Items That You Can Barter When SHTF



barter, trade and barter, bartering items, shtf

When SHTF, bartering is one of the most vital skills you can have. Chances are that traditional money will be scarce or lose its value altogether, and in order to survive you will have to trade and barter to get what you need. It's important to know the value of everything. Of course there are the obvious items like food, clothing and building materials, but the truth is that there are tons of things that will have surprising bartering value in a SHTF situation. Our friend Gaye Levy compiled a list of 101 inexpensive bartering items.

I would be preaching the choir if I told you that it is wise to gather extra supplies that you can use for bartering in a post-collapse world.  The issue for many, however, is that their budget allows no room for extras.  Finding funds for long term personal preps, let alone daily needs can be an ongoing challenge.

Let’s face it. We all know that the middle class is disappearing.  Food and health care costs are up and even those with comfortable nest eggs are finding that their funds are rotting, earning virtually no interest and suffering the ravages of inflation. So what are we to do?

barter items, barter, trade and barter, shtf preparedness

The first rule of thumb is to acquire skills that can be bartered for goods.  That is the smart thing to do regardless of your financial situation.  Beyond that, there are a number of low cost items that you can accumulate over time, even if you are poor.

Backdoor Survival reader Elaine K. sent me her list of “poor man’s barter items”.  It gave me so many ideas that I expanded the list to include even more items.  Here it is: 101 low cost items to barter if the stuff hits the fan.

Poor Man’s Barter Items

  1. Candles
  2. Garden tools
  3. Fly swatters
  4. Insect spray
  5. Rat & mouse poison
  6. Rodent traps
  7. Scissors
  8. Needles
  9. Straight pins
  10. Safety pins
  11. Buttons
  12. Thread
  13. Elastic-material
  14. Dry beans
  15. Rice
  16. Noodles
  17. Flour
  18. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, parsley etc.
  19. Coffee
  20. Cooking Oil
  21. Coffee filters
  22. Pepper
  23. Sugar
  24. Salt
  25. Hand crank or manual can openers
  26. Canned food – any type
  27. Wooden, strike anywhere matches
  28. Old newspapers
  29. Wax for fire-starting
  30. Large cotton balls with soaked in petroleum jelly (also for starting fires)
  31. Bleach (or freshly made pool shock)
  32. Baby wipes (Note:  these can be used to clean face, hands, arm pits, groin in case there is no water. If dried out, pour in a cup of water into container)
  33. Cocoa
  34. Baking Soda
  35. Spirits:  wine, whisky, beer, vodka, brandy
  36. Coloring books & crayons
  37. Scrap paper
  38. Pencils
  39. Ballpoint pens
  40. Copy paper
  41. Lined notebook paper
  42. Tooth paste
  43. Toothbrushes
  44. Dental floss
  45. Combs
  46. Hair brushes
  47. Disposable razors
  48. Nail clippers and files
  49. Feminine products
  50. Bars of soap
  51. Toilet paper
  52. Hair pins
  53. Batteries
  54. Cigarettes
  55. Tobacco
  56. Cigarette lighters
  57. Tobacco seeds
  58. Aluminum foil
  59. Plastic sheeting
  60. Socks – all sizes & colors
  61. Shoe laces
  62. Reading glasses
  63. Garbage bags (can’t have too many)
  64. Brooms
  65. Dust pans
  66. Clothes pins
  67. Clothes lines
  68. Garbage cans
  69. Dryer Lint (to use as firestarter)
  70. Rope of any type
  71. Honey
  72. Hard candy
  73. Popcorn
  74. Kool-aid
  75. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin
  76. Essential oils
  77. Cough syrup
  78. Eye drops
  79. Band aids
  80. Laxatives
  81. Lip balm or chapstick
  82. Axes
  83. Nails, nuts, bolts, & screws
  84. Heirloom garden seeds
  85. Fresh garden produce and herbs
  86. Herb plants
  87. Hand garden tools
  88. Two cycle oil
  89. Automotive oil and air filters
  90. Paperback books
  91. Plastic tarps
  92. Duct tape
  93. Fels naphtha bar soap
  94. Washing/laundry soda
  95. Borax
  96. Oxyclean
  97. Home made laundry detergent
  98. Garden compost
  99. Garden fertilizer
  100. Plastic tubs & containers
  101. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)

The Final Word

Elaine K. is sixty-six years old and has been a widow since 1985.  Like many of us, old and young, times have been tough and she has had to teach herself survival by embracing plain old common sense.  Sound familiar?

When she first wrote to me, she indicated that she wanted to do something to help others.  I am sure you will agree that her list is an inspiration to get started gathering low cost items that will be invaluable in a barter-society if and when the SHTF.

Now tell me, can you thing of more inexpensive if not downright cheap items to accumulate for barter purposes?

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Priceless Bartering Chips: Part 1

Priceless Bartering Chips: Part 2

Priceless Bartering Chips: Part 3

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Continue Reading


  1. Pingback: 101 Barter Items for when SHTF | Survivalist Basics | Be Prepared For Anything!

  2. Pingback: 101 Barter Items for when SHTF | Patriot Powered News

  3. Pingback: 101 Barter Items for when SHTF | US Crisis Preppers

  4. Tessa

    December 10, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Love the list! Thank you, I will definitely be adding a few of these items to my barter box. Some of these will keep forever after I seal-a-meal them! Low cost – common sense!

  5. charles

    December 16, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    Hello, very good list of items, other then taking an ad out in craigslist,jk, how does one put out the info that you have bartering goods without attracting every theif, rip off con artest and the ilk, seems like a no brainer question but it nags at me to think once word is out then the negative attraction begins, any ideas? “C”

    • Linda

      December 16, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      In an emergency situation, you’ll probably need some things and be asking around, and so will other people. Bartering starts there. It’s really just a matter of letting someone know you have a need or listening for someone else’s need.

    • Sharon

      December 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      I read an article from a man in Bosnia who talked about his war torn neighborhood. They made a central meeting place to barter at and you don’t bring all your bartering items at once, just a select few. Also, never meet at your home. I imagine if you needed something specific, you could leave a note and likely someone would bring it to the next barter meeting. He said some of the popular items were lighters, booze, cigs, toilet paper, and chocolate.

      • marilyn tweed

        December 16, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        I wonder whether pages from old phone books could be used for toilet paper in a crisis? I don’t see why not, since the sewer/ water systems will be ‘down’, and we’ll be using a hole in the outdoors.

    • R.D.

      December 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      you don’t advertise your barter items. Be discreet and when you need something, you have something to barter with. You are not putting back items to barter to trade them off asap! your doing it to keep for when the need arises!

  6. Peter Krzywicki

    December 16, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    You forgot lids for canning. These will be a very important commodity if SHTF.

  7. Sharon

    December 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    When my Grandmother and Great Grandmother heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed they went to the stores and bought as many SHEETS as they could. So think there are a lot of uses for those. Not sure how many but am sure the readers can find a bunch.

    • Linda

      December 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Sheets can be used for making clothing (including underwear), bandages & slings, spray painted for a camo cover, to strain dirty water, for curtains, to make bags for carrying many things (I used some for making bags for firestarter kits), tie over shoes for protective cover, makeshift toilet paper and sanitary pads, baby diapers, strung up for sun shade, lining for sleeping bag (to keep it cleaner), you get the idea.

  8. Curtis

    December 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    One of my current favorite items is a hand crank flash light. I love this item. It’s cheap and reliable. No batteries needed. 😉

  9. David

    December 16, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    What about inexpensive folding knives? Carpenter’s hammers? .22 long rifle ammo? Wire cutter/pliers? Dishwashing liquid? Scrubee sponges? Thick socks?

    • Leonard

      December 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Dishwashing liquid can also be used for handwashing, bathing and laundry as well as dishes. Unlike some bar soaps or liquid soaps with skin softeners added, dishwashing liquid–chemically identical to most detergent-based cleaning products, won’t sour, shrink or change in its usefulness over time.

    • SmokeHillFarm

      December 17, 2014 at 3:37 AM

      You can get cheap paring knives, with a plastic sheath, for a buck at some Dollar Stores (a great place for cheap prepping & barter supplies). Not high quality, but invaluable to the man who has no knife at all.

      • Jim

        December 17, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Just be careful that it will not be used on you to get the rest of your barter items.

    • Joseph Mertens

      December 21, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      Never sell/barter guns or ammunition to anyone that you do not trust with your life and the lives of your family.

  10. Mike

    December 16, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Matches. Many fuel stations have these available free, likewise convenience, liquor, and grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, casinos, etc.

  11. Mahatma Muhjesbude

    December 16, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Not a bad list. Don’t know about dryer lint for fire starting. While it definately makes good tinder, or if you smear it with Vaseline, a good direct fire initiator, but whose going to have the luxury of a dryer when the SHTF?

    The most valuable trading items she forgot on there or maybe i read it too fast and missed them are, ammo, lamp oil, (don’t forget the wicks), cigarettes, and the allmighty BEER! What would any good apocalypse be without libation? Even JEEsus forgot to stock up when he needed some wine…but he just decided to make his own then.

    Which is also not a bad idea. It’s easy to make wine out of almost any fruit or flower but you have to have the yeast and sugar. Yeast and sugar is cheap.

    Also, a still isn’t a bad idea either. Can use it for purifying water or for the ‘good stuff’ which you can easily trade.

    It doesn’t hurt to have as many bottles of Everclear or similar 180 proof grain alcohol moonshine as you can afford. Not cheap at around 20 bucks a quart but worth its weight because its twice as strong as regular whiskey. so it goes farther for drinking, but It’s a great antiseptic, mouthwash, And you can use it like an alcohol lamp for light/heat. And you can power your motorized bycycle or moped or even your regular vehicle in a pinch. It is exactly the same thing as 85% gasahol at the pump but without the toxic additives they putin to keep you from drinking it!

    Chainsaw blade chains, wood chopping axes, manual mauls, splliter wedges, wood cutting two man hand saws,etc.

    Almost any now taken for granted at any store will be ‘worth its weight’ when there ‘ain’t no mo’. Just take some time to figure out what people use around you all the time, and you’ll be in ‘business’.

    • mikki

      December 16, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      I save dryer lint and pack into an empty toilet paper roll. Use it for campfires and it does work as a fire starter. Start saving it now and just throw into a box.

      • Linda

        January 11, 2015 at 8:40 PM

        I save them as well but make up a Kit: 3 toilet paper rolls of lint and a mini pack of wooden matches in a quart ziplock.

    • James Whitmore

      December 16, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      A few of the things I have not seen on anyones list are tools for keeping your tools working. like Files, sharpning stones,sand paper, a roll of waxed string or lacing cords. a canvas stitching awl/needle and twine ( Sportsmans Guide )Bungee with large lawn/leaf bags.any number of uses from emergency shelter, clothes and keeping your SHTF supplies dry and under cover ( Harbor Freight-Northern Tool )I also stock Two all caliber Rifle/pistol/shotgun cleaning kits and solvents.

    • Sissygirlno1

      December 16, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Every time I do a load of clothes in the dryer I remove the lint and put in a plastic bag. When you dry towels and blankets you get the most awesome lint and it burn like crazy without any help of Vaseline, or wax or whatever fire starter you use.

  12. Ania Huron

    December 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Excellent list, with maybe a few things lacking.
    But now we need someone to tell us HOW we’d barter these things in a violent, post-apocalyptic world filled with distrustful, desperate, and murderous people.
    Oh, BTW, for all teens out there, the Hunger Games isn’t a good place to look for bartering ideas. It just isn’t realistic.

    • marilyn tweed

      December 16, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Great question- HOW would barter be done with so many desperate and unlawful ALREADY? I’ll be interested in the answer.

      • R.D.

        December 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        you don’t advertise what you have to barter or let anyone know you have it. Your keeping it for when you have a need that arises not to trade of asap or open a store! Come on, use some common survival sense here folks. Spread the word I see this question all the time.

  13. Emil

    December 16, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    I am not a fan of using alcohol for bartering. When people start drinking they get stupid/brave and may want to come back and try to take what you have. It does serve a purpose, you just have to be careful about who you are bartering with.

  14. Sandman

    December 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    – Small LED flashlights
    – Rechargeable Batteries (AA and AAA, whatever flashlights use)
    – Small Solar Recharger stations
    – SEEDS: Tobacco, herbs, beans, all heirloom vegetables
    – HOW-TO Guides: Survival, shelter, gardening, hunting, trapping
    – ARROWS, Cross-bow BOLTS (cheap now, incredibly valuable in the woods, reusable, silent)

  15. Cricket

    December 16, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    I am sure it goes without saying, but the most important item has been left off the list. Water! I save water in empty juice bottles. They are a good size and if you need to barter, you are giving about a days worth of water and not so much that it will hurt your supply.

    Also, when I buy a pepper, or other fruit or vegetable, I save the seeds and put them in old medicine bottles and label them.

    When I open a medicine bottle, I save the cotton and the little container in the bottle that absorbs the moisture. I’m not sure what I will use that for, I just know by instinct that it will come in handy. Maybe someone can tell me what that will be good for.

    Thank you.

    • marilyn tweed

      December 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      That little packet is dessicant- it keeps moisture out of whatever product is in that container. Save it and put it in a jar of macaroni, cereal, flour, sugar, powdered milk, dry cat and dog food, the list is endless! You’re smart for hanging on to those packets, although they are inexpensive to buy.

    • G. Barthelman

      December 17, 2014 at 3:07 AM

      The little ball of cotton is to prevent pills breaking during shipment. However, you bring up an important point. Moist seeds placed in a plastic pouch or bottle will rot. Be sure to dry the seeds in the air/sun, and then add a dessicant to the bag or bottle. I use rice. The rice absorbs any moisture/humidity that’s in the container and will keep your seeds useful for months, years, decades, a century (depending on the type of seed).
      Need for drinkable water is my biggest concern. I urge everyone to buy the newest invention(s) for filtering/purifying water so even swamp water can be used (safely) if need be.
      In imagining what items to stock up on, always assume there’ll be no electricity for extended periods…long extended periods.

  16. Kelly

    December 16, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    For those that truly don’t have any wiggle room in their budget. For the last couple of years, I have signed up for every freebie I could find. If you don’t have a personal computer, you can use the library’s. Also, many stores have “samples” that they give away and I have gotten close to a few managers so that when they discontinue items and “throw” them away, it is into my garbage can LOL. Same can be said of damaged items. Make friends with store owners and managers as they will call select “friends” and give heads up on sales or hold back a few items just for you. Good luck…

  17. Julie Morvia

    December 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Might want to add 100% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) Great for cooking fuel in mini liquid fuel stove ( which can be made with a couple pop cans ) also good for disinfectant.90% works but don’t get 70%…won’t burn well

    Dental floss has numerous potential uses.

    1 lb propane tanks.

  18. Linda

    December 16, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    We have large supplies of some of these things. We separate them into small amounts to use as barter and not let anyone know the size of our actual supply. We put honey from our 5 gallon can into plastic “bears”, spices into straws that you seal with a lighter and pliers, food grains and cereals into cleaned used pop bottles with screw on lids, etc. We also would add to this list vinegar in small bottles – it is multi-useful and cheap. Also the cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels (we stuff them with a little toilet paper or newspaper or paper towel, add a tea candle & couple of wood matches, cover with a paper towel and have instant firestarters – easy to trade and welcome to many.) Also the disposable chopsticks you get at Chinese restaurants – they make great tinder or hair sticks or props for other things or stabilizers for a splint for a small animal or human finger, etc.

  19. willowa

    December 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Match books would be good and they are pretty cheap. On the ‘strike anywhere’ matches, we are lucky, the US seems to be the only place in the world (and I have been in most countries in Europe, many in the Middle East, Korea, China-albeit it briefly- and none of these places make ‘strike anywhere’ matches!

  20. George Krauss

    December 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    This is a great list but one that seems to fit being in you own home or a alternate hide-a-way. This list needs shortening for those who may have to be on the move as to get out of dodge situation and living in the wild. Too much to carry unless you have several in your group. Remember this rogue government will come to your homes and confidcate anything they feel like taking including you!

    • George Krauss

      December 16, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Get any kind of matches and put them in vacuum sealed bags and vacuum seal them. Might as well take a lot of combustables and dry kindling in ziplockbags as well

      • Trish

        December 22, 2014 at 3:44 AM

        Straws. Vacuum sealed bags are great but the sealing machine is useless when power is out. A trick a friend taught me was to use a straw with zipper seal bags. Stick the straw into bag at one side and seal the bag up to the straw. Next, suck on the straw to remove air and pinch closed remainder of seal while pulling straw out with mouth. It doesn’t give perfect airlessness but is better than nothing.

  21. Ken

    December 16, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Some mention was made in the comments about keeping things in Zip-lock bags, but neither the list nor previous comments suggested the bags themselves. I keep several packages of various sizes, from “snack size” to “2 gallon”. They would be good for portioning your trade items, or in case the other person doesn’t have theirs portioned. The small (1″ square) ones are even good to have if you are trading seeds.

  22. Susan

    December 16, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    My daddy used to barter when he was alive. You can say my dad was a jack of all trades. People would come to him and ask him to fix something, like do welding on a shrimp trawler. Daddy would give them a price. Majority of the people were on the poor side. They would tell Dad that they don’t have the money but the next time they come back from their shrimping they would give him x amount of dollars and some shrimp. Daddy would agree. I remember our freezer was almost always full. We may not have had a lot of money but we NEVER WENT HUNGRY! Back then we had stuff in our freezer a lot of people now a days would consider delicacies. Daddy is long gone now, been dead for quite a few years. I’m a firm believer in bartering.

  23. Mike

    December 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    The biggest thing to remember is to make sure you have enough of your PRESCRIPTIONS put back. You can not just stop those! Refill meds 5-7 days early each month and save them. Be sure to look at the expiration date on the meds you buy off the shelf like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Be careful with aspirin, if you see the tablets look funny or have fuzzy covering they are NOT to be taken! Also, remember pesto-bismal, tums, diarrhea meds and Metamucil. The change in diet that follows the meltdown of society will reck havoc on your intestinal system.

    • Al Jensen

      December 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      Instead of worrying about aspirin, etc, get yourself some Essential Oils. They don’t have expiration dates, keep indefinitely, are multipurpose, and go a long way. Contact me if you want further details.

  24. Wendy

    December 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    The first two things that come to my mind are duct tape and lighter fluid. Duct tape can be used for multiple things and lighter fluid of course for lighting things also kerosene is an expensive. Oil lamps can also be gotten for an inexpensive price so then you have kerosene and the oil lamps and the wicks..

  25. Eva

    December 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Large rolls of cloth material that can be purchased from swapmeets at a low price. Foot pedal sewing machine(works without electricity). My grandma sewed everything and anything on her old machine without electricity. You could make clothes to sell or sell the cloth itself. You could make diapers, reusable feminine products, towels…all the stuff people need for everyday life. Medicine bags…that contain herbs to heal all manner of wounds. Medicine bag is placed over the wound and warm water is pressed against the bag into wound to promote healing. This can be used with or without alcohol or iodine or by itself. Remember injury and infection is what kills people. Herbal medicine bags will be like gold.

  26. Stan Reneau

    December 16, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    I save fiber egg cartons and fill them with sawdust and melt wax over the sawdust for easy to use fire starters. Just break off a cup, put it under kindling and light it on an edge. Voilá! You have a nice fire to use in no time.


    December 16, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    where I live in Ca. there is not a very close community. i live in an apartment. there are a few of us that we can help each other out, but i told every one that what i have is mine and they need to prepare. i can help with alot of things. theres probly 10 items on that list i don’t have or will ever need to barter. in the area i live across the highway is the bad part of town. so bartering will not happen. the people who live in the beach cities are all about themsleves. if you have the money get yourself a solar gennerator with a litum ion battery. not an acid one. they leak and don’t hold a charge. get one thats at least 1600watts so you can run your fridge and maybe your microwave at the same time. get a 120 watt solar fold up panel. you can find this stuff on amazon. just make sure you know how long your power cord needs to be from your solar panel on your roof too your generator. i had to get 45 ft.

    • Trish

      December 22, 2014 at 4:14 AM

      I currently live in a suburb where most of us don’t know our neighbors. I used to live in “bad part of town” where most housing was subsidized by government and robbery ring operated two doors down, prostitution ring operated across street. There really are good people in those areas, they just keep their heads down and struggle to get by. Make friends with the good people. When my tomato plants produced more than we could use, I went door to door giving them away. When a relative’s apple tree produced way too many apples, I went door to door with basket of free apples. One woman was sitting at her kitchen table crying in despair because she’d promised an apple treat for church event the next morning and half the apples she’d bought were rotten and unusable and she couldn’t afford to buy more. I gave her what was left in my basket and took her kids to pick from tree and clean up yard of apples that had fallen.

      Reach out to your community now — some of them want to connect but just don’t know how.

  28. scott

    December 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    I’m suprised to not see something as basic as blankets or linens on the list. Blankets will be a big commodity in the northern part of the country.

  29. tony heil

    December 16, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    I wouldn’t even start a list without LED flashlights and a bucket full of fresh batteries. To have everything on your list you would need a warehouse or trading post. To travel you have to think slim, light and multipurpose. This is a good list to shop with though.

  30. marilyn tweed

    December 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    I use glass containers with metal lids to ensure my food is rodent-proof- those critters can chew thru plastic if they’re hungry enough. I collect ‘wide mouth’ plastic containers with lids for barter or to carry to friends or family a portion of food or necessities, because the plastic is lighter wt. and unbreakable for carrying.

  31. duggy dugg

    December 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    tea tree oil ; oregano oil ; bandannas ; paracord ;

  32. Wd 40

    December 16, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    I find a lot of things at the local thrift stores. You pay pennies on the dollar for good items that still work. You can stock up on many items at a fraction of the cost of buying new and barter away. Remember the cost of the items will go up when the time is right for barter. So you paid .50 cents for something that will go up in value rather tan paying 5 or 10 bucks.
    Good luck and happy hunting.

  33. Fred

    December 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    One thing that is not on the list that has many uses and is inexpensive: Epsom Salt. Everyone needs to have this in their home and read the instructions and learn how to use it.

  34. Vicki

    December 17, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    You might add string. Can be used for tying up veggies when they are growing.

  35. SmokeHillFarm

    December 17, 2014 at 3:25 AM

    As for cigarette lighters, by all means stock a lot of them!! Don’t buy the cheap Asian clones, but go for Bic (or perhaps other big names like Ronson). Back when I smoked a lot I estimated that I got several thousand lights from each Bic lighter, which costs about a buck — less in quantity on eBay or Amazon. For those with NO means of lighting a fire or cooking, they’ll swap almost anything for a Bic. I also picked up a display case of Zippo flints very cheap on eBay, but Zippos also need fuel … though in a pinch regular gasoline will work (smelly & smoky, and gets the wick dirty).

  36. SmokeHillFarm

    December 17, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    For shoelaces, opt for the long leather type used for work boots rather than the usual cloth type laces, esp. if you think the SHTF situation may be a long one. You can cut the leather ones to suit the footgear, and they will outlast the cloth ones by a huge factor, particularly in primitive conditions.

    Paracord may work in some cases, but you should have a couple of spools of that handy anyway. For usefulness, it’s right up there with duct tape & old wire coathangers.

  37. Trish

    December 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    I see several people talking about oil or karocene lanterns. That’s okay if only needed for short time. But fuel runs out. Then your lantern is a fancy paperweight. A better choice and what we use on camping trips or around house during power outages is an LED lantern and rechargeable batteries. We’ve got a solar battery recharger, too. We’ve found the LED lantern, on high setting, is bright enough to read by. on lower setting, battery power is saved but there’s still enough light to keep from killing self while walking around.

    From a bartering standpoint, the solar battery recharger is worth it’s weight in gold. One could trade recharged batteries for dead ones plus a fee of something wanted.

  38. Enid Albat

    December 17, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Read this report and all the comments. Appreciate them all. I don’t think having drinking alcohol for bartering is a good idea at all! But my real problem I have not found addressed is STORAGE!!! I am blessed to live on property rent free, but it is not my own so I can’t go adding storage buldings. Even if I carefully save things that are free like lint in toilet paper tubes and get extra sheets and other material at Thrift stores (and I do), I don’t have a place to put enough to barter. What suggestions are there for that?

    • Doug Nicholson

      December 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      Concentrate on smaller items like the cigarette lighters in my post, below. For $8-9 you can buy a storage container at Walmart that’s only 5-6 inches high and 20″x30″ that will fit under your bed. Another small item you could stock up on for barter is seed packets to grow vegetables. They’re pretty cheap, don’t go bad and are worth a lot in SHTF situations. Good luck!

  39. Michael

    December 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    scrub brush, ponchos, hats with caps,cloths hanger clips, mini super glue for sealing cuts,

  40. Jim Beattie

    December 17, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Comfort food, such as hard candy. Powdered drink mix (Gatorade is especially good). Women’s makeup. (In bad times makeup cheers up a woman) Fix-a-flat. Anything to do with reloading of pistol or rifle bullets (primers will be especially needed).

  41. Steve

    December 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    One thing for sure is that things will continue to break so I always save extra screws and nails that can be used for my repairs or trading. I just throw them in my tool box. Also some spare small hand tools (hammers, screw drivers, and etc.) will be handy for keeping equipment working or trading.

  42. Al

    December 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Electric cable ties. Cheap and useful for holding things together. Can hold large items by hooking several together. You can disconnect with a thin blade to reuse them. Some have a tab that allows them to be released. Police use them for cuffs. If you have to cut, cut the end going into the holding tab. It will be shorter but still useable.

  43. Doug Nicholson

    December 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Re: #56, Cigarette lighters: Every time I go to Walmart, I pick up a 7-pack of Scripto “Views” lighters. They are less than $2 for the 7-pack and are clear so you can see how much fuel is in them, compared to Bic brand, which are much more expensive and are opaque, so your barter “partner” can’t tell if he’s getting a good deal or getting ripped off. One of these should be worth a full day’s food rations for one person, at least. Maybe a lot more if the situation has gone on for awhile.

  44. Doug Nicholson

    December 20, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    One of THE most valuable things to barter, especially if the SHTF situation has been going on for a long time, will be SALT! When most have been reduced to eating what they can forage or grow and wild game, salt will be worth more than gold because our bodies must have it to live, plus it will make wild game MUCH more appetizing!

  45. Donna

    December 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    I re-arranged the list & added some more. AK stands for all kinds of a subject.

    1- candle holders
    2- zippers
    3- trims
    4- change noodles to all pastas
    5- change flour to whole grains
    6- spices includes pepper
    7- salt, at least 20 lbs per person
    8- wood & other scraps
    9- tarps
    12-hand tools
    13-pet food
    14-AK brushes
    15-soap -AK
    16-socks -AK
    17-shoes -AK
    18-sun glasses
    20-rubber bands
    21-paper clips
    22-magnifying glasses
    25-paint -AK
    26-clothes all sizes
    27-sealing bags
    28-pencil sharpeners
    29-back scratchers
    30-shower caps
    32-water bottles
    33-empty bottles, jars, take-out dishes
    34-free buckets from bakeries
    36-misc bags & back packs
    38-staple gun staples
    40-needles & hooks
    41-tape -AK
    42-Q-tips & cotton balls
    46-gloves -AK
    47-oven cleaner (self-defense)
    48-spray bottles
    50-eye droppers
    51-turkey basters
    52-coffee filters
    53-mesh fruit bags
    54-vinegar- cider & white
    55-safety pins
    56-triangular bandages
    61-file cards
    62-glue- AK
    63-electrical cords- many uses
    64-empty capsules
    71-dental mirrors
    72-paper plates
    73-plastic cups, forks etc
    74-comfort toys
    76-post cards/pictures
    78-hair clips etc
    79-hair cutting scissors
    80-sharpening stones
    81-cat litter- many uses
    84-small area rugs
    85-window screen
    86-calendars from any years (they repeat)
    87-how-to books
    88-tape measures/rulers
    89-canning flats & rings
    90-fabric -AK

  46. JimmyC PM

    December 21, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    The one thing I did not see was anti-biotic cream. It will be worth its weight in “gold”.

  47. M. Williams

    December 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    a good list of common sense stuff to keep handy … odd about the ‘manual can openers:” I had a series of electric ones each of which conked out in pretty rapid succession, but when I went back to using the plain old “P-38” on my key ring everything was cool … god a dozen of them from a surplus house. the Canadiand make a nice one, but they’re harder to get.

  48. M. Williams

    December 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    a good list of common sense stuff to keep handy … odd about the ‘manual can openers:” I had a series of electric ones each of which conked out in pretty rapid succession, but when I went back to using the plain old “P-38” on my key ring everything was cool … god a dozen of them from a surplus house. the Canadians make a nice one, but they’re harder to get.

  49. Bob

    December 26, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Being an Auctioneer I go to auctions to pick up items that I might want to sell for a profitt or may need to sell in the future if things get worse.
    Things like nuts and bolts,hand tools,old crocks, mason jars, oil lanterns etc.may come in handy in the future. I have also picked up items for other family members for their homes. Box lots at the end of auctions can be anything from pots and pans to screws,fasteners etc. These are usually very reasonable in price.

  50. Deb

    December 27, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    One of the ways I gather shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc. is keeping the small bottles from hotels when I travel. I also have the people who travel I know on business bring back what they don’t use from their trips. I just supply big baggies for them to put them in – a nice dessert offering for their help doesn’t hurt :-). What I don’t use, will be barter items.

  51. Carla

    January 4, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    Frequent reader, first post. Saw some people with a few of my suggestions. Lamp oil and wicks, sheets, matches, etc. But a big one is antibiotics! You can get them online from fish dealers. The SAME as for humans. Don’t know if I can say it, but I am getting mine from Fish-Moxi. Just started working on them. Water filters! I have ones that filter large amounts, and also, Life Straws.They will be worth a real premium if SHTF and we have no clean water.
    One poster said to have ammo to barter. BAD idea in my opinion. I don’t want one bullet leaving without being fired! Nor do I want anyone to know I have them!
    Prepare for the worst… Hope for the best!

  52. Saber Alexander

    January 13, 2015 at 1:22 AM

    Cardboard egg cartons. Seed starters, making lint fire starters w/ Vaseline or wax), to pt your fresh eggs in, for cushioning. c:

  53. Farrah

    January 20, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Love the article! It is great that people are giving attention to bartering & what a useful resource it is!

    NWL also supports bartering & transcending the monetary system through cooperative exchange. I love connecting with other like-minded people, who are interested in building similar life experiences.

    We are always OPEN for BARTER at WeBarter.webs. com❣ Google “New Wellness Living” to connect, directly, via the website, channels, hotline, & other available resources.

  54. Dream Pillow

    June 22, 2015 at 1:24 AM

    Found this amazing app on the app store Salt Bartering (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/salt-bartering/id972418947?mt=8) where I traded many of my old stuff with my
    neighbors. The best part is the app will intelligently and automatically find
    the best matches for my items. You have to try it.

  55. Pingback: Bartering To Survive With Creek Stewart [PODCAST] - Survivalnomics

  56. Pingback: Bartering To Survive With Creek Stewart [PODCAST] – SurvivalCove.com

  57. Pingback: Bartering To Survive With Creek Stewart [PODCAST] – Bulletproof Survivors

  58. Pingback: Bartering To Survive With Creek Stewart [PODCAST] – Sprent Brass

  59. Pingback: Bartering To Survive With Creek Stewart [PODCAST] - Cooking in Quarantine

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply



Enter for a chance to WIN a pair of these Tactical Boots when you sign up today for our exclusive email newsletter subscription.