Prepper's Bartering List

------------------------------------------------- Revised 05/30/19
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There are four ways people have paid for things throughout history:
  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 stores.

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
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Prepper's Bartering List: Bullet, beans, bandages, bartering.
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

Prepper's Bartering list:
  1. Activated charcoal
  2. Apples and other home grown fruit.
  3. Aspirin
  4. Analgesics (pain killers, such as HurriCaine and
  5. Antacids
  6. Antibiotic Ointment
  7. Anti-diarrheals (a simple diarrhea problem can kill
    you quickly without medicine)
  8. Antiseptics
  9. Bandages
  10. Baking soda
  11. Batteries (rechargeable batteries are best)
  12. Bar soaps ~ Right is a 100 hotel-sized bar soaps deal
  13. Beans and other shelf stable foods.
  14. Benadryl or generic allergy medicine
  15. BIC lighters / Zippo lighters
  16. Bike repair tools and inner tubes
  17. Bleach
  18. Bourbon
  19. Booze (moonshine or homebrew)
  20. Bullets
  21. Butter (we found canned butter to barter!)
  22. Cable ties
  23. Candles
  24. Canned foods
  25. Canned fruits, meats, veggies
  26. Can openers (P-51 and P-38, plus kitchen can openers)
  27. Candy and Chewing gum
  28. Car repair services (if you are a mechanic)
  29. Cigarettes
  30. Clothesline and clothes pins
  31. Charcoal and lighter fluid
  32. Chickens (if you have an abundance of non-egg laying
  33. Coffee
  34. Condoms and other contraceptives
  35. Combs. Combs are bound to break eventually and
    people may be unwilling or unable to whittle them.
  36. Copper
  37. Cordage (paracord, string, twine, rope)
  38. Cornstarch is a multi-use survival item
  39. Cotton balls and cotton rounds
  40. Cough drops
  41. Crisco
  42. Dental Floss
  43. Detergents (dishwashing, laundry)
  44. Diapers, cloth (for long term off-grid scenario)
  45. Diarrhea Medicine
  46. Dishwashing soaps
  47. Duct tape
  48. Eggs, (bartering abundance, if you have chickens)
  49. Epsom salt
  50. Eyeglass repair tools
  51. Firewood
  52. Fish (bartering abundance in the catch of the day)
  53. Fish antibiotics
  54. Fishing gear, line, lures, hooks, sinkers and bobbers,
  55. Flashlights
  56. Garbage bags
  57. Gauze
  58. Gum
  59. Gas
  60. Gold ~barter every last bit of gold in the house to get
    the things you need to survive!
  61. Hairbrush
  62. Haircuts (bartering your career skill). Certainly skilled
    individuals bartered their haircutting services during
    the Great Depression.
  63. Hand sanitizers
  64. Hydrogen peroxide
  65. Ibuprofin
  66. Instant ice packs
  67. IOSAT
  68. Kerosene (lamp oil)
  69. Laundry detergent
  70. Lip balms
  71. Lotions, including moisturizing and sunscreen lotions
  72. Marijuana
  73. Mason jars
  74. Masks
  75. Matches
  76. Medical services (bartering your career skills:
    paramedics, nurses, physicians)
  77. Mosquito repellent.
  78. Nails and screws
  79. Nitrile Gloves
  80. Pennies. Copper pennies have about double the face
  81. Pencils and pens will be necessary in a long-term off-
    grid scenario.
  82. Petroleum jelly ~ Vaseline has infinite prepper uses
  83. Polishing cloth for eye-glasses
  84. Powdered milk
  85. Rabbit Meat (bartering abundance  if you raise rabbits)
  86. Razor blades
  87. Repair (bartering your skills as a handyman)
  88. Rubbing Alcohol
  89. Rum
  90. Salt with iodine, sea salt and himalyan salt
  91. Seeds (heirloom)
  92. Sewing notions, including safety pins, thread,
    needles, etc.
  93. Services - haircutting, chiropractic care, vehicle repair
    or maintenance, dental and medical services,
    recharging devices from solar power...
  94. Shampoo
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. Silver bouillon and junk silver.
  98. Soaps (liquid soaps, bar soaps)
  99. Socks. A fresh pair of socks will be a godsend in times
    of crisis.
  100. Spices and condiments. Tobasco will make just
    about anything taste better.
  101. Sponges, scrub brushes
  102. Sugar (Pure Cane Sugar and Brown Sugar). Sugar
    was a highly valued commodity during the world wars.
  103. Super glue. When you need to fix something, it's
    SuperGlue to the rescue!
  104. Surgical masks and respirators
  105. 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!
  106. Tea
  107. Toilet paper (hardly a prepper will want to give it up)
  108. Toilet paper tabs
  109. Tools: axe, hammer, saw, shovel, spade,
  110. Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  111. Vegetables from your garden
  112. Vick's VapoRub
  113. Vitamins
  114. Vodka
  115. water purification tablets
  116. WD-40
  117. Whiskey
  118. Wine
  119. Wool blanket
  120. ZipLock Plastic Bags
  121. 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...