prepper bartering financial crash

Prepper Bartering 101

If you haven’t already got to grips with Prepper bartering its a method of trade well worth considering. This article will talk you through what bartering is and how it works. It will also offer tips on bartering in a post SHTF situation and how bartering can help preppers who are on a budget make the most of their preps.

Brief History Of Bartering

A Maori man and Joseph Banks exchanging a crayfish for a piece of cloth, c. 1769
Bartering has been around since 6000 BC when the ancient Mesopotamia tribes created a system for bartering. They would trade wine, clothing, jewelry and other items along the river bank where ships would dock and make their trades. Bartering predates the use of money as we know it today which first appeared around 5,000 BC when metal objects started to be used as money.

How Does bartering Work?

Bartering is a method of trade where goods or services are exchanged for a set amount of other goods or services. No money changes hands as part of a bartering transaction. For example, during colonial times grain and tobacco were regularly traded.

Bartering is common among people with no access to a cash economy. For example in societies where no monetary system exists. Or in economies suffering from a very unstable currency, such as, when hyperinflation strikes.

In modern times with the help of the internet bartering has evolved. Online bartering sites exist that allow you to trade locally or even globally. Sometimes we use barter as part of our daily lives for example if you have a lawnmower you don’t use and you trade it with a friend for a generator.

Bartering For Preppers On A Budget

If you’re in need of prepper equipment and supplies but like a lot of people, you are on a budget. By bartering you can trade items you don’t need in exchange for something you do. For example, over time you may have accumulated a number of generators one of which you no longer need. But you do need some solar panels, trading your spare generator using the bartering method can get you what you need for no financial outlay.

You can use online sites to barter, trade or swap your preps. Another idea would be to link up with like-minded preppers via online prepper websites and forums or with trusted local preppers.

SHTF Bartering

SHTF Bartering can become much more difficult as people become deprived of the ability to mass produce widely needed goods. For example, if the united states were to experience hyperinflation many non-preppers would have little of value to trade for food water and other supplies.

What Items Can I Use To Barter Post SHTF?

Post SHTF there will still be some essential items that would be valued by others. These are items that you would also need to make your own life a little easier in a post SHTF situation. So stockpiling some extra items that would be of value is a good idea.

You only have to search online using the keyword “top SHTF barter items” and you will see links to many prepper sites. Each of these sites will have their own recommendations for what you should stockpile. Each list differs slightly but they will all give you a good idea of what to get started with.

Here’s yet another list of some common items that would be ideal for using as barter:

Food & Water

  • Water Purification Items
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Canned Food
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Powdered Milk
  • Powdered Eggs
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Baking Soda
  • Seeds

Addictive Items

  • Cigarettes
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol

Medical & First Aid

  • Painkillers
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • General First Aid Items
  • Other Medicines, such as cough syrup
  • Latex Gloves


  • Disposable razors and razor blades
  • Feminine Products
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Anti Bacterial Hand Gel
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Garbage Bags

Tools & Equipment

  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Fishing Gear
  • Flashlights
  • Generators
  • Solar Panels


  • Duct tape
  • Batteries
  • Paracord
  • Matches
  • Lighters
  • Candles
  • Pens, Pencils, and Paper

This list is not meant to be an exhaustive list. There will be other items that would have value, such as items of clothing. Use your imagination and I’m sure there will be many other items you can think of.

Additional SHTF Prepper Bartering Tips

Always remember to keep your wits about you when bartering in a post SHTF environment. Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t take your eye off the ball or take any unnecessary risks.

Trade away from your home, base or bug out location. This will help to avoid a desperate person or persons paying you a visit when you are not expecting it.

Try not to make the trade on your own in case of ambush and never advertise the full extent of your supplies.

Think carefully about what you trade, don’t trade items that you are in short supply of or will need yourself.

Some prepper websites suggest using weapons and ammo as barter. This is ok if you are confident you can fully trust the person you are trading with. Personally, I wouldn’t want to trade anything that could be used against me as a weapon in a desperate situation.

Top Tip – Think Before Throwing Items In The Trash

The next time you have a sort out of your garage, storage locker or any other place you store your supplies. Before throwing away items you don’t want ask yourself can I barter them for something I do want? You may not want them anymore but someone else might be happy to make a trade.

Prepper Bartering 101 Conclusion

There’s no doubt that in a post SHTF environment you are going to need to barter in order to survive. Getting used to bartering now can also help at the present time. It can help you get hold of useful preps that don’t cost you anything other than the exchange of items you no longer want. It will also help you practice the prepper bartering skills you will need if the SHTF.

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Research credits

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3 thoughts on “Prepper Bartering 101”

  1. if you go to trade arrive early and check the area,have someone with a rifle overwatching you im an old grunt been around the world a hersheys chocolate bar will take you a long way

  2. post SHTF bartering probably wont be safe-or wise, too many people without stuff will want what you have.
    much better to put the money you would use to stock bartering goods to buy stuff YOU will need post event, why stock stuff someone else might want rather to get stuff you will need, why not just stock the stuff you will need??

  3. Real bartaring is tough. We’re so much more accustomed to objective-values (i.e. money). Subjective values are so squishy, depending on the felt “need” of the person. It also depends on both parties having a surplus of something the other person wants/needs. That’s a mathematically tougher combination. What are the odds that the guy with medical supplies to spare, just happens to be short on cinnimon (for instance) and the guy who needs the medical supplies HAS a surplus of cinnimon?

    Three-way, or tangental bartars would be more common — trading for something you don’t really need, but know of a guy who does, etc.

    Bartaring successfully is a tough game too — like the “old days” of buying a car. No one liked it, except the salesmen. Having to lie a lot (pretend you don’t need the medical supplies) and being on high-alert for tricks or theft, is just more stressful than (I think) people expect.

    I really don’t think modern folks (accustomed to cash, Kelly Blue Book price standards, money-back-guarranties, consumer protection bureaus) are up to the task.

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