The Top 15 Commodities to Barter With Post Collapse
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The survival gear that makes this list might surprise you. Effectiveness, ease of use, "Survival Power" and finally the price all play a factor. If our nation collapses or catastrophic disaster strikes, what gear will you have on hand?
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Food, water, guns and medicine are going to be in high demand because people will need to survive. When they've got a family to feed, they're gonna start looking for these items and some people, the ones that are going to thrive post-collapse, are going to be there to meet the demand.
Some people think food and water is the only thing they can barter with but that's simply not the case. There are plenty of other items you can give to people in exchange for something they have and it's way better than hoarding more of the same thing. It's impossible to guess what will be worth more so why not stock up on a little bit of everything?
Before we discuss the list of the top commodities, I want to mention what the most likely in demand service is going to be for just about every community that is still around following a collapse.
VigilantesThe word vigilante has gotten a bad rap over the years from mainstream media; what it should stand for is bringing justice (through honorable intentions to protect the weak and defenseless) to a lawless area that lacks appropriate police or well-intentioned military.
Some of you are already on this page and some places of the world already see effective vigilante groups working together when a country's police or military are failing to act or are simply corrupt and unable to act.
In some cases, it is making headlines. The top selling documentary (true story) right now is called Cartel Land. If you want something to watch this weekend Cartel Land tells the true account of real life vigilante groups that have turned on the powerful drug cartels of Mexico and have taken back their communities in some regions. This all unfolds as the Mexican government, local police and military, have proven themselves either corrupt or inadequate and unable or unwilling to defend against the cartels.
Cartel Land gives us a real-life look at how vigilante groups can work to help defend communities otherwise helpless to violence, gangs, and thugs that kill children and the elderly, rape females, and even bash infants to death on rocks in some instances. Cartel Land shows us what the face of evil looks like and is something we should pay close attention to and take warning from because -- like it or not -- it could very well be something that happens here at home following a collapse, in local communities and abroad.
The fact that dangerous groups like ISIS use the same violent tactics as cartels in Mexico should be a clue that this isn't something that only happens in one region of the world. No, readers, it is spreading, like the Christians being massacred, raped, and beheaded in the Middle East happening more and more in recent months.
Now, let's discuss commodities ... things you can sell or trade / barter with following a collapse
#1. SkillsThe nice thing about skills is that you still have them after the transaction is over! That way you can barter with them over and over again. Consider learning or improving the following for bartering purposes:
Agriculture - Seed planting, harvesting, and gravity fed drip irrigation to farms.
Home Repair - plumbing; woodworking; insulating from either the heat outside or the cold outside.
Self-defense (in a lawless land the threat from gangs, thugs and cartels will be real in both cities and the countryside)
Cooking (including making bread, cheese and wine)
How-To BooksThe Prepper's Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals
Building a greenhouse (many people will either want to learn how to build one or to have someone build it for them)
Food preservation (such as smoking, canning, dehydrating, pasteurizing milk etc.)
How-To BooksA Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game
Shooting and cleaning guns
Making and using alternative weapons (bows, arrows, slings, spears, swords etc.)
Which skills should you focus on? The ones you're already good at, of course, but don't fall into the trap of becoming good at only one thing. Learn at least 2 or 3 because you never know which ones might be useful.
Yes, in today's society you have to be really good at something to succeed but in a post-collapse society, things are going to be very different. Don't get me wrong, you have to be good at what you do but you don't have to be perfect. In a post consumer, post vanity world people will be more content with what an items actual usefulness is and a lot less concerned about what kind of status it brings.
#2. AmmoAmmo is easy to stock up on as long as choosing the calibers that are most common, such as the .22, .22lr, .223, .308, 9mm and 12 gauge shells.
Since the government is making it tougher and tougher to buy guns and ammo, it might be wise to accelerate your preps because it's likely you can re-sell them before SHTF to people who'll run out of ammo pretty soon. Many avid shooters and hunters are going to run out of ammo at some point.
Now, as far as guns are concerned, they might not be your best choice to barter with. In a post-collapse society, the more protected you are, the better and I doubt you'll be willing to give away some of your guns unless you really need something else. You can't really have too many firearms in a WROL (Without the Rule of Law) society.
Still, bartering with guns and ammo should be treated carefully, you don't want people thinking you've got even more back home. They might start to follow you, find out your weak spots and maybe even plan a home invasion.
Besides, someone who doesn't have a firearm but wants one might not use it morally. A better way of thinking about giving guns to someone else is by loaning them to the town watch of the community. You'll be doing it for your own protection as well.
#3. Food and WaterThe main point I want to make about bartering with food and water is that those looking for them will be desperate. They obviously don't have much left and, once they know you have it, they might insist on getting some even if they don't have anything to give you in return.
This could be risky because your "partners" might figure out that if you can spare it, you obviously have enough. Never go alone, have a gun and make sure no one's following you on your way back. In fact, you can make it a habit of never taking your usual route when you return home -- it'll be easier to confuse someone they try to track your comings and goings.
#4. Electricity and other renewable suppliesIf you already have a couple of renewable sources of energy set up, why not share them with others? With the power grid being so sensitive, there's a big chance everyone's gonna be left in the dark even in the case of other catastrophic events besides EMPS.
If you're planning on bartering or selling your energy post-collapse, I suggest you also think about adequate means of protecting your panels, your wind mill and your generators on your property, you never know who might decide to steal them at night.
What else can you share that's also renewable? Well, it depends on what you can and cannot have on your property. For example, firewood might be of interest to a lot of folks but you have to have trees on your property, of course. Other things such as livestock, water from a well or a creek that passes on your property and, of course seeds.
#5. Comfort foodsI'm willing to bet comfort foods are going to be worth more than food and water. It won't be easy for people to look around them, to see the death and destruction and start crying and feeling depressed and completely hopeless. Some of them might lose their kids, their spouse or even their leg in the initial disaster and, the sad truth is, they might not want anyone to keep them company except for a bottle of whiskey.
Many will find faith in God during this time and find new strength and hope for life while many others, as it's been for thousands of years, will instead disregard faith choosing the things of this world, which a Biblical word might better describe as "idols".
With all that said, as far as comfort foods go, many people are likely to stock up on:
Sweets (such as chocolate)
Popcorn (not microwave)
A word on alcoholAlcohol is a double-edged sword; while enjoyed maturely by some for others it can turn into a tool for serious conflict and an usurp of leadership. Perhaps it would be wiser to simply let alcohol go extinct with the changing times than risk it getting into the hands of the wrong people -- for example, turning selfish simpletons into brave power hungry murderers.
Tip: Better to store cocoa powder instead of chocolate, it has a longer shelf life of around 2 years.
Don't worry about the brand nameWhen stocking up on products like coffee, tea, chocolate, or even peanut butter, realize that following a collapse things like brand name are going to be a lot less important to people and most would be happy just to get their hands on anything. If you peruse online for things like coffee, purchase the largest quantities in bulk, as well as several boxes of small zip loc bags. Following a collapse, expect several communities to support an outdoor market place (flea market of sorts) where you can divide each coffee can into several dozen zip loc bags of coffee, and barter or sell each bag individually. With that in mind, your coffee can go far.
Tip: Need a fast way to brew coffee post-collapse when an electric coffee maker may be a thing of the past? While an old fashioned french press or camping percolator can do the trick, another easy way is to just boil the coffee grounds in a pot of water and then let it sit a few minutes and cool off. Cover a second pot with a towel and let the towel sag a bit (you'll use the towel to filter out the coffee grounds); pour the coffee water from pot #1 over the towel and before you know it you'll have a pot of coffee to drink in pot #2.
#6. ClothingIf you're smart, instead of throwing away old clothes (or giving them to charity which isn't a bad idea but that's not the point), you can recondition and keep them for after the collapse. With so many preppers focused on food and water, few of them think that that old pair of jeans will ever be useful. It's very likely that clothing factories from China aren't going to ship them to the U.S. anymore.
As long as you have the room, you can literally save all the clothes you'd otherwise throw away. The really sweet part is that they don't need to be stored in a cool, dry, dark places (such as food and water). You can keep them in your attic, for instance, where there's plenty of space. Your nicer, fancier clothes can be donated, and your older clothes, more casual and especially those that will hold up to the weather, are the ones you should consider keeping around.
If you do choose to hold on to some more expensive clothes pay attention to how you choose to store them. Attics are full of dust and can house termites so you don't want to take that chance. What you should be doing is wrap each item in a plastic bag. Even better, use vacuum sealed bags to save up to a third of the space.
#7. Items that can't be replicatedWhat if I told you there's a secret list of survival items that will be impossible to find post-collapse AND have very little alternatives? What if I told you these items are dirt cheap now so hoarding them is going to give you huge leverage when everyone's gonna be looking for them?
Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, Ziploc bags, Steel Wool (use for heavy cleaning and can be used as an emergency firestarter along with a 9 volt battery), batteries, condoms (even if you're married, in a post collapse it may not be a good idea to start having children right away, something to think about beforehand), chainsaws and anything made of metal such as nails, tweezers, multi-tools, spoons, forks, knives and so on.
Of course, for bartering purposes, you probably won't want to sacrifice your knives (unless it's urgent!) so what you should do is get some of these items that are cheaper and stock up on them. Since they're not perishable, you can keep them in the attic with your clothes.
#8. Medical suppliesThis is something you want to put a "high price" on. Getting meds will be hard if not impossible so you don't want to just give them away, though that may be the right thing to do. Consider stockpiling the following:
Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes
Gauze and surgical tape
Antibiotic cream, etc.
Tip: If you stock up on first aid supplies to barter with (or simply to hand out freely to people in need), consider the generic name brands as a way to save money. For the most part, many generics do just as well as the more expensive brand names (unless that is we're talking about survival gear -- a good piece of gear that has a lifetime of use is worth the price paid, specifically if it doesn't break or rip on you).
#9. Letting others use your toolsWho says you have to loan out your tools for free? If you need something, you can ask for something in return. Even though this is something you'd never do right now, in a post-apocalyptic society, you may not have a choice so you might as well get used to the idea.
What kind of gear will you be able to loan out? One of the things a lot of folks will need is clean, drinkable water. Whether you have a complex filtration system or even something as simple as a LifeStraw, people will want to use it. Of course, there's also the option to purify the water yourself and then sell it or barter with it but that depends on whether or not you have access to that water in the first place.
A few things you can loan or "rent" to community membersFishing gear
Crabbing gear (if you live near the ocean)
Chainsaw (you will need to have gasoline on hand)
Rope and pulley
Come along (hand winch)
#10. Hardware and suppliesChlorine bleach
(unscented, 6 drops added to each gallon of questionable water purifies it for safe drinking; read more specific details here before you use chlorine bleach to purify water)
Plastic 50 gallon drums for water storage
.... or smaller 6 gallon jugs
Barbed wire (to keep out wildlife or keep in livestock)
Razor wire (to keep criminals, dangerous wildlife out of an area or supply room)
#11. Dental KitsAnother thing you can outright trade or sell (or give away, for example to children and refugees) is a dental kit. Dental care is going to be a HUGE issue post-collapse and very few preppers ever consider storing such a kit. You can have several dozen "kits" ready to distribute packed with a large roll of floss, full size toothpaste, and a travel size toothbrush in each kit.
#12. HAM RadioYour HAM radio. If the phone lines will be down, people will want to talk with their far-away relatives. As a kid, I can still remember going with my mom to this military station outside of town to talk to my dad who was stationed in Angola at the time as part of a peacekeeping mission.
With HAM radio, you'll not only need the proper equipment but you'll also have to get a license and training so it's safe to assume most preppers won't go through this trouble. (Besides, some of them are worried about the government keeping a track on them that they'd rather not have one than to show up on one of their lists.)
Last but not least, there's no harm in letting other people use your tools but make sure you keep an eye on them. If you don't get them back as soon as they're done, they'll most likely forget, leaving you with less items to barter with.
#13. Gold and silverAs you can see, these aren't exactly high on list because everything we talked about might be more important for bartering purposes. Still, once you have enough food, water, ammo and medicine, diversifying a little bit might be just what you need.
Let's not forget that gold and silver have been around longer than money and, when things will go back to some sort of normal after the initial catastrophe, people might turn back to them in order to trade and the economy will stabilize.
It's good to think not just long-term but really long term and my view is that whoever will have gold and silver will inevitably have power. They're called precious metals for a reason...
#14. FuelSome people, for example ranchers and owners of commercial producing farms, have large quantities of fuel stored on site; following a collapse, farm demands for fuel are likely to drop and some of these ranchers and farmers will suddenly have large quantities of unused fuel (diesel and gasoline) to barter with. (Fuel of course can be a precious commodity and storing large quantities of it may attract unwanted attention from the wrong kind of people.)
#15. Your homeDid I just dare to say you should let strangers inside your home? Well, they don't have to sleep in the same bed with you but, who knows, maybe the poor soul who you'd let sleep in your barn could help you work the field, the garden and every other homesteading activity.
I know some preppers would never let anyone inside their home in a post-collapse world but that's just fantasy. Who knows how many women and children would be willing to work 12 hours a day for a couple of hot meals? Let's not get caught up into any particular Doomsday scenario and keep an open mind.
Final word on bartering in a post collapseWell, I hope by now you realize just how many thing that nobody cares about today are going to be of huge importance when the world descends into darkness. I should warn you, though. You probably don't want to turn yourself into a full-time trader. The more people who know about what you're doing, the more exposed you become.
A good rule of thumb would be to only barter with people you know and trust and avoid having random strangers show up at your doorstep (that could be dangerous at some point).
Appoint a middle man and mulesFor example, a "middle man" can be appointed to work with a seller or trader. That middle man can then use "mules" (optimally, people who can be trusted) to then serve as the person who delivers a product, once it's been paid for. Pre-sale items can be kept at a hidden location, or even under guard, accessed only by the seller or middle man. Similar scenarios work for drug cartels, when it comes to the business of organized crime, so why not adopt a few of these tactics and put them to work for communities following a collapse?
Our goal may not be crime, but like the cartels it's to keep dangerous criminals at bay and reduce the odds of theft or robbery. In a lawless land, communities, like those in "Cartel Land" (taking place today in Mexico where cartel violence is a real threat), need to be smart and take precautions in order to help protect themselves and their food, water, and commodities.
Remember to be charitableGive away what you can, when you can as charity should be a way of life for us, and barter with others whom you can put to work helping you grow food and harvest lumber and collect water from a nearby source, if you don't have a water well handy. Ultimately, your hired hands (if they're fit for the job) can help the community rebuild (and defend itself from outside raiders) if they don't have anything to trade back your way in exchange for items they have sought from you. Good luck!
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