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Are you ready to equip yourself with a critical survival skill that’s as old as civilization itself? Welcome to the world of bartering and trade, a method once employed by ancient Babylonians who traded goods in exchange for essentials.

This page will guide you through the nuances of this age-old practice, transforming your understanding on how exchanging resources can be leveraged during tough times. Get ready – it’s time for some practical prep work into bartering and trade!

The History of Bartering: A Survival Skill

The History of Bartering and trade

Trading goods for other items is called bartering. It is old as time itself. The Babylonians made it better many years ago. Bartering helped people survive hard times like those in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Russia also used this system during a money crunch in 2015. Today, people all over the world use barter to live through the coronavirus pandemic. In Fiji, one out of five people use Facebook to trade things they need.

The Importance of Bartering in Survival Situations

A couple bartering in the jungle

Bartering plays a key role in survival situations. It lets you trade items you have for things you need. If money has no valuegoods and skills do. In hard times, people use items to barter. 

Bartering can help meet your needs when resources are scarce. You might swap seeds for fresh food or medicine for a warm blanket or even toilet paper! Preppers will usually have these items stocked. 

Let’s see how this works. Say you stocked up on canned food but ran out of clean water. Another person may have lots of water but no food left to eat! Here is where barter comes into play as both parties can enter into an exchange agreement.

It’s not just about trading items though; it also involves swapping skills! A good cook might prepare meals in return for someone fixing their broken tools, creating a win-win situation.

It’s crucial to know what makes those exchanges succeed: realistic valuation of items! Both parties should feel happy after an exchange happens because they got what they needed without feeling robbed.

In short, bartering becomes very important when surviving tough periods like disasters or crises that upset our normal way of life which include access to necessities such as groceries and medical care.

The Most Valuable Bartering Goods

The Most Valuable Bartering Goods

In a survival situation, certain goods become incredibly valuable for bartering. Precious metals like gold and silver hold their worth, while essential supplies such as water filters, medicines, and food are always in high demand.

Practical tools like batteries, flashlights, fuel, and multi-tools can also be highly sought after. Want to know more about the most valuable items for bartering?

Precious Metals like Gold & Silver

Gold and silver are great for trade. People have used them as money for a long time. Even in hard times, they keep their worth. They are easy to carry and don’t go bad. In fact, gold and silver can get you what you need when other things fail.

This is why smart survivalists always hold on to some precious metals.

Essential Supplies such as Water Filters, Medicines, and Food

There are certain supplies that are very important in bartering. These items can keep you alive and healthy. They could also get you other goods or services you need. Here is a list of the most useful supplies to help when making deals:

  1. Water filters: Clean water is something everyone needs. Water filters can make unsafe water safe to drink.
  2. Medicines: Health is very important in hard times. Simple medicines like pain killers or band-aids can be hard to find.
  3. Food: Canned, dried, or other long-lasting food is good for trade. People always need food, even if times are tough.

Practical Tools like Batteries, Flashlights, Fuel, and Multi-tools

Practical tools are essential for survivalists in bartering situations. Here are some valuable tools that can be used for bartering:

How to Start a Local Bartering Network

A bartering market in the jungle

If you want to start a local bartering network, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Identify the resources and skills you have to offer.
  2. Consider what items or services you need in exchange for your offerings.
  3. Reach out to people in your community who might be interested in bartering.
  4. Meet with potential bartering partners to discuss what each person can provide.
  5. Establish guidelines and rules for your bartering network. such as how trades will be made and how disputes will be resolved.

Tips for Successful Bartering

Understand the value of goods and services and build a local bartering network to increase your chances of successful barter transactions.

Understanding the value of goods and services

In bartering, it’s important to know the worth of the things you’re trading. Some goods and services have higher value compared to others. For example, during a crisis, fuel like gas or diesel is valuable because it provides light, heat, and power.

Precious metals like gold or silver hold value too. Other essentials such as water filters, medicines, and food are also highly sought after for their practicality. Tools like batteries, flashlights, fuel containers, and multi-tools can be useful in various situations.

It’s essential to understand which items are in high demand when participating in bartering exchanges to maximize your trades effectively and get what you need in return.

Building a local bartering network

If you’re a survivalist, building a local bartering network can be crucial for your preparedness. Here are some steps to help you establish a strong network:

  1. Identify nearby like-minded individuals: Look for people in your community who are interested in survival preparedness and have valuable skills and resources to offer.
  2. Attend local events and meetups: Participate in workshops, classes, or seminars related to survival skills. This is a great way to meet potential bartering partners.
  3. Join online communities: Explore online forums, social media groups, and websites dedicated to survivalism. Connect with individuals who are actively involved in bartering and trade.
  4. Offer your own skills and resources: Determine what skills or resources you have that could be valuable in a bartering situation. This could include knowledge of first aid, gardening expertise, or even homemade products.
  5. Establish trust and relationships: Bartering relies on mutual trust and respect between participants. Take the time to get to know others in your network, build relationships, and demonstrate reliability.
  6. Start small: Begin by exchanging small items or services with other members of your bartering network before moving on to larger transactions.
  7. Develop a system for communication: Establish a reliable method of communication within your local bartering network. This could be through physical meetings, phone calls, email lists, or messaging apps.
  8. Create guidelines for fair trading: Discuss and agree upon fair value assessments for different goods and services within your network. This will help ensure equitable exchanges.
  9. Continuously expand your network: Encourage existing members to invite others who may contribute valuable skills or resources to the group. A larger network offers more opportunities for successful trades.
  10. Utilize existing platforms: Consider joining established bartering networks or utilizing online platforms that facilitate bartering exchanges. These platforms can connect you with individuals outside of your local area who may offer unique goods or services.

Planning for Bartering in a Post-Collapse Scenario

In a post-collapse scenario, planning for bartering becomes crucial for survival. When traditional currency loses its value, bartering allows you to exchange goods and services without the need for money.

By understanding the importance of realistic valuation, you can determine what items will be most valuable in a barter economy. According to experts, commodities like coffee, alcohol, seeds, emergency supplies such as food and medical items, tools, and even cigarettes are highly sought after in these situations.

By preparing ahead of time with these valuable items on hand, you increase your chances of securing necessary resources in a collapsed economy. In fact, we’ve already seen this happening in Venezuela where their scarcity of stable currency has led to a thriving barter economy.

So it’s important to consider potential collapse scenarios and plan accordingly by stocking up on valuables that can serve as bargaining chips when traditional currency fails.

Bartering Services: An Alternative to Goods Exchange

An agreement between two people settled by a handshake

Are you looking for another option when it comes to bartering? Instead of just trading goods, you can also barter services. This means that instead of exchanging items like food or tools, you can exchange skills or tasks with others.

For example, if you’re good at gardening, you could offer your gardening services in exchange for someone else’s medical care or home-cooked meals. The key is to identify the skills and services that you have to offer and find someone who needs them.

By bartering services, not only can you meet your needs but also contribute your unique abilities to help others in a survival situation.

The Role of Precious Metals in Bartering

In a bartering system, precious metals like gold and silver play a significant role. These metals have been used as a form of currency for thousands of years because they hold intrinsic value and are relatively scarce. This makes them highly desirable in trade and barter situations.

During times of economic crisis or hyperinflation when paper currency loses its value, precious metals retain their worth. They provide stability and serve as a reliable medium of exchange in the absence of traditional money. In survival situations, having gold or silver can be crucial for obtaining essential goods and services.

If you find yourself in a post-collapse scenario where the economy has crumbled, possessing precious metals could give you an advantage when trading for necessities like food, water, medicine, or tools. People will recognize the value of these metals across different communities and cultures.

It’s important to note that while other items may lose their worth over time or become obsolete, precious metals tend to maintain their value throughout history. So if you’re preparing for uncertain times or want to be ready for any eventuality, consider acquiring some gold or silver as part of your survival strategy.

What Every Prepper Needs to Know

Preparing for bartering is essential for survivalists who want to be ready for any economic or disaster scenario. Here are some important things every prepper needs to know:

  1. Identify your resources and skills: Take stock of what you have to offer in a bartering exchange. Consider your possessions, talents, and knowledge that others may find valuable.
  2. Determine your needs: What are the essential items and services you will need during a crisis? Make a list of these items so you can prioritize them when bartering.
  3. Stock up on valuable barter goods: Items like coffee, alcohol, seeds, emergency food, medical supplies, tools, weapons, batteries, water filtration tools, hygiene items, cigarettes, and tobacco products are highly sought after in bartering situations.
  4. Learn realistic valuations: It’s important to know the fair value of items you possess as well as those you wish to acquire. This will help ensure a fair and satisfying barter exchange for both parties involved.
  5. Invest in practical skills: Building practical skills like gardening, foraging, first aid, or self-defense can make you more self-sufficient and increase your bargaining power in a survival situation.
  6. Establish a local network: Connect with like-minded individuals in your community who share an interest in survivalism and are open to bartering. Building relationships ahead of time can make future exchanges easier.
  7. Stay informed about market trends: Be aware of the current demands and trends in the survivalist community. This will help you anticipate what items may have higher value during different scenarios.
  8. Keep your supplies organized: Maintain an inventory system for your stockpile to efficiently track what you have available for trade and prevent waste or spoilage.
  9. Practice negotiation skills: Negotiation is a fundamental part of successful bartering. Learn effective communication techniques and persuasive strategies to maximize the outcome of each exchange.
  10. Be adaptable and flexible: Bartering may require compromise and flexibility. Be open to exploring different trade options and finding creative solutions that meet both parties’ needs.


In conclusion, bartering and trade have been integral to survival throughout history. From ancient Babylonians to modern-day Facebook groups, people have relied on the exchange of goods and services to meet their needs in difficult times.

By understanding the value of items and building local networks, individuals can navigate a post-collapse scenario or simply prepare for emergencies. Bartering provides an alternative system of exchange that allows us to rely on our skills and resources rather than traditional currency.

So whether you’re a survivalist or just looking for creative ways to meet your needs, consider the power of bartering and trade as a valuable tool in your toolkit.


Find additional information on ‘Bartering and Trade‘ below or click the following link to read more on ‘COMMUNITY AND COMMUNICATION‘.

What is survival bartering and trade?

Survival bartering and trade refers to the exchange of goods or services in a post-collapse world or disaster situation when traditional currency may no longer hold its value. It involves using valuable items or skills as barter items to acquire essential resources to survive.

What are the top barter items in a survival situation?

In a survival situation, some of the top barter items include food, water, medical supplies, personal hygiene products, ammunition, fuel, and hand tools. These items are considered valuable because they address basic human needs and can be used by individuals to improve their chances of survival.

What are some good barter items to stockpile for SHTF?

Good barter items to stockpile for SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) scenarios would include items that have a long shelf life, are easy to store, and are in high demand. Examples of such items include canned food, batteries, first aid kits, hygiene products, and tools. These items are versatile and can be traded for other essential goods.

Can I barter almost anything in a survival situation?

Yes, in a survival situation, almost anything can be used as a barter item depending on the needs and preferences of the individuals involved in the trade. From everyday items like toiletries and duct tape to specialized skills and knowledge, the value of a barter item lies in its usefulness and desirability in the given context.

What are some bartering skills I should know for survival situations?

In survival situations, it is beneficial to possess bartering skills such as negotiation, trade assessment, and resource evaluation. These skills help in determining the value of goods or services being exchanged, identifying fair trade opportunities, and maximizing the potential benefits in a barter transaction.

What can I stockpile for SHTF scenarios?

When preparing for SHTF scenarios, it is advisable to stockpile essential survival items such as food, water, medical supplies, hygiene products, tools, batteries, fuel, and emergency communication devices. These stockpiled items can help sustain you and potentially become valuable barter items if needed.

Can survival supplies also be used for bartering?

Yes, survival supplies such as food, water, medical supplies, tools, and hygiene products can double as valuable barter items. In addition to meeting your own survival needs, having a surplus of these supplies allows you to trade them with others for goods or services that you may need in a survival situation.

What are sought-after items for bartering and trade?

Sought-after items for bartering and trade are those that have a high demand and trade value. These could include food, clean water, medicine, tools, and other essential supplies for survival.

What items are great for bartering and trade?

Items that are great for bartering and trade are those that are easily transportable, have a long shelf life, and are in high demand. Examples include ammunition, batteries, hygiene products, and non-perishable food items.

Do I need to know how to make everything I want to barter?

While it’s not necessary to know how to make everything you want to barter, having some basic skills in areas like cooking, sewing, carpentry, or gardening can greatly increase your bartering options.