Trade items

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Matt In Oklahoma 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #5549


    I wrote this article today.

    I always thought there is more in “philosophy” of storing items for trade other then reading “100 items that will be missing when SHTF” kind articles.

    There is value of item today, and then value of that item tomorrow when SHTF, prefferably you want to store items that have highest “jump” in value, together with other common sense thoughts (small items, affordable,wide use..)

    It is all very personal, and often based on place where you live, so some items work for you not for me, and vice versa.

    This is one example of item that might work for me:


    It is homemade alcohol drink, or most of you call it moonshine. It is multipurpose item, item that can be always traded (and used in your home), it is very cheap to make today, and it will have hight price “jump” when SHTF.

    Now, this item works for me (i made this moonshine so it was cheap to make, people drink a LOT here…) maybe it is not working for you.

    What items might work for you?

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Selco.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Selco.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Selco.
  • #5562


    I suppose this items are on the list, but I was told small items that can’t be made from scratch in the home, like fish hooks, single edge razor blades (available in boxes of 100 in the paint section of big box home stores), pins and needles for sewing.

  • #5564

    Crow Bar


    I raise hogs.  Need salt to cure meat.  I have a lot of it on hand, now, but even then, to make meat last if there is no fridge, need salt.

    Number 2 Prag salt too.

  • #5565

    Preppy Squirrel

    I agree that it all depends and that there is no one list fits all.

    I live in a rural area.  To be honest, many here can make moonshine and probably do still, (pun intended).   Additionally there are many local vineyards, and beekeeping and growing corn are common pastimes.   I can only imagine there would soon be a lot of locally produced alcohol available if the fan became soiled.

    What I would have thought of for barter when living in a coastal city is entirely different from what I want living in a rural mountain community.

    I decided long ago not to stock pile specific items in bulk just for barter but instead to buy duplicates or more of things I need for my own usage.  Then later I have an assortment of things that will be available as potential barter goods.

    Examples include : 2 stroke motor oil, oil filters for machines and vehicles, light bulbs, matches, belts for my machines, hardware like nails, staples, screws etc.

    If we have a gradual or sudden economic collapse, I have parts and supplies that will let my use what I have longer.  If I have to up and run because it’s not safe to be here it does not matter what I am leaving behind then does it.  But if I get to stay, I will have more future normalcy and ability because I stocked what I need and not what imaginary trade partners need.

    I often buy items at used sales for pennies that fill out my stocks and possible trade goods.  For example I bought dozens of spools of quality sewing thread in good condition for a couple of dollars.  I can use this for years to come or trade it.  I also bought boxes of2000 safety pins for a dollar.  I am set for life and have it to trade and it takes little space.

    As far as liquor, I keep such things for potential gifts or repayment to people I trust already, not strangers.

    I consider that food stuffs could be trade goods as well.  I might want to swap with another trusted house for something they have surplus in and visa versa.

    I tend to over buy on repair items that would be useful for many different things, example flex seal in a can, foam spray insulation, hardware mesh, chicken wire, clear plastic sheeting, tarps, duct tape, cordage,

    These items can be used to repair or seal a home, car, chicken, coop, etc.  They will be useful in a protracted downturn when homes deteriorate and money is not available to keep things pretty. They will all make good barter goods when the time is right.  They will also all create potential tial opportunities to work for others I .trade or for money.





  • #5567

    Mountain sam

    Although in the past I have canned meat, I am buying small cans of meat. I am making sure to get different sizes as well to avoid waste. Small canned hams are often 16 oz but there is a brand that is 12 oz. Canned chicken comes in different sizes too. Oh and green tea by the lb is very inexpensive on Amazon. Green coffee keeps better than roasted and is much cheaper. I could see storing some green and some roasted in case you don’t have time to roast or the fuel to do so. Fuel is not an issue for me so I am less worried about that than some might be. Several types of water filter is important. I think everyone should have more than one because water is a top survival consideration.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Mountain sam.
  • #5571

    Empress Juju

    I’m in a city and I can think of a lot of things that people would want/need, but I don’t expect many people would have very much that they would have to offer me in a crisis!

    Diapers, toilet paper, clean water, and coffee would all be highly valuable commodities around here.

  • #5573


    I live in a hurricane prone area, so most are ready, and everyone to a degree purchases things year round.

    With that said, I am thinking water and water jugs, generator parts, sanitation supplies, rodent control products.



  • #5574


    In my area we are very community minded. The population is mostly 20 to 30 year olds. The elderly are very active. What would be the best for trade here is means of extra warmth and collapsed water carriers.

    Batteries would also be useful. What I feel people would want first though is food and alcohol. These Would be scarce for most families as we do community dinners in the winter to help the residents. It is tough here in the winters for a lot of people.

    • #5641

      Lee’s homestead

      Cambria batteries could be a good barter item if they are rechargeable. We have a solar battery charger and batteries and had not thought of those as a barter item.

      I just read an article on a bag to protect items from an EMP pulse. One item they said to but in it was a cell phone and laptop. Hubby laughed saying we would be the only people able to watch videos on our laptop and see photos on our phones. If the EMP is large enough he said it would take out all need for these items.  I reminded him we have mother Earth News on cd we could access with a laptop.

  • #5592


    Great examples.

    Especially mentioning when moonshine is not some particulary interesting item for someone because lot of people do it, that is the point actually, same items do not work for everyone.

    That is the reason why “lists” do not work same for everyone.

  • #5624


    I’m living in a village in Bulgaria, many of the villagers grow stuff and have chickens, goats, pigs, etc.  And they actually live quite simply.  I try to grow stuff that nobody else has – like white and dark tomatoes with amazing flavor, easy to grow, same for other vegetables.  I’ve over the years here gathered stuff – mainly for own use, but extra, like lighters (which I am finding empty out over time) matches, fire starters, detergent, that kinda stuff.  I don’t have yuuuuge stocks, but enough.  I’m growing medicinal herbs and collecting their seed, herbs that they don’t generally grow here and am familiar with their medicinal properties.  I think things like cheap pain killers (ibuprofen, aspirin) and antibiotics are probably good items, they are all quite cheap here.  I think things like toilet paper are a waste of time, they take a lot of space and run out quite quickly.  In case of SHTF, better off with “family cloth”

  • #5627

    Preppy Squirrel

    I keep extra TP for short and medium term crises, but keep several bundles of wash clothes and powdered laundry soap and bleach for long term sanitation.  One bucket holds a years long supply of these alternatives.

    There is a lot of small and hobby farming here, many people would be adding or expanding gardens and life stock over night.  The amount of old tractors and small farm implements and trucks and equiptment stashed in barns and garages here would amaze.  The amount of wood working and mechanical tools, welding machines, sitting idle and for show in garages and hobby shops in the US is amazing.

    Small shops would spring up out of no where overnight.  I worry mostly about food for war or lengthy disruptions to bridge that time when gardens are expanding.

    In my area canning jars would make good barter.  People would be expanding there canning overnight.  I tend to store lids in abundance as they are consumable over time.

    If I lived in hurricane alley still, or an urban area, my barter would be water containers, small tarps and water filters.

    We also keep a little extra on the OTC meds.  But I fear that would be an awful lot of folks growing and brewing there own “medicine”

    Again we don’t stock specifically to trade but keep extra of items we use anyway.  This is like money in the bank of there is hyper inflation., as well as having assorted barter goods.  As with the above writer from Bulgaria, we find that the stocks will deplete if not watched carefully.  Often it’s not an issue of finances but simply noticing and buying inexpensive items like matches and such.



  • #5640

    Lee’s homestead

    Yes bartering is an area my husband has focused on. We have everclear as part of our long term storage. I have added small travel size ones too. I brew beer and this too can be a barter item as a useful skill.

    As my hubby is trying to stop smoking cigarettes would be a barter item he might need.

    Mine would be candy. Black licorice is my fav.

  • #5643


    @lee‘s homestead – “we have mother earth news on CD” – I don’t know about trade value, but you can gather a whole lot more reading the material here The Information Specialist Series


  • #5652


    For barter, I stash seeds (they take up hardly any space), cheap lighters, and I also have about 50 LED headlamps that I got for a steal of a deal a while back.

    I live an easy walk to the river, so the idea of containers for water is fantastic.

  • #5667


    For me I have items but my main trade item is knowledge of how to make things we now take for granted, like antibiotic,  cleaners, fuels. Our group  also has the only one of a kind skill sets for our location .




    Skills plus items  needed is a strong combo, can you weld using thermite?  Make  black powder? Make soap?make lye? Make charcoal? Blacksmith? Cooper, wheelwright, tan leather? Have you done it in last year? Can you do it without a book?

    Always learning, more no such thing as done learning till you die. They can take your stuff they can’t take your knowledge.

    There is also knowledge of local area, do you know where mineral deposits are? Natural salt licks? How to make potters clay?


    This winter will attempt to make pottery patts to a mass heater. How much would you trade for heat in winter? Here it is life or death -40c for weeks. Pellet stoves in most new places don’t work once no power. The mass heater is made from clay, fibre and sweat all free except the knowhow?  Why would you spend on mass heater? You use 1/4 of the wood of conventional Woodstove.







  • #5677

    James Mitchner

    Can you do all that you listed Namelus, or are there individuals in your “group” who can do one or more of those skills and have the material resources to do them?

  • #5679

  • #5681

  • #5714


    I mastered 3 of those and am at apprentice plus in all others except two, by this I mean I have done the tasks by myself no help to a reasonable lvl of proficiency but lack the touch of a person who has decades of expirience. The two I have not done is mainly one of my master skills are needed in conjunction with that skill as they are a complimentary  set like black smith and Cooper.




  • #5719

    Crow Bar

    @lee‘s Homestead,

    Depending on how big your solar array is, and how many sun days you get, your hubby may not be too far off his assessment.

    Try this once:  Run a laptop on batteries only.  See how long the battery lasts.  Then recharge it using the solar charger.

    Here, we saw the first appreciable sunlight that could charge anything yesterday.  Been a good 3 or 4 days before that.

  • #5729


    @ cambria if you want to trade rechargeable batteries learn the way to jump start dead ones, there is ways for both small aaa to 2.2 volt 300 lb batteries. The stuff you need is baking soda, sulfuric acid ( sometimes ) distilled water and Epsom salts. Add knowledge and you have a good business even in today’s world. Oh and a good trickle charger and power source.


    You can buy batteries online so cheap at batteryworld otencel battery the black friday sales the 1000mh aaa here 60 cents each. There are rechargeable cr123 and the button batterris 3204 and other such before recent only one use batteries. Just make sure you have right chargers not all will charge in one type of charger and buyinga quick charger pays back in convenient use.



  • #5730


    Good point Namelus!

    My plan is actually to use my skills too as “value” when times come, and good thing is that you can not lose them, and it can be traded many times.

    I am nurse, and I store a LOT of drugs (meds) in all forms, and knowledge how to use it, so it can be combination of knowledge and physical items that make together really good trade “offer”.

    If you actually know how to make stuff, it is one more level up.

  • #6822

    Halle Corrine

    I am learning the system of homeopathic medicine.  It is a fascinating subject!  Not only is it effective; but it is also very affordable and easy to learn.  I live in an area where a large part of the population is dependent on the state for medical care, so I am learning all I can.   I am stocking remedies and other medical supplies with the intention of bartering if I absolutely must.   I’m taking Selco’s advice and preparing as best as I can so that I do not have to trade.  In the even that I must, I am fully prepared to treat acute and chronic illness.

    I also stock: antibiotic ointment; small bottles of Ibuprofen; BIC lighters; tubes of lip balm; bars of soap;  travel size shampoo; tooth paste; individually sealed tea bags; freeze dried coffee; tea lights; aluminum foil; and liquor.  I don’t drink at all, but I often receive a bottle here and there as gifts.  Rather than passing it on to someone else, I put it in storage.

  • #6860

    OldMt Woman

    Thanks Halle.  I just put tiny size OTC meds on my Walmart list!  Rather hand out/ trade sealed containers so they know what’s inside is for real!

    Interesting topic.


    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  OldMt Woman.
  • #8253


    These are all good ideas. I do have a small bartering box that I keep just for bartering. Seeds, batteries, small sewing kits, small tools, matches, fishing items, Hubby makes his own lures, so that would be good to go with the fishing things. Small first aid kits as well. I have a great deal of material that I was going through awhile back. I have decided for some of it to make cloth diapers with some of the flannel. We have a great deal of newborns up to 3 years old right now with neighborhood still putting out those babies. (must be something in the water). Diaper pins as well as toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries. Mostly skills will be a great asset. I am getting ready to try my hands at soap making. Hubby would like to try the moonshine. My neighbor behind us can help him with that one. He has been making it for years now. One thing I will never trade is ammo. That could come back to bite you one day. Besides we don’t have enough for trade anyway. Just for hunting. Flashlights is another I have in my box. Most everything I have for bartering are things that we can use as well. So if something happens that we need any of these things I can go to my barter box.

  • #8263



    Never say never rigid frame work means you miss opertunity.  Always a what if that is exception, ie ammo only trade for life saving item or service, then what you let love one die because no ammo trade rule?

  • #8357


    Namelus, Not sure of what you are trying to say about the ammo. I would trade with family and close friends but not strangers. Those are the ones you need to be very careful about. They are the ones that even food. They find out you have ammo and food they could come back to rob you. So no I will never trade with someone I don’t know.

  • #8376


    In life saying never is a dangerous, one n3ver knows what you may have to do to survive. If your friends and family have the item you need to survive great but, shit happens and ammo is a easy trade medium in troubled times.  Imagine you need some life saving drug that no one in your group has but gang in neighbourhood does,  the  trade medium is tangible goods that you can’t spare like food but you do have some ammo of a calibre you don’t use but they do, what do you decide to do?

    Does this make the gang more dangerous to you, somewhat, are you ok with letting someone die by either not getting meds or by starving due to the no trade ammo rule. Making a preconceived choice now in ti.e of plenty is a slippery path to decisions that will haunt you for rest of your life. Moral high ground is empty house with a full graveyard full of tears and regrets.  Ask yourself is any rule it truely something you are willing to let your loved ones die for and you live with,  those few things that are that important to both the person willing to die and one to live with the burden of that choice is a set thing everything else is negotiable.  It’s easy to say I would die for that, what would you live through sending your loved ones to die for?

  • #23744


    Part of the reason I keep a treadle sewing machine on hand.  I can trade time on that machine for labor.  Ditto applies to the tools and tooling in the shop.

  • #30010


    While I am certainly not at a level where I feel that “barter” items are something that I can afford to put back, too many other things I still need to acquire.

    However, one thing that I put back as much as possible is spices. Not just salt and pepper but all of the everyday ingredients and spices that make it possible to deal with a limited diet as well as preserving.

  • #31176

    Matt In Oklahoma

    This is an area I really struggle with. The reason for that is that I prepare so that I separate my clan from the rest around me. I’m too cautious with enabling others. I can handle eggs for vegetables with the neighbors or folks I know but those I don’t not so much.

    Many items come with positives and negatives in bartering.
    Ammo – can be used against you, alcohol can cause them to feel bulletproof and come back to you for more, PMs lead to temptation for theft, food/water makes desperate folks more so and higher end items like night vision can take away your capabilities over others.

    I think much of this is from my career experiences with mankind not only in the Balkans but the rest of my military travels and on the streets and in prisons.
    It’s the reason I don’t work in sales or other things. I’m too messed up to even be able to do it without huge amounts of stress.
    I’ll leave the bartering to others, like my business owner son, who are better at wheeling n dealing with folks while I stay on overwatch.
    It will definitely be geographical on listings of items.

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