Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bartering for Survival - Bartering with Backups

Quite often during a crisis or in a survival situation you will come up short on a needed item. Rather than struggling to make do with what you may have available there is always the option of bartering for that needed item. Sometimes a simple trade with someone else for that item can solve your problem.

When making a trade, you will always want to get the best deal possible. Unfortunately, it has to be a good deal for all parties involved before a trade can be agreed upon. Herein lays a basic problem that is encountered when bartering. You obviously will want to keep your most valuable items while trading those with the least value to you. Items with less value to you will also have less value to others.

This problem can be solved quite easily if you use a proper system of backups for your gear and other items. While beans, bullets and band-aids are basic essentials and should be considered non-barter items in most cases, most people have numerous other gear items and survival supplies that could be used for effective bartering.

A proper system of backups will give you those needed barter items without extra expense and shouldn’t endanger your supply of needed items. While most everyone strives to have the best quality and type of gear possible, in the real world of tight money and limited budgets, this isn’t always possible. In the process of looking for that ultimate piece of gear, many people accumulate extra gear and other items that are capable of getting the job done but may not be the best for their intended purpose. This is where your backup items can serve another purpose.

While backups are generally associated with use when something is lost, stolen or broken, they can serve an additional purpose for use when bartering. One simple example of this is knives. Most people have a lot of knives for use as a backup. Whether it’s a kitchen knife, a utility knife or a cheap pocket folder or an extra fixed blade, it can be of great value to someone else. Even a cheap pocket folder will have a good deal of value to someone who doesn’t have a knife.

As you work to build the best possible inventory of survival gear, remember that those extra gear items that are accumulated in the process can have a great deal of value in a barter situation and may have more value than you thought.

When bartering with backups, keep the best and trade the rest!

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

Interesting trend I've noticed recently - QUALITY knives. Most of us who know what a good using knife is are sickened by the models sold at the local 'Meglo-Marts'. I'm not talking about high fallutin' knives with Cyro blade treatments and materials gathered from a woodland dell, I'm talking about a good quality blade like an Old Timer / Western / Schrade Walden that had good steel.

The market for these old knives is way up. The knife is an everyday tool, and one that you can hand down to your grandchildren is worth something special.

millenniumfly said...

I would say that one should strive to never have to barter, although I know that's untenable in a long-term grid down situation. Nevertheless, barter items are most likely going to be those items that are difficult to find/replace or perishable. Commonly cited barter items might include ammo, cooking oil, fuel, alcohol and so on. While I'm not a big fan of bartering I would look to these types of items as the most likely barter items.

John said...

Are you familiar with Brandon Smith at He's encouraging bartering communities to enable people to become more independent of our current economic system. He's also starting a Safe Haven States Project for those interested in relocating. I did an interview with him recently, which you can read about at

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:24

Good quality items are hard to find and most are fairly expensive when you do find something you can use.

I generally try to get the best item possible that is within my budget and then try to work up to better gear as funds become available.

You can sometimes find old knives of really good quality at yard or garage sales on occasion.

Thanks anon.


riverwalker said...

To: milleniumfly

While you will probably have difficult in deciding whether or not to trade certain items since they may have more value to you for your own purposes, the main point I was trying to stress in my post was in reference to extra gear items.

Over the years, I've accumulated additional gear that if traded for something else won't leave me without adequate resources.



riverwalker said...

To: John

It may well be that the days of "trade and barter" are going to make a serious comeback.

While I'm not familiar with Brandon Smith and his efforts, I try to swap, barter and trade for a great many items whenever possible.

Thanks my friend.


Anonymous said...

even the cheap chinese stuff on ebay may be decent for barter.I have a cheapo multi tool and a knife from chine,good enough if not abused.
dean in az

riverwalker said...

To: dean in az

Yep! Got some of the cheapo stuff myself...and it will most likely be some of the first stuff I trade or bargain with if it becomes necessary.

Thanks dean.


PreppingToSurvive said...

Good point, Riverwalker.

My wife and I regularly check the clearance bins at supply stores and the big box stores for potential barter items. They may not be the best quality, but they make good inexpensive barter items. We even keep them in a tote labeled "barterables".

As a plus, they'll help us in a pinch as well.


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