17 of the Absolute Best Bartering Items

Bartering used to be a mainstream means of survival not so long ago. It was a key to sustainability for centuries and in the event of a catastrophe or economic collapse, government currency will be worthless. At that point, bartering will probably return full force. You don’t want to be caught empty-handed and you should collect your supplies with bartering potential in mind. Here are 17 of the absolute best bartering items.

Money will be worthless post-collapse

A lot of us are brainwashed into thinking that our currency will always have value. Just because the government says that the dollar is worth a dollar, who says that it really is? Also, what would happen to the dollar if the government collapsed?

I think that an item is only as valuable as the material it is made from or the use you can get out of it. Imagine a world without cash and credit / debit cards. How would get you what you need without currency? The answer is that you need to have skills or items of value that you can trade and barter with.

Barter Safely

Best bartering items
17 of the absolute best bartering items

There are important safety rules and precautions you should take when bartering. The sad truth is that when you offer items to trade, you are exposing yourself and putting a target on your back.

  1. Don’t flaunt your wealth. It may be tempting to talk about how prepared you are, but please keep this confidential. If people know that you have the best stuff you will be a tempting target and that’s not the kind of attention that you want.
  2. Switch your location every time. The key is to be unpredictable. This will conceal your location and make it more difficult for bandits and looters to predict your timing and movements.
  3. Always keep a low profile. It is best to fly under the radar. You don’t want people to suspect that you’re hiding more than you let on. Be modest and never hint, boast, or threaten anyone.
  4. Bring different items every time. Part of keeping a low profile is to be unpredictable and as anonymous as possible. You don’t want to be known as the “water guy” or the “egg chick.” When people get desperate for those items they may come looking for you and take what you have by force.
  5. Never ever share the location of your supplies. It is imperative that you keep your location confidential. You don’t even want to share it with your most trustworthy friend. You might be able to trust them with your secret, but the desperate guy that happens to overhear your conversation may not be trustworthy. It’s not worth the risk.

17 of the Absolute Best Bartering Items

If you want to not just survive, but also thrive after the next big disaster, you will need to start planning now.

1- Water

Water is the most valuable barter item on this entire list. In ideal conditions, the average human can last about 3-5 days without water. Each person’s limit will be determined by factors like climate and physical fitness. The main point is that all humans require water to survive.

Desperate people will be willing to trade just about anything for a single swallow. You will have to decide whether you want to barter sips, ounces, or bottles of water just make sure that you have plenty of water that way you are never on the wrong side of the table.

In addition to water itself, you should also have anything that can contain, locate, and purify water. You can barter filters, purification tablets, or even instructions on how to locate water. It is also super valuable to teach other survivors how to purify their own water.

2- Food

The 2nd most important bartering item you can collect is food. As with water, every human also needs food to survive. The biggest issue with food is spoilage so don’t waste time thinking about milk, dairy, and fresh greens.

Concentrate on acquiring protein, calorie dense, and processed foods that can last for years. Canned, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and smoked foods will command a nice price. Save lots of room for beans, protein bars, protein powders, and MREs.

I really like ReadyWise Emergency freeze-fried food supplies. This kit has a variety pack of 104 servings and a shelf life of 24 years (Amazon Link.)

If you have the space, ability, and the way to conceal and defend your ground, then you can attempt to grow fresh foods. Potatoes, carrots, and wheat store the longest and have multiple uses. Consider saving and bartering your seeds rather than offering your precious veggies and fruits. If you have space for livestock, chickens are an excellent option. They are surprisingly loyal, hardy, and expert foragers and composters. When they stop laying eggs, you can make chicken soup! Eggs and chicks are invaluable bartering items.

3-First Aid and Medical Supplies

Medical supplies are a must because accidents, injuries, and illnesses happen and every person will need some kind of aid at some point. It is much better to be prepared than to do without. As humans we are vulnerable and it is only a matter of time before someone needs antibiotic ointments, burn salve, or some kind of pain reliever for a pesky headache.

Don’t focus solely on consumable first aid supplies. Make sure that you have plenty of room in your stash for bandages, gauze, medical tape, alcohol wipes, examination gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE.)

Your First Aid Kit SUCKS // This One is Better

4- Heat source or light

Heat and light sources will be on many wish lists when it comes time to barter. Non-preppers never have enough candles, flashlights, lanterns, and fire-starters. Thankfully we know better.

Visit this article to learn 7 ways to make emergency candles.

The Ultimate Home Blackout Kit for Emergency Power Outages ⚡ 11,623 Hours of Illumination!

5- Floss and Hygiene Products

You will hear me stress over and over again, the importance of stashing lots of floss. It’s one of those things that we don’t think about until we need it so here is your reminder: PACK LOTS OF FLOSS! Hygiene products are vital to have especially in a survival situation where bathrooms with hot running water are a thing of the past. Search for items that can store for a long time without degrading. Baby wipes and wet wipes will be in demand, but they don’t store as long as dry paper products. You will want to trade those items first.

Toilet paper will become a sought after luxury. Hang onto it as long as you can so that you can get the best trades later. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, FLOSS, and mouthwash will store for a few years. Stock up on these items for a good return later.

6- Feminine Hygiene Products

Feminine products are universally useful. Female preppers and survivalists aren’t generally the delicate and dainty type, but we still want to be healthy, fresh, and clean. I know that I would trade some of my valuable items if I were in need of feminine products. They also work really well as bandages in a pinch and a tampon can serve as a candle wick in a variety of ways.

Tampons may not be useful for everyone because not all women use them, but they are compact and you can store them for every so it’s worth it to have a few boxes in your stash.

Emergency Preparedness: Feminine Hygiene

7- Tools

After the world collapses it will need to be rebuilt and this cannot be accomplished without tools. You should have a wide variety of tools in your stash. Pack screws, screwdrivers, nails, hammers, adhesives, wrenches, and saws (to name a few.) You should skip electric tools even the battery powered ones. People won’t want to waste time and power on a drill when they can use a regular screwdriver. Plus hand tools are lighter and easier to pack.

8- Alcohol

You can accomplish more with alcohol than just getting tipsy. Many preppers keep a nice stockpile of their favorite top-shelf liquors for drinking, painkiller, wound care, and fuel.

Alcohol Bartering

9- Condoms

Let’s just be honest. Nobody wants a pregnancy of a baby in the midst of a catastrophe. That would take a lot more extra planning and supplies. Stockpile this little treasures and they will be sure to pay off at your next trade.

They last for ages and even if the expiration date passes, a condom is better than no condom.

10- Sugar, salt, herbs, and spices

Sugar, salt, herbs, and spices will be sought after luxury items. As people run through their food supplies, they will be stuck with dry and flavorless foods to sustain them and they will be craving some spice in their lives.

If you store salt in sugar in waterproof airtight containers (separately of course) they can last indefinitely. Spices and herbs have a shorter shelf life, but even if they lose flavor and potency people won’t really care. Some spice is better than no spice. Some good options are chili powder, Italian seasoning blends, and granulated garlic.

11- Honey

17 of the absolute best bartering items

Honey can literally last longer than you can. I’m not joking. It will crystallize and change color and texture over time, but it never spoils. And when it does crystallize, simply put the container in some hot water and the crystals will dissolve.

Long after everybody else’s sugar supply runs out, you can roll out your golden jar of honey and reap the sweetest of rewards. On top of being delicious, it is a nutrient dense energy source that has many uses.

12- Hunting and Fishing Gear

Hunting and fishing supplies last forever, are easy to store, and you can trade them for high value items. Savvy preppers will want to snatch up your gear the minute they see it because it allows them to procure their own food.

Survival Hunting Kit

13- Entertainment

Entertainment will be much rarer than you think. We will be left with no internet, no devices, and no emails to write. At this point a good book and a deck of cards will be super appealing.

Be sure to store notebooks, pens, pencils, and board games in waterproof containers. You will be delighted by the offers that you get in return.

14- Duct Tape

Duct tape is a very versatile bartering item. It can last for years without degrading if you store it properly and it has many uses. Most people don’t store a lot of duct tape and they end up swiftly depleting their supply during a disaster. This is why duct tape will hold its value in the post-apocalyptic world.

10 Genius Uses For Duct Tape In a Survival Situation

15- Plastic Bags

Plastic bags and sheeting are easy to stash and pack. They take up very little space and have a plethora of practical uses in survival situations such as: quick shelters, sanitary disposal, water collection, and much more.

15 Trash Bag uses for Survival

16- Clothing

Clothing is a lot more valuable than people realize. You shouldn’t avoid donating your old clothes, but I do think that you should hang on to a few select items for your stash. There is always a need for coats, gloves, socks, hats, and pants especially when the grid goes down and the temperature drops. This is another reason why I can’t recommend the Big Island of Hawaii enough. You can survive outside even in the winter.

17- Your skills

Best bartering items
17 of the absolute best bartering items

You can work what you got and barter your skills and services! Many people underestimate the value of skills, but in a SHTF scenario, the knowledge and know-how is invaluable.

If you take the time to learn valuable skills now, then you will have amazing bargaining chips when it comes time to trade. Water purification / collection, hunting, fishing, gardening, farming, building shelters, carpentry, welding, foraging are all skills that people are willing to pay for.

It’s not all about survival either. People will get bored and if you can sing, play an instrument, or tell stories then people will pay well for your time and talent.

20 Items Every Prepper Should Stockpile (Food Shortage Preps) Barter Items

These are all items that you can easily get at a store.

Why didn’t coins and precious metals make the list?

The honest truth is that coins aren’t much better than paper money, and they are heavier. Very few people will be able to turn them into usable materials. Many people may disagree with me, but this also applies to gold and precious metals. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t eat them, build with them, or use them as tools then they are worthless. Gems and precious metals are ornamental and do not offer intrinsic value to nomads and preppers.

If you want to stockpile gold and precious metals for when SHTF then go for it. Just make sure that it is well hidden so that your stash doesn’t get raided.

What about weapons and ammunition?

Would you rather be well armed or responsible for arming the weirdo on the street? I would rather keep the biggest and best weapons and ammunition for me and my family in a post-apocalyptic world. I’m not about to barter away my weapons and ammo. Keep your weapons for yourself if you hope to live to see the world rebuild itself one day.

Should you BARTER Ammunition? | What to Consider Before Bartering Ammo


Best bartering items
17 of the absolute best bartering items

This was not a comprehensive guide or an exhaustive list. I wanted to arm you with the bartering items that would bring you the most value. Everything on the list is either cheap or easy to acquire today. Most of the items are easy to store and will last for a very long time.

Now go spend your someday-worthless-dollars on some key items that will be worth a lot when society collapses.

What do you plan to barter with when SHTF? Comment below to share the items that you would share and the prized items that you cannot live without.

See you soon!