Let’s face it, it may be impossible to prepare for every single situation you’ll encounter in an emergency or widespread cataclysm. You’ll have to barter for some things, but that’s the way commerce has worked from the beginning. Thinking about recent history and the shortages that the World Wars caused, we have first-hand accounts of what people want desperately when things go bad. Some aren’t surprising – alcohol, tobacco, pain relief, Some are surprising – in mass supply chain interruptions, demand for luxury items like shaving cream or makeup tends to stay steady.
Take a few minutes to examine your prepping plan and see if you can identify an area of skill, a renewable supply or an abundance of something that you can earmark for bartering. For example, if you’ve got the space and talent for a healthy garden, consider expanding so you can barter food. If you’ve got a barn and plan to stay put, a large stash of bicycle parts could become a viable trade business if we can no longer rely on gasoline-powered transportation.
If you’ve already gotten your Prepper Score from the quiz on National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers website, you’ll remember getting points for having specific things with which to barter. As it is in today’s world, some things are just more valuable than others. Here are a few things you’ll score points for stashing:
Extra ammunition – for rifles the most common ammunition is 22LR, .223 and 5.56. For pistols the most common ammunition is 9mm and .45ACP. Don’t forget the ever-popular 12 gauge shotgun.
Medical supplies – right now medical supplies are so cheap it makes sense to stock plenty of sterile dressings (gauze, bandages 4x4s, and band aids), antibacterial cream, elastic Ace bandages, BZK-based antiseptic wipes, medical adhesive tape, ibuprofen, steel sewing needles and heavy duty thread and scalpels with #15 blade. Also scoop up extra copies of basic medical books at half-priced book shops and library sales.
Food – we always encourage people to store more dehydrated meals than they think they’re going to need. Some of our dehydrated meals have up to a 25 year shelf life. Since they aren’t going to go bad anytime soon they’ll just give you more and more of a return on your investment as the years go on. Also, if you can, you should be growing your own extra vegetables (especially green vegetables and root vegetables), medicinal herbs, citrus fruit or nuts. If you live in the right climate, now is the time to plant extra fruit or nut trees.
Silver – silver is believed to be the most readily tradable currency. You can invest in 100 ounce silver bars that are small, durable and portable.
Other good barter items:
Insect repellant, instant coffee (or coffee and filters), tea bags, salt and spices, paperback books, simple over-the-counter medicines, antibiotics, candles (and candle-making supplies), luxury items such as soap, shampoo and makeup, bicycles and bicycle parts, small hand tools (knives, axes, handsaws), fabric, stringed instruments, anything solar powered and water filters. Those not opposed may consider stashing tobacco and alcohol that doesn’t need a stable environment (not wine or beer).