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 ]


    1. Just a thought, if people are trading, others would be raiding. watch that your not followed, dont leave the supply house unprotected .

  1. God help us if we get to a point where its dangerous to trade stuff, especially on this little rock,
    Personally the stuff im going to have for trade will be limited to stuff i can produce,
    Garden tools
    But heres aomething i was thinking about,
    What if we get displaced?
    Everything destroyed?
    Scary thought, but has happened more often than not, granted thats more likely for an urban setting, but what if?

    1. One should only prep to survive hardships, which have a limited duration and are area limited, as ANY disaster large enough to permanently destroy civilization will also destroy you…no matter how extensive your preps have been. If the lights go out permanently, Mankind will vanish permanently, too.

      1. Anonymous;
        One of the GREAT things about this BLOG, everyone is welcome to their point of view.

        One needs to remember that there are many of countries and people that live totally without “Lights” permanently now, so destroying “civilization” may or may not be a permanent removal of Mankind.

        I WILL agree that the US civilization will be in a world of hurt when ‘Lights Out’ we are wayyyyyyy to dependent on Electricity, Hence the preps not only include material stuff, but knowledge to live “without”.

        In addition if one looks at “civilization” as it is now, maybe we really need a cleansing?

        1. I agree wholeheartedly on the cleansing NRP
          We need more than a cleanse, we need a wholesale douching!

        2. Yes OH you did the right thing. If just one child was able to study more at night and go forward, you did the right thing!

        3. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia in the late 60’s. For several years I lived in an area without electricity among a tribe of Muslim slash-and-burn dry rice farmers. They did quite well with machetes, shovels, axes, Chinese cook pots (like Pilgrims used), etc. There was a Friday market where a limited selection of Western products could be had for a price, mostly clothing, plastic sandals, and small hardware goods. If any group will survive, it will be people like these because their world probably won’t change except for the occasional murderous soldier-led, drug and diamond driven coup.

        4. I’ve thought of that type of scenario as well. When a group is already living in so called ‘third world’ conditions, their lifestyle may remain closely similar to what it is. However ‘modern society’ will not fare well! It’s an interesting thought process – to realize how inept modern civilization would be at ‘literal’ survival without all of the amenities and services rendered today.

      2. Well,
        As NRP said,
        You are entitled to your opinion,,,
        Doesnt mean folks here will agree with it,
        Humans were around long before electricity and running water used to mean a stream or river or creek,,,
        I know plenty of people who will do just fine.

      3. – Respectfully disagree. People existed quite a while without electricity, there’s is no reason they cannot continue. If they don’t have lights, well, fireplaces lit a lot of our ancestors lives. They will figure out candles, oil lamps, etc. since they already know of such things or have seen them at some time. They may be poor quality at first, but I am certain someone will figure it out.
        – Papa S.

      4. Homesteader,,,
        That really brings it into perspective doesnt it,
        The comparison with transportation is another one,
        How long has the car been around, yet people had wagons, carts, mules, oxen, hell even goat carts,
        Just because we took a few big steps forward doesnt mean wecouldnt be smacked back a couple huge leaps.

        1. Hehe, I wonder where the cowboys who were driving cattle out in the middle of nowhere were able to send text messages without any cell towers. Or, how many channels did they have on their Dish Network when ‘relaxing’ in the evenings. Or, what games they had for the X-Box? I thought this stuff always existed.

      5. Just my opinion but I think he was using lights out more as an end of civilization reference as opposed to losing electric

        1. Poorman;
          One of the biggest worries I personally have is a True “Lights Out” aka Grid-Down permanently (more than one year).
          I’m one of those wackos that reads things like the latest commission reports that describe exactly how vulnerable and frugal our Grid really is.
          Yes I know books like “Lights Out” and “One Second After” are fiction, but ‘official’ reports to the .gov are not.
          There has been warning after warning that it is totally possible to take out the grid for good. Heck, look at what happens if the power is off for just a week in some isolated places, imagine that Country Wide for just 3-5 days maybe a week or 3????

          No I’m not a fear monger, just pro-active on being prepared for what “MAY” or may-not happen. And guess what, Murphy does have a way of biting us in the azz at times.

        2. @NRP
          Oh I agree with you that it is completely possible and actually would be fairly easy to take out the grid and I also agree with the idea that we would have a huge loss of life within the first year though I an not sure the 90% figure bantering around the net would be correct. My statement was just how I took his comment about ” lights out ” I didn’t take it as an emp or grid down but rather as as comment like Lights Out its all over. Of course it’s hard to ever really understand what someone meant when typing as there is no inflection or tone of voice.

        3. He may have been, but even at that I don’t agree. Mankind existed long before what we call “civilization.” In fact, our version of civilization isn’t even universal in the US, let alone world wide. Mankind isn’t going to vanish, short of a total apocolypse that destroys our ability to breathe. While I agree that the world that emerges will be very different, I do not agree with any part of his post.

          Anonymous said “One should only prep to survive hardships, which have a limited duration and are area limited, as ANY disaster large enough to permanently destroy civilization will also destroy you…no matter how extensive your preps have been. If the lights go out permanently, Mankind will vanish permanently, too.” Emphasis added.

          Quite a sweeping statement to make about a race that has survived thousands of years without electricity, police, armies, what-have-you (i.e., civilization). Personally I have no intention of going “quietly into the night” just because the world as I know it has changed past recognition.

        4. I guess people simply do not understand what it means to the continued survival of our species, should we permanently be unable to generate sizable amounts of electrical power. If the electricity goes out permanently….ALL of MANKIND on this planet is doomed to a certain, inescapable, death within a few months. It shall not matter what you have, where you go, what you know, or what god you believe, you, and everyone else, shall perish.

          Of course, Mankind has been around for a great long while, without the advent of electrical power. However, this obvious fact is utterly without relevance. Before electricity, Mankind did not face the same existential threat, which we now face…should we be unable to generate sufficient electrical power. This danger is not a “maybe”…it is a certainty…should the lights go out for good.

          When this danger manifests itself a few months after the lights go out, not only will all of Mankind die, but virtually every organism on this planet shall follow our destruction.

          People should be able to ponder the reason why all this is so.

        5. Remember 150 years ago when there was no electricity for life saving appliances, food storage etc. life expectancy was around 60 years. Travel was mostly by walking. Look at a map of North Berks county, PA. Towns along old route 22 are about 7 to 10 miles apart. Will mankind perish? NO, but life will be much harder. No grocery stores, you will have to grow or raise most of what you eat and wear. Plus, you will have to preserve what you grow to eat. Medicine as we know it will dry up. No refrigeration for insulin or any way to make it. Child birth will once again become a major medical situation. Information will take days or weeks to reach you. The area where you travel will be a 10-mile radius unless you overnight some place. This is an extreme scenario but one that I am prepping for. Different parts of the country could and are different. How reliant are you to air conditioning?

        6. Old Alaskan,

          Are there still Inuit people who continue to live w/o grid and government “assistance”? I know there are still remote peoples being discovered that live a totally self sufficient existence. That would sort of blow up the notion that everyone dies sans modern technology, as some predict. Not saying I want to live on meals of tarantulas and monkey brains, but they keep finding folks that can.

  2. I think it too dangerous to barter ammo, food, fuel, large knives, or alcoholic beverages. Anything that can be used as a weapon could be used against you. And if you give away such things as food, candles, alcohol, or anything that someone might want more of, they would be coming back for more.

    I have some things specifically for barter: Books, warm clothing, extra toothbrushes, maps, tiny flashlights with batteries, solar lights, fishhooks, paper and pens, etc. Things that hopefully people would want only one and not keep coming back. I also have some things that I would donate to the Town, such as salt, extra garden produce and garden seeds, blankets, first aid supplies and left-over prescriptions (in case anyone was desperate for old antibiotics, pain killers, etc.), a few left-over building materials and hardware. I also have 2 pairs of practically new hiking boots that are too small for me and some snowshoes and ski poles. Snowshoes and not much good here because we seldom get enough snow, but if anyone wanted to try to get over the mountains, they would be useful for someone. I am too old to try to make the trip, so I saved them to give away if we have TEOTWAWKI.

      1. lots and lots of socks! I need to learn how to darn them and get the appropriate. tools.

  3. Ammo!?!

    Ammo will certainly trade very well on day one. However people will learn real fast it’s value will be limited. In most SHTF scenarios the collapse won’t occur, crime will rise but it will hardly be a battle zone.

    So how many rounds do you actually need in a collapse? You will not manage to fire off thousands of rounds before being injured or killed. Gun fights are highly random. Unless your prepping with dozens of operators, you really do not need lots of ammo.

    So what about hunting? Good luck. Everyone plans to go hunting. Even if you will be able to find anything, it will be hard to gain back the calories you lost from going hunting. You might fair well hunting small critters though like rabbits. So get some 22lr and your set.

    If you really feel you need lots of ammo to stay safe. Then the real solution is to move to a rural area which is far enough away from metro areas to help prevent raiding attempts.

    1. Trading immediately after SHFT will be suicide for the trader. I would wait until things really calm down if that is even possible.
      I agree with Keeper 22lr. Some dude sitting off the side of the road in a good hide can take your butt out in a split second with one head shot. I have plenty of 22lr for several years of small game hunting to include song birds and other small assorted critters dog and cat will be on the menu. use a suppressor and 22 short and your hunting outings will not be noticed too much and should stay fairly quiet.

      1. Heck, it doesnt even have to be 22LR
        I have a Benjamin Marauder airgun, that .25 cal hollow point slug will go right through a piece of 3/4″ plywood at 50yds, wouldnt even need to be a good shot, or better yet, a 100grain muzzy broadhead, all they would hear is a thhhhkk then get a cold numb feeling

      2. I think there will be a lot of risk too early on. I would prefer to avoid unknown people and trade with friends. Desperation though can bring out the worst in people. I don’t have suppressors but I probably should get some. Most country homes here are located at least a half mile apart, with most more than that. I do want to get into Archery soon. Making less noise can only help.

        1. You can build your own 22 suppressors See yesterdays article on self reliance.
          Now is the time to gain the knowledge skills. Be a jack of all trades.

        2. WhiteCracker
          Ever hear the Wix 24003/Napa 4003 filter application?
          Ever experment with one?
          Always on the back burner of things….

        3. JoeC
          I like the mag light solvent traps, .308w light load with a 125g soft point sounds like a 22lr

      3. White Cracker,
        I couldn’t have written a better post than yours. I have long advocated that a well-placed .22 round is better than a .45 that misses it’s target… your “good hide” comment. Most people have no clue of what they are facing. My opinion, for what it’s worth… Stay hidden, as far away from armed conflict as possible and engage only as a last resort. Rambo was a series of movies.

        1. Agree, as Mr. says go to the FEMA centers and act as pitiful and whiney as everyone else. Gray and grayer.

    2. Well ya, why would anyone want to stay in a metro area in a shtf situation? I’ve never known any soldier or anyone for that matter that’s been in a gunfight that wished they had LESS ammo. Hunting? It will be feasible in the very beginning of a shtf scenario depending on tour location in the country. I can easily go out and drop a moose or a few deer and have meat for my family for a year. I believe most people won’t be going out hunting until the stores are empty and people’s food stores begin running out. But then again where I live, most people have freezers and pantries unlike those in the big cities. Ammo is one of those preps you should have a surplus of so you can train with your weapons and have a supply left over. Because we all know if you have preps and no means or skill to protect your supplies, you won’t have them for long.

      1. JD,
        How long you been hunting?
        Now be honest, how many folks you know that have gone out figuring they would get that buck or a couple does and came back empty handed,
        Think about these boneheads from the city or even some from the country crashing through the woods, and then even if they are presented a shot, how many will actually make it?
        Ive hunted with guys who had no concept of how ammo and firearms really interact, namedly POI variations from brand to brand, box to box and varying weather conditions. How does a 30 degree difference in temperature affect a given brand of ammo in a firearm?
        Then theres even the variability in hand loads, The dillon i used to have would throw a difference of up to 1.5-2 grains plus or minus depending on the powder, minor, but when cronographed there was a corresponding variation in velocity in the several hundred FPs plus or minus also, add in temp variation, wind? Drop or rise in elevation,
        Well, you get my point,
        You or I might be able to hit the same spot, shot to shot in different situations, but overall, having a hunting rifle does not equate to bringing home dinner,
        Just an observation.

        1. Tommyboy:
          Good post. I have been hunting for over 55 years, and am a dam good shot. There are many times I have come home empty handed, especially after the animals figure hunting season is on. And yes, I am an experienced and good hunter. Just think, when everyone is stomping through the woods looking to score dinner, just how spooked the animals will become. At first, dinner will probably come fairly easy. Then, as animals become scarce and scared, more people will be eating track soup or turd stew. Then, you will have to resort to snares or traps, and hope they don’t get wise to that. Fishing will become tough also, but not as bad as hunting. You can make fish stew out of just a few small fish. Which brings to mind, fishing gear will probably become a good barter item, as you don’t have to burn as many calories fishing as you do hunting. Also clothing and blankets, as you have to keep warm during bad weather when fishing or hunting. For those thinking of using air guns for game, stock plenty of pellets and BB’s, or what ever is your favorite projectile. Could be a good trade item.

        2. and there are areas like ours where there are so many crops there is not much woodlands for deer. Usually the trees were left because the ground is swampy in the area and not good for crops. There are some cows of course and the Hispanics like goats. They would be stolen soon……….

        3. Your observations are valid. Me personally I’ve been hunting for over 2 decades. And yes there have been years I have not brought home a deer. But you seem to be forgetting something, the only reason I have not come home with a kill is because I abide by the states hunting laws. If shtf do you think I’ll be hunting from dawn to dusk wearing blaze orange in the woods? I could shoot a deer every night just driving up and down my road. Every night. Multiple animals. And I’d be either using a .22 pistol or a 5.56 rifle. It’s legal in my state to hunt deer with a .22 magnum. So I’m not worried about what the so called experts say. I’ve personally seen deer shot with a .22 and not even take a step. Dead right there. So, yes my chances significantly go up if the shtf and I need to get a few animals.

      2. Weight is usually the limiting factor for how much ammo you can carry. I am sure most wish their gun would just fire indefinitely. You absolutely should have a decent amount of ammo for protection and hunting.

        Ammo for bartering is a different thing all together. Chances are those looking for ammo will not be skilled hunters. It is easy to hunt right now because populations are maintained, but that will go away in a collapse. Thousands of “hunters” will clean out most game in a few months. The waste will also be high, because unskilled hunters will shoot animals uncleanly and take game which they can’t even process.

        I see hunting and ammo being more valuable in the first few days of a collapse and then after the great die off occurs. O what a wonderful future we have…

  4. Interestingly, I missed seeing ‘communications gear’ on this list. I guess everyone’s idea of SHTF involves all communications going down??? I think there might be a great interest from the masses to somehow ‘get some news from the outside’, wherever that might be. just a thought.

    1. Minerjim;
      Communications will be key, BUT I’m not thinking that to many will want to offer their Comms for a bag of rice. Unless of course you can afford 50 Ham Sets?
      I would bet setting up a information system for Info would be much more valuable after TSHTF.
      I’ll revert back to a old-time Bar, there was the meeting place for a many of people to not only have a drink and some “companionship” but to learn of what’s going on in the community and the World/Country. This and along with the Churches.

      1. NRP,
        I was thinking more on the lines of small cheap ham receivers that people could try to pick up short wave broadcasts ( kind of like the old crystal sets in years gone by). I think you could put a bunch of them together with stuff out of your electrical junk box if you had a good schematic. Just a thought as I said. People always want to be “in the know”. Funny you would immediately revert back to the ‘Bar’, I was thinking more of hanging around the radio and the pot belly stove in the general store. Maybe charge admission to hear short wave broadcasts?? Likely around my neck of the woods everyone would head to the community hall to get news, once things settled down a bit. It would also become our local meeting place for bartering, as it has been for over 100 years.

        1. Minerjim;
          The Bar, well of course, since I’m a Home Brewer and make a fine Brew… HAHAHAH
          Remember one of the first Barter… A 45LC for a shot of rock-gut. :-)

        2. NRP,
          We have 6 acres of wine grapes, but no winery. I do make ‘family wine’, and sell grapes. After SHTF, I am concerned how many will come over this way looking for wine, as in, you know, ‘you have a vineyard so you have wine, right?’

  5. – Another valuable item(s) will be the means of securing and protecting what you already have. Locks, chains (Try blacksmithing one), steel boxes, hasps, and the like will bring pretty whatever you want to ask from people who don’t have what they think they will need. Even homes that now are single family, if you have families doubling and tripling up will want some of these articles. Just saying.
    – Papa S.

    1. Papa, good idea. I have some of those things, but, living alone, and with a simple fence and deadbolt locks, there is not too much I can do. I have to rely on help from my neighbors and OPSEP (one reason not to do much charity of bartering.) If I do give something away, I have to tell them it is my ONLY one.

      Why is my name not saved anymore? I keep telling it to save my name and email.

      1. DaisyK
        Thinking Ken has a timer on it, sometimes if I post within a few minutes it will save, but more than 10 minutes it wont.

  6. In yesterdays post about being self reliant, I mentioned that I am in the business of teaching people what I know. One of those skills taught to people during the Great Ammo shortage of 2011 thru 2013 was reloading of fired cartridge casings.

    I do not hunt that much any more. ( I prefer to watch the deer graze in the meadow behind my house and watch the birds at my feeders and suet blocks in my backyard.). I do not compete in shooting matches anymore. ( but I used to for a number of years when supplies were plentiful.)
    I keep my trapping to a minimum these days though I used to remove skunks from beneath woodpiles and decks of people’s homes in California.

    What I trade in these days is knowledge and wisdom gained through experiences both good and bad. The few people I have taught to reload their brass cases when I first came up here from the Land of Fruits and Nuts are still in touch with me and they are the people that welcomed me into the community, told me where the best places are to eat Chinese food and even extended an invitation to go hunting with them in the fall.

    Keeper brought up a good point in questioning ammo as a #1 priority though I must say I am biased on this topic. In place of ammo, I stock up on primers or caps for blackpowder shooters, appropriate powders for different cartridges and other consumable supplies associated with reloading. ( case lube, wire brushes etc.). During the Ammo Drought, matches were minimal and many people were saving their brass. I was teaching people on the basis of “Bring Your Own Brass”. Odds are, I had a set of dies that worked in their rifle or handgun.

    I am just shy of 60 years old and too old to hike the high ridges and carry out venison from distant valleys. butt I can help you hit the target at 300 yards for the clean shot. Knowledge is powerful. Pass it on to trustworthy friends and family.

    1. Being able to reload ammo is valuable, both the skill and the tools.

    2. I would think that being self-reliant also applies in obtaining the things you NEED. I could see bartering if it was absolutely necessary. I don’t see in a SHTF situation people going to a barter place to window shop and buy a bunch of yard ornaments. Because in this kind of situation, the item(s) needed could mean life or death to a family member or person in the group. Cali, good points

    3. This may sound silly, but I am in the process of growing my hair long and gray. Now this is part of my new persona as one who has looks like she has knowledge. Just consider the media ie: books and movies where the sage has long gray hair and beards. Will fit the old herbal lady look. Gray and grayer for real………..

  7. I think daisy k has the right idea. I will not be trading any ammo whatsoever for 2 reasons. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And i won’t be trading anything that could be used against me or my family. Living in the extreme northeast, warm clothes would be a premium. Comfort items like tobacco and personal hygiene products will be the nature of anything I’ll be using for barter.

    1. JD,
      I have had the very same thoughts on bartering ammo with anyone but my closest, trusted, neighbors.

    2. JD,
      I agree with you. I would not barter ammo because I would be concerned it would be used against me and my family. I would barter hygiene items, shampoo, soap, etc. I’ve got loads of freebies from my travel days in my career, and I have a good supply I would be able to barter with. Remember the movie The Book of Eli, where a small hotel size shampoo bottle was a rare item and so loved by the woman in that movie?

      1. Exactly right Terra! I figure when people have been using leaves, pine cones, corn cobs or burlap bags to clean themselves up after going to the bathroom, a roll of Scott toilet paper would be quite valuable! Lol

  8. My take on barter items is:

    Will it be scarce? If not then not a barter item.
    Can it be easily manufactured? If yes then not a barter item.
    Will it serve a vital need? If no then not a barter item.
    Is it bulky to store/transport? If yes then maybe not a good barter item.
    Can you obtain a lot now for a reasonable price? If not then not a good barter item.

    After running through those criteria, I think some viable barter items are:
    Other meds
    Canning jars and lids
    Water filters

    1. Burt G;
      Agreed on most points…. except
      1. “Can you obtain a lot now for a reasonable price? If not then not a good barter item.” Seriously how many “normal” people do you know that have a years of “stuff” stored up???
      2. you left TP off your list, do you live with any women??? If so it will become #1 as soon as that last roll runs out…. hehehehe
      3. Agreed on the Meds, there will be a HUGE shortage, but how long will Meds store?

        1. Anonymous;
          At current count, 35.
          WOW talk about a full time job… OMG … HAHAHAHAHA
          No wonder 600 rolls is NOT enough. LOL

      1. NRP.

        Thanks for the feedback. To clarify on your points.

        1. Inexpensive items are better than expensive ones. For instance radiation directors or night vision might be desirable but i cant afford 50 of them now for barter later. Better for me to get 1000 lighters.

        2. TP is absolutely important but it is bulky and not concealable when you are heading out for a trade. A hundred would be difficult to transport even though everyone would be a buyer. Best to store a bunch for your own use rather than for barter.

  9. Ammo, the ultimate Prepper “stuff”.

    It’s always interesting to see/read the differences in opinions in storing an amount of Ammo, and of what Calibers.
    Some will say 1000 rounds per firearm, some 5K. and even some say a box of 20 is enough.
    I believe it’s a personal decision if you have ALL the other “stuff” covered, than what else ya got to spend your money on?

    So why did I call Ammo the ultimate? Well it will literally store (if stored properly) forever, or as long as one is alive anyways.
    I have a brick of 22LR that my Father bought when he was a kid, so I’m thinking 50-70 years ago 22LR. I have it for a keepsake of course, but the Price Tag on the brick is (if memory serves me right) $3.75… for the entire brick, not just one box. And he told me he bought it are the local Five -N- Dime store.

    So yeah, store Ammo, just remember all the Ammo in the world will do you zero good if you don’t have a firearm and know how to use it properly.
    Honestly I have to laugh a little when I hear of folks that claim to head to the woods to survive… Yeah Right, good old Mr. City dude is going to head out with wife and 4 kids in tow and live off Bambi ….. Right….
    Folks, this Country is sooooo screwed if/when the lights go out.

    1. Yeah, Just think Mr. City dude is not alone. Imagine a city of 1 million and you get a couple hundred thousand trying to bag Bambi. I’m sure they will be quiet stalkers, just like a state park campground on the weekend that is just outside a city.
      Ammo–can never have enough. 100 rds of 22LR. I go through multiples of that when at the range. Obviously, during a SHTF scenario, I would try to use ammo sparingly because I know that when a round is fired, I will have one less round available. I will TRY to lay low as much as possible because all the Mr. City dudes are going to be out shooting at anything that moves. Besides, I gotta protect my small TP stash.

    2. NRP, You said ” good old Mr. City dude is going to head out with wife and 4 kids in tow and live off Bambi” but, what about the people that already live in the woods? Do you think they are just going to let him stomp around in the woods scar[ng the game all around? I think you will hear a lot of shooting but, it won’t be the game getting shot.

    3. I just remembered a brick I had bought at True Value years before the shortage. When I got around to opening it I found 2 of the boxes gone and the end flaps re-glued. Apparently it had the been returned. Folks with multiple bricks might want to weigh them.

  10. Attempting to barter the first couple of months after a SHTF events will most likely get you killed or lose everything you have stored. People needing the items on the list will be desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to get them. Today urban kids are killing each other over a pair of sneakers do you really think they will be fair, honest traders? And do want to supply a meth-head with ammo or any other weapon? You will probably not be dealing with another prepper since those of us that had the foresight to plan ahead will not need these items for a long time. After the starvation, rape, robbing and pillaging weeds out the vast majority of the population, the preppers that survived may be able to barter with each other but it won’t be like the 1840’s rendezvous of the mountain traders. Bartering after SHTF will be very close to drug dealing today in that you never know who you will be dealing with and a mistake will be deadly.

    1. Romeo Charlie;
      Absolutely correct, if one survives, and that’s a HUGE “IF”, ya had better keep low for a year, before venturing out very far.
      Even with a Economic crash, people will become the most dangerous animal one has ever seen.
      I often ask the question.. “What would you do if your Family and Children were starving?”

      1. – An Author I respect once commented, stock ammunition as if you and yours were going to be, “Surrounded by ferocious man-eating tigers,” for the rest of your lives. because what you will be surrounded by would happily eat those tigers, given half a chance.
        – Papa S.

        1. I read that in Venezuela that people were breaking into the zoo and killing animals for the meat.

      2. A drowning man will grab a straw. Hunger and fear will drive normal, honest people to extreme means.

        1. A very possible mindset would be, you have stuff that I need, I’m bigger than you, I’m taking your stuff.
          Does the castle doctrine apply if someone is there for any reason? Does taking food apply?

        2. Well Castle Doctrine is based on you being in fear for your life. If someone is there to steal the last food you have and you know you will die without it I would assume I would be in fear for my life.

  11. Like others have mentioned, I am against the idea of using any item for barter that could then be turned around and used against me and mine such as ammunition, weapons, etc.

    When it comes to ammunition, I’m of the mindset that enough is never enough- LOL. No I don’t have tens of thousands of rounds as finances have been rough for a few years. Our preps are rather low at the moment. However, if stored properly, center-fire ammunition lasts a very long time indeed. I think that stocking up as much as possible is a wise investment, and not only on the calibers that you use, but on the most common calibers out there. Even though I just stated that I would NOT want to trade ammunition, I think it’s a good idea to have much more than you think you would ever need.

    Here’s a reason or two why…

    So, after things go sideways, we are taught to band together with our good neighbors. What if their ammo level is grotesquely low? How are they going to help defend the area if they need every precious round just to get food and defend their own home? This is where you can help with a little of that excessive amount of ammo that YOU have, provided you have a caliber that they can use. The time to coordinate and encourage is now. If your good neighbors don’t have a sporting rifle, now is the time to encourage them to secure one.

    Allot of the prepper pundits like to talk about firefights and ambushes, tactics, etc. Yes, those are a real threat if things stay sideways long enough. However, I honestly believe that at least early on your opposition will not likely be very organized nor will they be skilled. They will be desperate people. So, you and your neighbors send a few rounds each flying over their heads and into the ground around them, and most if not all of the opposition are going to get the message that this is a “no-go” zone for them. There is a MASSIVE psychological difference between coming under fire from a few guys with bolt action rifles and coming under fire from a fire team equipped with both bolt action and semi-automatic/automatic weapons. That will cost ammo, and that’s just one example.

    Even prior to anything going sideways, ammunition can suddenly come into short supply. Anyone else remember the rising cost and diminishing availability of the most common calibers a few years ago? Calibers like 5.56, .22 LR, 7.62, .45 ACP, and others sky rocketed in price and the shelves were bare. Stores had to institute a purchase limit. Even the wally worlds around here had to limit people to 2 boxes of .22 LR, 5.56, and 7.62/.308 because they were getting cleaned out on shipment day. Quite literally, within a few hours of the ammo hitting the shelves it was all gone. Two of the wally worlds here didn’t even bother stocking the shelves. They literally just rolled all of the ammunition shipment out to the sporting goods department on a few flatbeds and stood guard over it for an hour or two. It sold out right off the carts.

    What’s to say that can’t happen again? What if it’s worse next time and nothing comes in on shipment day? I watched the price of a certain caliber DOUBLE in less than a week after a manufacturer somewhere overseas went offline due to an explosion at their factory. So… stock up.

    Get more than you think you’ll need; allot more. There is no guarantee that should this commodity become rare it would ever become plentiful again. Who among us can promise that there will never be some knee-jerk reaction to some horrible event that that includes limits on how much ammo one can buy within a specified period of time, or that it would even become available at all without an “ammunition permit”. There was talk of that after the shooting in Las Vegas.

    Look at it another way. Cash is available right now. It’s easy to get your hands on the money you have in the bank. So why are so many people securing precious metals like silver and gold? Because there is a real possibility that the cash we can so easily get today will either be much harder to get (think bank holidays, withdrawal limits, etc.) or become worthless. We look to silver and gold to hedge against that possibility.

    So yes, ammunition is an investment. You are investing in your future, you’re just investing in a “different” kind of precious metal.

    1. I knew a clerk who did pretty good by calling folks when ammo was getting ready to go on the shelves. I think he got $5.00 per call and he typically make dozens of calls when the truck came in.

  12. Whew, what a topic!

    SHTF will = WROL for sure. My only hope, should those circumstances arise, is that vehicles are disabled by whatever happens. As one preparing for the survival of my nearest and dearest, just want the desperate and feral kept far away as long as possible.

    I think what one might bring to the trading post to barter with would say as much about that one/group as the items being sought would say. If I’m seeking ammo am I undefended at home? I would fear someone following me home no matter what was being traded. But maybe, after some time, a well-armed politeness and cooperation would prevail.

    On the other hand, county population is light and concentrated in a town about 25 miles to the south. North is a large nearly uninhabited reservation. All around are cold, wet monoculture forestry lands. Rural homes mostly consist of relatively isolated households

    Agree with those who would barter only what they could replace – food, seeds, watchdogs.

    If it would benefit the group what I might have to barter would be space for a combination of smarts, flexibility, congeniality, and hard work.

    This has certainly made me think, and update my to-do list.

    1. Yes, think about this for a moment. Would a person trying to barter with ammo be trading their last box. Where there’s one, there’s more. Probably one instance of a person trying to barter their last of a certain thing would be a ring or necklace to get a can of corn.

  13. What will be important in that moment it will depend from disaster which will happen.
    My experience from war is list little different from yours.
    1. Medical supplies (shortage of all)
    2. Gasoline (must have at least for chainsaw)
    3. Diesel (you need fuel for your tractor)
    4. Gold and strong currencies Swiss franc or $.
    5. Fertilizers for farm.

    We had enormous stocks of ammo and other military products. So it was not shortage of that things. But 1 litar of gasoline was 5 Germans mark or about 3 $. Oxygen for sick children and wounded soldiers was without price. We lost 12 baby because we had no oxygen for life support. So different situations makes different list.

    1. Veteran;
      Very wise words “What will be important in that moment it will depend from disaster which will happen”

      I believe that most here are planning on a total collapse of society and basically war in the streets.

      Amazing $3 per liter of Gas, of course I have seen $1.5 to $2 per liter in Thailand when there in normal times.

      Making different “List” per situations is a great idea, the HARD part is knowing what to prepare for…. correct?
      Hence the saying, Prepare for the worst, pray for the best.

      1. Ammo is good to have. But don’t forget medicine. Before two years my son (7 years old) had stomach virus. He was very bad. 10 days in hospital and 20 litars of infusion. Saline and glucose. Without that he would be dead second day. Stupid, common viruses can kill you very fast. You can produce your food but not infusion.

        1. Totall collapse of society is not likely to happen. Only if you have nuke war or emp. It is small possibility. But, probably you will have economical collapse or possibly pandemic. In that case you will have partial break of social services and shortages. In that environment is good to have garden, medical supplies, gold and sig pistol and Mauser rifle with Schmidt and bender scope. And enough ammo.

        2. There are other options for IV, IV solutions do work quick and body uses them quickly… Glad your son pulled thru… a very difficult illness. all the more reason to stock and know the natural anti virals to use during those times everyone is blessed to have such items to share..Lomatium/oregano/colloidial silver/ food grade peroxide… will get you started.. then there is onions and garlic…and others.
          .. just so you know..Saline and glucose can be made and given rectally via small enema tube..liquid has to be given slowly and is not comfortable, but is possible to save a life doing it. basically a hydration formula… just given rectal because someone is upchucking…

        3. This is a Basic re-hydration formula,., and the solution is good for Barter and the knowledge is good for Barter., It can definitely save the life of someone near and dear……
          .It works.. for oral or rectal use. Be sure to use filtered or boiled water. to prevent pathogens being introduced to weak system…
          ¼ tsp real salt
          ¼ tsp no salt (potassium chloride) available in brands such as” nu-salt”, “no salt.”.
          ¼ tsp baking soda
          2 ½ tsp sugar

          Mix into 4 cups of water. Give the person small sips of the solution every five minutes, even if he vomits, until he begins to urinate normally. The drink can be given with fruit juices as a flavoring.

    2. Veteran how nice to have another very REAL perspective of todays world. Welcome!

      1. Turgor refers to skin most people have normal skin tone if it is loose or cool you could be dehydrated. Low blood pressure and rapid thready pulse is also a sign that you need hydration. High fever could be a sign of sepsis which can be grim even in the hospital setting and likely fatal out of the hospital. You need to be able to check core temperature meaning get a rectal thermometer. You may feel cool and even have chills but be burning up inside. Acetaminophen suppositories should also be stocked. You need to know the formula for how much to give a child. It is on line. If you have to cut a suppository in half cut it length wise not across ass most of the medication is in the front end. If you don’t know have suppositories acetaminophen can be crushed and mixed with water for rectal administration.

  14. Good rules to live by today, too, if you’re using Craigslist.
    Just sayin’

    1. – 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.

  15. I have always maintained, and am convinced by by own experience both here in the US and other countries, that alcohol, any brand suitable to consume, will get you what you want, whatever that may be.
    I always keep a good stock.

      1. Veteran
        Cigarettes are expensive.
        Buy bags of pipe tabacco. Maybe a few papers for barter.

        1. Ok so on the pipe tobacco idea….
          Not to be an undesirable, but….
          If cut and blended correctly, the tobacco could be mixed with and extended with hay chaff, grass clippings, straw…….

          And if the need should arise,… cut with fresh poison ivy, oak….
          Inhalation of these is not good for the receiver.
          Survival, right?

      2. I have tobacco growing on our farm, right now i need to pull all the seed heads and start a new batch, had about 35 plants produced seed heads that have about 40 pods on them each pod has about 500 seedsmy goal is to naturalize it, in orher words let it become an intentionally planted weed,
        Is a cigar tobacco, old variety long narrow leaves for fill and cover

        1. Really tiny,
          That small patch has literally tens of millions of them

        2. How cool. I bought some organic seeds about 3 years ago. Tobacco is still a large crop in the area. I figured with non GMO seeds some of the experts around here could start over at some point. Tobacco has some medicinal uses also.

  16. I brew my own country wines and make vinegar with the lees .This involves keeping a very large stock of sugar on hand . all 3 items cheap now worth a lot when not available .

  17. One thing missing from the list, jumped out at me. What would you give for a plan jane multi-meter after an emp/CME/cyber/terrorist attack on grid??? Right now, you can buy one for $10.00 or less.

    Many charge controllers would be damaged in emp. Yea, I know, keep a spare in a faraday cage. Well, what happens to your solar/wind charging plan if the back-up is bad or you don’t have a back-up? Could you monitor the battery charge manually with a multi-meter? You bet you can. Wouldn’t be handy but it would work. I believe a spare multi-meter would be a very valuable barter item.

    Having mentioned that, I plan to be as quiet and invisible as I can possibly be. I know I’ll fail to some degree, but I’ll make the effort. No bartering at all for 6 months or maybe more. If I don’t have it, I’ll have to do without.

    I fear the enormous die-off of the first few weeks and months. Those who survive long enough will barter at some point, knowing the others still around, are probably like-minded.

    1. Good point I have an inverter multi-meter and charge controller in my box but hadn’t considered stocking spares for others.

      Question for the group. Would DVDs and thumb drives be affected by an EMP or CME?

      1. @me,

        DVD’s absolutely not. No problem there. No electronics – just ‘shiny’ media with 1’s and 0’s.

        Thumb drives? Maybe okay by themselves if not hooked up to anything (which may act like an antenna amplifying the EMP pulse). But then again, it hasn’t happened (yet). Best to keep important thumb drives in a Faraday Cage.

  18. ‘Traveler”: It’s true.
    History has shown that one of the most Recession resilient businesses to be in is Liquor !
    The tougher times are, the more people drink !

  19. A failed bartering session ends up with your inventory known to outsiders. Now what?

    1. Old Chevy
      1. Should have read Ken’s bartering rules first.
      2. Head for the hills.
      3. Stand your ground. Say a Hail, Mary, and pray for the best.
      4. Don’t barter without knowing the possible risks.
      5. Refer to #1

  20. Only renewables like a head of cabbage, a bunch of radishes, a few carrots, …. or some help with a chore or project that may be of value to the other person(s) – trade one of your skills. And of course, you always say you are poor and have nothing else of value.

  21. Skills not on the list?
    Making things, repairing things, fabricating stuff?
    How can that not be valuable

      1. Hence Ken’s statement ” Lists are always interesting to ponder because it often leads to additional or other ideas.” Bartering skills and services is a great idea.

    1. I purposely left skills off of the context of this article. I have done others specifically related to skills (and will do more in the future). This one is about “stuff” “items” physical assets for barter. Thanks for noticing though.

      1. Ken, I‘d like to make an offer on your battery operated chainsaw since you will be upgrading soon. I’ve got a brand new never used Coleman dual fuel stove and a case of quart-sized mason jars. Whaddya say?

        No shipping costs involved as we are out in some field in the middle of nowhere and have the goods right there.

        1. Ken;
          Old Chevy did not say what was inside those Quart Masson Jars;
          Thinking … Organic Parts Cleaner???? …. Maybe? :-)

  22. I started a comment this morning, only for my wife to tell me her new glasses were ready to pick up. Two hundred and fifty mile round trip. Just got back home to find quite a few posts about .22 rimfire. Couldn’t agree more.

    One only has to look into the distant past (two years ago?) to see what a minor scare did to the availability of .22 ammo. Even those that are not “gun people” usually have a “little .22” stuck back in a closet. Some may even have a partial box of ammo somewhere in drawer. These folks are usually not preppers and really don’t see the need for a weapon………..right now. That will change quickly if their neighbors start feeling the pinch of hunger and the discomfort of cold, assaults and robbery becomes a threat.

    Being an avid shooter and protector of livestock in my remote homeplace, I remember well how the .22 ammo shortage, and 400% increase in asking price affected me. Because I shoot a lot, I had a little over 10,000 rounds on hand before the shortages. When the shortages hit, I ceased recreational shooting, or at least cut it to a minimum, only using it for critter control. I weathered that storm in good shape.

    Now that supplies are up, and prices are down, I’m back to recreational usage of about 500-600 rounds a week, and steadily increasing my on hand ammo. I’m guessing I now have 40-50,000 rounds put back and will not drop below that, replenishing as I use it. That’s bulk long rifle ammo. I also keep several thousand rounds each of shorts, CB long, CCI Quiet long rifle, and have a 300 rounds of the Super Calibri offering that is almost silent, but sufficient for squirrel (never used it before, but figure I should test it).

    I have larger, more powerful, and many varied weapons. I practice with and carry them, but the most indispensable firearm for shtf/farmstead use, is the .22 rimfire. in my opinion.

    When I got home just a little while ago, I stepped around the corner of our home to relieve myself. Lo and behold, a coon was walking across my pasture about a hundred yards distant. I stepped into the house, retrieved my .22 mag rifle and dropped him. Granted, it was a .22 magnum rimfire, but I could have made the same shot with the same result with any of my .22 long rifle rifles.

    There will be a lot of long neglected “little .22’s” coming out of closets, and with that a demand for something to feed them with.

    But, then again, I’m just a wore out old retired cop who lives back in the hills with too many guns.

    1. Dennis
      Sheeesh – I feel like a sluggard with only 18,000 22 LR but then at an 85% squirrel kill rate, if I run out, I will be far from the last to go.

      1. hermit us,

        Yeah, I know it’s like overkill, but, I don’t golf, gamble, or chase young women, but I do really enjoy my home shooting range. Like any addict, I fear my stash running out.

        1. Dennis
          “or chase young women” That implies an interest in middle age and older women – better not show this post to your significant other :) But I do respect your staying away from the frivolous and staying focused on the important tasks.
          Is socializing and interaction with others a barter item – many people do need a visit from a caring person or a shoulder to cry on occasionally – kind of like a support dog. haha

        2. hermit us,

          In all seriousness, a lot of folks talk of being a “lone wolf” or “loner” if things get tough, but companionship goes a long way in such times. Folks need someone to share their anxieties and fears, as well as their successes and triumphs.

          Sam, my yard dog, is going nuts. Guess I need to go out and join him in keeping the pasture boogers at bay. Good night all, and may God bless ya’ll, as He has me.

        3. To those who talk about being the ‘lone wolf’ or ‘loner’, imagine a security situation where there is an assailant approaching the property from the front and one from the rear at the same time. You notice the person coming from the front and since you are focusing on the front person, you don’t see one coming from the back. How would the super soldier Rambo loner deal with this situation? This just proves the old adage ‘there’s strength in numbers’. Besides, being holed up alone for an extended period of time, talk about some serious cabin fever.

  23. Again, it depends on the type of situation. Full-on SHTF I’m going dark for a while and probably won’t have much to “barter” until things settle down. Economic downturn or other events that drive people to barter but aren’t WROL, different rules apply.

    With that being said, I have a stockpile of seeds. I have other stuff people might need and be willing to barter for, but I’m not stockpiling for barter. (Start the dogpile on my mark…)

    1. No dogpile here Lauren. Theoretically, if one preps right, barter should be unnecessary. I don’t plan for barter, but I know it will, at some point be needed. Having more than you need of something, especially non-perishables (or at least items with long shelf lives) is not foolish. Old farts like myself, who have accumulated redundancy in tools and equipment over the years, struggle with the desire to sell some of it off, knowing you will not need all of it any more, but then, you think of it’s value if things go seriously south.

      1. Dennis, seeing as you have a desire to unload some redundancies, let’s make a deal. I’ll trade yours for mine. Okay? Just leave yours in a pile here and I’ll pick it up and leave my here tomorrow. Okay?

  24. – Several people have mentioned “hunting”. Well, “hunting” as currently happens is probably pretty unlikely, like picnicking. More likely is out working on your garden/cutting wood and you notice an animal at the edge of where you are working/looking, and pick up the .22 you have at hand and “Reduce the thing to possession”. Also currently known as poaching, but…
    That and traps like Conibear, leg hold, etc. will likely supply the majority of game meat consumed. Get used to it.

    1. Papa Smurf,

      Yep. I figure deer to be almost non-existent within a year. Rabbits and squirrel, maybe a year. Possum, coon, and man’s best friend will be last to become table fare. Songbirds, crows etc, will become targets. In areas such as mine, folks with cattle will have to be very vigilant early on. My mother spoke of my grand dad going out at night taking Robin from their roosts during the depression years. Meat is meat.

  25. Lots of good replies here about barter situations. The type of SHTF situation would determine the time to do a barter scenario, if at all, for us . We do have some items set aside that could be used for barter.Mostly tools, seeds, clothes , food and some meds. Alcohol and ammo would be very questionable things for us to barter. We would not consider going to a ” barter fair” because it may attract vermin out on a scouting trip .
    In a full grid down event we would not consider barter for awhile. Basically we would wait for the herd to thin and the dust to settle and then barter only with people we had trust in .The “settling” time may take awhile , perhaps quite awhile.

  26. I’d add a variety of different kinds of tubing, ranging from small and clear (like aquarium hose) to large (like lawn hose). Its amazing all the things that require tubing. And it goes bad fairly quickly especially when it is in contact with petroleum products and chemicals. Can be adapted for water lines, gas lines, siphon hoses, and much more.

  27. + On the subject of personal hygiene, how about barbering? I still have DW’s great-grandfather’s hand powered barber tools. That should provide a small income stream in SHTF, even without barber college. A couple of pairs of hand shears combs, and brushes don’t eat much, or require a lot of storage space. I do know how to use the things already. Long ago learned to use a straight razor.
    – Papa S.

    1. Papa, folks will like to have a bit normalcy in their life and a good cut and shave will do that. I read that during the depression woman would scrounge for a few cents just to have some lipstick or rouge as they use to call it. I have learned to do a fair hair cut myself. Perhaps consider adding several shaving soap bars to have on hand too.

  28. in following the comments on this topic, I would like to point out one thing not addressed by the movies ( i.e.. Walking Dead.) or other post apocalyptic scenarios:

    shelf life of barter items. or items in general.

    Veteran mentioned medications and IV solutions: they have a shelf life of generally less than a year. The best Use By date is a suggestion butt it is no guarantee. The next time you are in a pharmacy within the US or Canada, take a look at the expiration dates on the medications you use. Then do yourself a favor and go look at the expiration dates on the meds sold within the nearest “big box discount store”. Things sold at a discount are usually very close to reaching their listed date of expiration.

    Many people have voted in for setting aside ammo for years. I got some startling news for many: Gunpowder is an organic compound that can break down and become even more unstable than the original product. If you have and store gunpowder in quantity, first off, do not tell your local fire department. Next, keep your powder stored in an area that is temperature stable and relatively low humidity. If kept indoors and away from extremes of Summer heat and Winter freeze and humidity, smokeless powder can be used for 10+ years.

    Same that was said of smokeless powder can be applied to Black Powder, Primers, black powder substitutes and loaded ammunition. Store it in a clean dry temperature stable location and think twice before dropping the hammer on that old shell with the green corrosion on the brass.

    In reading the literature of Frankford Arsenal, they did studies on the shelf life of ammunition. Since reading that article, I stored my loaded ammo and components as stated above. I also write the date on my reloaded ammo for the past 20 years.

    1. Cali, I have pondered the reasoning behind expiration dates on IV bags, Sterile water doe not expire not does sodium or chloride. Fluids with dextrose might be another concern but if unsure about giving IV rectally might be a better option.

      1. The man at the head of the class was always hollering. He said to look for cloudy bags or stuff floating. if cloudy or crap floating, don’t use it.

  29. i would think the ability to FORGE stuff like knives swords hell even cast iron pots and pans would be a worth while skill as well and KNOWLEDGE IN GENERAL would be worth something

    1. A great trade skill to have. If all of the horses haven’t been eaten they will need shoes too.


    Remember, there shall be no Game Wardens, no rules, and no restrictions. If you wish, you can BAIT the animals, MINE their trails, TRAP them in any fashion, and set up powerful night lights at the baited clearing, where your concealed machine guns can easily mow down an entire flock of deer in a few seconds. Fishing with explosives, nets, live fingerlings, fish traps, snags..etc.

    In any case, most critters will be eaten in pretty short order and survivors will be enticed to vegetarianism.

  31. Can picture Dennis setting in a sand bagged bunker with his Madeuce waitin for the dear to clear the anti personnel line,,,
    A friend of mine takes a doe off his front porch with his compound bow every other week or so, the deer have gotten so used to it they dont even spook anymore, sort of surprising actually.

    1. Tommyboy,

      In my area, there are a few residents who were raised on subsistence hunting, i.e., providing venison, etc for their family consumption year round. It was (and is) a way of life. The game wardens are aware of this and make no real effort to stop it.

  32. response to me: The only place I found expired IV solutions was in a conex container outside the VA hospital in Palo Alto when I was in school. There were homeless goblins about after dark so the floor nurses sent me out with my big flashlight/club to get more IV solution bags. The color of the plastic had changed due to exposure to heat and temperature extremes and I had to check the dates prior to bringing in the “new” bags. To date, the VA facilities are the only places where I found old/beyond expiration date IV bags.

    Response to those who think of hunting as “mad minute” to test function of your fully automatic weapons system:. I do not want to be anywhere near you when I go hunting. I am the hunter that goes and knocks on the front door in order to ask permission. A fenced and posted property is a pen for livestock and, by extension, part of a person’s home.

    My background? I was never in the military but I was a police officer for years and a member of the tactical team for 3 of those years as one of several designated marksmen. It worries me to read many postings on survival blogs that advocate “superiority of firepower” over and above shot placement. ( for the record, I hunt with a bolt action rifle with a magazine that holds 5 rounds or less. One shot per target please.)

    One of these days, I may be knocking on the front door of Dennis, NRP, hermit us or other posters here that live in the boondocks. To cap off a round on posted land without permission is a sure way to bring on a hostile response. Just remember that tickle you feel on your spine may be the crosshairs of a rifle that belongs to the rightful landowner.

    1. CaliRefugee,
      Well said. Seems you were raised with the same hunter’s ethics I was taught. You’d be welcome to hunt on my farm anytime.

    2. Calirefugee,

      I’ll reserve a cot for you and your’s. You’re my kind of people. Your Japanese ancestry, I’m Anglo/Irish. That’s what’s on the outside. Brotherhood is what’s inside the cover.

    3. Cali, good point on the plastic. Hadn’t considered that. We used to write on the IV bags with sharpies until somebody figured out the if the ink stuck to the plastic it could also leech into the fluid. I never heard of anybody being harmed by it but it does make sense.

      Nursing runs in the family, Grandma was a nurse, I was a nurse then my Mom was a nurse. Never seemed quite fair, I had a license before Mom but she got to retire before me. One thing she did was take a nursing tour to Russia. she watched the nurses mix IVs. pour the water in to the bottle, add the salt and stir with a little wooden paddle. the fluid was given through gum rubber tubing.. Very basic. everything could be re-sterilized and reused.

      In Vietnam we carried cans of albumin which was used as a blood expander for folks who were trying to bleed out. Very basis setup came with three needles. one to stick in the bootle one to stick in the patient and a long one to vent the bottle It was administered though gum rubber tubing. Have not thought about that in a very long time. Plastic IV bags were developed bu the military as they could survive air drops much better that the glass one.

      We did use glass bottles too. I was dusted off to he 85th evac and fortunately able to return to duty a few days later. While there I noticed all of the old IV bottles were being broken up and thrown under the wire around the compound.

      1. – me –
        Good recall on the cans of albumin and the three needles. I remember asking about those needles and what the heck the long one was for!

        About that same time, as a new boot medic, we were run through CMS (Central Materiel Supply) to learn the names of the various instruments and how to package them to run the autoclave. We still had the stuff to make up the glass bottles sitting in the shelves in the corner, and I was told that occasionally they would still have to make up special orders and would use those. We still used the glass bottles then, but were beginning to see the new plastic bags.

        As far as the gum rubber tubing, I was in Tractor Supply the other day and noticed the same setup for a veterinary IV, The clerk told me it was for ranchers who were too cheap to spring for new tubing each time. I almost bought a couple of sets just to stash in my whatever kit.

        – Papa S.

    4. Calirefugee

      You’re more than welcome in these boondocks. Just head north then veer west.

  33. Me, so true,..Sepsis is often fatal even IN medical care facilities….. Preventing occurance , is a valuable skill for BARTER,(To stay on topic) Knowing and monitoring a group for medical needs, sometimes even before they are aware of an impending crisis, as is using herbals and knowing what antibiotics to give within your knowledge. The info is free on the internet… for now investigate herbals. I hae posted the list …before… Know how to take a temp, yes oral and rectal, extra thermometers and covers if avail, if not you best know how to clean the thermometer. Know how to take a blood pressure., respiratory rate, observef or andy symptoms that may lead to sepsis. things like checking ppl with impaired pain awareness for injury or infection…monitoring sinus issues( often lead to sinus infection and bronchial problems and pneumonia.)…urinary tract infections, esp in elderly often cause sepsis…know how to monitor for early indicators. strong urine, changes in skin color( flushing- fever) Know what herbals to give and how to administer for quickest and best absorbtion…

  34. The most valuable trade item is skills to do things others can’t do.
    Along with a collection of tools and parts this skill will keep giving for years.

    It’s also a very good skill to be able to salvage broken things and get them working again and kit-bash them into new useful items. A bad SHTF event will take away the supply chain and goods will be hard to find and expensive. If you are good at salvaging things and re-purposing them you will have an income.

    There is NEVER enough skilled repair people to do all that needs to be done.

    Become one of the repair people (and get very good at it) and you will never want for work regardless of the condition of the economy.

    It’s real simple. Supplies run out, skills don’t.

  35. With a potential breakdown of civil society and living in a world with no Rule of Law, the law of the land would revert back to the contracts of honorable people within short order. Much of how I gained access to areas to hunt were by following the conditions put forth by the land owner. ( TO THE LETTER! ). Frequently there was no paper involved and the contract was sealed with a handshake or a bottle of a favorite brand or “Organic Parts Cleaner”. Business in the rural areas that are rich in equipment butt cash poor is still conducted in such a manner.

    During the Ammo shortage of 2012 I believe a passed on stories of giving away 17 HMR ammo to farmer/landowners that were unable to find any within their county. I gave away many boxes to my guide, several hay farmers and made many friends that trip. Business is still being done in that fashion today and just a few years ago.

    To Dennis and many other posters out there that are teaching the next generation to shoot and hunt, please teach them discretion and fire discipline. This was an integral lesson I learned through the years. I lost access to a prime piece of Coastal Farm/ranch land because another idiot blasted the flock of “Pet Turkeys” that the land owners were feeding each day for their enjoyment and pleasure. Examples like this may be the reason why many choose to hunt alone or in very small groups.

    Think a bit before you pull that trigger…

  36. It’s raining here again so I can’t work outside. I’m stuck inside and my reloading is caught up. I get to see some of what you folks post. I can’t help but look at our most recent example of societal collapse which is the socialist utopia of Venezuela. There is plenty of reading for you folks. You just gotta go search for it. It would seem to me that first and foremost those people are hurting for food. And they are hurting for food in a country with a very good climate for growing food. There is very little meat, milk, and eggs available. There are fruits and vegetables somewhat available. Their money is worthless. They barter for just about everything from the middle class down. Women are selling themselves. It is a sad state of affairs for those people.

    During Y2K, we had a bunch of people buy land all around us. They showed up and built houses and gardens. I think they thought that it would be easy. It weren’t. They mostly left and sold their farms by 2003. A few stayed and they learned. I’m proud to call them neighbors now. It took them years to learn farming is about fixing your soil first and adapting your crops to what you can’t fix. They also learned that “exotic hobby farms” are worthless. There is a reason most folks kept hogs, chickens, goats, and rabbits more than cattle in years past. You gotta have a lot of land with good grass and water for a cattle operation.

    I would add one thing about ammo. I’ve never talked to another person who has seen the elephant who thinks you can have too much ammo. And I wouldn’t trade my ammo. I would trade a trinket or a simple service to an outsider but that’s about it. In my circle I would trade food and personal items I knew they needed. Again, I point to Venezuela. Trading outside your group gets your robbed and/or killed.

    Finally, I think water is way more important than people admit. Unless you can go out back to your well, you have a water issue. And the next issue is how are your going to treat your water? Dysentery has killed more people in years past than anything. Again, look at Venezuela. Dysentery is ravaging those people.

    I hope y’all have a good day. And thanks for all that y’all write. This old man enjoys seeing other points of view.

    Avoid crowds and keep your powder dry.


    1. BGinTX
      Excellent post bud,
      Venezuela is a perfect example, it also didnt happen all at once.

  37. While I admittedly haven’t read all the comments, has anyone mentioned and/or what are your thoughts on “the world’s oldest profession” ? I think it is a subject that will absolutely become an issue, and how would you and your tribe handle it?

    1. I don’t think that would fall under the category of “Items” or even “Skills”. Perhaps “Situations”.

      1. Old Chevy;
        OR both an Item AND a Skill????
        Can’t believe I actually said that… HAHAHAH

      2. Careful, could be a trap. And without modern drugs, that minute of pleasure could be your death.

      3. It isn’t really a legitimate topic since it isn’t a legitimate service and a website such as this only considers practices that are legal. If it isn’t legal now with the rule of law it isn’t legal when there is no enforcement of law.

        It really is more about self-defense of one’s own kin and preservation of societal morals.

        1. I think it would be something we would have to deal with…there will always be people willing to do it,…just an intellectual exercise, but how would it be dealt with…personally, I do not see an issue with prostitution per se, you are free to do as you wish with your own body, pimping is another thing entirely…seems to me it has always been around, there is no reason to believe it wont still be around, so yes it actually is a legitimate topic, especially considering the topic of barter, the question becomes, how does it get dealt with?

        2. Okay, I’ll pull up a chair and a bowl of popcorn as you converse on the topic.

  38. “…flock of deer…” is new to me, kind of like a “herd of ducks..”?

  39. The best thing you can barter with is your skills. If you can provide a valuable service or teach people necessary skills, you can trade safely without fear of people coming back for more stuff.
    If you do decide to trade tangible items, trade only with people you know very well and can trust. I would not trade with strangers. Close-knit communities are important.
    And NEVER tell people you are a prepper or what you have.

  40. ken,
    i just found this post and i think it’s something to think about with the supply issues now.
    reading glasses and bic lighters are just a few things i put back in quantities for myself and for possible trade.
    i can still buy reading glasses at our local piggly wiggly for less than two bucks, they are not tacti cool but they work. when you need em, you need em. it’s hard to do anything if you can’t see. i buy one or two pairs every so often when we go to town, they add up.
    some hardware items like nails and screws would be OK to trade ( when i run low on these items i buy them in 50Lb boxes so that i’ll have them for the next project or three) but i would never trade out food or ammo ,or let anyone know that i had much of either. if they wanted to trade food or ammo for what i have, good.
    i’ll always have someone armed and watching the treeline when trading if things go really really bad.
    DW is a great shot. no snowflake’s in her : )

  41. My list includes lots of clean empty food grade containers, for my own usage and also as bartering, gifting, large bulk items such as water, flour, rice, sugar, salt and the list goes on. My favorite is saving the plastic water bottles from wallyworld and reusing as container of water from my big berkey.

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