I saw a reader comment asking for a post on barter items for the post-cataclysmic world. Ranger Man will happily oblige. Here we go:
- Ammo, Ammo, Ammo – Do I need to say it again? America is the most heavily armed nation in the world, but I seriously question how many people actually maintain an adequate supply of ammunition for those guns. Think about it, how many people do you know that go out and buy a few boxes of shells before hunting season starts? Exactly. They don’t have an adequate supply should SHTF. You can have all the guns in the world, but if you can’t load ‘em with bullets – they’re useless. When the Golden Horde of unprepared masses descend upon those holding something of value, it’s only those who can repeatedly pop these zombies in the dome that will find themselves forcing the Golden Horde to consider another house. Stock up on common calibers (.22, 9mm, .45, .223, 12 gauge and .308) and you’ll find yourself in high demand with people that need rounds. Now, the flip side of this is do you really want to give away ammunition that might be used against you? You’ll have to decide this depending on the exact SHTF circumstances. I trust you’ll make the right decision.
- Guns, Guns, Guns – Do I need to say it again? Yes, they’re expensive, but there are MANY people out there who are averse to owning a gun, but once TEOTWAWKI hits, their minds will quickly change. They’re expensive, yes, but I’m not advocating you stock up on AR-15′s to hand out in exchange for everything under the sun (though you could). I’m thinking more along the lines of used, single-shot 12 gauge shotguns that can be purchased for around $50. To someone that’s unarmed, a single-shot shotgun and a box of shells will be worth its weight in gold.
- Prescription Medications – Yes, this is a difficult one to stock up on, but if you come across them in the post-apocalyptic world – SNAG ‘EM. What do you think you could trade a bottle of nitro pills for with someone that has a heart condition? Exactly. If you require prescription medications I would strongly advise you consult with your physician about obtaining a few month’s extra supplies.
- Water Purification Supplies – Does this really need an explanation?
- Survival Seeds - This would be for the pro-longed SHTF situation. Their value will be infinite.
- Fuel - We’re talking all types: gas, diesel, propane, firewood, etc. Can you have too much? No, so you’ll likely keep it for yourself, but if you DID need something that you hadn’t already acquired, fuel will be a great commodity for bartering.
- Survival Books – Books with good information will be huge. They’re EMP-proof and don’t require electricity to run (unlike the pc you’re using).
- Batteries – Stock as many as you can use while rotating stock and staying within the recommended life span. A better idea is to stock a few crank radios and flashlights.
- Soap, Bleach and Cleaning Agents – Your local grocery store won’t be open. These items are critical for maintaining health and hygiene.
- Cast Iron Cookware – People that run out of fuel will be cooking over an open fire – situations that call for cast iron. Settlers used it for a reason.
- Garden and Hand Tools - Those left alive will suddenly become gardeners and carpenters, whether they like it or not.
- Canning Supplies – How will people survive the non-growing season without these?
Some items I’d like to cover that are not included above:
- Silver and Gold Coins – A lot of people advocate purchasing these for bartering purposes, but their value is entirely dependent on the situation. If you’re lost in the desert for 14 days, would you rather have a gallon of water or 4 bars of gold? Precisely my point. When the cataclysm hits people WILL NOT look for silver and gold coins, they’ll be looking for the items mentioned above.
- Booze – Yes, alcoholics will do flips and twists for it when they run dry, but what will your typical alcoholic have to offer in trade? Think about it. While I would appreciate a stiff shot of Jack Daniels post-Doomsday, I wouldn’t waste my time stocking up on it for bartering purposes. That being said, if you do drink, and you have a pantry stocked with food, it’d certainly be worthwhile to add the booze of your choice to the shelves and rotate stock. Remember: Shop in your pantry for dinner, shop at the store for your pantry.
- Toilet Paper – Yeah, it has value, but when TEOTWAWKI hits, you’ll happily use leaves and magazines. Don’t waste valuable storage space to stock amounts beyond your typical household needs.
Again, I can’t stress enough, everything is relative to the situation. When we had the 1998 Ice Storm in Maine, a box of ammo would’ve been worth a box of ammo, but people were selling generators for 3 or 4 times their original purchase price, typically out of the back of trucks and vans if you know what I’m saying. Your best bet is to first prepare broadly for items that’ll retain value regardless of the situation, then stockpile goods for specific SHTF scenarios that are most likely to happen in your neck of the woods.
Here is another view on the “100 Items to Disappear First in a Panic”: http://www.rense.com/general71/100.htm