The top 5 items for bartering after SHTF hits!

Hello everyone, today I want to go over my list of top 5 items that I think will be worth their weight in gold after SHTF hits. That is to say that these items that most people will be willing to trade just about anything for when the time comes. The importance of this is that we must realize that no matter how good we are, we will not be able to think of everything that we will need when that time comes. In those situations, we will need to have something that we can trade in order to get what we need. Let’s say for example that your child suddenly develops a toothache and you find that the medicine for it is one of those things that you forgot to pack…what do you do now? You barter with someone who has some by using something they will want and is hard to get. In this way you will get what you need without having to give away all of your supplies to get it. So what exactly are the items I speak of?   Well here is my list of the top 5 items for bartering after SHTF hits.


Coffee – More people start their day with a cup of coffee than with anything else. It is one of those rituals that will be sorely missed when it is no longer available and will have a profound effect on people who are used to having it. In fact, I heard on the news today that they are already expecting a huge coffee shortage anytime now due to various situations. I currently have about #50 of it stored just for bartering with, and I intend to add several hundred more pounds just for my own use. Coffee is one of those items that can be vacuum packed and stored in 5 gallon buckets for easy storage. I usually buy my coffee in 1 pound containers and then re-vacuum pack them myself into flat bars so I can get as many as possible into a 5 gallon bucket so they are easy to store. I have read that some people buy theirs as green coffee beans and store them. I just don’t have that kind of room. I wish I did though. When people can’t get their coffee, they will trade their first-born for a pound of coffee. It will quickly become one of the items of choice when it comes to bartering. I strongly recommend that you keep plenty in your preps for trading, as well as for yourself if you drink it. If you have the time, you may want to start to teach yourself to make coffee substitutes such as dandelion coffee, or chicory coffee. Sooner of later, there will be a shortage and if you know how to grow and make a coffee substitute, then you will have a valuable trade to help you survive.


Tobacco – People who smoke or use tobacco in any form are going to go crazy and will do anything they can to get their hands on it. While I do not recommend that you go out and buy up a lot of tobacco, I do recommend that you go on-line and order lots of tobacco seeds and learn how to grow it. You can do it in potting containers for the time being to learn how to grow it. Just be aware that some of the tobacco plants can grow to be over 8 feet high. There are also different kinds of tobacco plants and most have a specialized use such as the wrapper or filler for cigars, as well as chewing tobacco and cigarettes. The seeds are not expensive to buy and once you start growing your own plants, you can begin harvesting your own seeds for your preps. Whether you choose to make items out of what you grow or simply sell the leaves to others to make what they want out of them, it’s up to you. Any way you look at it, it will be a sure-fire bartering item that is sure to be in short supply. Now in case you are thinking that there are storehouses full of tobacco products that will last a long time, then consider that tobacco has a very limited shelf life and most products found even today contain worms of some kind that will quickly destroy the product if not used quickly. However when you grow you own, you will have a fresh product to market and barter with that anyone that has used it before will quickly want more of. Just remember to guard your crops well as they will be highly susceptible to theft just like food will be.


Alcohol – This is another item that will be in high demand by those who have used it and like it, but also by those who will want it for medicinal reasons as well. It can also be used to cook with and has many other uses. Stocking it in your preps in abundance or stocking the equipment to make your own would be very smart, I would think. Flavored alcohol such as whisky and scotch as well as vodka for those who are willing to trade something of high value for them is not a bad idea but knowing how to make it and having the equipment to make it would be best for long-term. There are places in the U.S. where people have been making their own alcohol for drinking for years. (Think Moonshine). The key though, is to know how to make it safely and not give anyone alcohol poisoning in the process. There are a ton of videos on the web on how to do it, as well as kits you can order to make your own still. Personally I think that taking the time to learn to make it would be time well spent. As I have said many times, education and common sense is the key!


Herbal medicine – When all of the stores are closed and there is no longer the ability to run down the street to buy Tylenol at will, then people will need an alternative. If you are like me, then you have a very large stash of these in your preps whoever they will not last forever. When that happens, you will need another solution and so will other people.  In fact, many people will not have any right out of the starting gate and giving them yours is not a good idea as they will begin to think of you as the local drug store and will not be happy when you run out or say no. The best option for this is to save your stockpiles and instead use herbal medicine where you can. I know I have several books in my survival library on how to make different Herbal medicines and have the tools necessary to make them as well. Of course if you do not know what each is good for and how to prescribe them then they are of no use to you or anyone else? Take the time now to read and learn how to make them as well as their uses and how to prescribe them. By doing this you will have something that you can use and barter with while maintaining your commercial backup supplies as well.   These will be great barter items, but just like the Alcohol, you need to be careful and not make anyone sick because you didn’t know what you were doing.


Ammunition/ materials – One thing that is sure to be in short supply eventually is ammunition for hunting and defending one’s self. While you could store up large quantities of ammunition to use for bartering, you will eventually run out and that will be the end of that. Instead, you may want to stockpile the materials needed to make them such as lead and gunpowder as well as primers. You can always factor in old casings into the price of the bullets, but you should take the time to learn how to make gun powder from the items in nature such as chicken or bat poop. Knowing where to get sulfur as well, because it is needed to make gun powder too and you need to locate it locally. You can purchase molds on-line for making lead bullets as well as other equipment required for the process. Stockpiling lead would be considered a smart move if you chose to do so. This is something that will be needed for a long time to come and people will be bartering all kinds of things for just a handful of ammunition.  In fact, some experts even think that it will basically become the new currency after a social breakdown.

Well, there you have it, my list of the top 5 things that I think will be in the highest demand when people start bartering and trading after SHYF hits. I am sure that others may have different ideas, but this is what I think and what I am preparing for. I hope that maybe today, I have sparked a few new ideas and said something that will help you prepare for SHTF as well as survive afterwards. Thank you for taking the time to read this article as I know there are many demands on your time. Until next time, keep on prepping!

-The Sargent-

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