Apocalypse Preppers, what are the best things to barter?

Apocalypse Preppers

It is not difficult to conjure up Apocalyptic nightmare scenarios – such as an asteroid hitting the Earth, the eruption of a supervolcano,  a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, global pandemic or got forbid a nuclear war. Still, other scenarios perhaps not global, but can be nevertheless localized Apocalypse events – such as hurricanes, floods, electric grid blackouts, or civil unrest. Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called Survivalists or Preppers) who actively prepare for events like this.

Typical preparations done by Preppers are to build their bunkers, prepare security arrangements (surveillance, armaments, communications, and other equipment), food and water (and lots of it), medical material, and other community enhancements and techniques need to survive the Apocalypse. The type of disaster and the length of time (a week, month, months, or even years) will determine the needs of the Preppers – so it is hard to prepare for every scenario. Most Preppers focus on food and guns, money in these scenarios may not get you through – a government break down and/or urgency of the need may mean money has no value. The alternative to money is the ability to barter what you have.

News Forecasters asks, what items could one stockpile to be able to barter your way through the Apocalypse? Now we will first assume that the Prepper has already stockpiled guns and food and have their bunker (or fortified home) well established. You want to now invest a modest $1000 to $2000 in other items for barter. What would be the characteristics of these bartered items:

    1. High urgent Apocalyptic value to its original peacetime cost.
    2. Small storage footprint.
    3. Perishability of items.
    4. Easy to pack to take to the barter market.
    5. Scale or size of item value to barter for other small items.

A word on Gold or some other non-tradition currency or cryptocurrency. These assets in a period of urgency, may not help. They only have value in a post Apocalyptic period. If you need resources before then, they may have little value – you can’t eat Gold. Selling guns, fuel, or other large or difficult items to store, is not a good suggestion either – they don’t meet the characteristics of these bartered items (characteristic 1 and 4). So here are our list of bartered items suggestions:

Basic survival items:

    • Lighting items such as flashlights (hand crank), candles, etc.
    • Solar chargers with rechargeable batteries.
    • Portable AM/FM/SW radios.
    • Walkie talkies.
    • Boxes of bullets (various caliber).
    • Knives and machetes for protection, as well as utility – swiss army knives and other working needs. Sharpening stones too.
    • Firestarting material – lighters, matches, magnifying glasses, flint lighters, etc.
    • Low-end binoculars or telescopes.
    • Small crossbow and/or pepper spray in lieu of a gun.
    • Waterproof Ponchos – perhaps umbrellas.
    • Siphon kits and small (hand-crank or low voltage rechargeable battery operated) water pumps.
    • Compass and paper maps (regional and local).
    • Masks of various types including even industrial-grade gas masks.
    • Survival and self-help books (how-tos, cookbooks, etc.) with home remedies.
    • Amusement – pencils, playing cards, simple board games like chess and checkers, etc.

Food consumption material:

    • Manual can openers.
    • Basic cooking pans, pots, and utensils (cooking and eating).
    • Alcohol spirits – don’t drink them yourself.
    • Seeds of various types – for longer-term Apocalypses.
    • Various spices and additives to argument food stocks.
    • Tobacco products – even if you don’t smoke.
    • Simple animal traps.
    • Fishing supplies.
    • Portable water purifiers and filters.
    • Portable stoves (even solar).

Health and hygiene materials:

    • Toothbrushes and toothpaste.
    • Tampax for women.
    • Bandages and first-aid kits.
    • Sun and reading glasses.
    • Water disinfectant tablets.
    • Sowing kits.
    • Manual thermometers (weather and body).
    • Reusable old-fashion diapers.
    • Harnesses for setting broken limbs.
    • Grooming kits, brush, comb razors, nail clippers, etc.
    • Skin ointments of various kinds (sunscreen, burns, insect, baby, rashes, etc.).
    • Disinfectants of various types.
    • Petroleum jelly and other types of household products (bleach, boric acid, etc.).
    • Cleaning materials like soap and shampoo.
    • Some drugs that are basic (aspirin, sleep aids, diarrhea aids, antacids, cold pills (anti-histamines), laxatives, etc.) and where possible some prescription drugs (where possible) such as antibiotics and pain killers.

Infrastructure and their associated tools:

    • Plastic sheeting and canvas tarps.
    • Plastic tubing of various sizes.
    • Rope and cord.
    • Wire and chain of various types.
    • Nails, bolts, and screws.
    • Zip ties – a good cheap item.
    • Bicycle repair kits (tire, etc.).
    • Ziploc bags of various types.
    • Superglue and other adhesives.
    • Wire of various types (electrical, electronic and utility).
    • Duct tape.
    • Tools of various types (hammers, axes, wrenches, pliers, saws, measuring devices, screwdriver kits, etc.).


    • Pack all your barter items in backpacks (which also can be bartered) and place in your Prepper sealed footlockers in the basement or your Prepper cache.
    • Ability to provide services to barter (prepare tools to be able to work), such as medical procedures (if trained), auto repair, building repair (various types of work), hair care, educational services, just to name a few – what could you do?

Give our shopping list some thought, the list is long, and get ready to go on a shopping spree. It is an interesting exercise. Many Preppers are mere hobbyists, as News Forecasters believes the actual likelihood that this barter economy would ever have an opportunity to be used is – nill. However, it may be useful to stockpile a few things to last a week or so, for a localized emergency – like an earthquake, weather event, or some temporary infrastructure failure.

Please feel free to add to our list in the comment section.

A video presentation of this subject:

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