James Rawles: Salt Will Be The #1 Bartering Item

Salt is a valuable commodity that could become hard to come by in a long term disaster situation.  In Ancient Rome, salt was used as a form of currency because of it’s importance in preserving food.  In fact, it is still used today as a form of currency in some parts of Africa.  It was a  prime mover of both economy and war.  The importance of having a good supply of salt is commonly overlooked and, according to James Rawles, author of the the renowned  Survival Blog, he believes that salt could be one of the highest sought after items in a long term disaster.

“For anyone living in an inland area, I consider salt the highest priority barter and charity item.  Buy a lot of salt, in several forms.  As space allows, buy 20 to 30 of the 50-pound plain white salt blocks from your local feed store.  These are great for barter — both for folks with livestock and for people that want to attract wild game.  Buy a couple of 25 pound sacks of iodized salt for your own use.  Also buy 100 to 200 of the standard cardboard one pound canisters of iodized salt for small scale barter transactions.”

Survival Blog

The Importance of Salt Should Not Be Underestimated

In the CBS apocalyptic series, Jericho, there were towns that literally went to war over salt. 

Everyone knows that salt is a necessity in food preparations, but it has many other important functions around a homestead environment as well.  Animals, as well as humans cannot live without some salt in their bodies.  On a physiological level, salt is a requirement to sustain a body.  Specifically, salt assists in regulating the functioning of the digestive system and the kidneys, as well as helps conduct electric signals in the body.  Additionally, farmers have also used Epsom salt to heal scratches and rashes on their livestock.  This type of salt suppresses muscle aches and inflammation.

Ways to Use Salt Around the Homestead

  • Food preservation – Table salt is the most important ingredient in curing food.  According to Wikipedia,  salt kills and inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of the cells of both microbe and food alike through osmosis.
  • Medical Purposes– Modern medicine has recently rediscovered the healing effects of salt on the body.  Salt provides antiseptic and bactericidal qualities when ocean salt is used.  A way to treat chronically inflamed skin is by bathing in salt (Dead Sea salt or normal salt can be used).  The salt helps to regenerate the skin.  Therefore, it would be effective in the use of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and chronic eczema, inflamed mucous membranes, as well as arthritis. 
  • Tanning hides is another way that salt can be used on the homestead.  The salt preserves the hide.  Experts suggest that for “Hair on tanning,” spread fine granular salt (table salt, canning salt or solar salt) on the hide to completely cover it.  The hide should be salted for 1-3 days.  For further instructions, click here.
  • Soaps can get an added boost when  adding salt, specifically sea salt to the soap making process.  The added benefits are that the salt will exfoliate skin and naturally heal the skin from it’s natural antiseptic factors. There are different methods to the soap making process, and research should be done as to which process is right for you.  Additionally, a person can add 1 cup of finely ground sea salt to 1 cup of liquid soap to make a daily exfoliating soap.
  • Livestock – Mineralized salt blocks are a supplemental feeding that can be fed to livestock such as horses, sheep, and goats.  Not to mention, salt blocks can be  used to attract wildlife.  Deer will go the distance to find salt blocks.  Luring wildlife to the homestead would be a beneficial way to hunt without wasting much needed energy when searching.  The wildlife will literally come to you.

Salt is a multipurpose, low cost prep that will be highly desirable if a long term disaster were to come around.  Prepping calculators suggest having 25 pounds of salt stored for one year.  With all of the uses that salt can provide, perhaps we should think about stocking up a little more on this worthwhile prep item.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 5th, 2010
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7 Responses to James Rawles: Salt Will Be The #1 Bartering Item

  1. Laura McDonough says:

    I agree, also tea, coffee, natural unbleached  raw suger, stevia, some  spices too.  Many of us are limited on space to store much of anything, but will do what we can. Can salt go bad? what about raw sugar?   Spices do have expiration dates.  I stock up on baking soda too and tobasco sauce.  We don’t eat much grain products or breads.

    • Tess says:

      Space for all the preps is a huge issue for a lot of us. We just have to be creative and do our best. I know an aquaintance that uses pails of flour in her living room as side tables. She just puts a table cloth over it and no one knows.

      Salt can last a lifetime and beyond. Just make sure to store it in a dry area that is not exposed to excessive moisture. Sugar does not “spoil” in the sense of the way other foods do. Nevertheless, be careful how you store it, as insects such as ants would just love to get into it! Here are some guidelines to some other types of preps:

      Guidelines for Food Storage:
      Use within 6 months:

      ■Powdered milk (in box)
      ■Dried fruit (in metal container)
      ■Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)

      Use Within 1 year:

      ■Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
      ■Caned fruit, fruit juices and vegetables
      ■Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
      ■Vitamin C
      ■Peanut butter
      ■Hard candy and canned nuts

      May Be Stored Indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):

      ■Vegetable oils
      ■Dried Corn
      ■Baking powder
      ■Instant coffee, tea and cocoa
      ■Non carbonated soft drinks
      ■White rice
      ■Bouillon products
      ■Dry pasta
      ■Powdered milk (in nitrogen packed cans)

      Source – http://www.nationalterroralert.com

  2. philip says:

    About 25 years ago I used to sail the carribean and found a pack of Marboro’s would open many a door. Gotta be in the box and sealed. People love their tobacco and marboro is the most recognized brand. It works as a friendship offer or a bribe.

  3. Tess says:


    My husband feels the exact same way!  Tobacco is going to be a HUGE bartering item as well.  My husband is growing tobacco in our garden as we speak! 

    When times get tough, people are going to want to have a “quick escape” from the hard times.  Tobacco and alcohol are going to sky rocket as a result. 

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Jessica says:

    Think about prison economy. Gold? Who needs it. Cigarettes, OTOH, are worth their weight in gold. Booze is another thing that will work wonders in getting things. Of course, the key is not to let on that you have a stock pile, otherwise the desperate smokers and boozers will just kill you to take your stash!

    Another thing to stock up on is Midol and tampons. Don’t laugh! If the SHTF women are going to be upset enough as it is. Add PMS and having to wad up rags in their drawers, and you’ve got a recipe for murder! If you have some Midol and tampons for trade, some women will give you their souls, lol!

  5. mikkel says:

    i have been a food storage sp in my church for over 30 years and have tryed to tell everyone to get ready.  i tell them the most importion items they will need is the items they use every day.  i have them keep track of items ( all items) they use each and every day for a week and report what was used most.  salt is always on the top ten of everyones list and should be stored as much as can be bought.  as a traid item it is very very importion. for health it is also very importion.  make it importion on your list.  make a list of what you use and get ready for the crash and believe me it will happen.  god bless.
    mikkel (doomer) 

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