other shelf stable foods.
  12. Benadryl or generic allergy medicine (antihistamines)
  13. BIC lighter
  14. Bike repair tools and inner tubes
  15. Bleach
  16. Bourbon
  17. Booze (moonshine or homebrew)
  18. Butter (we found canned butter to barter!)
  19. Cable ties
  20. Candles
  21. Canned fruits, meats, veggies
  22. Can openers
  23. Candy and Chewing gum
  24. Car repair services (if you are a mechanic)
  25. Cigarettes
  26. Clothesline and clothes pins
  27. Charcoal and lighter fluid
  28. Chicken (if you have an abundance of non-egg laying fryers)
  29. Coffee
  30. Condoms and other contraceptives
  31. Combs. Combs are bound to break eventually and people
    may be unwilling or unable to whittle them.
  32. Copper
  33. Cordage (paracord, string, twine, rope)
  34. Cornstarch is a multi-use survival item
  35. Cotton balls and cotton rounds
  36. Cough drops
  37. Crisco
  38. Dental Floss
  39. Detergents (dishwashing, laundry)
  40. Diapers, cloth (for long term off-grid scenario)
  41. Dishwashing soaps
  42. Duct tape
  43. Eggs, (bartering abundance, if you have chickens)
  44. Epsom salt
  45. Eyeglass repair tools
  46. Firewood.
  47. Fish (bartering abundance in the catch of the day)
  48. Fishing gear, line, lures, hooks, sinkers and bobbers,
  49. Flashlights
  50. Garbage bags
  51. Gauze
  52. Gum
  53. Gas.
  54. Gold - barter every last bit of gold in the house to get the
    things you need to survive!
  55. Hairbrush
  56. Haircuts (bartering your career skill). Certainly skilled
    individuals bartered their haircutting services during the
    Great Depression.
  57. Hand sanitizers
  58. Hydrogen peroxide
  59. Ibuprofin
  60. Instant ice packs
  61. Kerosene (lamp oil)
  62. Laundry detergent
  63. Lip balms
  64. Lotions, including moisturizing and sunscreen lotions
  65. Marijuana
  66. Mason jars
  67. Masks
  68. Matches
  69. Medical services (bartering your career skills: paramedics,
    nurses, physicians)
  70. Milk. Get gallons of powdered milk and empty gallon jugs
    and you can sell milk by the gallon from your powdered
    supply. This is perhaps the most lucrative of bartering
    items. Otherwise, get yourself a goat or a cow if you have
    ample land! A single cow can produce $3,000 of milk in a
  71. Mosquito repellent.
  72. Nails and screws
  73. Nitrile Gloves
  74. Pennies. Copper pennies are currently about double the face
  75. Pencils and pens will be necessary in a long-term off-grid
  76. Petroleum jelly for use as a fire starter with cotton.
  77. Polishing cloth for eye-glasses
  78. Rabbit Meat (bartering abundance  if you raise rabbits)
  79. Razor blades
  80. Repair (bartering your skills as a handyman)
  81. Rubbing Alcohol
  82. Rum
  83. Salt with iodine, sea salt and himalyan salt
  84. Seeds (heirloom)
  85. Sewing notions, including safety pins, thread, needles, etc.
  86. Services - haircutting, chiropractic care, vehicle repair or
    maintenance, dental and medical services, recharging
    devices from solar power...
  87. Shampoo
  88. Shoes. Kids will need the next size up of shoes and shoes
    will wear out. Good walking shoes, sneakers and boots will
    be in high demand.
  89. Shoe repair, and shoe laces or leathers. Always pack extra
    shoe laces in your bugout bag. They are ideal cordage and
    come in handy when you need it for long treks.
  90. Silver bouillon and junk silver.
  91. Soaps (liquid soaps, bar soaps)
  92. Socks. A fresh pair of socks will be a godsend in times of
  93. Spices and condiments. Tobasco will make just about
    anything taste better.
  94. Sponges, scrub brushes
  95. Sugar (Pure Cane Sugar and Brown Sugar). Sugar was a
    highly valued commodity during the world wars.
  96. Super glue. When you need to fix something, it's SuperGlue
    to the rescue!
  97. Surgical mask (N-95 / pandemic masks)
  98. Tampons and feminine pads. As long as you have
    menstruating women, this will be a need. Preppers also
    know how valuable tampons and feminine pads can be to
    stop bleeding!
  99. Tea
  100. Toilet paper (hardly a prepper will want to give it up)
  101. Tools: axe, hammer, saw, shovel, spade,
  102. Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  103. Vegetables from your garden
  104. Vitamins
  105. Vodka
  106. water purification tablets
  107. WD-40
  108. Whiskey
  109. Wine
  110. ZipLock Plastic Bags
  111. Zote soap.

There are only a few things you should never barter...
One thing that didn't make it to our bartering list is ammunition!
You'll want every last shell for yourself. Not only would it be too
cumbersome to stockpile the wide variety of calibers needed to
ensure you have supply for everyone, but you may risk your life!
Never barter your firearms or bullets!

In his book,
Prepper's Long-term Survival Guide, an excellent
book on food, shelter, security, off-the-grid power and more life -
saving strategies for self-sufficient living, Jim Cobb, says "Never,
ever trade ammunition or weapons!" We agree! You may be
tempted to trade bullets with a trusted neighbor, but who's to
say this neighbor wouldn't return the favor with a few bullets and
rob you of all your supplies? With this in mind, stock ammunition
only for yourself. For the same reasons listed above, firearms
also should not be up for barter!

Not on our list...
A few interesting items that didn't quite make it on our list, but
that made it to the
Prisoners bartering list, published by Wired
Magazine, include:
  1. Can of Mackerel. Well, we didn't specifically mention a can
    of makerel on our list, but canned meats are on the prepper
    bartering list, above.
  2. Postage stamps. Prisoners aren't allowed to use money and
    as it turns out, postage stamps have a value and a
    connection to the outside world. Unless there's a pony
    express set up during the apocalypse, postage stamps likely
    won't have any value.
  3. Combination lock. A combination lock is an interesting item
    for the list, but it's nothing a shimm-cutter or bolt cutter
    can't handle. Lock picking is a prepper skill! Here's how to
    open a pad lock with a can of soda.

Other items that did not make our list of bartering, include beer
and chocolate, simply because of the short shelf life.

Bartering is a skill worth developing.  
Learn how to trade up for bigger and better. A Canadian bartered
his way from one red paperclip and traded up to a house!
Incredible, inspiring and true, here is  Kyle MacDonald's story...

There are four ways people have paid for things throughout
  1. barter of services and supplies
  2. bullion and coins
  3. cash (paper currency) and
  4. plastic (credit).

When the plastic and cash are meaningless, preppers can turn to

Happy endings...
Set up a bartering system now before an economic crisis or
cataclysmic event! Preparedness is about thinking in advance of
a situation to not only survive but to thrive.

The time may come when you need to barter something to
survive or to be more comfortable in a dire situation. The day
may come when the dollar is not worth anything or there are no

Related articles...

A happy prepping idea: Fill a bean bag with edible beans! The
mylar filled bags will be at the bottom, the stuff on the top to
make the bean bag cushy is what you'll use to barter. Learn more
secret compartments.

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