Dr. John Woods 06.12.17
One of the greatest fears and trials of a full blown SHTF event is running out of goods and services. The shelves will empty quickly upon the approach of a calculated natural disaster or storm such as a hurricane. Once a tornado blows through, if there are any supply stores standing, then they will be quickly depleted too. This poses a serious situation for obtaining needed goods and supplies or life threatening if you don’t already have them. What happens then?
Depending on the duration of a SHTF, even if you were well prepared and well stocked, you will eventually run out of something you need. Likely this is going to happen also with nearby neighbors or other contacts you may have. At some point a secondary economy will be established for trading goods and services.
Maybe you have a tree down in the yard and a neighbor has a functioning chainsaw. It could be he needs some canned goods to help feed his family, or perhaps you have a couple of cans of lawn mower gasoline that can be used in the chainsaw. So, you trade your gasoline for his saw and labor or some cans of food. A whole network of bartering could be set up quickly once regular supply sources dry up. This is usually a natural course of events.
In terms of prepping, then, always consider stocking up extra supplies that could be used for bartering trade goods in exchange for items you need. The system that develops may not be a complete formal trading fair like a garage sale, or a thrift market. It may be small, limited trades to known associates, or other preppers you know. So, what will you trade?
Anything that automatically becomes a high priority prized value will make good bartering materials. First and foremost the critical items will be foods, water, medicines, personal hygiene items and then on down a long list of crucial supplies that everybody needs or wants. Even security based supplies may come into play as well, such as extra ammo, or even a firearm if you choose to part with one. Stock up plenty of the Tier One items for bartering.
As you build you own supplies for a duration event, it may not be too difficult to easily add several more portions of those stocks. Instead of buying one long term supply of survival food packs, buy two. If you are bugging in with plenty of storage space, then buy extra cases of canned goods, vegetables, fruits, and canned meats. Have plenty of canned tuna, chicken, and turkey meats on hand. These can be eaten right out of the can if necessary.
Canned items such as pasta combinations, soups, chili, and such will last a good while and take little water if any to prepare. Naturally pick the items you and your family will eat first and foremost. If you end up bartering away some food, those needing it won’t be so picky about the choices available. Just think in the best terms of balance and nutrition that you can with such food stores.
Another good item to stock up on would be powdered drink mixes of all kinds, juices, and flavored drinks that require a minimal amount of water to constitute. Though powdered milk does not always taste the best, some brands are better than others. Find out which ones your family will tolerate and stock it. Add some hard candies and small individually wrapped items that would be considered sweets or treats will be welcomed. Stay away from anything that melts like chocolate and such.
Establish a system of cycling through the food supplies you stock and store, using the oldest first and then resupplying the pantry again and again. This will not only keep your supplies as fresh and current as possible but it will help you maintain depth in your supplies as well. Whatever you stock and store up, be sure to think in terms of unrefrigerated items and things that will last on the shelf for a maximum amount of time. There may be no electrical power.
Water can be difficult to store and handle in large quantities. I have a prepper friend that keeps 50 cases of bottled water in his outdoor shop and rotates the stock weekly. He also drilled his own water well in his back yard for utility water purposes to bathe and flush toilets, but it is also drinkable as well. If water supplies are cut off, such a resource would create an immediate product for trading and would be in high demand.
Other items that could be traded or bartered includes over the counter medications like aspirins, pain relievers, upset stomach remedies, diarrhea medicines, antiseptic ointments, cough and cold medicines, eye drops and everything else you use from the home medicine cabinet. First aid supplies like band aides, gauze, wraps, bandages of all types and sizes, and first aid tape will be highly sought after.
In some cases, tools of all kinds may be goods for trading. These may be mechanics tools or gardening tools. Knives, hatchets, and axes will be in demand. All kinds of hardware may be in need. Wire, heavy duty tapes, rope, and such can be of value to others. Screws, nails, and construction aid materials will trade well. Buckle straps, elastic cords, coated cable, cable locks, and related items will have good value, too. Oils, lubricants, aerosols, and such shop supplies are good traders. Never negate your own practical skills to trade as well.
Though you understandably may not want to give up any security supplies, especially guns and ammo, these are high valued items. If you are not interested in trading such goods, then keep your inventory of such items a tightly held secret not to be mentioned or shown off.
This goes for all your prepping supplies as well. If you have good extra supplies of food, water and medicines, don’t advertise it. In your case, bartering may not become a necessity. If it does then go slowly, trade wisely, and keep all your cards close to your vest as it were. A SHTF brings out the worst behaviors of others, some threatening. Be prepared for that.