Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Barter Items for Survival - Part One

In a survival situation where many items may be scarce or in limited supply, you will need to make sure that you place yourself in a superior bargaining position when bartering for needed items for your own survival. The best way to put yourself in a superior position in any type of bartering situation is to take advantage of inherrent human weaknesses and addictions.

Unfortunately, many people are addicted to a great many things. These items to which they are addicted can be great barter items that will place you in a superior position when bartering. Those who lack the necessary willpower to control their addictions will be at a serious disadvantage in any bargaining for needed items to which they are addicted.

The two main items that will be essential to a great many people because of their addictions will be alcohol (the kind you drink) and tobacco products. Wine, beer, and liquor will be in great demand and even more so for those to whom it is an essential part of their life due to a dependence on it. Tobacco products will also be in great demand. Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and other forms of tobacco will make excellent barter items for your survival.

The best way to come out ahead in any trade or barter situation is to place yourself in a position of power. Having an item that a person needs desperately is just one way to do this with a fairly guaranteed rate of success. This may seem a rather harsh manner in which to do business, but remember, we're talking about your survival and the survival of your family.

Got barter items?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

59 comments:

Pickdog said...

I think I may even grow tobacco :)

http://www.organicaseedco.com/tobaccoseeds.html

Anonymous said...

There is a fairly big caveat to what you suggest, however. If someone is addicted to alcohol, knows that you have it, and doesn't have anything to barter with for it, then he may resort to trying to take it by force. I would just assume not make myself a target by those who are in withdrawal and, therefore, unstable.

Machinist said...

As the previous commenter suggests, anyone who contemplates barter MUST be equipped and prepared to defend what they have. It must seem to even desperate people that it is safer to trade or walk than to try to take.

Machinist said...

I had not considered tobacco and I no longer smoke but it sounds like a good excuse to stock up on Scotch!

I do stock lighters, flashlights, dozens of several types of batteries, ammo (especially .22 rimfire), extra firearms, knives,canned food and canned water. All of these should have high trade value. I have been building a stock of canned seltzer water. I drink it daily so it gets used and it is a supply of safe water for consumption if needed, that will remain safe for a long time, it can even be buried if needed. Canned soup in the types we use regularly are also good items to stock.

Anonymous said...

I have a few issue's here.First,it's more stuff to carry,unless you need it too.Second,if they want it,and you have it,they'll try to get it,maybe with force.Third,do you really want a drunken survivalist with gun's? I'd prefer to carry extra food,fuel,batterie's,etc, for barter,rather than ammo or booze. I'd prefer to lay low,than to make my retreat into a local trading post. Beside's,if we're all prepped well enough,what are they going to trade us that we need? Unless they have a cute daughter, cousin,etc....
Dean

Machinist said...

I would not really trade booze. I don't keep enough and would not stock it. The other items are all of use to me and are used in daily life. They are portable, long lasting, cheap now and of high value later. Little if any will go to waste if not needed.

I would always be open to some foods, beverages, tools and skills. (What might a Doctor's services be worth to you, or a gunsmith's?) These may be owned or salvaged by people who are unprepared beforehand and could be traded for at favorable rates for survival items. One does not need to trade from home if that is unwise in a particular situation. Much would depend on the situation. These items might be given out freely in a short term emergency, particularly to family, friends and neighbors.

Machinist said...

It is difficult to see how one can survive long on the move other than in a short term emergency in any case, and without a home or base camp you had better have portable trade goods of fairly universal value in any case to deal with groups of people you will surely encounter. You may need this to buy safe passage, access to water, or shelter and hospitality. Being on the move would seem a grim situation to me. I would hope to gather with friends and family and deal with the situation from as secure a setting as possible.

Anonymous said...

One of my other problem's with the barter system is,how do you define what a fair trade is? If your off the grid,no internet,no radio,so on.. How do you determine what an ounce of silver is worth? A gallon of gas? A pound of beef? Obviously,it's alway's worth whatever YOU are willing to pay. A box of .22 is about 7-8 buck's.A bottle of Southern comfort is 15,I know!! What's all that worth in a crisis?I still prefer to avoid contact,if possible. If not possible,let them do chore's in trade.I do like the idea of lighter's tho.As a heavy smoker myself,the circle k here was giving free lighter's with a 2 pack purchase..I have a ton of them! Probably one thing most people will need.Candle's,charcoal, even lighter fluid. Thing's we can use,and they didn't think of. Just had a flash of brilliance.. 12 volt inverter's! If you can find those gizmo's cheap,the underhood type,they'd be gold!
Dean

Machinist said...

The value of something is subjective. That is how barter works. What's an iPod worth with no electricity. If I have something you need and you have something I need then we trade at parity. If I have something you need and you have something I WANT then I do better in the deal. The ability to make fire is critical in almost any scenario. I don't smoke but I almost always carry a lighter and I keep a number of them on hand.

Candles are a good idea. I used to keep votive candles on hand but I lapsed on that. Thanks. Rope is another good item to stock.

I buy .22 ammo when on sale and I keep thousands of rounds on hand. It would be very valuable in a long term emergency. An extra gun for them could be priceless to a man with a family to protect and feed who did not prepare.

I would hesitate to trade for gold or silver. Survival goods would seem safer unless I expected things to return to normal soon. Many people would have blankets, pans, yard tools, water jugs, etc and would trade at good rates for the things they did not stock for emergencies. How many homeowners have only one flashlight? With low or dead batteries?

Machinist said...

My wife's extended family would probably gather here as ours' is the best prepared and most defensible house. My nearest neighbor is a policeman and would probably join us. I have no next door neighbors and there is lots of open land, a wooded creek, and an artificial pond nearby. Lot's of resources and a clear field around. A family with teenage kids and some gardening or farm skills would be an attractive addition to the group as we are mostly old farts.

Anonymous said...

To Machinist,
As a toolmaker myself,an old one,I resemble the "old fart" comment! Personally,if I could trust someone to barter labor for food,shelter,whatever, I'd be thrilled to accept them,provided I could trust them. I have a small home machine shop that won't be worth a darn in a bug out scenario,but till then will be some income/ barter ability. I'm too old to be doing a garden,cut firewood,build a semi permanant shelter, hunt, fish, cook, stand guard all at once.As the old saying goe's,"there is safety in number's", ..I think they forgot to add,"if you can trust them". Maybe RW should do a post about what we'd use for barter item's?! Every region may have specialty item's,regional food's and such. A parka won't do me any good in AZ,but for a refugee moving north,but might be a barter item.I do not want to carry anything I don't need/want, but for barter,maybe. And I have discovered,RW can be bought for hot pepper's! He's so easy!
Dean

riverwalker said...

To: Machinist

Thanks for all the great input!
The point i was trying to make is that the best barter situation is the one where you are dealing from a superior position. This is how the best deals are made. Granted numerous items will be excellent barter items. But, if all anyone has to trade is lighters to start a fire, then what?

riverwalker said...

To: pickdog

If the climate is right go for it!
easier to stock seeds than the finished product! Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

In any survival situation you will need to be prepared to defend what little you may have for there will always be those out there with even less seeking to take it from you! Thanks for making an excellent point.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: Dean

Unfortunately, just as we have addicts in our present lifes that seek to take what they want to feed their habit, there will be those that will seek to take what they can. In a survival situation they may not last long before they are eliminated from the equation.

Trying to barter from a superior position with particular items seems like a smart way to go.

Example: A doctor has a bunch of chickens but very little medicine and no liquor (to which he was accustomed). Would he trade Person#1 who only had a chicken for medicine or Person #2 who just happened to have a pint of liquor. if the need for medicine was critical, you would need an item to give you superior bargaining power. Thanks.

RW

BTW, Don't tell anyone I like peppers...it's a secret!

Machinist said...

I don't like peppers or spicy food but my wife is from Mexico so it's always around. Sometimes when she opens a jar of her Mother's salsa it will make my eyes water from across the table

Hey! Trade possibilities!

I would try hard not to have to move any distance. Survival prospects and quality of life would be diminished a lot, I fear. Local resources are not bad here, (North of Dallas, TX), certainly better than California, where I came from. I am not too close to the big cities. These will be real trouble!

Dean,
I started out as a home shop machinist so I am used to adapting and improvising. It might be interesting to rig up a steam or other "primitive" power source and some line shafting. Even a manual setup could work for light machines. In a long term situation it could be quite valuable. Even hand tools in trained hands could be very valuable. These skills put me ahead of many machinists with more shop experience when I started working in shops. I hear you about farming. I, my wife, and her family are mostly in their fifties or older.

Anonymous said...

RW,
I never intended to "take advantage of",just trying to decide,if,when SHTF,who decide's what is a fair trade? If you traded a box of .22 ammo for an ounce of silver,then tomorrow a guy offer's 2 ounce's for a box..were you ripped off,or is he desparate? What is a can of pork and bean's worth next week,or the week after? You can trade all you have for silver or gold,but you can't eat it,so it's really worthless,right? Granted,when it's all clear,you'll be way ahead,but til then..And trust me, I WON'T TELL ANYONE YOU CAN BE HAD FOR HOT PEPPER'S!!!
Dean
PS.. I got some cast iron stuff at a yard sale,rusty,but nice...how about a post on reconditioning and seasoning cast iron pot's?

Machinist said...

The value of a box of .22s will vary with each transaction. No one is cheated if they get what they agreed to. If I'm trading .22s for a centerfire round I need then we will find a comparable trade ratio. If you show up with a .22 rifle but little or no ammo then the value of that ammo gets much higher. This is why, as Riverwalker says, you don't want to find yourself having to trade from an inferior position. Most everyone will have blankets, raingear, cookware, and containers. If you have essentials they need then you can trade at a good rate for these. They can also gather fire wood and water and trade to you. Again, you will do better if you have things many people must have, rather than things they might want.

Anonymous said...

To Machinist;
I have a small cnc mill and lathe,and a small manual 3 in 1 machine,and 30 yrs experience,and a welder and so many toy's! You know all the crap we can accumulate! That's my main reason to bug in,as I think I'd be better off with what I have,than to abandon it for a cave or log cabin. All the skill's on earth aren't worth a darn unless you have a partner to trade with!
As far as pepper's go..I'd trade these with my enemie's,they'd never move after these! I got into these year's ago as a hobby,I can't even touch them!My finger's burn after touching them! I wear rubber glove's just to pick them.. RW must have a cast iron stomach! (no offense intended to Mrs. RW)
Dean

One Fly said...

Don't forget the toilet paper.

Machinist said...

One Fly,
You are so right!

Dean,
I have no machines now, they stayed in the last shop in California. I hope to get a lathe and mill in the next year or two. Have to see how bad they bugger the economy. I do have a good tool set. I don't weld but I have done some hardening and tempering. I guess it might be kind of hard to run those CNCs with a steam engine or treadmill ;-)

Machinist said...

Ref; cast iron pans.

On a forum I am part of that question was asked of some people who use and appreciate cast iron cookware.

http://tehsqueakywheel.com/blog/?p=3457

The main answers were,

Comment by Paddy O'Furnijur

December 22, 2008 @ 12:35 pm |Edit This

TeX - I use a thin layer of vegetable oil and allow it to dry for a few days until it becomes tacky. Then I bake it at 500°F for one hour. Because of the smoke, I use my gas barbecue instead of the oven. After an hour, turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven for a couple of hours. The coating should be hard. Animal fats will create a softer coating and I find that baking at 300° sometimes gives me a sticky coating.

Store the skillet uncovered, especially in places with high humidity.

____________________________________________________________________

Comment by Sinner

December 22, 2008 @ 1:03 pm |Edit This

Paddy beat me to the punch on using the BBQ, but I have another tip.

Do not use “Pam” or some other spray oil on any cookware, much less cast iron. The flour and propellants will damage even the best non-stick and the coating will come off in food cooked in the cast iron. Not a tasty thing…

______________________________________________________________________

Comment by The Plague Fairy

December 22, 2008 @ 1:08 pm |Edit This

TeX - Paddy’s got it.
Only thing I would add is that I heat the skillet up really hot before I spread the oil on to bake it. That’s because it makes the molecules “stand up” and allows the oil to penetrate deeper…

_____________________________________________________________________

Comment by largenfirm

December 22, 2008 @ 1:25 pm |Edit This

Consider it verified, except that heat actually opens “pores” in the cast iron, and allows them to participate in retaining the polymerized oils.

I generally use olive oil, as it polymerizes at lower heat, works well, and smells good. I have a small pan that I use to fry corn tortillas in, only, in olive oil, and, after 25 years of that, it’s non-stick-ier than teflon!

(sorry about the long comment, Sir. Please feel free to delete it.)
__________________________________________________________________

Anonymous said...

to Machinist,
Screw the economy! You need to look out for yourself first,then sell your abilitie's! I assume,if your budget allow's,go to harbor freight and get a small mill or lathe.99 % of the work is small stuff,so anything they have cheap,110 volt,will do most stuff.If not,just take your time.These can run off a small generater or converter,if need be.If you are the only person in mile's that can do this or that,you'll be the most valuable person in the neighborhood! Just think..a nut or bolt,a part for the I'd seriously look into getting and learning welding,it's a great last resort field."if you can't make it,weld it!". Like the marine's say,"IMPROVISE"!
Dean

Anonymous said...

RE;Cast iron pot's
Ok,I got some stuff that's been in a garage or such,lotsa surface rust. Should I sandblast it to bare metal?

Machinist said...

Dean,I hope to get a Bridgeport type mill and a 12 or 13 inch lathe. I have found that a larger mill and smaller lathe works better than the reverse. As for screwing the economy, the Congress beat me to it.

I agree about the value of welding. Even crude stuff if very useful and a good welder works magic. I have been around it and done a few tentative things.

Machinist said...

Sandblasting was my first thought but I don't know if that would embed grit. I will ask someone. There are citrus based derusting liquids that look impressive. Have you tried these? Navel Jelly might well. It uses phosphoric acid to kill rust.

Anonymous said...

Machinist,
With your experience,I'm sure you've seen a Boss 9 Bridgeport.That's about what I have,and a small chucker type cnc lathe,and my 3 in 1. The cnc's are great for complex stuff,but most of what we may run into in SHTF type work will be easy on basic machine's. Turning shaft's,drilling hole's, maybe a keyway.. all simple stuff.
Dean

Machinist said...

Dean, other than the three-in-one, I have worked on all of those and agree they are very useful. As you say, in a bad situation I may well be wishing for one of my old Atlas lathes, (from 1938 and 1946), as they would be easy to improvise a power source for. A lot of gun repair can be done on such machines as well, or manufacturing for that matter.

Anonymous said...

To machinist
Go back a bit to RW's review of the muzzle brake for the 10/22
Dean

Machinist said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember that review but I did not connect your name. Well done. He spoke very highly of your work.

Anonymous said...

OK,it seem's we got off course here.All people need 2 basic thing's...food and shelter.Beyond that,it's all comfort stuff,such as heat,shade,whatever.. Let's assume all hell break's loose,and those of us smart enough to have been prepped have 6 month's of stuff stashed away,maybe more.What would you be willing to trade for what? This time of year,the local discount store has tent's on sale for 12.99!! sure,it's a 6x6 tent,but if you don't have one..I'm sure the local yard sale's have coleman stove's at giveaway price's..I have 3!! Water jug's,cooler's,gas can's. Small propane bottle's for the gas lantern's. Those who are not prepped properly will pay almost anything for what they need or want,not that I'm out to take advantage of them,but if they need what you have excess of,you need to make the best of it. Look at it this way..if you're out of your area when SHTF,no sleeping bag or tent,food,whatever..anything is worth a fortune.The old saying,"cash is king",only work's if cash is worth anything.

Anonymous said...

To Machinist:
I bribed him for that review! I think I'm engaged to his 3rd cousin's sister's mother in law or something.. Anyway's,that was all done on my 3 in 1.
Dean

riverwalker said...

To: One Fly

TP is a good thing! It has great potential for barter.Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: Dean

Cast iron pots would be a good topic. Have to do some research first. Thanks.

RW

BTW, Mrs. RW's hands blister if she doesn't wear gloves when making my hot sauce (it has been known to melt cast iron!).LOL

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

Excellent points all! Value is entirely dependent upon need. If they don't need what you have , then it will have no value to them.

"Cash is king" will work only if you can find someone willing to accept it in trade.

Coming out ahead will be a necessary thing. If items are limited in supply due to a crisis or disaster, you will need to get the maximum value possible, as there may not be any available at a later date. This is not taking advantage of anyone. It's the law of supply and demand! If they don't have a supply to begin with, they are already in a losing position.

Thanks.

RW

Anonymous said...

Just a quick addition to the comments regarding the "non-stickiness of pans". You can make any pan non-stick by following this rule:

"Hot pan, cold oil. Foods don't stick."

Translation: Heat the pan/pot first. Add cold/room temperature oil/butter/lard, and voila! You have a pan that foods won't stick to.

I'm becoming less enamored with "hoarding" gold and silver. I think it's more valuable to have storable foods on hand.

http://www.internet-grocer.net/product.html

Gold and silver are only valuable to retain "currency value" or "buying power" ASSUMING the economy comes back. But they're not a SURVIVAL commodity.

theotherryan said...

I think it is worth remembering that you need to completely square away your own preps before looking to stash barter items.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

Excellent tip! Hot pan + cold oil = No stick! Thanks.

RW

To: theotherryan

True! Get your own situation squared away before stocking trade items. Thanks for bringing it up. An excellent reminder.

Still, it is good to understand that trade is a two-way street and if your own preps are lacking or you run out of something it may be the only way to get more or the only way that may be available to replace a needed item. Thanks.

RW

Harmony said...

I'm lucky, i don't smoke and drink,but i have alot of alcohol at my home. Time for a huge barter trade.

riverwalker said...

To: Harmony

If you don't use it yourself, it would be to your advantage to trade it for something you may need. Thanks.

RW

P. said...

Heres an idea.

Instead of stocking up on liquor. Make your own by having the hardware onhand for a small still!

You could use any excess as fuel!
Or disinfectant!

If its too complicate, then have the stuff you need for making home wine. (The way I would go)

You should have a look at the Alaskan boothlegger's bible. Great little book with all the basic.

I enjoyed it quite a bit even tough I dont drink (or smoke).


P

riverwalker said...

To: P

Excellent point! There are probably quite a few out there that are real handy at amking their own "joy" juice! Thanks.

RW

Grumpyunk said...

Here's a link to a home made still. They're selling the "Turbo Yeast" I think, but you could probably modify the system and tailor it to what you need. There is a download of the plans for free and it looks pretty simple. I haven't spent much time looking at them, but saved the plans for future reference.
Maybe one of your readers will be able to comment on this.

http://www.amazingstill.com/

riverwalker said...

To: grumpyunk

Thanks for the link. We'll see if someone knows about this in more detail. Thanks.

RW

Anonymous said...

Re: Harmony
She sound's like the type I'd like to bug out with! Anyway,I just had another idea for barter stuff. My folk's do a lot of traveling,being retired and all,so when they stay at hotel's,they alway's swipe the little soap and shampoo stuff,to keep in they're RV. Hygiene will be a priority,whether it be for sanitation,or just to tolerate yourself! Maybe those little coffee pack's and such.
Dean

Anonymous said...

Just another idea.. If you do home canning,stock up on the sealing lid's! As you use up the stuff you have canned,you can trade the jar's and lid's to other's,if you don't have a garden to reuse them. And after seeing so many post's claiming,"i have 500 pound's of wheat", stock up on baking soda,baking powder, sugar, any type of baking stuff. Bread will be a luxury in a SHTF situation,as will pop tart's! Maybe even camping cooking gear..I have a coleman folding toaster,and a couple of grilled sandwich makers.. How many people have all these type of thing's? a cheap camping coffee pot,a stew kettle.. We need to think outside of ammo and gun's, or silver and gold. Survival doesn't mean profit! But it won't hurt!
Dean

Anonymous said...

That 10/22 brake is awesome - I wouldn't mind having one of those myself. I agree with most of that 10/22 review - a weight out at end of barrel really helps settle it down quicker, especially with light barrels. I put one on my Mini-14 - really helps.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:55

It does a really good job of steadying the barrel. My so was impressed with being able to see the bullet hit the target, even though he prefers iron sights. Thanks.

RW

liquor said...

My Grandmother, who lived through the Depressionk always kept a few cases of Old Crow in her basement, to use as barter.

The Whiskey Standard

http://www.liquorlocusts.com/the-whiskey-standard

blaza said...

I am blazabes and I Like the barter
barter

Sarah said...

great post!

riverwalker said...

To: Sarah

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post.

RW

Anonymous said...

>A case of dirt cheap whiskey. For the drinkers, also serves as a topical disinfectant.
>hygienic items:toothpaste, bars of soap
>bleach and peroxide. Bleach can be used to disinfectant water sources. Not an ideal taste but you're going to be worse off getting dehydrated from diarrhea drinking tainted water
>non perishable goods is a given. Mostly for yourself but always a barter item. Canned goods is obvious but think variety and expand. Oatmeal, pastas, peanut butter, canned fruit, jerkey. There are dozens of items that don't come in cans to expand your flavor and variety.
>ammo. A must but won't last forever in an extended survival situation. Think oldschool with a newschool approach. A nice, 180lb. Draw crossbow with a scope, and a few dozen arrows. Extra shafts, heads, cable, etc. A MUST for game, and self defense. Wouldnt want to be staring down the wrong end of those sights unless I had a mossberg with some multipurpose load pointed back.
>medicine: gauze wraps splints bandages antibiotic ointment peroxide scissors knives peroxide tweezers scalpels.
If you have access to iv's and the proper hookups.... They will become PRICELESS. raiding an undefended hospital or clinic could be an invaluable move. Don't assume you're the only with that idea though. Be prepared to defend yourself.

Machinist said...

I must respectfully disagree. For the weight, bulk, and cost of that crossbow and related items you could add thousands of rounds of ammo for the .22 you should have, or a decent .22 and still thousands of rounds of ammo. For each arrow you could go with a hundred or more rounds of ammo. As romantic as it looks in movies you would be better served with extending your ammo supply or other equipment rather than such a specialist weapon.

Gravlore said...

I stocked up on sugar and salt for trade. I have all the items needed for a massive water catchment (building a 20,000 gallon tank this spring) So sell water if people need it. Most of my stuff will be underground. I want to accumulate alot of fastener items... nails, screws, nuts n bolts.

I want a trout pond as well but is that a beacon?

riverwalker said...

To: Gravlore

Sugar and salt are great items for barter and water (if you have excess) would make a great barter item. As for a trout (or other fish) pond, it may become a little too popular if diets become too restricted and everyone starts looking for a little variety in their diet.

RW

Sarah said...

One Fly, You are so right! Dean, I have no machines now, they stayed in the last shop in California. I hope to get a lathe and mill in the next year or two. Have to see how bad they bugger the economy. I do have a good tool set. I don't weld but I have done some hardening and tempering. I guess it might be kind of hard to run those CNCs with a steam engine or treadmill ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dean --

For Pete's sake, you don't need an apostrophe before every ending s!

Check it out. This makes you less credible.

Anonymous said...

All
Looking for ideas on a Bug Out Bag for my wife and two kids.... Bug out location is 30 miles from my house and we may end up hiking there...... I understand that water and weapons are a must but I am looking for light weight ideas to get us there..... Any input would be great!!!!!

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