Top Barter Items For Survival Situations

Top Barter Items For Survival Situations


Barter items for survival food when the SHTF
What barter items are important enough to others that they would give up food?


This news letter courtesy  of:

Survive the coming


Survival Diva here to discuss an important, life-saving tactic that too many Preppers leave out of their preparedness plan. We may think we have everything covered for survival, but what if we’ve prepared for six months or a year when a crisis comes that lingers for years? Few of us have the resources to put three, four, or five years of food storage and preparedness goods aside, but depending upon the emergency, we may need to figure out how to make it through a breakdown in infrastructure lasting that long.

As David has said before, the “stuff” that you store up is only there to help you get from one predictable source of provisions to the next.  It won’t last forever, but it will give you time to figure out or set up sustainable solutions.

One of the most obvious choices for developing a sustainable food supply is through gardening…specifically with heirloom seed that can be dried and used season after season. In my opinion heirloom seed is imperative for long term survival. We will need a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits to combat appetite fatigue and for good health, especially when food storage begins to dwindle. If you can afford the cost, adding heirloom seed to your bartering goods stash will give you plenty of bartering leverage.

But that’s just the beginning…there’s always more when it comes to prepping. The truth is there is no possible way to plan for every emergency. To do that we would need to be clairvoyant, able to see in the future of what our needs will be at every juncture. In the real world the very best we can do is to get ready for the most likely calamities and be prepared to barter for the rest.

Bartering doesn’t have to involve food and preparedness goods, although survival-specific goods will be invaluable during a prolonged crisis. Bartering can just as easily involve skills. For instance, I purchased an antique treadle sewing machine that operates by a foot pedal and does not require electricity to run.  I plan to take on sewing projects, and have made that known to folks in my small community who are Preppers.  A nearby neighbor has taken up blacksmithing in preparation for grid-down that will allow him to barter for what he needs during a long-term crisis. Hunting, fishing, carpentry, home canning, farming/gardening, auto repair, small engine repair, welding, plumbing, blade sharpening, cooking, taking in laundry, midwifery, wood gathering & splitting, wild game processing and curing,  medical, dentistry, veterinary, chemist, teaching, babysitting, ice making, water purification, beekeeping, and tactical/protection skills are others that will be in huge demand when the going gets tough.

Bartering may mean trading one skill for another, or it can involve trading preparedness goods for skills, or it may simply be trading goods for goods. At a time when retailers and grocers are shut tight, dollar for dollar trades will not likely be as important as it is today.  For instance, a doctor who typically charges $120 for an office visit who is in need of a welder who normally charges $60 per hour is likely to trade services equally when the need is great enough.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine a time when gold and silver won’t be as valuable as critical survival goods. Yes, gold and silver will continue to increase in value and are excellent investments, but in my opinion it is better to invest in gold and silver after necessary preparedness goods have been purchased. The next layer to insulate yourself against doing without is to either develop skillsets that’ll be needed during a crisis, or to put bartering goods aside. Imagine how priceless a simple shovel would be for the person who needs to dig a hole for an outhouse or must prepare land for gardening would be. What about the person with a basement full of canned goods who must replace a broken can opener for a working one?

That’s why I always recommend an heir and a spare. Redundancy is the key for long-term survival. In fact, I’d up the ante and state that if you didn’t have a third shovel or can opener; I wouldn’t risk bartering the only replacement you have.

Once you’ve provided for at least an heir and a spare of critical preparedness goods, the remainder will make for great bartering potential. So, what are the most likely items people will barter just about anything for when SHTF? The list below is fairly long and much like bartering for skills, bartering for goods may not necessarily jive for the cost of an item, but more for its need and serviceability. It may mean that shovel or can opener may have more value than a chainsaw for someone whose gasoline supply ran out. Should you happen to have a good supply of gasoline squirreled away and you are in need of a chain saw or replacement parts, such a bartering agreement might be possible.

Items like salt, yeast, body soap, bleach, and reading glasses (think dollar store) cost next to nothing and there will be a huge demand for them. The list supplied below includes many items already mentioned in the recent post Top 50 Preparedness Items (and why)  for the simple reason that these items are must-haves because they are pivotal for survival.

The following list does not include pricier items such as a generator, tree-felling ax, water purifiers, or camp stoves. They will provide incredible bartering power but you must first decide if the risk of theft and their high cost are worth it. On the other hand, selecting just a few of the bartering goods listed (purchased in gross) will give you bartering mussel.

Ammo was included with the list, but as David points out in his book, Bartering and Negotiating in Post-Disaster Survival Situations (Which is included in David’s “Ultimate Survival” package) it is risky to let strangers know you have a cache of ammunition or guns and is best bartered with those you know you can trust.

Bartering Goods That’ll Be Worth Their Weight In Gold

Again, this is a partial list and a more comprehensive list is included in David’s book on Urban Survival Bartering.  MANY of these items fall under multiple categories, but are only listed under a single one in this list.



Baking soda



Cooking Oil

Assorted Spices

Can Opener

Canning Supplies

Heirloom Seed




(Included in Tools & Misc)


Water Containers





Stabilized Fuel—any kind

Gas Stabilizer

Two-Stroke Oil

Chainsaw Oil


Solar Battery Chargers


Cloth Diapers

Baby Wipes


Body Soap

Dish Soap

Laundry Soap

Toilet Paper

Reading Glasses

Dental Floss



Band Aides

Ace Bandages

Pain Medicine

Fever Reducer Medicine





Cough Drops


Feminine Pads

Hemorrhoid Cream

Antibiotic Cream

Latex Gloves


Camp Toilet



Pepper Spray




Heavy Mil Plastic

2 X 4’s


Plywood sheets

Nails, Screws, Washers—Assorted Sizes



Work Gloves

Garden Tools

Garden Gloves

Philips Screwdriver

Flathead Screwdriver

Duct Tape

Knife Sharpening Stone

Tire Repair

Ziplock bags

Aluminum foil

Plastic wrap (Large packing wrap and kitchen wrap)





Fishing Line

Plastic Bags



Emergency Candles

Oil Lamps

Replacement Wicks and Chimneys for Oil Lamps

Lamp Oil

Mosquito Repellant






Fire Extinguisher

CO Detector

Fire Alarm

Automobile Repair Tools

So, what would you add to the list? What is your opinion of investing in high-end preparedness items…good idea, or bad? If you have learned new skillsets, or have existing ones you would suggest to the group for bartering leverage, please share by commenting below!

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

To view the comments, or, to add your own, click here

Click here to return to top of the page

Click here to return to main page