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


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.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 30th, 2014
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17 Responses to When the SHTF, These Cheap Items Will be Worth Their Weight in Gold

  1. ladywest says:

    Are they back in production? Some sites say yes. Some, no.

  2. TRUTH BE TOLD says:

    When things fail you’re not gonna be able to go out and trade with people…. most people dont have more than 10 days of food and even less water…. but they have guns and ammo

    What you think your gonna just walk around with goods? Really
    maybe Have gas and drive around like a live target….

    • Me Her says:

      Most people don’t have more than this weeks groceries and if the water is shut off they are screwed. Counting my water heater, I have about 450 gallons of water stored.

      • TRUTH BE TOLD says:

        Bet most people will have no idea about water heater water… most will be helpless

      • John says:

        you and your other little phoney name buddy are really pretty funny with your Boogie man act and your betting YOU are so far a head of everyone else. Well I’ll take your bet. Obviously you don’t get out much. So Enlighten us Oh Great Ones ROTFLMAO!!!

    • Turky Tom says:

      Won’t be trading in the weeks after SHTF, but in the months, or years after, you will. For instance, water purification likely won’t be traded (much), as anyone able to trade will have at least that covered fairly well by then. All depends upon the “market” that would exist after, and that has a lot to do with what the disaster actually was, and how it hit.

  3. Nocternus says:

    I would add cigarettes to that list. Most people I know that smoke would trade everything they had for a pack. By the way Pine needle Tea is rich in Vitamin C. Depending on what part of the country you live in pine needles are not in short supply.

  4. Shtfusa says:

    I would add a Sawyer mini to my list of cheap now/unavailable later items. They are cheap, versatile, and can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water. For around 20 bucks.

  5. Christopher Cherrone says:

    I have a small $99 generator I can carry.

  6. sabelmouse says:

    rose hips are good for vit c. garden roses, wild roses, they can be found in many places.

  7. spaprock says:

    A heavy duty blade should be on this list, having a cutting tool is monumental for self reliance. You can do anything from cutting paracord to chopping down small trees for wood. It’s worth spending the $100 to $200 on a higher-end blade that’s built to last.

  8. Cuda says:

    white pine is best but others will do

  9. The Hunger Artist says:

    Woodford Reserve Rye, Jeffersons Ocean Aged, Dads Hat Rye, Blantons, Eagle Rare, Pappy Van Winkles.

    Alec Bradley tempest maduro magistry. Perdomo, CAO Flathead 660, Rocky Patel vintage 92.

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