Bartering is as old as humans and was the only form of trade for centuries.
In a truly drastic survival crisis, it will come roaring back particularly if the value of currency plummets or currency becomes exceedingly rare; here is a list of goods that will have a high barter value that you should be stockpiling.
Toilet Paper- Right now it is cheap and plentiful. When SHTF TP will be known under a new moniker- “rolled gold”. Backed by a large industry and delicate manufacturing process TP will be one of those items that will be difficult to bring back online. You’d better stockpile it now or begin to practice other “methods” of achieving the same results.
Coffee– Do you know how much oil is in coffee? Lots, it turns out. How do you think it gets from South America to your cup? In the can it will last a year or two past the “best by” date. Instant coffee should last forever.
Salt- Ah, the savor of life. Salt is Left off of nearly every SHTF barter list when it really should be at the top of them all. Besides adding flavor, salts primary use in SHTF will be to preserve meat. Easily measurable, stores indefinitely, it may be the most sought after item when things shake out. In reality, this commodity will be worth more than gold in SHTF, for now, it is truly an inexpensive prepping item purchased now. Bought in bulk it is really cheap, twenty five pound bags can be had for less then a dollar a pound.
Feminine Products- They might as well have a picture of Ben Franklin’s head printed on them. Beyond their intended use they can be used in wound dressing due to their absorbency and “sanitary” nature.
Water Filters- How many folks outside of the prepping community even know they exist? Sure, they may have one in their refrigerator, but they probably don’t know what it truly does. Once the hordes and masses become aware that their bodies require clean drinking water the water filter will become invaluable. Do you have an extra water filter to sell to the highest bidder?
Freeze Dried Food– Yes, any type of food will be a barter item when SHTF, but Freeze dried food and MRE’s are something you can buy now and pretty much forget about until SHTF if stored in a cool dry place.
Power– Any method of electrical power will be in high demand. Batteries, rechargeable batteries, small solar devices, anything that can utilize mechanical energy and turn it into electrical energy will be in high demand. People will get creative and find ways to cobble together bits of this and that to create energy. Any DC motor can be turned to create electricity. Starter solar kits will get you a decent amount of power, they are definitely not toys.
Honey and Sugar– Yes, I said honey and sugar. Again, there is lots of oil in sugar. While stockpiling sugar is wise, what happens when it runs out? For those in the northern part of the country honey can be harvested locally and also lasts indefinitely. The United States does produce a significant amount of sugar, but only in the southern States. Because it lasts pretty much indefinitely it can be hauled via horse and wagon BUT due to the limited ability to haul large amounts it’s value will skyrocket. Bulk sugar is also a significant store of calories. We are not suggesting that you rely solely in spoonfuls of sugar, but this 50lb bag contains over 87,000 calories alone. Just like salt, when you move away from consumer packaging sugar and honey’s prices drop dramatically.
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen- Many deaths in centuries past due to high fevers could have been mitigated if these two drugs were around. At least for the first few years after SHTF stockpiled fever reducers will save many countless more. I mention both because in extreme cases you may need to alternate between the two.
Magnifying Glasses– What item fits in your pocket, requires no fuel, yet allows any moron to start a fire? The magnifying glass.
Bartering was once one of the only methods of securing the goods and services you desired (pillaging was also very popular, but not recommended unless you live with a hoard of Vikings.)
If a survival scenario was drastic enough, bartering could become the only way you could get the stuff you needed; that is why you must stockpile items that can be bartered now.
To see more items that would be good in a bartering situation, check out Tin Hat Ranch.