Poll Results: The Most Valuable Items For Barter After SHTF or post-Collapse


We recently asked for your suggestions and comments as to what items that you believe might be considered ‘valuable’ for barter in a post-collapse world.

After having polled our readers from their own list of items, the results are in…
From nearly 9,000 votes from nearly 500 readers, here’s the list:

The ‘perceived’ value of any one thing is of course entirely relevant to what someone else might or might not need (which is related to that persons own preparedness or lack thereof).

Additionally, the specifics of ‘SHTF’ or the extent of ‘collapse’, how far into the collapse, etc.. will bear weight upon the needs of the many… That said, we had to start somewhere, and there were no specific conditions given (‘what if’ scenario).

Readers were instructed to choose ‘value’ based on ‘barter’ – not their own preparedness or what items they believe are best for preparedness…


The Most Valuable Items For Barter

after SHTF or post-collapse

…based on your input and subsequent poll results




Top 10

1. Ammo (in general)
2. Meds (antibiotics)
3. Food (any)
4. Toilet paper
5. Alcohol
6. Batteries (rechargeable or otherwise)
7. Water filters
8. First Aid supplies (general, any)
9. Salt
10. Meds (various over-the-counter)

Ammo. While I believe that many would choose not to barter their own ammo, it is quite clear the general high ‘value’ assigned to ammo itself in a post-collapse SHTF world (generally). Apparently security and/or hunting comes first. I’m guessing that most looked at it from a security point of view. In today’s modern world, and when it collapses into a heap, security and protection will likely become a very high priority and concern for many…

Antibiotics in a SHTF world will likely be a lifesaver for many who can access them. Face it… in a struggling hands-on ‘down and dirty’ environment where people will be much more likely to hurt themselves, even a small cut can become infected and eventually (even quickly) kill you… This was common before the days of antibiotics.

Food. Try skipping two meals and then let me know how desperate you become for food (then try and imagine 3,4, or 5 meals skipped!). It’s no surprise that food (any) is high on the barter list.

Toilet paper. What else can I say?

Alcohol will be valuable for barter, certainly not for everyone, but my guess is there will be plenty who will value it highly.

Batteries will be especially valuable in a relatively short term collapse, and rechargeable batteries (with the ability to recharge – solar, etc..) will also be valuable in a longer term collapse. No doubt.

Water filters. We take it for granted that we have clean purified water coming from our faucet taps. When it stops flowing, many will need to find alternative sources, which will need to be purified and/or filtered for drinking. Drinking water filters (all sorts) will be a valuable barter item.

First Aid supplies in general will be very valuable. One doesn’t think much about it until they or someone close to them suddenly needs medical attention. If there are no readily accessible hospitals or care centers nearby, the value of first aid supplies will be high.

Salt for preserving foods and salt for flavoring existing food storage supplies. Not surprised that it’s on the top-10 list.


Over the counter medicines for treating pain and/or other conditions could be a high value barter item for someone in need. It’s interesting how three of the top ten are in the category of first aid or medicines.

While any list is just a list, and if I went through this exercise with you 6 months from now it might be a little different, they are always interesting to discover because it sheds light onto what others are thinking and it often leads to ideas…

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