When the SHTF, These Cheap Items Will be Worth Their Weight in Gold

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Top Tier Gear USA


By Joshua Krause

If society were to break down tomorrow, the value of the things we own and the skills we have would be turned on its head. Everybody knows that certain items will be far more valuable after a grid ending event. Stuff like gold, guns, and food are a given in any conversation on preparedness. Skills like hunting, reloading, and first aid would be indispensable, while skills accounting and day trading would be completely worthless.

There are of course, other items that we may be overlooking. While things like gold and guns will be expensive in the future, they’re already quite expensive now. Once you have those bases covered on your preparedness checklist, you can start thinking in terms of “What’s really cheap now, but will definitely be more valuable when the SHTF? What’s going to give me the greatest return on my money?”

With that said, here’s a few barter items you can buy right now, for a fraction of what they’ll be worth when the grid goes down.

Bike Tire Patches

If say, there was an EMP type of event to hit America, it would take several years for the grid to be repaired. If it’s a worldwide event it will probably take even longer. Either way, the need for transportation would not go away. However, I don’t see horses making a comeback anytime soon. Even if it takes a decade for the lights to come back on, I don’t think you could breed them fast enough to accommodate the survivors. What would be far more abundant, is bicycles.

Even without maintenance, the current stock of bicycles in circulation would last a long time. The only exception to this would be the inner tube, which is prone to punctures and leakage. So having a fully stocked repair kit would be a good idea. You can keep spare inner tubes for your own bicycles, or maybe even buy a couple more to trade with (most common sizes are 27, 28, and 29 inches). Fortunately, repair kits and inner tubes are both small, and very cheap.

Vitamin C

In a society where the medical infrastructure has collapsed, and doctors are hard to come by, vitamin C will become one of the most important nutrients. It will also become one of the hardest to find. As far as food goes, the most obvious source is from fruit.

Consider this though; how much of the fruit in your grocery store comes from hundreds or thousands of miles away? If it comes from the other side of the country, you have to consider what kinds of fruit you can grow in your region. So now let’s say you decide you want to grow your own. You better start now because most fruit comes from trees and bushes that may not produce right away.

As for stocking up on fruit, every method of preservation has been shown to reduce the vitamin C content, and cooking can destroy roughly 50 percent of the vitamin C in fruit. So in all likelihood, what we’re left with is a severe vitamin C gap during any long term disaster. The only way to stock up on it is with supplements. Personally I would recommend ascorbyl palmitate if you’re looking for something a little more potent. Keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place, and in an unopened container. That should keep them viable for a very long time. The bottle I bought a few months ago has a 4 year shelf life.

If our Western society crumbles, we’ll become prone to far more illnesses than we are now, and there will be no medical system to fall back on. For many people after the collapse, Vitamin C may become a matter of life and death.

Power Inverter

This one is the most expensive on this list, but it will still become extremely valuable after a collapse. I would argue more so than most electronic devices, because without this item you’ll never be able to charge any of those gadgets.

A power inverter is designed to turn DC power into AC, which is what most electronic devices run off of. During any long term collapse, people will be turning to alternative sources of renewable power, like solar and wind. Almost all of these sources of energy produce DC, so it will be essential to find a way to turn that into AC electricity.

DC/DC Converter

Along the same lines as the power inverter, you might consider getting a DC to DC converter. This piece will adjust any given voltage, into a higher or lower voltage. I’m betting that this gadget will be far more overlooked than the power inverter, which is typically made to turn 12 volts DC into 120 volts AC.

What most folks don’t consider however, is that the sources of energy that will be made after the collapse will be made from improvised parts, and will be highly irregular. Whereas you can buy a solar panel or generator right now that produces something close enough to 12 volts (which is pretty standard), the improvised parts of a post collapse generator aren’t likely to produce the more typical 12 volts that most power inverters are designed for.

If you’re working with whatever scrap you can scrounge up to build a motor or generator, the kind of voltage you’ll be getting is going to be very unpredictable. So a DC to DC converter will go for a pretty penny after the collapse. Being able to adjust the voltage means it’s the only thing that will allow you to connect a homemade generator into a standard converter, and then turn that energy into the AC power to run your appliances.

Polar Pure

I believe this item will quite literally be worth its weight in gold during a collapse. Many of you might have heard of it, but for the uninitiated, Polar Pure contains highly concentrated crystallized iodine. It’s held inside a tiny bottle with instructions and a thermometer pasted on the side. I’ve been using the same bottle on backpacking trips for many years without it ever running out. That’s because one bottle of Polar Pure contains enough iodine to purify 500 gallons of water.

If our infrastructure collapses, there will still be a lot of water in most places. It just won’t be safe to drink. And since you can’t go for very long without water, finding ways to purify it will become the top priority for most survivors. Just imagine for a moment, if you were in that situation. How much would you be prepared to trade away for a pocket sized bottle that can clean 500 gallons of water? I bet it’s a hell of a lot more than the 20 dollars it costs now. And if you find yourself bugging out this will probably become your most important item; even more so than a firearm. After all, even in the apocalypse you probably won’t be getting into gunfights every day, but you will be drinking water on a regular basis.

For an even better price, you can buy the iodine crystals in bulk on ebay. Just don’t buy too much, or the government will think you’re making meth. I’m quite serious.

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Contributed by Ready Nutrition of www.ReadyNutrition.com.

Every day, somewhere around the world, there is a major disaster.  Whether it be natural, man made, or felt on a personal level with family disasters, many people are caught off guard and are ill-equipped to handle the unexpected. Ready Nutrition encourages peace through self-reliance and preparedness in every facet of your life. The website was founded by Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster.

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  • Rizzan

    OBAMA!!! Sorry, knee-jerk reaction.

  • Whistler

    Cycle repair kits going on the list.

    My personal grift? Dental repairs – throw $ 50 – $100 dollars on travellers filling kits filling cement clove oil temp.crowns bonjella etc.

    Also started building up a vegetable seed bank – anytime I see a variety described as early, hardy, or easy to grow. $10- $20 bucks for a few thousand seeds?

    Thinking about stashing for trade – legal highs, viagra, condoms, eye drops, rolling papers, tobacco flints lighter fuel and good old fashioned liquor as it never goes out fashion!

    • Clarifier

      Dude your seeds have to be heirloom or they will be a one shot deal, the seeds of the plant that grows will be useless or worse, and no second crop.

    • If you’re buying cycling stuff, ignore his advice that “most common sizes are 27, 28, and 29 inches”. 27 inch wheels are hardly used much anymore, 28 inch does not exist, and “29 inch” is a specialty mountain bike tire which there’s a fair number of, but isn’t the main wheel in use. No mention by him of the two most used sizes on adult bicycles: 700c (road) and 26″ (mountain).
      that aside, its good advice to consider bicycles as the likely successor to the car in a long term scenerio. I’ve worked on bikes for decades, restoring vintage lightweights, and wrenching on modern stuff. I have a fair stock of parts, and have already grabbed a few inexpensive trailers from yard sales for utility use that would make great trade items if the need arose.

  • tophand62

    Salt….By the ton….Cheap if you buy 50# blocks of livestock salt and easy to store….Invaluable for preserving for in the “Afterlife”…

  • Whistler

    I am haunted by the unbiden memory of Winston Smiths unsucessful quest to find a new razor blade.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      I’ve got grandpa’s Rolls Razor set. It was the finest portable, shaving system ever made. Created by Rolls Razors LTD, it contained a razor and a fool proof sharpening system in one thin portable package. They can still be found on EBay. They were the Cadillac shaving system before electric razors. Wiki has an article on it.

      Yup! I’ll be the clean shaven one when the SHTF.

    • YaRt

      Beards will be back in style. Stock up on mustache wax and beard combs!

      • William Burke

        Why comb a beard, anyway? You can store knives and ammunition in the uncombed variety.

  • Sir TuberKopf

    I have an inverter that I have used to run a laptop in a car, and even a hedge trimmer off a riding mowers battery.

    One tip. A huge filter capacitor like those used for high end car stereos or in some power supplies can help an inverter run flawlessly under peak loads. Wire it in parallel with the 12 volt input side. It stores and provides extra juice when the inverter needs it. I have a 9,000 MFD cap I use with my 500 (1,000 watt peak) inverter I picked up years ago on sale.

    Make sure you have extra fuses for your inverter, and the cars cigarette lighter circuit.

  • Nichole Koonce

    “iodine crystals in bulk” Make meth with? What a waste. I would be making “rat-a-way”. If you don’t know this then you are not a Poorman’s James Bond.

    • Whistler

      Shake it don’t break it!

      • Nichole Koonce

        And avoid “feather dusters”

    • LibGuy

      for now though the feds are more concerned with drugs than NI3.

  • jim_robert

    Need more detail on the DC to DC converters. Googling this shows an dizzying array of variables. What is needed is quick, simple, down to earth explanation and suggestion for a economical unit

    • Sir TuberKopf

      Those little converters that plug into a car cigarette lighter outlet and convert 12 volts to 5 volt USB for charging cell phones are an example of DC to DC converters.

      Know what devices you want to run and what voltage sources are available, then look for the right converter, so you can tie in a load without damaging the appliance.

      A special case is the charge controllers that take the wide range of voltage produced by solar panels and regulate it to charge large 12 or 24 volt batteries, without damaging them or appliance loads connected to the circuit.

  • don’t assume one item is going to be better than another, all have their place if you’re properly “diversified” and have planned enough ahead to cover all your bases. Food, water, shelter, self defense for immediate use, hard goods, hand tools, maintenance items, and extended supplies of the former short term items for intermediate use, silver, gold, etc for long term use (ie- used to hold wealth until a reestablishment). If you have enough of ALL of the basics to cover your planned lifestyle, then add more to each of your piles to trade. No reason not to own metals as long as you’re realistic and know its a long term savings account, not a trade item. Metals, guns, and food are all equally useless if that’s ALL you have.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      The value of Gold and Silver have never in all of history gone to zero in value.

      On the flip side there is no fiat currency that has lasted more than a century or so.

      There is the promise that gold and silver will be worthless when The Lord returns, but until that day, gold and silver are the ultimate durable currencies.

      In all investments diversity is the key to survival and success. Food, shelter, and personal security are investments. If you have the tools and ability to build and repair things people need, then you’ll be a SHTF rock star!

      • exactly!

      • ron17571

        I think silver would be easier to use than gold.
        But food and medical supplys would be in more of a demand. I think the other post about dental first aid kits is a good idea.

        • Sir TuberKopf

          I added temporary dental repair stuff to my regular travel kit. It will let you replace a filling that falls out or replace a cap.

          If I’m on vacation anywhere I hate to have it ruined by a minor dental problem.

          It does have limited shelf life like most adhesives, so replace it every year or two, but it is very inexpensive.

  • Potassium Permanganate- heavy oxidizer with uses ranging from water purification, to fire starting, to less savory tasks. Found at the hardware store
    activated carbon- filters water, absorbs poisons when taken internally, keeps forever.
    best “trade item” to stock? Knowledge. Pick up a practical skill, start doing side work around your AO, and get the word out you’re the go-to guy/gal for whatever it is you do.

  • roddy6667

    Rose hips are a great source of Vitamin C. You can find wild roses in a lot of places. Better to plant your own. The wild roses grow in sandy, poor soil.

  • Whistler

    I have a stash of metals but its in in silver dollars + antique gold coin – If I have to bail Its easily portable and people recocgnize its value.

    If the world keeps spinning the antique coin keeps increasing in value.

  • Montana Rancher

    A interesting approach, you mention 2 items that use power but no ways to produce it. I think a better barter item would be a cheap harbor freight 45 watt solar kit (3x15watt panels). This would be far more valuable as each individual panel would produce enough voltage to charge a car battery or recharge 4-5 batteries ( A AAA C D) at a time with a simple variable resistor and volt meter (also good potential barter items)
    Once the gas for your generator runs out, what is your plan to PRODUCE electricity?

    • ron17571

      Something like that, but with a way to charge up batterys. A normal 110 charger plugged into a inverter.The rechargable battrys would be worth a lot. I have been using some li-ion batterys with flash flights. They hold a charge better.Look on ebay for lion batterys. Theres combos that are really cheap. Flashlight battery and charger.

  • Novice

    Boiled pine needles produce a tea that is rich in vitamin C. If you can’t get an inner tube for your bike you can wrap the rim in leather, like the old buggy tires were made, to create a usable tire. It’s not as absorbent of the bumps in the road but it will get you where you want to go.

    Think outside the box and you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more with just the things around you.

  • YaRt

    Not true, not true. All one needs to do is go to Craig’s List and click Barter for a quick free lesson. Almost all the ads say “looking to trade for xyz or cash” Substitute cash with gold or silver. Not everyone will have something they want to trade or with value to the other guy. PM however, if kept in “understandable” amounts, gram bars w/certificate, junk silver coins etc will be trade-able, however not necessarily for face value. Try to carve a chunk off an ounce bar or determine gold content of a stamped gold coin? Not so much. In the Argentinean collapse they said small gold rings and jewelry were desirable barter items too!

  • William Burke

    I don’t want to belabor the point, but: CAN OPENERS. The kind that last longer than six months!

    • LibGuy

      get a few P-51 military can openers. They are super compact, dirt cheap, and work very well.

  • TimeHasCome

    I live in a rainy area . I will stash tarps, tarps , and more tarps . It used to be you could not find cammo tarps and now they are everywhere.

  • jdumon

    It is easy to make drinkable water with polluted one: Make it boiling for 5 minutes and then you may drink it when it is cold.

    • PaulOfTarsus

      you go out of your way to make an asinine remark that I could give two shits about? keep your opinions to yourself

  • Green Eagle

    The closing plastic soap dish or a Sucrets tin are excellant choice for on the move sort of survival kits…some birthday candles that don’t blow out, vaseline lip balm doubles as a fire starter fuel, couple of single edge razor blades, a Bic lighter, some heavy thread and a few needles, safety pins, mini tweezers, some pain managers like asprin, etc., small magnifier, few band aids, etc.

    These sort of kits are for being on the run and doing small repairs and starting fires. While not a Butt Out Bag they can be carried in your pocket and help make a run a bit better.