The Top 50 Items You Need to Have in Order to Barter

50 Items You Need In Order To Barter

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I’d like you to take a look at the 50 items you need in order to barter. It’s never a bad idea to have a stockpile of all kinds of items that people need and can come in handy to trade with others in an emergency situation.

Even if you have too much of something, someone else may need it. With all the turmoil in the world right now, I thought I better update this post.

This will give your family a bartering chip that can get you other things that you may need.

50 Items You Need In Order To Barter

50 Items You Need In Order To Barter

Have you put your plan together so you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency? Bartering is one way to support your efforts to be prepared. In order to barter, you’ll need to have the right items, and not just any items, the right bartering items.

1. Gold and Silver

In a severe disaster or emergency scenario, money may prove to be worthless. Thankfully, gold and silver have been resilient in maintaining their value over the years. While they might not seem to provide critical value right now when things are going well, having a supply of these precious metals could prove to provide huge bargaining chips just when you need them. 

2. Fuel 

Fuel such as gasoline, propane, and camping fuel will be important to have for warmth, running an automobile, and cooking, not only for you but for others who may not have prepared very well.

Storage may be a challenge, so think safety as you try to gather what you need and store some extra that others are willing to trade for to get food and other items they need. 

3. Physical Protection Items

Protection will be at the top of everyone’s list when people begin going crazy. There are national and local regulations regarding how ownership passes and registration takes place for some items.

Others can be passed on through sale or trade without issues. Check-in your area to determine what can be traded without concern so you don’t get yourself in trouble. 

4. Pain Medication

Imagine not having basic pain medication to deal with a simple headache or other common ailments. People who are in need will be willing to barter away just about anything to get their hands on something that will provide relief. 

We’ve talked many times about the critical need to have a quality first aid kit, and this is one item that should be on the top of your list to be included. In case you missed this post, 35 OTC Medications You Should Store. I had a PRINTABLE made for you, OTC Printable by Food Storage Moms

5. Bandaids/First Aid

Families with children know that it’s an end of the world scenario if there’s not a bandaid to cover up a child’s “boo-boo.” Yup, another first aid kit “got to have” item.

6. Food

In a matter of hours, heading to the store for food could prove to be fruitless, and even dangerous. Stockpile food that has an expiration date of more than a year. 

Sure you want to help friends and neighbors get through tough times, but your excess food could be your solution to supply things you’ve run out of or didn’t think was that important. Help each other out so it’s a win-win.

7. Coffee/Pop

Everyone who seems to rely on these items to get them through a typical day will trade just about anything to have caffeine for a quick pick-me-up. It may also be a social thing, but our culture has placed a premium on gathering together and sharing a cup of coffee and some conversation.

8. Cigarettes 

You may feel this item is subject to debate, but people who are dependent on cigarettes might have just what you need at just the right time. When it comes to trading items we all need to be fair and not take advantage of others, but this item has some real value to those who feel the need. 

9. Alcohol 

Like cigarettes listed above, alcohol may be something you don’t want to get involved with. There are a few in our midst who have made it part of their daily routine to end their day with a drink.

There are those of us who realize it can come in handy for cleaning out wounds (be careful) and killing germs. Others may want some as a source of fuel, but I haven’t used it for that purpose. 

10. Spices

Spices not only make food taste better but also can help preserve it as well. This item MAY not carry as much value as other items on the list, but some things, like salt, are viewed as “got to have it” items in emergency situations, particularly if it drags out for an extended period. 

Read More of My Articles  Using Your Vehicle as a Tool for Prepping

11. Chickens 

Having a backyard filled with chickens can provide your family with eggs for protein, and value to others who are running out of food. We can’t all have chickens due to limited property space and local regulations, but it is a source you may want to look into.

12. Clothing

It won’t be long before people’s clothing wears out from wearing them every day. Having extra to barter is a smart idea. Strange, but one of the most valuable items is a pair of socks.

We ALL need socks to protect our feet and help keep us warm. If you live in a region that experiences cold weather, consider stocking up on extra coats, hats, boots, gloves, earmuffs, and other items to help you, and others who need them, stay warm.   

13. Blankets/Sleeping Bags

Keeping warm at night will be important. Blankets and sleeping bags will be a huge need for people to be comfortable while they sleep, and maybe even during the day if it’s cold, windy, wet, etc.

14. Garbage Bags

Garbage bags provide ways of remaining sanitary, but also serve as a rain cover and storing other important things. You need to consider having various sizes for different uses.

15. Feminine Hygiene Products

Having a stockpile of feminine hygiene products will have women exchanging all types of valuables to get them through “that time of the month.” Some can also be handy to use to cover wounds or other first-aid uses.


Many people will not be getting their vitamins with their limited food intake during an emergency. Vitamins can help you get many of the nutrients/minerals you need. 

17. Water

If you’ve followed my website and posts for any period of time, you know how I feel about having ample fresh water. There is no question that this item will be the most important thing for families, and essential to survive after only a couple of days. 

If you also have water filtering systems available, you can put them to use in providing water to others who will be willing to trade for what they’ve got to have.

18. MouthWash 

A stinky breath will be causing awkward moments, even after a catastrophe. It will also help get rid of the bacteria in everyone’s mouth. Have some extra to keep others’ breath smelling tolerable.

19. Lighters and Matches 

Lighters and matches are great for not only setting a fire when needed for cooking or warmth, but for lighting those cigarettes mentioned above. Make sure you have some waterproof matches if your emergency will more than likely involve wet conditions. 

20. Water Filters 

Water filters are great for keeping metals and other minerals that you don’t want in your drinking water, as mentioned above. I highly recommend a Big Berkey, but a cheaper way for filtering water is a Brita Water Filter.

21. Tools 

Having the right tools, such as a multitool, can make all the difference in an emergency. Various tools are important to help perform certain tasks necessary for survival. You could consider “loaning” yours in trade for what you may need, but if you have the proper skill sets, you could also trade your time and expertise for those items your family needs.

22. Dental Health Items

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are fairly inexpensive but are viewed as necessary for proper family hygiene. Have some extra so you can trade and help others during an emergency. Who knows when your area will get back to a more normal situation and allow you and others to head to the dentist. 

23. Baby Supplies

Diapers, baby wipes, and baby formula will be imperative for families to keep their babies healthy. It seems so often that families store things most family members need, but in many cases don’t fully prepare for those little ones.

What better items to barter than baby supplies that any family with babies will find value. We always had a binky’s for our kids when they were little, I’d for sure have some extras in case others rely on them as we did. I highly recommend getting some cloth diapers, you can use them in so many ways. Cloth Diapers

24. Laundry Detergent 

Many people will still care about keeping their clothing as clean as possible. We need to clean our underwear and any clothes worn by babies who are more susceptible to sickness. In case you missed this post, DIY Laundry Detergent

25. Hand Sanitizer

Keeping your hands sanitized will keep the germs and bacteria away. Over the past two years, we’ve all learned the importance of having plenty of hand sanitizers around. It seems like every time of year is time for us to fight germs and viruses, so stock up. 

26. Solar Showers

Taking a shower or bath to stay clean will become next to impossible. Every family will be willing to barter for solar showers. These not only keep you clean and sanitary but does so with warm water.

27. Toilet Paper

As we’ve all learned, toilet paper and paper towels are two of the first things to disappear from store shelves during an emergency. Hard to picture going very long without this necessity in your storage stash.

Other families will feel the same way, so why not have some available to trade for what you need. Some of the alternatives to “take care of business” aren’t that attractive to consider. Be prepared and have extra.

28. Bleach

Bleach can help make undrinkable water drinkable and is also good for cleaning. Even bleach tablets are awesome. I usually suggest getting the version without scents or other chemicals added.

29. Duct Tape

As most people know, duct tape serves many purposes. Stopping a leak, fixing clothing, and holding things together for constructing something are just a few uses of duct tape you may want to think about. Others may find you extra rolls are just what’s needed to solve a problem at their home. Duct Tape Rolls

Read More of My Articles  How to Barter with Food and Water

30. Tarp

How do you plan on building a shelter to keep out the elements? A tarp will create the perfect tent for a family. It can also come in handy to cover things you’ve possibly had to haul out of your house temporarily. Others could be faced with the same challenge.

31. Rope/Bungee Cords

Rope and bungee cords can help with building a shelter, climbing, tieing things together, and many other purposes. Bungee Cords

32. Batteries

Batteries are another biggie. Keeping those flashlights, weather radios, walkie-talkies, and other survival electronics up and running is so critical. Be aware, batteries don’t have a super long shelf life, particularly if you live in a hot environment. Plan ahead accordingly. 

33. Flashlights

You’ll want to stockpile flashlights. It’s a great bartering item. Many people will be needing them when they’re left in the dark. Solar Flashlights will be more valuable due to the shortage of batteries available. I love my solar flashlights. We have the rechargeable units stored in many of our windowsills so they are ready to go. Matt also told me about these, they are now my favorite ones besides solar ones. We need both. OLights Flashlights

34. Candles

Although not the first light choice, candles will be good to have on hand to help light up an area. Many people are used to using candles for secondary light. I worry about the safety factor, but you need to have light to get so many things done.

35. Sun Block 

People will be spending more time out in the sun evaluating the status of their property and personal belongings. They may even be scavenging around for food. Sunblock will prove important to keep families from getting fried from direct sunlight. 

36. Aloe

Aloe will be important for healthy skin and a healing and cooling agent from sunburns or insect bites and stings. 

37. Cooking Oil 

Cooking oil will be important for basic cooking. Coconut oil has a little bit longer shelf life, and shortening in a can does too.

38. Flour

Not having flour can take away a ton of meal options for all of us. All flour will be hard to come by and be worth a lot. If you can grind wheat you will be a superstar. You may be able to grind the wheat for others as another barter skill. Remember, flour doesn’t have a long shelf life but is one of my most important storage commodities.

39. Honey

Honey can last forever and is a great substitute for sugar. Please remember it can crystallize, so store your honey in pint and quart mason jars. If it does crystallize you can set the jars outside in the sun and it will soften. Due to its long shelf life, people place a lot of value on this key sweetener. Keep in mind that it’s also good for you compared to other sugar substitutes.

40. Fishing/Hunting Supplies

Having fishing gear and hunting equipment could be the difference between having your next meal or not. If you’re good at hunting and fishing you could barter the results of a successful day in the woods or on the water. 

41. Snacks 

People will be begging for their favorite snacks after a crisis. You never know what people will be willing to give up for that box of Cracker Jacks or Oreos. 

42. Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar is great for cleaning and even good for your health. Drinking it can also help you feel full while eating smaller amounts of food. 

43. Cups 

People don’t want to cup their hands to drink water, so paper or plastic cups are still going to be a basic need. You can’t afford to let any family member get dehydrated. 

44. AM/FM Radio

Communication is key after a crisis. Knowing what is going on in the outside world could be key to others and your survival.  I have a crank radio that I know will work anywhere I can get a signal. With this approach to communication, I don’t have to worry about batteries. If you have an extra you can count on having a valuable item others will want, particularly if they see you using yours. Emergency NOAA Radio

45. Generator 

Generators will be hard to come by after an emergency and can provide electricity for a select few. I’m not sure you’ll want to spend the money to have extras around to barter, but you could barter use of yours for short periods of time when others need one.

46. Pepper Spray 

Pepper spray for self-defense will be high on everyone’s list. We don’t often think about how people act when they are stressed from lack of food, water, and other necessities. They can turn on you in short order. Be ready to protect yourself and others in your home. 

47. Skills

Whatever skills you might learn now, can be a huge trade opportunity when people don’t have the basic survival skills needed when things get tough. Be grateful you took the time to learn valuable skills that others may need and put them to use as a way to support your family as necessary.  

48. Seeds

People are going to turn to a garden as a source of food. Seeds will be invaluable as a way to get your produce. This is where I buy my garden seeds: SeedsNow

49. Condoms

Even when things become challenging, people are still going to be in need of these. Especially if they don’t want to bring children into the topsy turvy world that you’ll be living in. 

50. Chocolate

Chocolate may not be a necessity, but it can be an item to bring back a little normalcy in your life and for others. There might be a chocolate-lover or two out there who will be willing to barter something valuable with you for just a small bite of heaven.  

50 Items You Need In Order To Barter

Other Trade Items You Might Need in a Post Collapse World

Final Word

These are 50 items you need in order to barter before disaster strikes or after the disaster has passed.

If you’re a prepper, what other items will be just as valuable, that might not have made it to this list? Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

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  1. You will only barter what you can defend. Once they think you have something they will try to take the rest of it.

    Downplay everything. If you trade batteries then state those are the last that you have because if they think you’ve got more ….

    “Oh look who has gold. So they prepared. Well let’s see what else they’ve got” will be the thinking of those who are in need.

    Don’t walk around with a carton of cigs and sell them. You put a pack in each pocket and someone else holds the rest. Let them think you’ve only got a few packs not cartons.

    From a law enforcement perspective: Think like a street level drug dealer. He’s not sitting on a yeti cooler with a kilo on it cutting it off as folks show. He got a few little bags so if he’s robbed or taken down that’s all they get. He makes sure he’s not followed back to the hold. He doesn’t flash cash or bling. It’s a developed line of dangerous but approachable. As he grows he only deals with the people he knows.

    In my military days I never saw high end bartering. It existed but not on street level circuits. They had strongholds. They operated outside of eyes. It was small and personal bartering that was open and successful.

    1. Bragging will be the downfall of most at the start of a collapse.
      You’ll trade a can of gas and they’ll compliment and talk it up and you’ll slip and say “yeah we’ve got 300gls stored”.
      You say things like “my husband stashed ammo for decades”. “We knew this was coming so we started buying antibiotics years before that” “I remember going in and buying all the pasta they had because I had those 1/2 gallon jars..”

      Whoever talks the least should be the mouthpiece. Not the one who likes to talk. Yeah I’m looking at you

      1. Hi Matt, bragging would not be good. Sometimes I worry that I teach how to stock up or store water, but it is what it is. It will get scarier even more with what is going on in our world, right now. Linda

    2. Hi Matt, you are so right, we can only barter what we can defend. Great comment, as usual, I always love your perspective, we must be street smart. Hopefully, people will understand not to go door-to-door. Or stand on the corner, advertising what they have. Yikes! Linda

    3. Sharing with family is something I will willing do, bartering with strangers, not so much, I am far too frightened. Even the fact the we have a generator, which has brought me comfort in the past, has me concerned. Of the 20+ homes in our development, only 3 have whole house generators. Our home would be most nondescript…….no sprawling patio overlooking the golf course like many. Just to be on the safe side I am trying a convince my husband to cover the windows looking into the garage..
      Some strange shortages that we didn’t see at the start of the pandemic are noticeable, Aleve PM. my favorite socks, milk, some cereals,

      1. Hi Chris, I would for sure put coverings on your garage windows. It’s crazy when you CAN get some stuff the prices have escalated so much they are not worth buying. It’s terrible what is going on right now. I hope you find your favorite socks. Life is going to be pretty bumpy for some time. Linda

  2. Matt has the right idea. Bartering is the fastest way for thieves and thugs to find out you are prepared. Sorry, I prepared for me, my and ours. Everyone had their chance and were forewarned. I know that sounds selfish, but to me bartering just makes no sense. Even if the danger does not occur, we have no idea how long our preps will have to last. Bartering just shortens the time we can maintain livelihood and sustenance. For me, no bartering, case closed.

    1. Hi Harry, I totally agree. I prepare for me, my, and ours as well. BUT, there are so many people late to the game, this post is for them. I don’t picture myself bartering. What worries me are the people I used to teach at church groups who thought the government or their church will take care of them after a disaster. Great comment, I won’t need to barter. Linda

      1. Yes, probably the only people I would trust to barter with are those that are already prepared and have no need to barter, such as you and most of the commenters to your articles. What a shame that we are so far-flung. If you and those who comment on here were all in one place with sufficient housing and usable acreage, we would have as good of a situation as any prepper could ask for. Keep the faith and keep praying.

        1. Hi Harry, oh wow, that would be a blessing for sure. I would love it if even one person or family on my block was prepared. We can only pray now for this crazy world. God bless all of us. Linda

        2. Growing up, we were too poor to buy candy much, but Mama always had sugar, cocoa, dried milk, and margarine. I learned to make good fudge at a young age.

  3. Linda,
    While I don’t care to barter as noted in my previous comment, this list is perfect for a reminder on what we should all have stocked up in our storage. Everyone should read and heed this list as a reminder. Great job as usual.

    1. Hi Harry, I knew exactly what you were saying. So many are late to the game of being prepared. But I’m hoping people see what they must stock up on and be ready to barter if they have not prepared properly. Thanks, my friend, Linda

  4. Instead of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or snuff, we have thought to buy nicotine quit smoking patches in all steps. We have a son that does still smoke. I won’t buy cigarettes for him, but having the patches to help him stop smoking to me is a good idea. I will only give these to family members such as our son that we trust. Helping someone get off tobacco during a societal upheaval will help them tremendously so they are no longer addicted to it. I’ve heard these patches work for all nicotine addictions.

  5. Water – The Big Berkey is great to have and we use it everyday, but would be pricey to buy right now. Rather than the Brita water filter, I suggest the Zero water filter. From past research and use, the Zero really is zero particulates and removes many more contaminates than other brands. It really does make any water taste better. On an individual level, LifeStraw is good to have for each family member.

    1. Hi MtGrammy, wow, that looks great, I have never heard of the brand Zero Water Filter. I have only tried the Brita so I could only recommend it. I have always had Reverse Osmosis, until the last 6 months. We are building a home and the new house will have RO. I love learning about brands I have not heard of before. Thank you!! Linda

  6. I have one question? Who in the world can stock pile chocolate? For me I would be the one sitting and
    eating it not making deals with it. But seriously this is a great article. Gives us some great ideas. Always good to
    hear from Matt too and his point of view.

    1. June……ssshhhhh……. I stockpile chocolate….. the only way to do it is to put my husband in charge of doling out just one piece a day…….or two……or……OK, so maybe I’m not good at stockpiling chocolate…:(

  7. I am not real interested in doing much bartering….However as my Husband and I have aged, some manual labor just hasn’t gotten any easier. Bartering for chores (weeding, splitting wood etc…) with my closest neighbors might be an option. Also I would add to the list needle and thread,

  8. Re. alcohol–besides possible barter, remember that it can be used to make medical tinctures–which, in turn, leads to pain-alleviation products. I haven’t bought OTC pain relievers in years–I make willow bark tincture, soaking the bark in (usually) vodka. The tincture goes in dropper bottles (saved from a supplement).

    Garbage bags–another thing I haven’t bought in years. If you have animals and buy feed for them (or know someone who does), the bags are usually far stronger than any commercial garbage bag. True, you’ll need to either tape or tie them if they need to be sealed–but the price is right!

    Skill really may be the most valuable barter item to have. Nobody can take it away from you, you won’t run out, and you don’t have to store it (other than the necessary tools/materials, possibly). Mending, repairing, cooking, canning, making supplies like herbal medicines…

    The bungee cords… Be sure to check them from time to time. I just discovered some that I had put away had been stored long enough that the rubber had gone bad–one stretch only! This actually goes for some other supplies, too–unfortunately some *don’t* get used regularly, but sure are needed when they *are* needed. Medical supplies come to mind.

    1. Hi Rhonda, you are so right we need to check on the bungee cords and other supplies that may have gone “bad” from age, heat, or whatever. Stock, check, rotate, recycle, or discard. Great reminder. Linda

  9. Matt has excellent advice. So if we did any bartering, it would be the husband because he doesn’t like to talk to anybody! He said if we weren’t married, he would be the hermit that lives in the woods that the whole town talks about. It also helps that he has a “poker face”. We also do our best to practice the “grey man” principles.

    1. Hi Paula, the hermit comment, we may all become hermits very soon! LOL! Staying to ourselves!! I got the giggles about being the hermit the whole town talks about! BEST COMMENT EVER! Life is so good with some humor, and we need it right now. Thank you, Linda

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