This article has been contributed by Todd Sepulveda, founder of the Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. Todd is also the editor of the semi-annual (and free) Preparedness Review.
Editor’s Note: Please share your barter ideas and prepper innovations in the comment section!
The idea of bartering gets a lot of attention in the Preparedness Community. Many preppers believe that when the SHTF and our economic system crashes, precious metals and bartering will be the system of exchange. As a result, preppers stockpile certain items that might be desired in a post-SHTF world.
There are many lists out there. From time to time, someone comes up with a new list that includes items that others haven’t considered. The thing that preppers need to remember is the difference between “needs” and “wants.” If you want to stockpile items, you should be concentrating on what people will “need” vs. what they might “want” in a post-SHTF situation. Of course, some people’s “wants” might be another’s “needs.” So, this can always be subjective.
I think about items that I would want if I was in a post-SHTF world. I try to imagine a typical day and what would be valuable to me and maybe to others. Below are three items that might be barter worthy if/when the SHTF.
Medicine – This is a no brainer. In a post-SHTF world, people are still going to need medicine and have health issues. Yes, if all hell breaks loose, those who know how to use herbs to heal will share with the rest, but that will take time and people will still need meds! However, what I want to highlight here is not just the stockpiling of meds, but the stockpiling and repackaging of medicines.
If you are planning on bartering with some sinus medicine, there is nothing that says that you have to barter away a whole bottle or package. This idea really hit home with me when I read one of Rawles’ books, I think Survivors. In the book, there is a character that stocks up on seeds. Later, she starts a bartering store and one of the things she barters with are seeds. But she doesn’t barter away the whole packet, she barters a few seeds for items that people might want/have. The same concept applies here with meds.
Above you will see some meds that I have in my Altoids First Aid Kit. I purchased the plastic bags at Walmart in the crafts section. In the pic, I have Advil, Sudafed and Benadryl. Wouldn’t it make sense to barter a small package of meds instead of the whole box or package? You could even barter away a combination package. Think like a business here!
If you choose to do this, keep all the meds in their original package until you need to barter them. Remember, medicine expires, but it doesn’t go bad, it just loses its potency. So rotate them, but never throw them away. And for those of you who just want to know this…just stay away from Tetracycline if you are concerned that it will harm you. I believe the issue with Tetracycline was fixed, but whatever…there are other options.
Air Horn – Air horns make a lot of noise…basically a big horn sound in a little can.
This might fall in the “wants” category, but it could easily find itself over in the “needs” category. Let me explain…
Make a Perimeter Alarm – What if you find yourself at your bug out retreat, camp ground, house, etc… after the SHTF with just your family. If you are not part of a big group that has trained and setup proper defenses, you might have to live in constant worry and fear that someone sneaks up on your family in the middle of the night. Setting up a perimeter alarm with an air horn is so simple and cheap, you will kick yourself for not having this option available to you. Check out this article over at Outdoor Life for more info.
Communicate with Far Away Neighbors – We camped out on our first couple of trips to my dad’s property in East Texas. We can see our closest neighbors behind us, but they are really far away. But still, in the woods, at night, sound travels. One evening, our neighbors decided to play loud music and shoot off a ton of firearms. This went on all hours of the night. I suspect that mom and dad weren’t home. It wasn’t very cool to have to try and sleep through all that, but it brought home the idea of how sound travels out there.
So in a post-SHTF world, you could setup with your neighbors that certain blasts on the air horn mean certain things. For example:
- 3 blasts of the horn = emergency come quick (could mean having to defend against others)
- 2 blasts of the horn = meet me half way, I have something to tell you
I’m sure there are other uses that we can come up with, feel free to share below.
Great Stuff Foam – You’ve seen this “stuff.” A big red can that shoots out expanding foam.
In a post-SHTF world, houses will shift, repairs will need to be made, holes will need to be sealed. If you are a carpenter and have the materials, this won’t be a big deal. But there are many who won’t have the skills and more than likely won’t have the materials since all the Home Depot’s will be closed. This stuff might come in real handy!
In closing, when it comes to stockpiling items for barter, I think you need to be real careful. You should first make sure you have the important preps taken care of: food, water, self-defense, medicine, shelter,etc… You also need to really think through what might be needed in a post-SHTF world. Some things that I have seen on lists might not really be necessary. You could find yourself with a bunch of stuff no one needs.
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