Bartering 101: What items should you stockpile now to trade with others post-SHTF?
By Zoey Sky // Aug 02, 2019

A well-stocked survival stockpile ensures that you and your family have access to supplies during a long-term emergency. However, you also need to stock up on essential barter items like canned goods or medical supplies so you can trade for other supplies that you may need when SHTF. (h/t to


Bartering is a skill that's essential to survival, especially during long-term economic disasters where banknotes may lose their value or suddenly become unusable. Don't wait until it's too late to learn how to haggle and negotiate.

Depending on the scenario that you're prepping for, the list of bartering goods that you need to stock up on may vary. If you're not sure what items to add to your stockpile, the goods included in the list below are often in high demand after SHTF.

Food and water

During a long-term survival scenario, food and water are some of the most commonly traded items. Enumerated below are several of the most valued food items for bartering.

  • Beans
  • Butter/canned butter
  • Canned food (fruits, meats, vegetables)
  • Coffee
  • Cooking oils
  • Flour and baking goods (baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch)
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Honey, sugar, spices
  • Powdered milk
  • Rice – Get white rice since brown rice will go rancid after six months.
  • Tea

Water purification

Clean drinking water is essential for your survival during a disaster scenario, particularly if water treatment plants stop running.

Make sure you stock up on items such as:


During hard times there are people who may want to trade their supplies for a bottle of alcohol. Hard liquors, such as vodka and whiskey, are some of the best options since they have a relatively long shelf life.

Medications, medical supplies

In a post-SHTF world, prescription medications are going to be highly sought-after.

  • Analgesics/painkillers
  • Aspirin
  • Antacids
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Antihistamines/allergy medicine
  • Bandages
  • Cough drops
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Surgical masks

Non-food bartering goods

This section includes various items that people will most likely be willing to barter for when SHTF.

  • Batteries – People will need rechargeable AA and AAA batteries for various tools and gadgets like flashlights or radios.
  • Entertainment– During a long-term survival scenario, people may want to trade items for simple things like board games, books, and playing cards.
  • Flashlights
  • Fuels – Stock up on butane, propane, and other long-lasting fuel.
  • Lighters and matches – You may also want to stock up on items such as camp stoves, candles, and oil lamps.
  • DIY construction and home or vehicle repair tools – This includes items like duct tape, various glues, WD-40, and other tools.
  • Toiletries – You need extra hygiene products, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toilet paper.

Guns, ammunition, gun accessories

When SHTF, people will need extra ammo for their weapons. Others may even be eager to trade for guns, firearm accessories, and spare parts.

Prepare for a long-term SHTF scenario by stocking up on calibers that you regularly use. You should also stock up on the most common calibers, like:

  • .22lr
  • .223
  • .308
  • .45
  • 30-06
  • 9mm
  • 12ga

Skills and tools

Handymen and plumbers can trade their services for different supplies during a disaster.

Complement a stockpile of various goods with crucial prepping skills to ensure your survival when SHTF. When society collapses, your skills can be just as useful as your supplies.

While you have time, learn skills that will be important during a collapse, such as food preservation or sewing. If you have survival skills and services to offer, you can hold on to the supplies that you may need if things get worse.

Before you start bartering when SHTF, consider if there are items in your stockpile that you'd rather hold on to. Only trade items that you have a surplus of or goods that you won’t be needing in the future.

Sources include:

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