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Samantha Daly

Top 10 Most Valuable Items to Trade in an Urban Survival Scenario

Top 10 Most Valuable Items to Trade in an Urban Survival Scenario

You have everything required to survive in a situation where everyday supplies run out.  But would you want to use them to trade?  Probably not…because you need them…


But, if you acknowledge that you are going to need to trade to meet your needs in unforeseen circumstances, you can be prepared with a stockpile of items to trade when the time comes. Separating the items you plan to use to trade, from your personal supplies allows you to measure how much value you have in trade-able commodities, as well as prevents you from dipping into those supplies when SHTF.


We’ve identified 10 items that hold great value in survival scenarios.  Many of these items have been the most valuable trade commodities in historical post-collapse events (during the Great Depression, in Venezuela’s economic collapse, or in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War) and if history is any indication, they’ll be useful again in the future -


  1. Prescription Drugs. Antibiotics, painkillers, and antidepressants. Just like you need a fully equipped first-aid kit, you should also have prescription drugs in case of emergency.  Antibiotics are infinitely valuable in a survival scenario, as an infection can mean life or death.  People will pay a high price if a loved one needs these life-saving medications.
  1. Alcohol. Alcohol is not only a way to calm down in the case of complete societal collapse, but it is also useful in starting fires and disinfecting wounds.
  2. Tobacco. Old habits die hard, and even a dire survival situation isn’t suddenly going to end your neighbor’s tobacco addiction.  Cigarettes are good items to barter with, especially if you’re not a smoker.
  3. Ammunition. You might want to keep your ammo to yourself; we’ll leave that up to you. However, ammunition will be in short supply and people will be much more successful hunting with a gun, so bullets can fetch a high price.
  4. Water Filters. Water filtration tablets or straws are extremely valuable when running water isn’t available. These items save you the time and fuel required to boil drinkable water, so any extras you have set aside will be highly sought after.
  5. Batteries. Once electricity shuts off, candles and flashlights will be required to do anything after dark. Flashlights are far more convenient, but they require batteries.  There will always be a need for light, therefore there will be a constant demand for batteries.
  6. Soap & Shampoo. Although not necessarily classified as a “need,” soap and shampoo will be in demand as personal hygiene products are used up. A simple bar of soap is a good item to barter with for anything else you may need.
  7. Seeds. If you can establish a somewhat permanent residence, seeds can be used to grow your own fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables, full of antioxidants and vitamins, will be hard to find otherwise.  The seeds will be valuable trading items since they provide the ability to increase self-sufficiency.
  8. Lighters & Matches. Yes, you have trained yourself to start fires with all kinds of materials, but chances are, the rest of society has not. Lighters and matches are a reliable way to start a fire, and will be worth a lot to someone who is struggling to start fire on their own.
  9. Propane Gas. Many homes rely on gas for hot water and cooking. One small bottle can last for a month with a gas cooker system to boil water and cook foods.


    Having a separate cache of trade-able items can help save your life.  We’ve given you a good jumping off point, but you’ve read enough Battlbox articles to know what kinds of things people will need when survival-mode kicks in, so expand this list as you see fit.  Share your feedback and ideas with other Battlboxers in the Members Only Facebook Page.

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