The Most Valuable Items For Barter After The Collapse

We had previously polled our Modern Survival Blog readers to input their own thoughts on what would be best bartering items for SHTF collapse. Nearly 9,000 votes later from nearly 500 readers, I captured the barter items list and I’m re-posting them here for your information.

The ‘perceived’ value of any one thing at the Trading Post is of course entirely subjective or relevant to what someone else might actually need at the moment.

Additionally, the specifics of ‘SHTF’ or the extent of ‘collapse’, how far into the collapse, etc., will bear weight upon the needs. 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 themselves believe are best for preparedness…

Best Bartering Items For Preparedness

after SHTF or post-collapse

Barter Items at the Trading Post

(according to polled readers)

1. Ammo (in general)
2. 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. Medications (various over-the-counter)
11. Seeds
12. Coffee
13. Lighters
14. Gasoline
15. Matches
16. Soap
17. Candles
18. Tobacco
19. Bleach
20. Sugar
21. Knives
22. Feminine hygiene products
23. Personal hygiene products
24. Food (‘feel good’ foods)
25. Spices
26. Hand tools
27. Honey
28. Canning Supplies
29. Silver
30. Diesel fuel
31. Duck (Duct) Tape
32. Flashlights
33. Shoes
34. Blankets
35. Hunting gear
36. Fishing gear
37. Clothing
38. Can openers
39. Tarps
40. Cordage (rope, paracord, etc.)
41. Sewing supplies
42. Books
43. Baby hygiene products
44. Solar lights
45. Propane canisters
46. Solar PV panels
47. Building materials
48. Hardware
49. Ziploc bags
50. Flour mill
51. Garbage bags
52. Paraffin oil (for lamps)
53. Bug spray
54. Contraceptives
55. Trapping gear
56. Maps
57. Kitchen equipment (pots, pans, etc.)
58. Charcoal
59. Eyeglass repair kits
60. Writing supplies
61. Adhesives
62. Playing cards
63. Backpacks

Here’s a graphic of the barter items with their percentage of popularity:


My thoughts on Barter at the Trading Post

The thought here is value. What might others value?

That would probably be pretty different for non-preppers vs. those who have prepared to an extent. Why? Because non-preppers will “need” more of the basics for survival whereas preppers may eventually just ‘shore up’ their supplies, or things they’ve missed.

The essentials which relate to shelter, water, food, fire, security, medicine, will be particularly valuable in my estimation.

My instinct tells me that one of the more valuable items for barter would be means to make fire. Matches. Lighters. With fire, so many other things can be accomplished. Cooking. Heat. Purifying water. Sanitation/cleaning. Most people don’t have much or any inventory of lighters or matches.

I have not defined the post-collapse living conditions, or how far into the event. So it’s somewhat difficult to measure barter item value. However putting out a list is thought provoking nonetheless.

A few especially valuable items (or groups) in my estimation include:

– Matches / Lighters
– Fuel (gasoline, propane, at least initially…)
– Water filters / water itself (depending on natural availability) / storage containers
– Food (any)
– Antibiotics
– Alcohol / Tobacco / Coffee
– Batteries
– Candles
– Medicines / related drugs
– TP (who could possibly live without it?)

A Note Regarding Ammo

Certainly, ammo after SHTF collapse will be central to security, as will the firearm. That said, most preppers are equipped in this department (at least initially). Additionally, ammo may be somewhat difficult to find for barter – due to the notion that it may be turned against you and/or the value it has to whoever possess it (won’t want to give it up in trade). That said, yes it will be valuable.

I do not disagree with anything from the list from our reader poll. The value of things will go up and down. The circumstances over here may be different from those over there. Lots of potential variability of resources and demand thereof.

While any list is just a list, if I went through this exercise with you again it might be a little different. Lists are always interesting to ponder because it often leads to additional or other ideas.

A Note regarding trade after SHTF collapse

There is caution to be advised for those who believe that others will be kind, lawful, and fair after SHTF. That everyone will help each other.

The fact is that without rule of law (WROL), and especially after factoring in desperation, people will be in survival mode. Humans are capable of very bad things doing what they need to survive. Just saying. Factor this in.

– Never trade at YOUR place.
– Trade on neutral ground.
– Don’t go alone. Two minimum. Three much better.
– Scout the trade location first, before bringing trade-able goods.
– Avoid revealing what else you may have.
– Do not bring or trade too much at once (a target). Go multiple times instead.
– Watch out (be prepared) for ambush. When in doubt, get out.

[ Read: Modern Bartering Becoming More Commonplace ]

[ Read: Valuable Services For Barter After Collapse Or SHTF ]