10 Great Bartering Items for When the SHTF – Final Prepper

10 Great Bartering Items for When the SHTF

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Say what you will about paper money, but it sure has made the process of buying things convenient. And plastic credit cards… well, perhaps they make purchasing a little TOO convenient. But what will happen when the day comes when paper money is no longer issued or backed by the government? What will happen when our credit and debit cards slide for the last time? Commerce and industry will never disappear, there will always be people buying, trading and selling. The only difference will be how they will be doing it once today’s money looses its value. So, below we’ve put together a list of 10 bartering items that will be worthy of trading for those days ahead, on the other side of that moment we call when the SHTF…


If you know how to do something and another person doesn’t, and the other person needs to know how to do that thing, then you have something of value. Some examples of knowledge that would be valuable for those days after the SHTF could be things such as an understanding of gardening and growing foods, basic medical knowledge, an understanding of herbs and medicines, skill in animal husbandry, skill in midwifery, skill in hunting, tracking or defense. Even a skill in storytelling might help you come out ahead at times. I mean, everyone wants someone fun to sit around the fire with!

So, while you’re preparing for those days ahead and storing your food and water, don’t neglect yourself or your brain. With the right decisions and knowledge what you see when you look in the mirror might be the most valuable bartering object you have!



Everyone needs fabric to keep themselves and their loved ones protected and warm and if the factories aren’t running eventually there will be a shortage. What fabrics you would want to save depend on where you live and what your lifestyle is. Lighter fabrics might be somewhat valuable in warmer climates, but in the cold and the mountains thick wool fabric can be a literal lifesaver. Whether it’s mending a ripped coat, or stitching a new pair of pants for a growing child, sometimes a thin layer of fabric is the only thing we have between us and a cold death.

Precious Metals


We humans have used precious metals like gold and silver for trading for tens of thousands of years. Usually precious metal is traded in coin form. Gold and silver coins are considered valuable due to their scarcity (there is not a lot of it and it’s hard to mine) and their how small and easily transportable they are.

While gold and silver coins will likely always have some degree of value you still can’t eat them or wear them, they won’t keep you warm and they won’t keep you out of the rain. Because of that gold and silver coins won’t likely have much value in the days immediately after the SHTF because people will be more worried about more immediate needs (like food and protection). But, once things start to calm down and an economy begins to reform it’s more than likely that gold and silver coins will once again claim value.



When I say “shoes” I don’t mean only shoes. What I really mean is any type of item that is both necessary and that also wears out with regular and sustained use. Shoes are simply a good example of this sort of item. This doesn’t mean I suggest you clear out the back portion of your garage and stock up on shoes the next time the shoe store has a sale. I’m simply reminding you that people aren’t going to want to have bare feet. And if you have shoes… well then…

Survival Gear

Yes, I know this is a huge category. It’s spans everything from knives to tents, from water purifiers to binoculars. But there is no denying that when things go south objects and items that help people stay alive will be in great demand and any item in great demand has trading value. With this in mind, when you upgrade to new equipment you might not want to throw out the old stuff. That old pair of binocs, while perhaps not something you’ll be using anytime soon, might be worth a week (or a month) worth of food to the right person.

Canned Food

This is an obvious one. We humans need food every day, but every day lots of food spoils or goes bad. Canned and bottled food is the answer to this problem. When properly stored some canned and bottled food can last for decades or more. That’s a lot of flexibility in food storage. And, if after a couple years you’re sick of your bottled green beans then perhaps you can find someone else who’s sick of their bottled beets and boom! You’ve got a trade (and thankful taste buds).



Another obvious one. Guns, guns and more guns. Whether it’s a .22 or a .306, a pistol or a shotgun, few things will be more valuable than guns for when the SHTF. Guns can be used to provide food for yourself and your family, they can be used to protect your loved ones and to defend your own food. Perhaps one of the most valuable thing about guns isn’t shooting them at all, but simply the knowledge that you could shoot if you needed to.

One caveat that comes with bartering guns, make sure you trust who you’re trading the gun(s) to. A gun doesn’t care who’s holding it, it’s a tool, nothing more. And a gun in the wrong hand can do immense degrees of harm to you and the ones you love. So, if you have enough guns and see a value in trading feel free to do so, but don’t hand a gun over to a man or woman who will be likely to simply turn the gun around and use it on you.



Even if you don’t drink it, chances are there will be someone nearby you that does, and they might be willing to trade you quite a bit for the chance to taste a bit of alcohol again.

Plus, alcohol can be used for more than just drinking. It can be used as a cleaning liquid, as a solvent, as a fuel and even as a preservative! And as long as the bottles are kept closed alcohol will store for basically forever. If you’ve got shelves full of canned and bottled food then you might want to consider adding a bottle or two, or twenty, of alcohol to your collection. You just never know when it will come in handy, and you never know just how much someone else will be willing to trade for it.

Dried Foods

Dried foods are in the same category as canned and bottled foods. The only difference is that the fact that they are dried means they are lighter and easier to transport. Because of this, dried foods will find their greatest value in a society or world that is moving and transitory. If you live in a cabin in the woods then you might want to invest in bottled foods. If you’re living in a tent and moving around then dried foods will be your best caloric value.



And here we are, item #1, what some might argue could, at the end of the day, be the most valuable trading item for those days on the far side of that moment where the SHTF. Bullets. Bullets? You might ask. Why would bullets be so valuable?

A handful of reasons. First, like precious metals, bullets are both difficult to manufacture and they are small and easily transported. Plus, like food or fabric, bullets have a utility value since they can be used to keep you and your loved ones alive. Like canned or bottled food, bullets have a very long “shelf life”. In addition, guns are mostly worthless without bullets so, if your neighbor is the guy with all the guns, and you are the one with all the bullets then chances are you’ll have a lot to talk about.

Many different types of bullets can also be reloaded and used multiple times as well. Due to all these elements, bullets will always have a great value in a post SHTF world.

At the end of the day, intelligence should be used while you prepare for the future and when you are preparing and prepping be sure you make the best purchases, especially with the goal of being able to barter in that strange new world.


  1. Ed Bradford

    February 24, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I really enjoy a lot of what you have posted but there is one point which is not addressed. Where are you going to go? Look at where you live, 1/2 of the population lives east of the Mississippi and 1/4 live in proximity to the west coast. If you follow and understand Agenda 21 and you realize that EVERY sq. foot of the U.S. is photographed every 2 weeks and will be more if SHTF there will be nowhere to hide. I don’t care if you have a multi-million dollar compound in the Rockies above the mosquito line, you will have to defend it and for how long? Are you going to get out in time to survive and for how long?
    EVERY major conflict in the last 500 or so years has been in the northern hemisphere. Why if something other than a short term hiccup in your daily routine happens wouldn’t you be prepared for the long haul and survival not just delaying the inevitable? The land in the US is contaminated by everything from AG. chemicals and airborne chemicals that have been raining down since the industrial revolution started and just getting worse by the day to second hand drug company toxins. I won’t even start on the whole Fukashima mess, polluting the whole north pacific.
    The answer to truly preparing is being ready for life as we know it ending. The US has been going down the road of self destruction for the last 40 years and just gaining speed. Medical care has been in the top three causes of death for the last 10 years. Our water, air and ground are polluted. Our banking/insurance system is robbing us blind. The stock market is manipulated and violence is escalating over EMOTIONAL B.S. and targeted news, if you can call it news.
    I realize all people don’t have the money to solve the biggest issues facing them in a true crisis but most people don’t have ALL the information. true preparedness isn’t only about having food, shelter and a flashlight. It’s about having a place to go and being smart enough not to wait till the last minute (when it may be too late) to put it into action.
    If you are going to be truly prepared you need a bolt hole and the common sense to get there before you can’t anymore. Sadly it won’t be in the US. It won’t be in the wilds of Canada, Mexico, Europe or Asia. Look where people ran during and after W.W.2, South America. Yes some unsavory types fled but it is a real option. Some countries there would not be an option but others are. people are seeing this and land prices are on the rise, where I chose to buy land prices have gone up 30-50% in the last 2 years but still a bargain considering what you get. Carrying costs are minimal, the farm I bought has everything needed to support about 25 people, food, water, irrigation, fertile uncontaminated soil and hydro power if wanted, I’m above the mosquito line and temps are never outside the 50-80 degree range year round. It can be done. I’ve done it but as things progress land will become more expensive, regulations tighten and it will become less likely to be able to accomplish. People are using the crisis in the US to take advantage of unsuspecting people in epic proportions so care is needed to accomplish this goal. I have made some connections to facilitate these projects. I’m not going to say there’s only a few left or hurry before it’s too late because there is plenty of opportunities but I will say, to get the most for your money there isn’t a lot of time to waste.

    • Robert Cording

      October 20, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Ed B. – and others.
      OK – That sounds good, but unfortunately most in the Northern Hemisphere
      don’t have the resources to move to South America.
      Consider this: Yes, it is good to be prepared – with the Survival items needed, along with the mentality and strength to continue over time. One aspect never mentioned is the Spiritual side of it. Do you really want to be prepared – Now – even if the S. doesn’t H.T.F. ? http://www.Answers4Today.com

    • Dennis

      October 20, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      I gave this idea serious consideration, and came to the conclusion that South and Central America are the definition of SHTF. They are what we all desire to avoid. You don’t have to wait to lose your human rights, to have no rights to property or self defense, and be an everlasting target of the government as well as your neighbors. That’s exactly what you are right now in those places. Thanks for the advice, but I’ll stay and fight with the underground here.

    • Pamela Lingerfelt

      October 30, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Are you suggesting Panama? what about Belize? I was getting alot of spam about buying in Belize?

  2. Farrell Stiver

    April 19, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Food, salt, sugar, spices

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