Prepper's Bartering List

------------------------------------------------- Revised 04/30/18
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There are four ways people have paid for things throughout
  1. barter of services and supplies
  2. bullion and coins
  3. cash (paper currency) and
  4. plastic (credit).

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

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

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

More prepping articles...

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

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Prepper's Bartering List
Bartering ideas for preppers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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