Barter For Survival: Top Ten Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have

Barter items for survival – What would you have to trade in a survival situation?

Any conversation about prepping first starts with the “the best survival gun” followed by “bugging out vs hunkering down” and then on to “the best retreat location” and then to “what to have on hand for barter… well today, I’m going to answer that question.

The first thing to consider is what items do people need and use every day, followed by will they need these items after a long-term disaster and if so will those items be readily available when the resupply lines are cut. If not, then would those items be easy to make from other common items?

These are the questions I asked when putting away my own barter items – those are included in the list below in no order.

1. Ammunition

While I don’t advocate bartering most ammo after a collapse simply because that ammo could be used against you. Stop and think about it, if a person needs to barter for ammo in the first weeks and months after a collapse then it’s evident that that person has not prepped and will need other stuff, stuff they figure that you now have and there is no guarantee that they won’t use the ammo that you traded them at a later date to kill you and take your preps for their own use.

The exception that I make with ammo for barter purposes is for shotgun ammo. I’ve stocked up a large amount (500 rounds) of 12 gauge bird shot in #6 and smaller shot sizes for barter purposes. Sure birdshot can kill someone, however, it’s low penetration and short range make it one of the least threatening ammo types that can be stocked up and used for barter purposes.

2. Water Filters

Fresh, clean drinking water will always be in demand and while storing water for barter might not be feasible for most people it’s easy and takes up little room to store water filters such as the life straw. The life straw is an excellent barter item, that is easy to store, has a long shelf-life and is small and lightweight meaning that 25 or more of these types of water filters can be stored in a small space life a military ammo can.

3. Garden Seed

Seed to grow food is one of the if the best barter items that you can have on hand post collapse. I store both non-hybrid seed as well as hybrid vegetable seed for barter. Seed is light-weight and inexpensive but will be worth more than gold to a survivor who is trying to barter for those seed after the balloon goes up. But, before, you go out and buy a bunch of seed for barter (or for your own use) do some research on what grows well in your local area. Another thing that I’ve done is print off copies of the PDF guide “Planting a Home Vegetable Garden” to handout when bartering with vegetable seed because most people have no idea how to plant a garden and this pamphlet will give them more confidence in their own ability to take the seed and grow food. This will help them to be successful as well as increase the perceived value of the seeds when you’re negotiating your barter deal.

4. Solar Panels and Rechargeable Batteries

Wow! Wipe that look off your face, I know what you’re thinking… solar panels… those are expensive and I can’t afford those for myself let alone stockpile enough for barter. Well, in some cases you would be correct, however, I’m not talking about expensive 200-watt panels, no not for barter,  what I’m talking about here is smaller solar chargers such as the C.Crane 11-in-1 Solar Battery Charger priced at $24.99 each or the SunJack Portable Solar Charger with a SunJack USB Battery Charger for Rechargeable AA/AAA Ni-Mh and Ni-Cd Batteries for under $60 dollars. You can also set up a charging center where people can bring you their batteries to charge and you use your solar set up to charge their batteries in exchange for goods.

5. First Aid Supplies

You could stock up on individual first-aid items such as bandages and gauze and while that’s a good idea, I’ve also stocked up on premade first-aid kits for barter. These kits can be bought for under $20 each now but post-collapse would be worth much, much more. Don’t forget about antibiotics – you can get antibiotics here and find out more about their use here. If you have medical skills (or someone in your group does) then those medical skills will be in high demand and can be bartered for just about anything that you need.

6. Skills

As mentioned above in item number five medical skills are and will continue to be in high demand after any major disaster especially a long-term disaster, however other skills will be in demand too. Skills such as carpentry, auto and shop mechanics, sewing, firearms repair etc will be in high demand and those skills can be bartered for goods that you need.  Don’t forget to put back the tools you’ll need to get the job done in the best, quickest and safest way possible.

7. Toilet Paper, Baby Diapers, and Tampons

Toilet paper, baby diapers, and tampons are always in demand will continue to be in the aftermath of both short-term and long-term disaster. Sure some folks might substitute toilet paper with something else like a cloth or even leaves if forced but toilet paper would be a luxury and preferred by nearly everyone and survivors would pay handsomely for that luxury post collapse. Same with tampons and pads. Baby diapers would also be needed and in demand – if you have a baby, plan to or someone in your prepper group has one then I suggest that you look into cloth diapers

8. Coffee, Tobacco, and Booze

Oh, my… need I say more. Most people have their vices and most of those vices involve one or all of the three. Bags of tobacco that have been vacuum sealed with give the longest shelf life. If you can brew your own booze then you and your product would be in high demand, but by so doing you would probably increase your chances of being robbed for your product so security and caution would be a top priority. Currently, there are laws regarding the brewing of booze, find out the laws in your state if this is something that you’re interested in learning and follow those now, but after a major collapse, they probably won’t be a whole lot of enforcement of those laws that are currently on the books.

9. Condoms

Yes, I said it… condoms, we all hate to have to use them but the consequences of not using them could be disastrous now but even more so post collapse (I have a whole section in my book dedicated to birth control). The best ones that I’ve used are the Crown Condoms and at only $15 per 100, they are a great investment for barter and for your own personal use post collapse. People will continue to have sex after a disaster and protection from pregnancy and STD’s will be needed and if you’re the person in your community with the condom stockpile for barter, you’ll be in the catbird seat.

10. Lighters and Matches

Lighters and matches for barter should be self-explanatory, but keep in mind that these like condoms and some of the other items mentioned above would most valuable for barter after a major long-term EOTWAWKI type of event.  Because we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or when it’s best to stockpile smaller amounts of many different barter items than a massive amount of only one or two items.  Before anyone sends an email telling me that matches have a short self-life, it should be noted that I have matches from over 15 years ago in a glass jar that still strike and burn just as well as the day I put them into storage. The key is to keep them dry and add a desiccant.

What barter Items for survival do have you stockpiled? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I have my sewing skills.

  2. Prepared Grammy says:

    -I don’t drink wine, but I cook with it. I would be willing to use some for barter.
    -I also have a LOT of reading glasses, several pair in each strength. I’ve kept the old ones as I’ve needed stronger ones. I think these will be needed by many people. In fact, I already loan them out at work, church, and the occasional time we’re at a restaurant with friends.
    -I save seeds, and am willing to use some for barter.
    -When it comes down to it, if there’s something I need more than something I have I will be willing to use it for barter.

  3. Bar Soap, Liquid Soap, Toothpaste, Honey. All store forever.

    Solar Panels are the cheapest they have ever been in history. A group of us just bought some 175 watt panels from Solar Blvd. for $106.00 each, about .42 a watt. One of my buddies picked them up so no shipping. They have 320 watt panels for $159.00 You can see real good deals on a pallet of panels on Ebay sometimes. I would not pay over .50 a watt. Look for the good deals.

    • Prepared Grammy says:

      Can you provide a link for me? I’m interested in a solar generator that will run my refrigerator, two freezers, and gas range (It won’t run the cooktop without electricity, even though the salesman swore it would.). I don’t have to run everything at the same time. I just want to keep things cold and be able to cook. The house is already wired to plug our small gas-powered generator into it. I’m not sure of the wattage. I just want a back-up to the generator we have in case we run out of gasoline. I’m totally ignorant on this subject. Please help.

      • Prepared Grammy

        Unfortunately for solar power you will need a few things besides the panels. And for them to power all your devices/appliances you need batteries capable of storing the solar power. You need to add up,the wattage ( power usage ) of the appliances. For this a watt meter is helpful, but the manufacturers usually can provide peak power use, and the all important starting wattage, for things like refrigerators and electric motors. So,you add that up, let’s say it’s 1500 watts, and then you needvpanels that provide at least that amount. Say 8-200 watt panels. But that is what they produce on an optimum sunny day, more like 80% of that figure. Then you need to run that into a charge controller that runs into your battery bank to store the electric power.

        If you live in the north Midwest like I do, in winter you can forget getting enough sun to keep up with your demand and charge your battery bank. Mine gets half or less the amount in winter, and cloudy days are abundant here. Shorter days also in winter mean less charge time, even if it is sunny.

        My system is costed like this:

        2-160 watt panels, bought from Home Depot 2 years ago for 249.00 each ( price is less now though ).
        4- Marine grade deep cell 12 volt batteries at 89.00 each ( great deal at the time ) .
        1- 2300 watt power ( 149.00 )Power Bright inverter, Modified sine wave. ( not as good as clean AC house power but works fine for most appliances and electric motors ).
        Wiring to hook all of it up, batteries and panels, about another 150.00.

        Pretty basic but it runs my sump pumps and refrigerator during the summer. Lights and simple power demands of course it could handle easily.

        • bnrthwn61,
          I live in the deep South and need a small ac because of my allergies. I even use it in the winter sometimes since it often gets unseasonably warm. Plus, I have a refrigerator. I could unplug the refrigerator for a short time to use the washer or dryer for a bit. A space heater would run in the winter. I would be conservative and safe about using big appliances. What would I need for the 6000 btu ac and refrigerator? I could use other large appliances, one at a time, with ac. Of course, I would hang clothes on the line when possible, winter and summer. Plus, some things can dry by hanging in the house. Thanks.

          • Jesse Mathewson says:

            Linda/ look into solar/wind combination – deep south is not the best for pure solar- and may cost an exhorbitant amount, as for running ac and fridge, suggestion, purchase a small hotel type fridge, use that if shtf- reduce electric pull – allow more energy for ac-


            You will want to look at how much sunlight you get annually, what angles it hits from most frequently, etc., – adding one or two smaller wind turbines ($300-$600 apiece) allows additional electric production and you can use the towers for ham antenna as well 🙂

            Batteries, there are hundreds, I choose sealed gel pack deep cycle simply because no need for maintenance and modern batteries have solid 15-25 year lifespans –

            As for rest…I have a variety of charge controllers/etc., I have worked with and use, and inverters, well, again, a variety- depending on task.

            I build self contained solar generators on the regular and have a few years of experience as well as knowledge in the same area would be happy to assist as well.

            email me –

            Same as always

            jesse (dot) mathewson (at) hotmail (dot) com

            • JM, you are right on. I also am well versed in many types of power production. I have found that the relatively inexpensive wind turbines have a short life in most cases. Power is a thorny problem post – shtf. I believe the best solution is a good solar system backed up by a gas fired generator, with the gas provided by a waste digester producing methane. Sustainable long term. Any of the low cost gasoline generators can be converted to run off methane, although it won’t produce as much power as gasoline. Totally imperative is to reduce the load as much as possible. Unfortunately, lo load freezers, etc aren’t “lo-load” on the budget! But LED lighting and CFLs are.

          • Bwhntr61 says:


            For those 2 appliances alone I am just guessing since I do not see the manufacturers specs, but 1200 watts would be a good guess. So lest says 6-7 200 watt solar panels, 4-5 deep cell batteries ( Jesse M is right on with his batt suggestions, but they are expensive vs flooded wet cell marine batteries ) and at least a 1500-2000 watt power inverter. Here you can go cheaper with a MSW inverter ( like my Power Bright 2300 watt for 149.00 ) or a PSW ( pure sine wave ) inverter that gives you power company type electric. These are much more expensive ( twice or more ) but will give you problem free with electronics like your computer or microwave.

            Again as with all things, there are trade offs and compromises. You have to decide what is right for you and your situation.

        • Bwhntr61 & all,

          Lights and simple power demands of course it could handle easily.

          I agree, especially if you start swapping your lighting for the new LED bulbs. We still use a few incandescent bulbs outdoors where we need then to work well in the cold and often to provide a little heat; but, we have swapped all others, including the CFL’s for them, and are Actually seeing a little less power usage.
          One thing I think everyone should use to determine power usage of appliances before sizing a generator or solar system is the Kill-A-Watt power meter. They can be purchased for as little as $20.00; but, check your local library to see if they have any available to borrow. Our local library has 6 of them, donated by the two local power utilities in the area.
          These can help you get a real feel for what devices and appliances in your home are using the most power and how much.

          • Bwhntr61 says:

            O Prepper

            Yes I have almost every light in my house as LED. A couple CFL from previous owner, figured wait till they burn out. Solar is tricky for total off grid. Especially in my midwest WI area. You need a crap load of solar panels and lots of batteries to be totally off grid for all of your power needs. Again in MY area. Arizona let’s say would be a totally different animal. Tons of sun and PV all year. On the other hand I will never have fresh water issues and out west that is a big concern.

            Prep on Pack! We will prevail.

      • I like to tell people that I have a wind and solar powered cloths dryer; you would be surprised but I have actually been asked where I purchased it !! I am old enough to remember when that was all we had.

        • Angela,
          We still use our wind and solar powered clothes dryer; during most of the summer; however, they actually work in the winter if you really needed to use them and had a relatively dry sunny day.
          I do however insist that underwear get the indoor clothes dryer treatment; otherwise they can get rather stiff and scratchy, and they cover some rather sensitive areas when worn.

      • Grammy,

        My gas cook top works fine during power outages. The electric spark starters don’t work but, I just light the burners with a lighter.

    • I have 4- 45 watt kits. Until I make faraday cages, I might have zero.

      • Anonamo Also says:

        From what I have read… get extra inverter and charge controller and put in protection… along with extra wiring harness to hook all back up. Solar panels them selves should be ok.

        • Anonamo Also,
          PV panels are large diode arrays and if enough incident energy strikes them, they can develop voltages in any area that contains a large enough conductor, and that energy could be enough to damage or destroy things. The wiring harness and connectors may not be affected at all; but, those same wires may act as antennas and collect enough energy to do the damage. Bottom line for EMP or lightning is that it depends on a lot of unknown details, and you may well just need to be prepared to live without electricity if required, as the human race did for 10,000+ odd years and many in this country lacked power in many places until the creation of the REA in the late 1930’s. It may not be fun; but, it is ultimately survivable.

          • Thanks guys. I got 2 ft x 50 ft of aluminium trim coil and aluminium tape, searched: how to make a metal box; so, the Faraday cages for the panels, will be done soon. Just in case.

  4. Tea candles. You can buy them in bags of 100 for a song at your local Stink The House Up shop that the wives love so much, and they have a million uses grid down. Light, heat, boiling small pots of water, melting for the paraffin, all the things.

    They’re small, they’re useful, they are multi-use, and brand/type doesn’t really matter. It all speaks to being useful for barter.

    Paperbacks and comic books — entertainment and boredom are going to be huge issues. Even if they aren’t being used for outright purchases, there will be a brisk trade in trading — “I’ve read this one, you got one I haven’t read?” Throwing in a paperback to “borrow” in a deal (with promises to trade it out for another later) are a good way to drive repeat business for your service, and a good way to set up your own news network.

    Toothbrushes. Even without toothpaste, although you can get tiny tubes of it at the drug store in the travel section, too. Frankly, in the grid down, just the act of brushing will go a long way.

    Reading glasses. People constantly break them, and are in the habit of grabbing them as needed at the drug store. They’ll break them as soon as the SHTF, and trading for a pair even close to their needed magnification will be a literal lifesaver.

    Cleaning supplies. This is as simple as keeping large quantities on hand, and having a way to dole them out. I like Fabuloso, so there’s no reason for me to not have a couple of the big gallon jugs of it in the garage. Grid goes down, and people suddenly realize that being unhygienic is no longer just socially bad but in fact deadly, and half-pint jars of 50% household cleaner 50% purified water will be a hot commodity.

    Remember too, you’ll need to make your own change in barters. Having multiple items helps. “You think that engine part that I need is worth more than this tin of tobacco? Well, it certainly isn’t worth two tins. How about the tin, four tea candles a jar of cleaner? You’re gonna need candles to read that book at night, and you know the wife’s going to be less crabby if the place is clean and smells like lavender.”

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Phelps – yes candles!

      Amazon (use md’s link) has 7 hour votives by the case for 24 bucks – or had, I picked up several cases- 🙂 good thinking, never considered barter 🙂 solid idea

      • Axelsteve says:

        motor oil. When you are a couple of quarts low people will panic without it. Walmart has quarts of some brand that I never have seen before for 2.45 a quart. That would be a good stock up item anyway. You can get a few popular size filters also.

  5. mom of three says:

    Stayfree pads, gauze, puppy training pads, matches, candles are just a few things I have quite a bit now. I would get vitamins, fiber laxitives, headache meds. Since it’s almost spring time, I will start cleaning out baskets to reorganize and see what I need. I did clean out under my sink, WOW I had 4 bottles of dish soap, and somehow I put two bags of laundry soap, so that was a score. Keeping track I need to do a lookie loo, before I buy it’s not a waste of money, but money I could have used somewhere different.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Momofthree – remember liquid and flavored medicines have a limited shelf life, whereas non flavored non liquid tend to last much longer- antibiotics for instance (chemist input here- have two active forensic chemists in group) in a dry, dim, relatively stable temp location will last upwards of 25 years, as long as they are not liquid/flavored- those additions break the half life down considerably-

      I agree though, stock up meds and avoid using them now when possible, personally, when flu hits, I get scripts filled and stash em, than use liquids and food to get over it fast- allows for a very solid stock of solid antibiotics for real needs.

  6. Except for your #9 we have plenty of just about everything on the list; but, we’re not really planning on either bugging out or bartering. We’ve spent 30+ years making this place both a home and a long term shelter and plan to stay here. Most of the locals have done the same and we are more likely to barter skills or time than any physical things; but, as always, each person must evaluate their own situation and plan accordingly.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Amen to that OP/ if you know each persons abilities, it makes community stronger. And the need for barter declines, making trade of skills primary- 🙂 love it!

  7. Justaguy says:

    The local Dollar Store thinks I am a cross dresser because I stock up on lipstick. I am sure we have all read about how make-up will no longer be available and it is one (of many) things that make women happy. The other thing I have is a bunch of knives that were in a 100 knife set from the cutlery channel. Yes, they are cheap but if you do not have one something is better than nothing.

    • Justaguy,
      Old lipstick bleeds and goes around the lips instead of staying on the lips. So, be aware that a woman will not be happy with that look. I can get along without lipstick, but lip gloss is necessary when my lips are really dry.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        I have to agree with LindaW, after talking to the wife…stock up on good lip balms!

        And talcum powder/baby powder!

        Plus start an indoor window garden of aloe vera- 🙂 amazing for skin!

        • JP in MT says:

          That’s why we about bought out the local grocer when they had Blistex-brand lip balm on markdown to $.50 each!

        • jesse,
          Talc has been found in the ovaries of women with ovarian cancer. So, avoid talc and baby powder, even on babies. Besides, doctors warn against babies inhaling the powder, even small amounts. Cornstarch will work for a baby bottom or adult underarms as well as talc. It absorbs moisture. Cornstarch can even be used by a woman to damp down the oil or moisture for a less greasy face. However, nothing powdered goes on my face or body because it chokes me and I can feel my lungs not working as well. Lip balm was what I meant instead of lip gloss, but I use both. I love the little tubs of carmex. I use it on places other than my lips. I do use a lip gloss with spf number on the container.

        • Jesse,

          And talcum powder/baby powder!

          I don’t know all of the details; but, lately I’ve been seeing lawyer commercials on TV mentioning that talcum powder/baby powder has been implicated in ovarian cancer, and the lawsuits appear to be flying. I wonder how soon they’ll be suing the makers of edged tools because they can cut you and didn’t have a proper warning label.

      • The DW swears by Chap Stick and gives a few to all of the kids and the DIL every Christmas. When it gets old and yucky, I toss it in my fire starting kit. Chunks of it can be broken off and when set on some tinder as a wick, it burns like a candle to get a fire going

        • JP in MT says:


          I can attest to the shelf life of Blistex-brand. We still have about 1/4 of a Red Vines tub of Blistex that I got in 1994 from expired military “sundry packs”. It’s still good.

        • And before the SHTF a little bit of chapstick on the face of a golf club cures even the worse slice instantly!!!lol

          • Okg55m
            You have time to play golf?
            I played it a few times years ago with my brother and did well. I was told I was a natural; but, I was bored to tears whenever I played and still think all of those fine trimmed lawns would better serve humanity as large truck farms growing vegetables.
            When King James II banned golf in 1457 I think he was on the right track, LOL. It was BTW because the yeomen were playing golf instead of practicing with their longbows.

            • Used to love to play, decades ago..disabling broken back and colon cancer took away the ability to do much of anything physical. Since last cancer surgery I cannot even climb up in the deuce and a half anymore….but the chapstick trick

  8. I don’t plan on bugging out or bartering. I have my sewing skills, cooking skills, and teaching skills. Plus, I can teach chicken keeping and gardening to a complete newbie.

    The one thing I would barter to obtain is cuticle nippers and emery boards. I know that sounds silly, but the skin around my fingers sometimes gets a little split tag. I will bite it or pull it off and have caused damage. The emery boards will keep me from ripping of nails or keep broken nails from tearing into the quick. I “lose” both easily–down in a chair, usually–so, there are half a dozen hidden pair here or in the car. I do have nail clippers I could barter, something I rarely use but sometimes come with nail nippers.

    Instead of getting rid of things causing my allergies, I have decided to keep those food for barter. Plus, I absolutely hate kidney and pinto beans, but others do, so they are here. I could trade those. I probably would need more physical help than physical items.

  9. Food will be in huge demand -things like salt, flour, sugar, beef jerky, etc -will last a long time. Also, things used to hunt, gather, or brow food, such as garden tools, book on foraging wild plants, etc.

  10. anonymous says:

    Knife sharpeners / quality multi-tools / tarps or plastic sheeting / trip wire / cooking spices

    • anonymous,

      Knife sharpeners / quality multi-tools / tarps or plastic sheeting / trip wire / cooking spices

      Instead of stocking these for barter, perhaps the ability to sharpen or repair tools for others and many of the spices and herbs could be grown for both personal use and barter. That way you don’t run out of the item over time.

  11. Still to make white lightning. Can be used as generator fuel, lamp fuel, medicine, and for sipping. Good barter item…alcohol.

    • Nolan,
      Actually, if you’re only interested in fuel, a still is pretty easy to make. For consumption it’s a little more of a chore since you have to avoid lead and cellulose; otherwise, wood alcohol (methanol) is made in a similar process and works fine as a fuel.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Very easy, for good consumption grade use copper/ for fuel or eh so so consumption any metal will function

        Dont forget get plenty of gallon glass or plastic jugs/ glass is best…but pints will be worth 20 rounds where i live :)”)

        • Jesse,
          I love how you place value on items in terms of rounds.

        • Jesse,
          I’m pretty sure by rounds you meant ammunition cartridges or shells; but, for a moment, when I saw pints and rounds in the same sentence,I had to smile, since I have more than a few friends who have been known to lift a few rounds of pints to their lips, LOL.

        • Axelsteve says:

          I guess canning jars would be a good barter item. Jars new in the box with lids would go for a premium.

          • Back in the old west where glass was an expensive material, even old wine and whisky bottles could bring a premium. Folks who would find them laying around would collect them and sell them at local general stores and trading posts, who could clean them out for resale or reuse.
            As I type this I recall an interesting movie, all based on an empty Coke bottle being tossed from an airplane. It’s called “The Gods Must be Crazy” and is not only funny; but, shows how a simple, single item, can cause coveting and chaos in a society.

    • You need to store sugar and yeast in great quantities to be able to make mash for the still….otherwise it will just be a funny looking copper pot. Plus whatever grains you choose to ferment…
      Best return on still is to make clean, quality sugarhead.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Yes to the above all, 🙂

        Okg- i only do good sugar head 🙂 when I never do it 🙂

      • How do you store yeast. I have been told it has a shelf life, not lasting forever. Would it last longer if stored in freezer?

        • Olivia,

          How do you store yeast.

          We either vacuum pack or purchase the vacuum packed foil blocks and store in the freezer.
          For many breads and pastries you can use a sourdough starter. We haven’t done that in years; but, are thinking of starting again. The strain my wife used came from a friend and actually had a name, something like Elmer, LOL.

  12. Skills, tools, and hardware. Nuts, bolts, screws, nails will be items not easily procured post collapse. Extra hand tools will also be in demand. I also have the skills to use these items and the local “fix-it” man will be really popular!

  13. Rod,

    tools, and hardware. Nuts, bolts, screws, nails

    You just described the second floor shop of one of my outbuildings.
    For the past 30 years I let a friend (retired navy electricians mate and retired civilian electrician) use one of my outbuildings for his shop. He collected hardware, and would also recycle old equipment like washers, dryers, microwave ovens, etc. He would tear them down to sell the scrap metal and collected an amazing amount of electrical components from outlets to conduit along with tons of different fasteners. He passed away last August at age 91 and would have turned 92 this past January. He was a good guy and is missed; but, he left me most of an entire hardware store that I have yet to inventory.

  14. Jesse Mathewson says:

    1. Sugar
    2. Salt
    3. Moonshine
    4. Skills – several good ones
    5. Electricity- ill have it. ..
    6. Water- clean water will be at a premium, i stock filters, however, I also stockpile filled two liter soda bottles with potable water- long shelf life-
    7. 100lbs + coffee in freeze dried packets (nit caffeine free,
    8. Tobacco – in sealed containers with lighter and rollies- dont forget rolling papers
    9. Menstrual cups- i stock these for personal group use and barter- reusable and long lasting
    10. Honey, gallons of it 🙂

    Just a few things…I have bullets but that will be a premium and only to those I know.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      I am also canning produce using several outlets to get it, and that will also be a premium –

      As far as moonshine, I dont make several gallons a week, and dont know how 🙂

    • @Jesse.
      I have a thing for collecting 2-liter soda/pop bottles and it can drive my DW nuts sometimes.
      Water Storage Cells is a term I use for them.
      Tobacco: I don’t smoke but have some home grown pipe tobacco that’s vacuum packed. About 5-lbs of it in the bottom a deep freezer.
      I’m a wine maker.
      Moonshine: Like you, I don’t have ANY idea what you mean and would NEVER make brandy or rum………or whiskey.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Richard, nice!

        If youre storing use 2 \ 5 millimeters of bleach as well per bottle.

        I understand , my DW also sometimes questions, however understands, having experienced wild fires she endorses so long as I do not litter common areas and keep things neatly as possible

        Milk crates work very well to store and stack, offer’s an easier approach to loading etc.,

        My general duty 14′ by 6′ single axle utility trailer allows storage of z • 35 gallon water drums easily\ as well as extras like fuel\ supplies etc and I have taken it almost everywhere my 4 runner sr5 4×4 v8 can go

        Added leaf springs allow greater load, and balancing it with water over axles allows a 1000lb surplus to be carried!

        Love your approach and attitude,nothing needs go to waste, newspapers/ flyers and non plastic junk mail are used for making slurry and compacting into fire bricks or bullet stoppers. Quite fun to be honest.

        I love looking for and or inventing alternative uses

        Example, standard canned food cans allow for easy inexpensive and even decorative candle holders and much more

        • Bullet Stoppers.
          More than once I’ve made packed boxes of newspapers/junk mail/paper trash along with plywood (bone) segments for bullet testing at various range distance.
          I’ve seen water soaked newspapers pack the hollow point cavity of popular bullets to give a FMJ effect, while others ( generic Rem. White box ammo) became lethal little mushrooms of destruction.
          Even common 5.56 ball ammo can surprise you how it comes out of a test like this.
          We’ve even put trashed clothing & winter coats on these boxes to see what effect it would have.
          ( Zombies like flannel shirts & poly insulated coats too )
          Good to know I’m not the only one doing stuff like this and having fun at it too!

      • Richard,

        would NEVER make brandy

        Nor would I; but, to better preserve your wine, you could store it in the freezer and then strain out those nasty ice crystals before you use it, LOL.

        • @ OhioPrepper.
          You mean “Ice Stripping” ???
          NOoooooo! That would super proof the wine before being used. Knowing that alcohol will “strip” off the frozen water being left behind as it dripped off…..
          Gosh! If someone did THAT to just any mash it would be…………..UNTHINKABLE!
          Who would use the ice as a “frozen filter” to hold back particles as the mash UP PROOFED ???
          NOPE. I know nothing about that…..(blink-blink) either.

          • Richard,
            I’ve always heard it called freeze distillation or Fractional freezing; but, if you need to stop the action of the yeast by cooling it down, and you don’t have enough room in the refrigerator and it happens to be winter, sometimes it just accidentally freezes, and there is not much you can do about it.

    • Axelsteve says:

      Lighter fluid and briquets the local walmart kinda has briquets year long but the fluid less of the year. Kinda funny to explain.

  15. Jesse Mathewson says:

    If you live in a marijuana friendly state, stock seeds and learn how to grow effectively 🙂

    • Axelsteve says:

      I live in the green triangle of komradfornia. There are many growers in my area. I think matches and lighters and growing papers would be better for me to stockpile.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Truth 🙂

      • Lost Coast girl says:

        Axelsteve, Sounds like we may live near each other. We also live in the emerald triangle. Pot surrounding us on all sides. I sure miss the old times before this weed changed our lives as we knew it.

        • Axelsteve says:

          Same here Lost coast girl.
          I remember the days when you could go in the woods and not be afraid of walking onto someones grow or being shot cause you are in a place where you should not be.

  16. Material things can be robbed. A very good item to barter is knowledge of something, as LindaW says.
    First of all, it can’t be taken from you. Second, for many years teachers, for instance, were paid for by the parents of small children with food or some other useful items. Of course I am assuming a broken society for a long period of time (beginning with an EMP, for example?)

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Knowledge is actually easily taken, every human has weaknesses, and if you have knowledge that they want…

      Suggestion, be smart, dont be overtly open with preps ever etc.,

      • I was thinking about basic knowledge, the one you pass on to children: Basic math, American History, etc. Don’t you want to keep alive their sense of belonging in the next generation?

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          Im not sure how those give someone a sense of belonging. Or how that applies to your original statement.

          As for education, of course, that’s basic – just as my daughter learning to shoot at 3, both archery and firearms. Use a knife, start a fire, find water, food, honey, etc., etc., she plays piano, has played last two years for the TMTA Ensemble, has been playing chess for two years gone to state once, qualifying for state this year as I type. She rides horses, trained her dog, can drive, saved her grandfathers life (documented) last Summer- etc., as for education she is at a 5th grade level in everything, more in english/language arts-

          Now for son…

          The only belonging that I teach or promote with them is to the family/ tribe. If that makes sense.

          • Jesse,
            Knowledge, any knowledge, passes on our culture. Because my father would not get a tv, I lacked the knowledge of what my peers spoke about each day. I felt like an outsider. When teachers teach anything, the good teachers put it in the context of our culture. In that was people with knowledge and feel like they belong.

            Of course, I am so grateful we had no tv. We used our imagination, read lots, and played outdoors.

            Passing on knowledge is a transmission of culture.

            • Manuel, Jesse, OP and Linda:
              IMHO one of the greatest challenges we face today is the loss of a shared culture. I worry that without a common core of knowledge (NOT necessarily Common Core Knowledge) we will continue to struggle as a divided society.

              One of the things we have lost as a society is the willingness to acknowledge and associate with individuals of differing opinions. Regretfully, I have even witnessed that here.

              We have all been shaped by different life experiences. If we are going to continue as a society (and we may not) we need to have each others’ back regardless of individual philosophy.

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                Exactly, 😉 pass it on, but POST – post – shtf/TEOTWAWKI / said knowledge will be dangerous unless protected, not to others, to yourself and your family.

                Others can and will gladly use your family against you for that knowledge, (eg., extensive chemistry/growing/medical/ local water holes/ etc ,)

              • Moe,
                Will Rogers is alleged to have said: “I never met a man I didn’t like.”
                And Ronald Reagan said: “Trust but verify”
                When you combine those two philosophies you have a great starting point.
                Personally I’m willing to befriend almost anyone as long as they are of good character, have principles, morals, ethics, and don’t try to preach their religion to me. For religion I count the classic belief or disbelief in a deity; but, also count anti gun, global climate change, etc., especially when portrayed only as a feeling or belief, not back by science.
                When the climate change folks address someone, they often ask if you are a believer or a denier, with the later being one who ignores consensus. As a scientist, I can assure you that those three words are not in the science lexicon.

      • Jesse,

        Knowledge is actually easily taken, every human has weaknesses, and if you have knowledge that they want…

        I understand your point; but, have to disagree. Knowledge isn’t ever actually taken, only shared. If I have a tool and you take it from me, perhaps even by force, then I no longer have that tool. In the case of knowledge however, we then both have it.
        I think you may be thinking of coercive actions to get private, sensitive, or even secret information from me, and then possibly doing away with me. That would I think, be the only scenario that fits your statement; but, then again , perhaps I’m too much of an optimist.

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          OP. Correct, if for instance I was the type of person to force or coerce others, I could utilize their families or any number or options to ensure their cooperation and that their knowledge would be in fact mine without having to learn it. Hence why I dont advertise my abilities in full :

  17. tommy2rs says:

    Sure birdshot can kill someone, however, it’s low penetration and short range make it one of the least threatening ammo types that can be stocked up and used for barter purposes.

    Take a birdshot loaded shell and with a pocket knife turn it into a cut shell and it’s just as effective as a slug. Of course a cut shell has it’s cons as well as dangers and they’re not really for pumps or semiautos unless you single load but it’s one of the reasons I keep the old single and double barrels. It works just as well with 20 gauge.

  18. Pam in ID says:

    I was thinking the other day about getting some inexpensive spiral bound notebooks, pencils and small pencil sharpeners. The notebooks can be pocket sized up to 8 1/2″ X 11″. People will still want/need to keep records. For gardening if would be useful to note germination dates, frost dates, high/low temps etc. each year. Cooking might require new recipes, time in the solar oven, days to dry food etc. Then there will be births, deaths, weddings to notate. Something to keep track of books lent or possible barters. I am going to stock up on a supply next week from the dollar store, and if we are still going strong when school starts next year, they are always on sale at a great price. Not necessarily life saving or absolutely necessary, but sure nice to have available.

    • Pam in ID,
      I buy spiral notebooks for ten cents each and WM. I buy boxes of them. Anything for teaching, I keep in huge quantities. Hundreds of pencils, note cards, etc. I do not get rid of dictionaries.

      When I was in grad school, a friend was a freshman and had no idea how to write a paper for English class. She was going to write on The Scarlet Letter. I told her to come on over. She said she had to get library books first. She was shocked I had enough material for references on my shelves. My major was English, but I have books for other disciplines as well and know the material in the books or could easily teach it with a bit of review. I have a wide and varied knowledge base. If there were no internet, I have knowledge on my shelves. It won’t be current in some cases, but basics usually never change much.

      • Linda,
        Like you, I have a rather extensive library. Since I’ve been actively prepping for more than 40 years I have many books on gardening, preserving, and building, plus all of my engineering texts, almost none of which has changed. I also have nearly every issue of Mother Earth News ever printed and I’m considering their compendium CDROM. On top of that, my personal skills include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, firearms & hunting, animal husbandry (limited) and gardening. When you add that to the skills of my local MAG and neighbors, we can do nearly anything short of major surgery, and for that I still rely on hospitals and other health care providers.

    • Watch walmart, etc. I have gotten notebooks for 14¢ before.

      • JJ,
        I got the 70-page spiral notebooks for $.10. I buy them in boxes of 24. I get an unopened box and a loose notebook. The cashier can see a sealed box with 24 and uses the one loose notebook to scan. I leave with one or more boxes of notebooks. Same with notebook paper. I often price-match Office Max.

  19. Dave Solgat says:

    Socks, shoes, underwear, Basic clothing articles. Doesn’t have to be new, just clean and in good condition. Store in 5 gallon buckets with dryer sheets or moth balls. Things get real bad and people will need clothing and shoes. Gloves could be worth keeping around also.

    • dave solgat,
      I never throw away a spare sock. It can be used as a cleaning rag or to cushion something. I wore mismatched colors of the same style shoe for years. I had lost the left of the black pair and tore up the right of the white pair. Of course, this crazy pair was for mud, wet, and chicken pen. I keep spare gloves because I might find the other. It has happened. Plus, when I need a glove and might get it filthy by using it, I head for the spare glove to preserve a better, matched pair.

      It sounds like hoarding, but all gloves are kept together and I only have three extra, lone gloves.

      Certain soles on shoes/boots can disintegrate on first wearing even if stored well for years. Ask me how I know.

      People who clean out too much and get rid of useful items might be shocked later. Oh, don’t use dryer sheets. I would use dessicants, like the kind that come in shoeboxes.

    • Almost There says:


      I’ve been buying extra towels, sheets blankets at GW and yard sales, or even for free and am using those big vacuum bags to store them in totes with dryer sheets to keep them smelling good. I am also going to try using something other than the sheets like lavender sachets. If the moth balls are for keeping out bugs, I would rather use something else than those since the smell is horrendous. Not sure if it would even come out of the clothes after multiple washings.

      Going through my closets to clear out things that I no longer wear for various reasons, not sure how much I want to store…. I have lots of coats, jackets and sweatshirts. It’s a balancing game, and of course if one has the space, then everything could potentially be stored. Unfortunately, I have limited space and have to decide what I think is more important. I need to make sure I have the main list covered.

      • Almost There,
        I grew up with mothballs in some of our closets and the odor does eventually air out; but, before we had moth balls we (humans in general) used Cedar Chests and Cedar strips in our closets, so I suspect a bag of cedar chips in a cheesecloth or flour sack cloth bag would do the trick for many bugs. I use cedar chips to make smoke for my bees and I just purchase the hamster / gerbil bedding at a pet shop or the pet department at Wal-Mart.

        • Almost There says:


          I think I have also seen cedar balls. Maybe the gerbil bedding would be cheaper. Will check it out. Was thinking about bay leaves too?

        • Op,
          Mothball “fumes” are toxic to humans. If you can smell mothballs, you are being poisoned.

          • Linda,

            Mothball “fumes” are toxic to humans. If you can smell mothballs, you are being poisoned.

            Then I was poisoned off and on for most of my childhood. This also applies to the fumes and odor of kerosene, gasoline, and other things like the combustion products from a oil lamps or candles; but, poisoning up to some point is not harmful, otherwise many normal foods we eat such as alcohol or salt would be more harmful than we know they are. Ingesting too much aspirin or water can kill you, so it depends how you define poison.

            • OP, thank you soooo much. I did not guarantee death. Some people don’t know about moth ball dangers. Is there any reason not to warn them without you equating it with other dangers like from water?

              My father died of pancreatic cancer. He had his hands in gasoline, breathed fumes, ate processed meats…all of which are toxic when the CUMULATIVE EFFECT are considered. Is there a reason you refute everything I say?

              • Linda,

                Is there a reason you refute everything I say?

                First of all it’s not everything you say, and I have also given you complements; but, I think it’s the way you say it. For instance, when you said:

                Mothball “fumes” are toxic to humans. If you can smell mothballs, you are being poisoned.

                That AFAIK implies lethal images for most people. Had you stated instead:

                Mothball “fumes” are toxic to humans. If you can smell mothballs, in large concentrations, they could be having deleterious effects on your health.

                Perhaps it’s because of my engineering background, where words have meanings and precision keeps you out of trouble.
                If I mention salt as a potential poison it’s not the same as mentioning arsenic or Clostridium Botulinum toxin.
                Both salt and mothball fumes may harm you; but, botulism toxin will poison you, and when passing information on the the hundreds or thousands of people on this forum, I think it is imperative for all of us to be as accurate as possible with both our information and our words.

                • OP,
                  The word you meant to use is “compliments” not “complements.” Words have meanings in my discipline, too!

                  • Linda,

                    The word you meant to use is “compliments” not “complements.”

                    You are correct and I assure you that there will be no more compliments or responses from me until you drop your “woe is me” attitude, take the chip off of your shoulder, and your posts start more effectively complementing the prepping advice and discussions that are normally present on this forum.
                    . I sincerely hope your life gets better, since all you seem to mention is how bad life was and seemingly continues to be.

                    • OP,
                      Lots of people talk about their problems on this forum. I am no more distressed than anyone on here, lots less than most. You might be shocked, but in real life I am considered quite cheerful and non-complaining. Things happen to people regardless of their ideologies or efforts. Most things I have overcome, one way or the other. You mention your problems quite often! At least you used “complementing” correctly this time.

                    • Linda,
                      I guess the biggest problem I see with your posts is you often seem too pessimistic, when there are things that you could possibly be doing to improve your situation. I was actually thinking about you this morning, when I grabbed an old favorite; but a bit worn fleece sweater. It’s still in good shape; but, the zipper at the neckline no longer works, the DW doesn’t have the time to fix it nor do I have the patience with my vision issues to do it properly myself. We used to have a lady in the community who did seamstress work and when she passed away, another was available who has since moved out of the area. Currently we have no one we know of in the area doing this kind of work, and if someone around here was doing this kind of work again, they could make a tidy supplemental income.
                      I don’t know the needs of your area; but, with a little bit of advertising, you might be able to do the same.

                  • Jesse,
                    She’s correct and this is one of the first times good old proof listening failed me. Auto-correct + spell check + proof listening does indeed have it’s weaknesses and this was one of them, since both words are pronounced the same, LOL.

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                Cancer can and does occur in people who have never handled any of that or smoked- OP isnt refuting what you are saying because you are saying it…he is refuting the bad science being pandered by fear mongering politically motivated psuedo scientists, eg., government funded research laberatories designed specifically to agree with whatever new agenda is necessary at the moment,

                Honestly, if I had a billion dollars. I would fund laboratories around the world, with only one objective, truth. No agendas, multiple blind studies, no agendas.

                Betcha I could have cancer cures, true space travel and so much more within 5 years, colonization and the end of world governments within a decade (no reason if everyone had enough to eat and war was nullfied using peaceful means.)

                Of course it would have to be extremely secret, because, well, governments.

                • Jesse,
                  My response to this was posted nearly an hour before yours; but, is still waiting. I sure wish I knew what common words to avoid, LOL.

                  Of course it would have to be extremely secret, because, well, governments.

                  Ah Governments, which really boil down to people with power. Lord of the Flies writ large.
                  BTW, Space travel is expensive and dangerous; but, Elon Musk and SpaceX seem to bee doing a pretty good job, despite the cost and dangers.
                  As for diseases like cancer, genetic research is getting along well there also. Some things just take time, since they build on other perhaps not yet discovered or perfected things. For instance, TV was impossible without the basic discoveries and technology developments of the radio. We all stand on the shoulders of others.

                  • Jesse Mathewson says:

                    OP- truth, however, at the current rate of improvement in technology, it is easily possible with independent laboratories outside of government rules and regulations (cough cough, bullcrappo) could easily reach these places faster.

                    • Jesse,
                      Yep; and I hope the Trump administration continues tearing down some of the rules and regulations. They’ve already started with the DOI and EPA; but, no doubt the opposition will say that we all want dirty air and water again. I think we should ignore them; because clearly we out number them and in general are the ones keeping their gas tanks and bellies full.

  20. OldAlaskan says:

    Canning jars and lids, Small tubes of Ben Gay, small cans of Bag Balm, Chain saw oil, files to sharpen chains, all sorts of hand tools ( stock for trade the cheep made in china wrenches they will turn a nut and keep your Snap-on for yourself), Window insulation kits, boxes of 6mil vizqueen, digging shovels for gardening, rakes, hoes plus what every one else has said. In short buy a hardware store.
    Go to the ASD merchandise show in Las Vegas March 19 – 22 You can buy anything there in quantity from the manufactures or wholesalers.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      OA/ Just a suggestion, however, bartering things that may break easily, will not endear you too others. Tis why I conduct the extensive testing that I do on everything I have. To ensure the best for the money available.

      I have been able to budget prep solid materials and been fortunate enough to be gifted with the ability to horsetrade and network 🙂 so I easily am able to prepare with tools that may not be name brand, but I know and trust will save lives just the same.

      Check the monday reviews, several more really good ones coming up with some amazing results. (May have you thinking twice about “chinese” quality, which btw, has gotten much better in the recent years due to issues in the past)

  21. Pretty much stock all that MD listed, and also I have reloading equipment, carpentry skill, lots of tools, water filtration of all types, bow hunting experience ( shot way more deer with bow than gun ) . I have over 100 knives and sharpening ability. Lots of soap also. Like all say must be clean in post apocalyptic society to avoid the nasties. Solar power system, and 100’s of batteries, both rechargeable and non.

    • I could not catch or kill with poison the rat in my kitchen. Slices of Irish Spring keeps the rat out of my house until I can get the holes fixed. I hate the smell, and the kitchen smells shower fresh! But, that is a small price to pay. I will be stocking up on Irish Spring!

  22. Solar hand lamps for light. A rocket stove for cooking (after the LP for the gas grill runs out). A wood burning stove for heat if you live in such an area. If staying put, add another layer of insulation in your home now. Dried rice, pinto beans and pasta kept in sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, in 6 gallon buckets. A rain water collection system. All variety of rope, string, tape, glue, epoxy and lubricants. Lots of spare razor blades or maybe a pull-string gyro razor. Lots of salt, or better yet a meat smoker. Fishing poles, line and lures. Some kind of ground clearing hand tools such as a scythe to keep a low growth perimeter around the house discouraging wild animals…

  23. M.D.
    I couldn’t help but notice that gold & silver didn’t make your list.
    I fully understand your stance about putting money today towards either “before” obtaining sound & solid prepping goods first.
    Just wondering how or why neither made the list for bartering.

  24. Chuck Findlay says:

    Skills (with associated tools) are the barter thing to have, they don’t run out till you are dead. And at that point it doesn’t make a difference.

  25. Jesse Mathewson says:

    How many of us multi use things? Eg., reuse etc? I’d be willing to bet we lifestyle/time Preppers do quite frequently. It is after all the true idea behind prepping…don’t waste, reuse and always think ahead multiple angles.

  26. Government Mule says:

    Bartering items to which people are addicted is a terrible idea.
    First, the moral aspect: why would you want to be their “pusher”?
    Second, addicts will do anything to get their needed substance. Once they see you as their source you’ll never be safe.
    Stick with water filters and toilet paper as barter items. Forget the vice items.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Government Mule- You have nothing to which you are attached? “A man without vices, is not a man I wish to be around” who said that?

      Teetotalers honestly, are going to be at a severe disadvantage. For one mans vice is anothers life, just as one mans moral code is not anothers.

      Not saying you may have a point, just saying that unless you are surrounded by absolute like minds…good luck.

      Disaster always brings out the parts of people you did not think possible, ive seen it first hand, being able to supply/build/grow minor “vices” will in fact almost surely position you and yours in a safety zone IN A TEOTWAWKI situation. Just saying. 🙂

    • Government Mule,

      Stick with water filters and toilet paper as barter items. Forget the vice items.

      Just between you and me (and the pack), I am thoroughly addicted to TP, LOL.

      • OP,
        You gave me a good, looong laugh. I am not addicted to tp. I can use wash cloth or any cloth. For pee, most women would not object to cloth. For solid, I can sort of understand the reluctance. I have a friend who says he has a hairy butt and has to use a wash cloth to remove ALL residue. So, obviously you guys might appreciate a good piece of cloth of any sort you can wet to use.

        The only way I knew of his hairiness was in a discussion about this site and people storing years of tp. Since then, I have asked a few guys I knew well enough to ask, if they had a hairy butt. It turns out this is the case with guys. Who knew? I suppose I have not done my research personally.

        • And washcloths are inexpensive if you buy them by the pack at WM. I remember reading a suggestion once about sewing your own washcloths so you could color-code them for the family. The WM pack comes in white, blue, red, green, & I don’t remember what else. Much easier for us non-sewers!

          • I use DG..18 wash cloths for $4.

            • Anonamo Also says:

              … and the DG ones een shrink to tp size once washed a few times…. do good to keep them over your hand. Big box stores that sell auto cleaning cloths or clean up cloths by the pound are good options…

              • I am a fan of nitrile gloves and soap.

                • Portia,
                  For your bathroom needs?

                  • Yes. Most of the world lives fine without TP. Search: bidet use video, spray bottle bidet. There is a great video on making a spray bottle from a pop bottle. Heat the lid with a candle, form the nozzle with a pointed stick (nail?) and trim. Some cultures use a pitcher. Glove are more hygienic and reusable.

                    • Portis,
                      I know about the bidet and the spray bottle. I have disposable gloves, you know, the thin kind. Would you reuse those or get something more substantial?

                      One of the ways a woman can keep from getting a bladder/uti infection is to pour a pint of water between her legs to rinse all away.

                      It seems that using gloves would get the gloves nasty for bm. I am certainly not disagreeing with you, just trying to process this because nasty gloves would need to be washed.

                      That is a good idea about the heated nail in the bottle top. That made me think that our detergent bottles have a top that could be used to squirt water.

                      A lot of the world that lives fine without tp also die because of germs spread. I can live without tp. I did so for about 8 years by using wash cloths that I washed. Since my intestinal tract has not normalized after the hysterectomy, I was not willing to wash out the grossness over and over when there was tp at WM! So, I use tp for #2 and washcloths for #1. I do have a great bolts of cloth that can be cut up and used.

                      Thanks for answering.

  27. If you live with severe restrictions, # 6 shot shells can be turned into cut shells for deer sized game. See u tube: cut shells. Indian grocery stores sell whole spices, at a low price. By the end of summer, I will know if they reproduce.

  28. By civilian education I am a machinist and a mechanical engineer,plus now I am a Generac and Briggs master service tech. by military trading I an a ET, infantryman, plus I teach circuits to new radio amatuers. It is good to be skill heavy. I have scratch built small lathes and built ignition control modules for engines. I keep a small garden a few animals and fowl. But I consider myself a cheapskate. Most of all these things you listed are goo for the beginning, but skills will probably win out in the end.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Scratch built lathes. ..wish you lived in Arizona! That’s awesome

      • Jesse,
        Do a search for “david j gingery publishing
        Although Dave has died, his son keeps the tradition of building a machine shop from scratch, as in constructing and using an aluminum smelter to pour the cast parts for the mill, and then using other castings and the mill to build all of the pieces needed for your own machine shop.
        I’ve not build the entire thing; but, a friend and I have rough cast some pieces, and although it’s hot and potentially hazardous work, it’s not all that hard.

      • Did I just hear lightening strike, Jesse?lol

  29. Bartering in the future would be dangerous in the future. I would start with bits and pieces to see what is needed. The only aspect that I don’t have is the condoms. I have one other barter idea. Silver, precious metals would become money. Ammunition would be a big barter, 22 has been stored away.
    My knowledge of medical treatments would be my greatest asset to barter.

    • Jeanne,

      22 has been stored away.

      And if you trade it to me and then I used it to take your other things or harm you, what would you do.
      Just pointing out that some barter items require much thought and care, lest they come back to bite you.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        OP- with very few exceptions (1 in 10,000) im not very concerned with people breaching my security or overcoming our planning. This being said, daily in some way we as a local tribe train, educate ourselves and each other. Never settling for “good enough”

    • I can’t eat silver or gold. In a total EOTWAWKI (end of world) I won’t care for silver or gold, not one wit. Of course those with more stockpiled than they can use before it goes bad MIGHT want your gold and silver so if the world comes back to something approaching normal in their lifetime they will be rich. (but there are a lot of “if’s” and “mights” in that statement) But most people will just be trying to make it to the next morning alive and will be looking for items that make that a greater possibility.

      • JP in MT says:


        I agree with you about the edibility of gold & silver, but remember, barter is not always about what you want but what somebody else wants.

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          Being a low budget (under 17k annually/) prepper myself, gold and silver are waaaaay down the list for me. However. Because I have been prepping for a lifetime – literally, I do have a bit…maybe 😉

    • IMHO, you should only barter in a SHTF situation at a “marketplace” where scores of people are bartering. This provides physical safety in numbers and anonymity. I imagine that flea markets, parking lots of shopping centers, and perhaps city “open spaces” will become “swap meets”, where permitted by their owners.

  30. azrealityprepper says:

    One thing I noted is lots of people listed sewing as a skill but no one brought up trading needles and thread. Needles could be manufactured DIY and thread too but would not be of the same quality probably as the mass produced stuff we can get today. Might be something worth considering. Mending clothing or making new clothing is certainly going to be a long term necessity. I was also thinking of heavy duty cooking pots/pans, heavy duty leather, feathers (blanket filler, coat filler), compost, and all kinds of materials for gardening besides seeds. All of these can be a safe trade/barter exchange medium. Junk silver too.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Azrealityprepper- thats a great idea, didnt really consider extras of needles and thread, not too mention, cloth- I need to work on building a better supplely of these things. Good thinking.

      • az and Jesse,
        I do store needles! Once in a while, I pick up a new pack of different sizes. I do have cloth stored. Since sewing and teaching/knowledge are my greatest skills/assets, I would not want to be caught needing a needle and not having one. I would only trade one needle at a time! If I did not have hens, one sewing needle would be worth six eggs to me. Of course, eggs would have to pass the water freshness test.

        • azrealityprepper says:

          LindaW, I think you’ve really got the right idea, one needle for six eggs !!! How much would a spool of thread go for? Repair of clothing as a skill is good, trading for eggs with one needle is really good.

          • az,
            I might not trade a whole spool. I might wind off thread around a card and give ten yards for 6 eggs. My spools are 8 inches high, so I would not just trade the whole thing. I figure that 6 eggs will feed me for a week. So, trading for a pack of 12 needles, trading one at a time would keep me in eggs for three months.

            Most people are going to want to hand sew or mend, sew on a button.

            Have you ever heard of “pin money”? Women sold eggs as a way of getting pins for sewing. The egg sales were one of the few ways women had to get money.

      • azrealityprepper says:

        Jesse, thanks for the compliment. I read your comments carefully and have learned and gotten some good ideas from you too. Thanks for your comments also. I had not thought of extra cloth, there is one of YOUR great ideas !!!

        • Anonamo Also says:

          Add to that list…wide hem tape, elastic( pack oxygen free), invisible thread, buttons,lace,rick rack,ribbon, standard zippers, interfacing material, safety pins, sewing tape, hook and loop closures,extra scissors in several sizes, hooks and eyes., hand sewing needles in basic sizes, but also the curved assortments as well.
          Some of that material needs to be extra sturdy,( like denim) some of it needs to be muslin type(like for lining quilts) some also suitable for standard and dressier clothing needs.
          …machine needles, leather strap, machine oil(for treadle), a few basic patterns in multiple sizes.. infants, childs, womans, mans, med, large..

          • AA,

            Nylon thread will melt at low temperatures! Polyester thread will melt also, but at a higher temp. Polyamide is nylon!

            All my machines, even electric ones, need machine oil. Yes, some might use electric converted. And, if some have electric from any source, they can still use their regular machines.

            I have hundreds of patterns plus I have the ability to draft patterns, an uncommon skill.

            The only time I buy rick rack is on a deep clearance.

            Remember, larger sizes of clothing can be used to cut smaller sizes from, including children’s clothing. That is what people did during the Depression. An old skirt to fit a size 12 woman could be used as fabric for a three-year-old’s skirt or dress or whatever.

            • azrealityprepper says:

              Anonamo Also and LindaW, you two are way ahead of me. Good ideas on the material, buttons, zippers, et al.

              • az,
                I am 70 years old and have sewn for 64 years. I have clothed myself and children and later have made a living sewing. I have sewn everything imaginable, have commercial machines as well as home machines. I can make a wearable garment with a needle and thread, including sewing in a zipper….have done so in the past.

            • Anonamo Also says:

              Linda, Did you know that a size 12 womans skirt is the same size as a childs 5 in the waist?
              I know about the clear threads, but I keep them to sew on buttons, and other odd repairs, especially if I don’t have my first or second choice in thread color. At least the clear does not draw unwanted attention to an emergency repair.
              The clear threads can be used for lots of other things, besides sewing/repair… like making wind chimes, and many other things, just as you would use a light weight fishing line..
              I have done some hand sewing but never had to make my living from it.Made matching skirts for me and daughter by hand. Taught her to do it too.
              I learned as a teen to alter patterns, because my pants did not fit right in back, and I could not buy ones that did.
              Yes! Clothes that do not presently fit can be utilized to re make many things,.. including clothing for smaller sized persons, rag rugs and quilts.
              All of these will be valuable skills..
              Zippers come in many sizes, think when you go to buy,…Will this be long enough for a variety of applications? will it be long enough for dress? for skirt/pants?. Is it a color that is versatile, or will it stand out like a sore thumb…?
              Do not forget the interfacing materials, elastics in various widths, and the lacy cloths that are used for night gowns and under garments… those will wear out and require replacement.
              many many safety pins, sewing needles, sewing pins…any crafting item you have poficiency to use…like knitting needles, crochet hooks,afghan hooks,stitch keepers/markers.yarn needles in steel and plastic.. plastic canvass…scissors in several sizes and several pair… Rick rack i buy seldom, but occasionally want a trim and it can give a decorative touch withot being over powering or difficult…s o a few basic colors… white, red, pink blue’s and black …and usually only one size.. put in vacume pack clear bag..
              . Rubber bands in all sizes, properly sealed in oxygen free…
              Hair elastics! same thing. seal them up, or when you require they will be rotten..
              … also extra rubbers for pressure pans…

              • Anonamo Also,
                Let’s also not forget the ways we can recycle the material if something is too old or worn to warrant repair. Old sheets, towels, etc. are the easy ones; but, there are others that one may not initially think about. Put a double or triple seam on the bottom of the leg from an old pair of jeans and a seam on the other end to prevent fraying, and you have a nice heavy duty bag that can be used for a lot of things. Pure cotton like sheets, towels, and denim can be cut into smaller squares and make excellent char cloth, which is essential for making a flame to start fires with flint and steel or friction using a bow or hand drill. When I was a kid I made extra money making pot holders with a simple loom, and we would sometimes recycle old socks by cutting them into strips (loops) and turning them into pot holders. There are lots of uses for old cloth/clothing if you think out of the box. The downside, which I deal with all too often, is keeping too much old stuff around, because you may someday need it, LOL.

              • AA,
                No, I didn’t know about the sizes…lol. I do know that when my gd wore size 10 in child’s, I could buy a ladies 7 for her.

  31. my four sons says:

    I don’t stock a lot of specific barter items, mostly concearned with keeping me and mine alive. However I have stashed a not insignificant amount of Vodka. Its low cost for reasonably hi quality liquor last essentially forever, also doubles as an antiseptic. I also have “read” a lot about home distillation of course never used this knowledge as that would be illegal! But needless to say I have apple trees for “potential” apple jack Brandy. I also reload field load bird shot generally 4 shot lead. And I would argue that a 1and 3/8 ounce hi-dram reload using Long-shot powder has a pretty decent effective range will knock the hell out of a pheasant at every bit of 50 yards. Wouldn’t kill a man at that range but it would hurt like hell!

    • I bet you could turn that #4 lead into a slug.

      • my four sons & Portia,
        The combination of your two posts got me thinking. If one were to take a syringe and inject a bit of mixed epoxy or super glue into the center of the shot in the shot cup and let it cure, I suspect the resulting projectile would have a longer travel before or even if breaking into a pattern, and would probably make a rather good close to medium defensive load.

  32. Another item I forgot (It’s designed to sit in its section of the garage and be forgotten) Pool Shock. Anyone storing household bleach long-term is wasting their time. Bleach degrades over time (chemically reacting is what it does and that’s all degradation is) and will be useless after a year or two. One pound of Calcium Hypochlorite pool shock will disinfect 10,000 gallons of water, on the other hand, and because it only has the water in the air (rather than solution) to react with, it will store for decades.

    You can make up bleach from pool shock by adding one level tsp to one gallon of water. Note — this is bleach strength, not drinking strength. You can then barter this away a pint at a time, letting your customers know that they add this at a 1:100 ratio to unpurified water. (1/100 of a 2l soda bottle is 20ml, or around a half a teaspoon.)

    On storing pool shock — this stuff will react with everything but (some) plastics, so keep it in its original packaging, and keep it away from stuff that reacts poorly in case it gets knocked open (particularly metals like steel, which it loves to corrode through the air.)

    • My four sons says:

      Pool chlorine will truly destroy anything steel. A hospital I worked in had indoor pools and anything not quality stainless steel or plastic didn’t last long in the pump room

    • Mine is stored in screw top pop bottles, placed in a trash bag, inside a plastic 5 gallon bucket, under the porch. It reeks of bleach. It must be going through the bottles.

      • Portia,
        Store pool shock away from your house so you don’t burn the house down or poison someone!

    • Anonamo Also says:

      CORRECTION : 20 ml is one tablespoon + one teaspoon of measuring household spoons…one tablespoon +15 ml and one teaspoon is 5 ml. Or, alternately 4 kitchen measuring teaspoons..
      . save those childrens medicine cups.. or plastic cups meds are dispensed in otherwise. they are marked clearly.

      • Anonamo Also,
        Good idea on the medicine cups that come with many liquid OTC meds.
        I have an old collection of both glass and plastic lab gear. Beakers, cylinders, and other odd things, all clearly marked, and if you happen to know the specific gravity of a substance (I have reference books, remember books?) you can also do a lot of this by weight.

      • AA,
        Occasionally, I ask the pharmacist for one of those children’s medicine measuring cups that are a tube. I figure those will come in handy for anyone, not just children.

  33. Red tower says:

    What we’ve done is make up small kits of needed items. First aid, hygiene, sewing, candles with matches, writing, spices and food. These are kept in places fairly close to the door where I can easily access them without running around gathering them and risk someone seeing how much i have–not that they’d be invited in, anyway.
    DH grew up with his folks helping others when needed, and so did i. We’ve developed a way of letting people know we don’t have much either, and that’s the “last can” of fruit or soup or whatever, but we’ll share when we have it. All they’d see, if they got to see the cupboards, are a few cans or jars of odds and ends.
    I figure some of the first things people will want are water, food, light and heat, then meds, personal items, clothing and luxuries. Mostly in that order. So my kits are: 1 gal water with a few sterilizing tabs, a skelontonized 3-day kit of food packed in an old purse, a few tea lights or an emergency candle with some matches (and a strike strip), some aspirin or ibuprofen in a medicine bottle (to be made fresh at time of asking), small, pocket first aid kits, a cheap knife if needed. Oh, and an emergency blanket if needed. Sewing kits are generally a later thing, as people’s clothing fails. In the,meantime, I have sewing, cooking, basic construction, and childcare skills to teach, or teaching, as in school. DH has medical, mechanical, carpentry, animal husbandry and security skills to trade.
    Since we’ve always seemed to be on the lower end of the economic totem pole, I’ve never figured in having much gold or silver to barter. I figure I’ll have to put a different price on things, such as the value of a standard meal, or a days wages, etc, until things settle enough to bring about a consensus on exchange.

  34. Wheatley Fisher says:

    If you think you are going to barter….in TEOTWAKI, then I urge you to read Selco’s blog on the SHTF SCHOOL webpage. He lived through the whole thing for a year in the Balkans. He describes in detail how to never reveal your location or stash and what happened in many cases. Most transactions ended up deadly. I learned a lot and most of all, that all transactions were done anonymously and l at gunpoint if you wanted to be alive at their conclusion. But don’t take my word for it. Read what the survivor said kept him alive through deadly times. Best wishes to you all, Brian.

    • Wheatley Fisher,
      It depends on the situation and type of disaster/collapse his stuff only applies to a narrow set of circumstances, for instance, look at Argentina and their economic collapse as well as Venezuela or just about any other collapsed third world country and barter is alive and well.

    • Selco was in a big city. Moral to the story: have a place to go, outside of the big cities. Pray for Guidance

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Selco was ethnically/religiously divided and motivated by that –

        Ive seen what happened in South America- first hand in some cases, vast differences

        Barter works, obviously, never reveal preps or extent

    • Wheatly,
      I have read most of what Selco wrote. His ideas are really good about bartering and precautions. We just need to use his ideas that apply to us when we barter. Thanks for mentioning that on this barter post.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        Remember, Selco is Bosnian, there is far more to this than a “simple” shtf- period. Approach it his way in the states and you will create more problems than you fix.

  35. Old Sarge says:

    How about some solar yard lights? Charge them all day, then bring them inside at night !

    • old sarge,
      I did that during a five-day power outage after a tornado. It is surprising how comforting and enlightening that bit of fractured light can be when you see no light outdoors as far as the eye can see. In the dark I could navigate my home because of knowing the territory and a window lit by a street light a block away. Not in a power outage! I put two of the lights in the room and had another to carry and either leave in the bathroom or kitchen as I was there.

    • Old Sarge,
      Those lights can have another purpose that many don’t realize. In side that plastic or cardboard tube are generally several 2-4 NiMh AA batteries, that can be easily removed and reinstalled and be used in other things, so when these things are on sale for perhaps $1-2 each, you can get batteries and solar chargers for them, on the cheap.

      • Almost There says:


        DT had some solar “spot” lights and regular path lighting yesterday. I wasn’t sure how good they were and had another incident in the store, where I ended up not getting any. Would they have what you are talking about? I plan on going back and getting some along with some 8lb bags of potting soil.

        • Almost There,
          I suspect we’ll be heading to DT in the next few days so I’ll see what they have and report back what I find. I didn’t notice any lighting the last time we were there; but, that can change literally day by day, at least at our local store.

  36. azrealityprepper says:

    My in-laws live in a poor part of the Philippines, no one has much cash where they live. Almost everything is done by barter. Commonly, the farmers each grow a kitchen garden along with their rice in the big fields. They will meet up once or twice a week and swap with each other so they don’t get food boredom. My FIL will grow long beans and swap for pumpkins or squash. Others might grow peppers and swap for cucumber or tomatoes. Etc…..There are small stores run by folks right outside their homes called “sari-sari” stores. Typically they have basic necessities such as small quantities of sugar, coffee (in individual packets), shampoo in individual sachets, powdered milk in small boxes or canned milk, cigarettes sold individually or loose tobacco with rolling papers, small bottles of liquor or beer, toilet paper, diapers, etc. In many cases these sari-sari store owners will swap for rice, chicken, eggs, vegetables, or sometimes even an IOU. Cash is not the be-all end-all medium of exchange everywhere.

    • Almost There says:


      Regarding smaller quantities to barter with, I just found a 6oz bag of ground coffee at the DT yesterday. They had 2 flavors, one breakfast blend and one French Vanilla. It said it makes 40 cups of coffee. It looks to be in mylar packaging, but is not vacuumed sealed. I could possibly poke a pin hole in it, get the air out, and then vacuum seal the outter bag. Might be a good barter item.

      • azrealityprepper says:

        Almost There, In the situation with my in-laws, the coffee they can get is one cup portions of instant coffee. Same thing for shampoo and conditioner, one sachet is good for one hair wash or one conditioning session. REALLY small portions.

        • Almost There says:


          What is the sachet made out of? Is there one sachet for the shampoo and another for conditioner and another for the coffee, etc?

    • azrealty,
      Their store models sound amazing, a good way to get what you need without growing a garden with every vegetable. Great idea for us, too.

  37. Pitcher pumps with threaded pipes. Many shallow wells around here. Water bails; PVC pipes (3/4 inch-3 inch) with caps. Rubber balls or plumbers gasket (aka rubber packing sheet) for valves. A few designs work well. More can be made. Rope. T-handle pump removal tools (3), 2 different sized threads. Big livestock owner and neighbors might be grateful. Maybe we could be on the same team. If desperate and metal is recessed on the bails, they could be used on underground fuel storage tanks. Static electricity could be fatal. Nylon rope will not melt in the fuel.
    Ducks and Chickens. The 12 volt incubators can make more birds; they can be sexed when hatched. Seeds galore.
    Scythes, sickles and corn knives to rent for a percentage of the harvest. I ain’t as young as I used to be. Winter grains will need harvesting; hay also. Pray for Guidance

    • Materiel to make more, top bar bee hives; for candles and sweetener. The bees multiply by dividing, (often, groan) every year. Top bar hives are low cost, easy to make, and you only need a bread knife to inspect the colony. Open pollinated sugar beets, are an easier sweet to make.

      • Portia,
        As a beekeeper myself, my problem with the top bar hives are that you really can’t harvest the honey until the spring, since without frames to count and inspect you don’t know how much to harvest in the fall and still leave enough to overwinter. As for simplicity, all you need with Langstroth hives are a hive tool and probably the same smoker you would use for a top bar.

        Open pollinated sugar beets, are an easier sweet to make.

        I suspect so and this may be the first summer we’ll be trying those.

        • Last summer, vermin got to mine, the beets came back weakly. I didn’t get to cooking and mashing them for syrup.

  38. CANDLES! Along with several of the items listed above, I’ve amassed hundreds of ‘thrift store’ candles. Never pay more than 3/$1. Some thrift’s want to charge .75 a piece or more while the thrift down the block will give you a lg. zip-lock w/ 10-15 for $2. I store them in double ‘shoe-box’ size plastic containers from WM. Each one holds 100 or more…

  39. And don’t forget candle holders too (preferably the old fashioned type with a handle and a drip tray underneath), usually .99 a piece give or take…

    • Roberto,
      For a candle holder, improvise. Use a clean can to hold a candle. Put rocks around the candle as you hold it in the center. The rocks will hold the candle upright. Or, you could stuff foil around the candle, but foil is too dear. The drips will fall into the can and onto the rocks.

      • Linda & all,
        You can make a nice portable candle holder from an old can. Soup, Vegetable, whatever you have handy. Take a pair of tin snips and cut a strip ½ to 1 inch wide 70-80% of the way down one side, bend it down under the bottom of the can and attach it with a pop rivet, sheet metal screw or other fastener. Cut the remaining top side portion of the can away to form a cup with a handle. With some playing around you can leave enough of the can to provide some wind protection and act as a reflector off of the shiny inside metal.
        I made some of these decades ago with some kids in a survival tools workshop and it works pretty well. Be warned however, that unless you do some additional work on things, the edges can be very sharp.
        This actually brings up another item I don’t recall being mentioned. A few pop rivet tools and a good supply of different size pop rivets. They can be danged handy.

  40. We have some barter items that include mostly small food items such as top ramen and various canned foods as well as toothpaste,toothbrushes, basic first aid items and some used hand tools.
    It will be tough to decide a comfort level with a person prior to bartering. There would have to be a lot of questions prior to there deal.

    • I believe you should only barter in public places where others are doing likewise. Even if you know the person, you don’t know how desperate they have become. None of us are good enough judges of character with someone we just met. A guy who looks and talks rough may have a heart of gold. A guy who looks slick may be too slick. So ignore character. Assume that you will never see the person again and that they are dishonest. Verify the quality of the product being received. IMHO

  41. Every survivalist site that talks about barter says don’t barter ammo, as it will likely be used against you. Sorry, I don’t see the logic.

    No one will be bartering for ammo unless they already have a gun. Few who have a gun are going to have used their very last round. So they could shoot you before the swap instead of waiting until after. The assumption that anyone with a gun (obviously most of the people reading this have a gun) is a thief because he has one is without basis. As in the old West, guns are what create at least a little civilization in an uncivilized society because they give more power to the weak.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      BillH, agreed.

      Again, outside of the Islamic warfare and internal strife of Bosnia for (1000+ years) history shows that armed people rarely directly head towards violence when alternatives are available.

  42. The Cheif says:

    22lr ammo. It’s relatively cheap now. When it’s needed as a dinner provider, it will be invaluable! Buy 5000 rds now. You can hunt squirrels for a lifetime and still have 2000 rds to barter with, 10 rds at a time. 10 rds should get you 5 gal. of gas. 1 rick of wood. One month of veggies. 50 lbs of coal, small engine parts…..small game is life! One year after the shtf, everyone will be a hunter. A 22lr will take squirrels, rabbit, birds, rats, coons, and much more. 10 rds might mean a months worth of meat!

  43. BlueJeanedLady says:

    Heys & Hellos, all.
    I’m a little late to this topic so some items we would be eager to barter with have already been mentioned. Most of the following small items listed probably won’t be needed for barter with a short term man-made or natural disaster but all are things we not only have in duplicate &/or triplicate but in multiples (although some in limited amounts) and could certainly be valuable commodities to barter with others surviving a major event and without depleting our own storage / basic needs while still not breaking the 1=0, 2=1, 3=2 rules. Here’s my short list:

    * Small, manual hand tools (for both construction & mechanical needs) plus a variety of nuts, bolts, screws, nails, fasteners, etc.
    * Reclaimed lumber, scrap wood, wiring, cabling, various electrical & plumbing accessories, drywall etc., in differing sizes and lengths, etc.
    * Manual gardening, shrub, tree, yard tools, etc.
    * One vehicle (not currently running & we don’t plan on spending the money to completely repair / restore) bartered / traded “as is” &/or scrapped out for parts
    (All except the vehicle mentioned, as others have jokingly &/or seriously noted, most being at least a partially stocked hardware store…) 🙂

    * Sewing notions such as thread, buttons, zippers, fasteners, measuring tapes & rulers, scissors, etc.
    * Knitting needles and crochet hooks of various sizes – but no extra yarn to barter / share
    * Fabric, scrap fabric, older thread-bare clothing that could be stripped of notions & cut down for scrap fabric, plus actual clothing patterns, etc.
    (Although I’d probably only trace or lend the sewing patterns – to trusted friends only – and not actually give them up…)

    * Several pots and pans, miscellaneous kitchen utensils, dishes, glassware, etc.
    (If I don’t sell them “for cheap” in a yard sale or donate them before then…)

    DH & I were married in our mid to late 20’s so both of us brought / combined many of the above listed garage & household items in duplicate at the time we first married. I soon thereafter inherited much of my parents and a small portion of my maternal grandparents’ items. Most recently (about a year ago) DH inherited much of his parents’ things plus much from two sets of grandparents from which his own parents had inherited. Whew! That’s a lot of extra “stuff” and I’m not complaining (except for the mess it’s all in currently – ha, ha)!

    As many of these things are similar to items we already own, we’ve been blessed with an abundance of multiple like items (many listed above) and we are are still going through a lot of what DH recently inherited that was brought back to our home in the past year or so. Then again, we already have a lot of same use type things so most repetitive items still need to be evaluated, sorted, culled and organized. Anything not of sentimental or higher monetary value is up for being donated, now – or – saved for bartering purposes, later once we take on the sorting challenge – in earnest. The Great De-cluttering, Re-organizing Project looms large! 🙂

    In addition to material items we each have different skill sets, several which involve tools / items we’re not interested in using for barter, but would be happy to barter the skill sets services &/or related tools / items needed for a project at hand, so we hope to put a lot of things we won’t get rid of to good use at least in that manner – at some point in time.

    Also, as was mentioned at least briefly by others on this thread, we won’t be bartering nor sharing skills with tools on or at our own property with anyone we don’t know well only with those we know to have tight lips and do trust completely. Either we meet potential bartering partners in a neutral place to exchange items or at their place to share skills with our tools – or it doesn’t happen! I know that’s an overly simplistic statement to declare, but it will be our touchstone as necessary decisions are made.

    Great article, thread comments and many excellent ideas to also consider. Thanks everyone.
    Keep taking care all. Stay safe & stay smart.

    • BJL,
      I have lent three patterns in my 55 years of owning patterns. All three came back destroyed. I will never lend another pattern! You can kill me and take it away. Every tool is mine, not bought to lend out. My friend wanted to borrow my very expensive loppers to cut privet from her half mile driveway and to clear the privet from a mile of her creek. After asking three times, she finally confronted me, asking why I just laughed and changed the subject. I told her I would buy her a $5 lopper from the Dollar General, but she could not use my expensive ones I protected by good maintenance. After she did not return several things at all or in poor condition, I felt my decision was justified. After she died, someone told me she was an alcoholic. And, I never knew after over ten years.

      I agree that no one gets to come here and use my tools. Also, I go with my tools to wherever a person needs them. It is amazing how many people see what I have and decide we are bosom buddies and I should just let them have things. No, I have been burned before. Maybe I sound cynical! However, I do not borrow things from others, even when they insist.

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  45. some things i haven’t seen mentioned are hair brushes, combs, hair ribbons, hair bands, etc. razers would also be good to have.

    • suzyq,
      Yes, I have those. However, I don’t have enough razors to barter, just enough for me. Or, I could quit shaving my legs!

  46. Goatlover says:

    I don’t expect to do much bartering in the short run when the SHTF. However, in the long run….after the big population die-off is over, those who are left will likely begin to develop a system of commerce based on barter. At that point, I plan to use my two renewable assets—seeds and livestock—as barter items. I keep a number of bantam hens around because they go broody frequently. Last year I had 4 setting at one time in various pens on my porch. Plenty of chicks were hatched to provide meat and replacement layer hens. I have a hen right now that wants to set on a clutch of eggs. My dairy goat herd can quickly be tripled in size when the SHTF by breeding everyone and waiting 5 months. Think how much a couple of goats might be worth as a source of milk/dairy items. As far as seeds go, those things will be worth their weight in gold when there are no more grocery stores. I practice seed saving now, even if I have plenty of seeds. One mustard green plant or lettuce plant will yield literally hundreds of seeds if you let it “bolt”, flower, and go to seed. I believe in thinking about the long term, developing as self sufficient an ecosystem as possible NOW while I have the luxury of making mistakes as I learn. Keep prepping, folks!

  47. I like the bosses thoughts on ammo.
    Yes alcohol & tobacco would be like currency.
    Food and water would be like gold.

    But think, if the population thins out, scavenging would be king.
    WROL, think about the TV show last man on Earth. Wouldn’t you head for the factory that makes freeze dried long term food? How about tactical bacon?
    That said, firewood, preserving skills and medical skills are other top of the line things.

    • Thor 1,

      Yes alcohol & tobacco would be like currency.

      If you add firearms and explosives then you can see why we have the BATFE, LOL. The feds know where to put their tax collection resources since they obviously like your list.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        OP- And yet another reason for cessation of all federal “enforcement” agencies, to start with –

        • Jesse,
          I still think keeping Customs & Border Protection, especially ICE would be good to keep, along with the Coast Guard.

          • Jesse Mathewson says:

            Stop giving stuff away, policing the world and starting wars…no one will want to come 🙂 no need for something that doesnt even stop 15% of the flow of anything sadly, billions, hundreds of billions spent annually, nothing really changes. Its all a dog and pony show, I have lived and loved the border since 86′ if anything, every “fence” and upgrade, causes more issues, not less.

            • Jesse,
              I personally think that without borders and walls we are not a sovereign country. A wall in my case is more of a metaphor, for physical barriers or over watch with people &/or technology, interdiction, and deportation. Just this morning there was a news story about the folks coming here from non Islamic countries, intent on hurting us.
              Here it is, as I go into moderation. Jihadis using religious visa to enter US, experts warn

              • Jesse Mathewson says:

                I dont disregard that, however, ever wonder why say, Switzerland is both profitable and free as well as never targeted by extremists of any type…

                My approach is simple, the USA is last centuries Empire, for all intents and purposes due to massive and minor uses of military, with a military that for the past century has remained largely abroad…we have affected both religious and regional change and almost never in a good way. Both Spain and England also did their fair share.

                This being said, honestly, as a scientific mind myself, I do not see a benefit in religion. (Faith quite a different matter and individually assessed and believed) religion, however, in all cases does not end well. Religion being defined as, the service and worship of God or the supernatural/ commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
                / a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices/ scrupulous conformity, conscientiousness/ a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith – eg., simply put, religion as a whole regardless focus of said religion will almost always end with bloodshed. It is whether we like it or not a crutch for the easily led and can take the form of a supernatural deity or in the case of modern western cultures…government itself, after all, religion is the adherence to…

                Individuals, which you and I are, have faith/belief. Which can be quite peaceful. Religion, requires strict adherence, belief and eventually sacrifice.

                • Jesse Mathewson says:

                  Side note, I am fine with a border, however, shouldnt we also respect borders? (Other comment in PURGATORY)

                • Jesse,

                  I dont disregard that, however, ever wonder why say, Switzerland is both profitable and free as well as never targeted by extremists of any type…

                  I don’t wonder at all. I think you’re implying that it’s because they have not generally had interventionist policies, and that is sort of true; but, a lot has to do with their location, firearms laws, and system of government. It also doesn’t hurt at they are a generally homogenous people.
                  The following are excerpts from Dr. Stephen P. Halbrook ‘slecture, given at signings for his new book Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II.

                  Almost 1700 American pilots found refuge in Switzerland after their planes were damaged in bombing raids over Germany. However, the Nazis were not amused by Switzerland’s armed neutrality. Hitler was livid that the Swiss used fighters bought from Germany to shoot down 11 German Luftwaffe planes; the saboteurs Hitler sent to blow up Swiss airfields were captured; they aroused suspicion because they were all dressed in the same odd outfits!

                  In World War II, the Swiss had defenses no other country had. Let’s begin with the rifle in every home combined with the Alpine terrain. When the German Kaiser asked in 1912 what the quarter of a million Swiss militiamen would do if invaded by a half million German soldiers, a Swiss replied: shoot twice and go home. Switzerland also had a decentralized, direct democracy which could not be surrendered to a foreign enemy by a political elite. Some governments surrendered to Hitler without resistance based on the decision of a king or dictator; this was institutionally impossible in Switzerland. If an ordinary Swiss citizen was told that the Federal President–a relatively powerless official–had surrendered the country, the citizen might not even know the president’s name, and would have held any “surrender” order in contempt.

                  • Jesse & all,
                    Here is the link to the above mentioned excerpts.
                    Target Switzerland

                    • Jesse Mathewson says:

                      Honestly I believe the second largest mistake ever to happen to this country was Teddy Roosevelt and his expansionist approach, which led to massive intervention, not that we had never intervened before but he made it popular.
                      (The First is Lincoln-)

                • Jesse,

                  Both Spain and England also did their fair share.

                  Yes but I think Spain and Portugal were the worst of the bunch since Spanish emissaries were actually called Conquistador , Spanish for conquerors
                  You only have to look around at the remains of the empires to see how they governed as an empire. Canada, India, Pakistan, and Australia are generally self governing democracies; where most of what the Spanish and Portuguese touched is still in turmoil from Mexico clear down to the tip of south America, since they left no stable participatory governments behind.
                  As for your definition of religion, I generally concur; but, have a more simple definition, being “Adherence to Dogma” and in the more fundamentalist version, “Strict adherence to Dogma

      • OP, Lol. I did have ammo in there. Lol

        I bet BC likes tactical bacon. Lol

  48. Bartering sounds great, but knowing my friends and neighbors they would expect me to just give them anything I had extra of.
    And since none of them are peppers they’re not going to have anything to barter with.

  49. MasterSergeantUASF says:

    For bartering I have been stocking up on disposable razors, toothbrushes, tampons, socks, underwear, coffee, cigarettes (scored 200 cartons from a retiring vendor), individual shampoos/soaps (25 yrs of world travel and I always raided my motel rooms). I also plan to learn to distill my own alcohol, brew beer, and roll loose tobacco into cigarettes so I have been collecting the raw materials for that. The DW taught herself to cut and style hair and she does a fantastic job on mine and the son-in-law. She also has been collecting extra socks and bras, especially sports-bras, as well as herbs that act as natural birth-control.

  50. Robert smotherman says:

    For me i feel a good bartering/trade goods could be and can be concisered is building supplies. Nails all types and hammers. With that screws and hand tools needed to help ease the work load. I seen bullets were the number 1 trading tool. Stocking up on small caliber rounds 22’s and such. If you feel the risk is to great never offer ammo. Also never conduct the trade near the safe area you have made for you and the family. Never ever show what stock pile you have. Make sure the trade is worth what you are giving up. Risks will be great and threats will be real and deadly if you rush the situation. Look at all the pros and cons of the trade and need for you to survive. Never go alone have at least 2 others with you one known one in a hide.
    This is not to ambush but to cover your back and protect what you have to trade.

  51. Gary Gaiser says:

    for the most part I think the concept of barter after SHTF is way overblown, Honestly your going to invest money in an item that you don’t need just in case someone else wants it and has something you need. Don’t get me wrong i’m not speaking in absolutes. I think it’s a good idea to have a little something to trade but trying to inventory something you don’t need and then hope the person who has what you need needs what you have is going to be tough.
    “Hey man I could really use that ………. you have over there I have some spare tampons to trade you”, lol
    Having some standard use items (toilet paper, tampons, Lighter Vodka etc) to buy yourself a little good will could certainly have it’s benefits A cheep bottle of vodka could certainly get you a seat at the table and maybe gather some useful information or make some new friendships . Honestly if you come across someone who desperately needs a lighter and toilet paper what exactly do you think they are going to have that is of any use to you?
    My personal intention is to have a lot of the things I know I will need (which will probably be the things other people need too) and be willing to trade some of it away if it is absolutely necessary for my survival.
    telling people what you have to trade means telling people what you have, telling people who are desperate what you have is a good way to become DEAD!

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