Barter Anyone?


This is a list of some possible items that you might have extra of in your house to trade with if something were to happen that would require operating in a bater economy.  We encourage people to buy only what they will personally use, and rotate through these stocks like they would with any other items. 

For those of you that are wondering about the absence of alcohol or cigarettes on the list – they were left off of my list because we do not use them and these would potentially open us up to additional risk that I do not want to expose my family to.  If you have any questions about items that are on the list or other suggestions to include, please feel free to leave me a comment!  I will do my best to answer your questions.

On a side note, we don’t have everything on this list, so we hope you do so we can trade with you!  smiley


List of 99+ Possible Barter Items


  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Sugar
  4. Salt & Pepper
  5. Skills (carpentry, sewing, metal working, plumbing, etc)
  6. Spices (whole spices store longer)
  7. Hot sauces
  8. Hard Candy
  9. Bibles (personal opinion is they should be given away)
  10. Kitchen and wooden matches
  11. Needles and sewing items
  12. Duct tape
  13. Pencils
  14. Pens
  15. Paper
  16. Note pads
  17. Toilet paper (will be a luxury item)
  18. Tooth paste (and a recipe on making more)
  19. Baking soda
  20. Tooth brushes
  21. Soap
  22. Rubbing alcohol
  23. First Aid items
  24. Over the counter meds (allergy meds are often over looked)
  25. Antibiotic creams (especially w/ analgesic)
  26. Antifungal creams
  27. Reading glasses and contact solution
  28. Socks (wool and non-cotton are premium  items)
  29. Tarps
  30. Plastic Sheets
  31. Tools for gardening
  32. Gloves
  33. Hand Tools
  34. How-to manuals (use, don't trade)
  35. Ammunition (22LR small in size & weight)
  36. Water Filters
  37. Firewood (seasoned wood will go fast)
  38. Two-stroke oil for chainsaws
  39. Chainsaw blades
  40. Coleman fuel
  41. Knives
  42. Axes
  43. Saws
  44. Sharpening Stones
  45. Manual Can Openers
  46. Vegetable Oil (for cooking and lighting)
  47. Lighter Fluids
  48. Disposable lighters
  49. Magnesium fire starters
  50. Kerosene
  51. Charcoal
  52. Diapers (disposable or cloth)
  53. Baby Wipes (Do not store long term)
  54. Washboard
  55. Laundry Detergent
  56. Vitamins
  57. Tampons
  58. Condoms
  59. Warm Clothing
  60. Thermal Underwear
  61. Underwear
  62. Belts or belt punch (people will be losing weight)
  63. Aluminum Foil
  64. Garbage Bags
  65. Paper Towels (will become a luxury)
  66. Garden Seeds (Non-GMO and Non-hybrid)
  67. Clothes Piins
  68. Fishing Line, hooks and other fishing items
  69. Batteries
  70. Solar Calculators
  71. Flashlights
  72. Garbage Cans (metal especially)
  73. Sunscreen
  74. Sunglasses
  75. Nail Clippers
  76. Bug Repellent
  77. Rope (especially heavy load rated ones such as for rappelling)
  78. Nylon Cord
  79. Candles
  80. Canning Jars and Lids
  81. Bicycle Tire Tubes
  82. Bicycle Chains
  83. Tire patch kits (use, don't trade)
  84. Air pump (use, don't trade)
  85. Board Games
  86. Playing Cards and dice
  87. Kids coloring books and crayons
  88. Rodent traps
  89. Razors
  90. Tang (1 serving-100% Vitamin C for a day)
  91. Glue
  92. Non-Scented Bleach (the liquid only stores for about a year before you need to replace it)
  93. Cleaning Supplies
  94. Hats (especially wide brimmed ones)
  95. Locks (pad locks and gun locks)
  96. Binoculars
  97. Slingshot and replacement bands
  98. Solar Recharging station (will be a great on-going income item)
  99. Barter Coins (pre-1964 silver dimes, quarters and half dollars and Pre-1982 copper pennies)


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2 Responses to

Barter Anyone?

  1. Matt says:

    A couple additional thoughts came to mind as I read your list.
    First, regarding knife sharpeners: There are a lot of different systems out there, making it possible to sharpen a knife well without too much practice. But I've also learned from a lot of reading and practice with various old-school sharpening stones that if you can learn to sharpen a knife without one of the fancy, pre-angled systems, you can often end up with more edge options that can significantly improve the performance of a blade and in some cases can produce a much longer-lasting edge.
    For example, carving knives for fine, delicate work tend to work better with a fairly small angle and a very refined edge, which you get by working from a courser stone down to a very fine stone, and finally a leather strop with compound. A knife used in the kitchen for vegetables, on the other hand, may actually perform better with a bit of a toothier edge. However, a toothier edge won't stay sharp as long, as a rule. And for a knife that's going to see harder use–perhaps being used to baton through firewood, for example–you'll want to sharpen it with a steeper angled edge and get the edge as closely to glassy smooth as possible, since any "teeth" in the edge may lead to folding and chipping in the edge when it impacts knots or other hard spots in the wood.
    Anyway, my general thought is that the fancier sharpening systems will probably be better for trade, where most people probably won't have any practice with sharpening, but if you're interested in learning more traditional sharpening skills, you will also have another skill that could be useful in barter. And in a pinch, when no sharpening tools are available, if you know what you're doing you can improvise by sharpening on a flat rock, an old brick, the edge of a car window, or even the rough bottom edge of a coffee cup or plate. Recently I went to use the kitchen knife in our breakroom at work and noticed that it was horribly dull. We didn't have a sharpener available, but using the bottom of a coffee cup, in about five minutes I had an edge that shave the hair off my arm. :-)
    The other thought is regarding fire starting. In addition to lighters and fuel, another barter skill that might at some point come in handy is fire-making skills. Granted, in most cases people will probably be able to get by with propane or charcoal briquet fires, but in a more prolonged off-grid situation, people may have trouble lighting fires. Perhaps there's some value in learning how to easily build and light a traditional wood fire in case the need every arises? The more I've learned about different ways to build a fire, selecting natural tinder, making wood shavings, etc.–and practicing those skills–the more I've realized how much practice it really takes to become proficient. And it seems that if someone was interested in developing those skills, they could come in handy down the road if others are struggling to get their cooking fires going.
    Also, showing people how to make rocket stoves out of tin cans, bricks, etc., seems like it might be a useful skill at some point.
    Just a couple thoughts from a bushcraft hobbyist's perspective. What are your thoughts from a much more experienced prepper perspective?

    • Andrew says:


      I agree with you about the knife sharpeners – being able to get a better edge using multiple angles. I would say that most people prefer to do it the easy way, so they would be happy as long as it was sharp when they started using it. The knife sharpening items for barter would be something I would trade with someone so that they could get extra income sharpening other people’s knives. This is something that is more along the lines of a protracted disruption in service rather than something that would only last for a season. It is a way that someone like you could set up a mini-franchise system of a sort to equip or set others up to keep other peoples knives in working order. As for the short term, people do not have the time to learn the multiple angles techniques, so a cheater system is a good fill-in for the short term.

      The fire-making skills and teaching how to build a rocket stove are great barter skills in theory. The problem I see with it is that once you teach someone how to do it, they can do the same with all of their friends which means you have lost that potential customer base. With the making of fire, I would say go ahead and teach people to do these things, but have a system in place or that could easily be put into place so that you can make something such as char-cloth to barter with the people that you have taught. This is a much more sustainable barter item.

      By the way, I loved that you sharpened a knife with a coffee cup! That type of thinking is what keeps people going in tough situations.


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