15 Best Bartering Items for when SHTF.

15 Best Bartering Items for when SHTF.

In a hypothetical post-world collapse scenario, where traditional currency loses it’s value, the concept of bartering becomes a vital means of exchange. Bartering allows individuals to trade goods and services directly, creating a new economy based on mutual benefit and resourcefulness. This isn’t such a far away idea either, considering it was the primary form of trade until currency was implemented and even since then it has been used so often throughout history. Take The Great Depression for example, bartering was popular because people didn’t have money to trade and in present day this means of exchange is still widely used in the farming or homesteading circles in particular.

A “bartering item” is any useful or valuable product that may be scarce and in high demand. To explain differently, pretty much anything can become a barter item so long that there’s a need for it. In this article, we will explore the best items to barter in such a situation, focusing on their practicality, durability, and universal appeal.

So let’s jump right into some prime examples of these!

  1. Water filtration systems – Potable drinking water is likely to become a valuable commodity as it’s something everyone needs. Storing bottled water could be a useful barter item but it does take up a lot of space, so another option would be to store purification tablets, water filters, and other systems that could sanitise water in larger quantities. Some options include coffee filters to filter out large debris such as dirt, bits of plants, algae, buying a high quality filtering system (like a Berkey system) and lots of spare filters, water filtration straws, Aquamira tablets & food grade storage containers / rain barrel buckets.
  2. Non perishable foods – Food will always become one of the biggest issues in any form of collapse or disaster. I recommend storing some extra long lasting foods such as canned goods, MREs and other dry goods like rice, beans & pasta. Hard candies and sweeties are also long-lasting and may be popular in a long-term disaster.
  3. Alcohol – Other than for drinking purposes, spirits such as vodka and whisky have multiple uses and last forever. Anything above 70% can be used as surgical alcohol for cleaning and for first aid such as disinfecting wounds along with providing relief for minor burns, insect bites and stings. These are also valuable as they can be used to make tinctures and as an alternative to fuel.
  4. Tea & Coffee – During times of crisis people crave some home comforts and are typically willing to trade a lot for a slice (or cup!) of normality. Coffee and Tea will help give people the energy needed to stay focused and alert during hard times.
  5. Fire Starters – These are crucial in a SHTF situation for cooking and staying warm, signalling for help, lighting and security, purification and hygiene, the list is endless. Ferro Rods, Lighters and Waterproof Matches are a must have item and are cheap to stock up on.
  6. Seeds – After a big collapse where food becomes scarce, you will need a garden to survive. Start growing your heirloom garden now in preparation for this and learn to collect seeds from all of your necessary plants. People will need seeds, making these a valuable commodity.
  7. Fishing Supplies – I would never recommend using guns, ammo or personal protection tools for barter as trading a weapon that could then be used against you and your family does not make much sense. However, fishing gear can still allow someone to search for food without posing as much of a risk to you.
  8. Batteries – To keep things running effectively. Think about having rechargeable and otherwise.
  9. Vitamins – Providing your body with vital minerals and nutrients will be difficult in a post-collapse world so vitamins will be even more needed during these times.
  10. Medicine & First aid supplies – Except food, medicine and first aid supplies will be one of the most needed items during any disaster making this a valuable and much needed commodity to trade and barter with.
  11. Personal Hygiene Items – Staying clean is one of the best forms of prevention against diseases and infections. Consider stalking up on the likes of wet wipes, feminine hygiene products and dental care items. You don’t want to have an infected tooth pulled without proper anaesthetic!
  12. Tobacco – A product that gives many people a bit of reprieve in our day-to-day, could you even begin to imagine how much someone would crave this if life became even more stressful?
  13. Toilet Paper – We all saw the effects that 2020 had on toilet paper. Could we live without this item? Sure. Do we also love the small amount of comfort that it brings? Absolutely. 
  14. Condoms – Random addition and one that’s usually questioned, but life will resume to normal sooner or later. Condoms help to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STDs, both of which could cause more anxiety in a post-collapse.
  15. Candles – In a world where electricity is scarce/non existent, the old-fashioned form of lighting will prevail. Stocking up on candles is never a bad idea!

There are a few items that I neglected to mention here which are commonly brought up when discussing bartering items within the preparedness community. One being ammunition and the other being precious metals.
I encourage everyone to make up their own minds on this one, but I personally would not barter ammo. For the plain and simple fact that it may be turned against you. As for precious metals, these are something we keep a little of but don’t put too much emphasis on. They may come back into circulation eventually but at the end of the day, you can’t eat precious metals and they only hold as much value as you are told they have.

And one final important note… Don’t barter like an idiot.

Do not barter from your home (you don’t want people to know where you live nor where your supplies are likely stored) and DON’T brag about what items you have. It’s important to try and stay as inconspicuous as possible as you don’t want to become an immediate target. Look after your stash and store it well to prolong the shelf life/avoid unnecessary degradation. And lastly, think long and hard about every item that you barter, if an SHTF situation were to last years, could you and your family need those items in the future?

Have you thought about what you could and would trade or barter if you needed to in the future? Let me know in the comments below!


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