3 Barter Items You Probably Haven’t Considered But Will Be Valuable Even If the Poop Doesn’t Hit the Fan!

barter1The idea of bartering gets a lot of attention in the Preparedness Community.  Many preppers believe that when the SHTF and our economic system crashes, precious metals and bartering will be the system of exchange.  As a result, preppers stockpile certain items that might be desired in a post-SHTF world.

There are many lists out there.  From time to time, someone comes up with a new list that includes items that others haven’t considered.  The thing that preppers need to remember is the difference between “needs” and “wants.”  If you want to stockpile items, you should be concentrating on what people will “need” vs. what they might “want” in a post-SHTF situation.  Of course, some people’s “wants” might be another’s “needs.”  So, this can always be subjective.

I think about items that I would want if I was in a post-SHTF world.  I try to imagine a typical day and what would be valuable to me and maybe to others.  Below are three items that might be barter worthy if/when the SHTF.

Medicine – This is a no brainer.  In a post-SHTF world, people are still going to need medicine and have health issues.  Yes, if all hell breaks loose, those who know how to use herbs to heal will share with the rest, but that will take time and people will still need meds!  However, what I want to highlight here is not just the stockpiling of meds, but the stockpiling and repackaging of medicines.

If you are planning on bartering with some sinus medicine, there is nothing that says that you have to barter away a whole bottle or package.  This idea really hit home with me when I read one of Rawles’ books, I think Survivors.  In the book, there is a character that stocks up on seeds.  Later, she starts a bartering store and one of the things she barters with are seeds.  But she doesn’t barter away the whole packet, she barters a few seeds for items that people might want/have.  The same concept applies here with meds.


Above you will see some meds that I have in my Altoids First Aid Kit.  I purchased the plastic bags at Walmart in the crafts section.  In the pic, I have Advil, Sudafed and Benadryl.  Wouldn’t it make sense to barter a small package of meds instead of the whole box or package?  You could even barter away a combination package.  Think like a business here!

If you choose to do this, keep all the meds in their original package until you need to barter them.  Remember, medicine expires, but it doesn’t go bad, it just loses its potency.  So rotate them, but never throw them away.  And for those of you who just want to know this…just stay away from Tetracycline if you are concerned that it will harm you.  I believe the issue with Tetracycline was fixed, but whatever…there are other options.

hornAir Horn – Air horns make a lot of noise…basically a big horn sound in a little can.  This might fall in the “wants” category, but it could easily find itself over in the “needs” category.  Let me explain…

Make a Perimeter Alarm – What if you find yourself at your bug out retreat, camp ground, house, etc… after the SHTF with just your family.  If you are not part of a big group that has trained and setup proper defenses, you might have to live in constant worry and fear that someone sneaks up on your family in the middle of the night.  Setting up a perimeter alarm with an air horn is so simple and cheap, you will kick yourself for not having this option available to you.  Check out this article over at Outdoor Life for more info.





Communicate with Far Away Neighbors – We camped out on our first couple of trips to my dad’s property in East Texas.  We can see our closest neighbors behind us, but they are really far away.  But still, in the woods, at night, sound travels.  One evening, our neighbors decided to play loud music and shoot off a ton of firearms.  This went on all hours of the night.  I suspect that mom and dad weren’t home.  It wasn’t very cool to have to try and sleep through all that, but it brought home the idea of how sound travels out there.

So in a post-SHTF world, you could setup with your neighbors that certain blasts on the air horn mean certain things.  For example:

  • 3 blasts of the horn = emergency come quick (could mean having to defend against others)
  • 2 blasts of the horn = meet me half way, I have something to tell you

I’m sure there are other uses that we can come up with, feel free to share below.

greatstuffGreat Stuff Foam – You’ve seen this “stuff.”  A big red can that shoots out expanding foam.  In a post-SHTF world, houses will shift, repairs will need to be made, holes will need to be sealed.  If you are a carpenter and have the materials, this won’t be a big deal.  But there are many who won’t have the skills and more than likely won’t have the materials since all the Home Depot’s will be closed.  This stuff might come in real handy!

In closing, when it comes to stockpiling items for barter, I think you need to be real careful.  You should first make sure you have the important preps taken care of: food, water, self-defense, medicine, shelter,etc…  You also need to really think through what might be needed in a post-SHTF world.  Some things that I have seen on lists might not really be necessary.  You could find yourself with a bunch of stuff no one needs.

For more articles on bartering, click here and here!



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11 thoughts on “3 Barter Items You Probably Haven’t Considered But Will Be Valuable Even If the Poop Doesn’t Hit the Fan!

  1. plowboy

    Good read, especially on the airhorn. Wouldn’t leave much doubt in the intruders minds that they had been detected. There is one other item that strangly has never been mentioned as a can’t live w/o tool. That would be ‘vice grips’ blunt nose and needle nose of all sizes. Heck, I can’t live without them now, let alone during teotwawki. thanks and Christ bless!

  2. eric

    I don’t recommend trying to stockpile spray foam. For the normal 2.50-5$ cans it does go bad. I’m not sure if pressure leaks out or if it sets up in the can over time but have had the eexperience with red, black and green cans so I don’t think it is just a brand specific problem.

  3. Snake Plisken

    I really like the air horn idea. Not so much so for communicating with neighbors but more for my first line of defense to alert me ( my dog is a sound sleeper!).

    I also dig the idea of portioning for OTC meds. There are going to be situations where i can barter with neighbors so they can provide some relief and comfort for themselves and their kids and I can benefit from them with labor or or goods that I don’t have on hand although I kind of doubt they will have anything that I could want or use.

    The great stuff foam is a must have. Just used a can today to finish up sealing a new front door.

    Next best barter item: alcohol. I’m planning on buying a case of pint bottles of vodka and whiskey for barter in the near future. It should be safe in the Plisken household, we are wine drinkers for the most part.

    Not sure about the rest of you good folks but I live in a semi rural area and we help each other out. I helped my contractor friend put up vinyl siding on his new shed and he came over and formed up and put the finishing touches on a 8 by 8 concrete slab at my place. We barter for services and goods all the time around here so it’s kind of a natural occurance but by all means,bartering with someone is an art!

    Best of blessings to all,

    Snake Plisken

  4. Mike

    I know you are demonstrating sir what you have in your alto ides can for SHTF scenario in which case my next sentence will not mean a hill of beans. It is illegal now to remove pills from their original bottle or package and put them in baggies. Druggies do this a lot and unfortunately it affects us all now. Just tr ying to keep you out of trouble. No I am not a cop just interested in keeping a fellow prepper out of trouble now. No good if you are locked up if the SHTF scenario happens. Great article though. Things one never thinks of. Thank you

  5. Patrick

    Liked the article. Almost ANYTHING in the med field will be good barter items. Bandages, Peroxide, Iodine, Triple Anti- Biotic ointment, ANTI-BIOTICS in general will be huge. Anti-Nausea/Diarrhea meds.etc, etc, etc. Also Toilet Paper, soap, FEMININE PRODUCTS. Lighters and batteries.
    Look at ANY past disaster, War or collapse and notice that VICE did NOT lessen, BUT INCREASED. So, definitely, Alcohol, Tobacco, coffee and Sex will be in BIG demand. If someone can brew their own alcohol, beer,and wine that would be huge for future chances.
    Just a few ideas thanks

  6. A

    For the best perimeter alarm ever, get geese. You can’t really stock up on them, but if you live in a rural area, keep some around. The give eggs, meat and down but they make noise like nobody’s business whenever they see someone…and they have different honks for friends, foes and unknowns.

  7. Ocean Child

    I recommend cigarettes in the prep kit, even if one doesn’t smoke. I’d get both Marlboro Red and Newports. Someone who is Jonesing will do or give anything for one.

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