Silver Bullion or Junk Silver for Long-term Bartering?

In a primitive barter economy, tangibles become currency. DRG and I store a variety of tangible items just in case an economic collapse occurs and bartering is necessary. One of those assets being junk silver. Not only is it recognizable as legal tender, it holds real, intrinsic value – unlike fiat paper money printed out of thin air.

Silver Bullion or Junk Silver for Long-term Bartering?

Image source

Today we have a guest contributor, Steven Cochran, from Gainesville Coins presenting the pros and cons of silver bullion and junk silver as barter items. Be sure to check out the infographic at the bottom of the article.

Keep Doing the Stuff,


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By Steven Cochran, Gainesville Coins

Junk silver has long been considered the de facto barter currency in case of a break-down of society. That was certainly a no-brainer back in the days when junk silver sold for less than spot price, but perhaps its time to re-assess the situation. (Of course, you should periodically re-assess every aspect of your survival plans, in case they need adjustment due to changing conditions.) With demand for junk silver now causing it to trade for well over a dollar an ounce over spot, it may be time to diversify into pure silver rounds. In this article, we will review the advantages and disadvantages of both  .999 silver rounds and junk silver.

Silver Rounds: 


One ounce silver rounds give you more silver for your dollar. One oz .999 fine generic silver rounds are generally selling for 99 cents or lower an ounce, and many large distributors have tiered pricing levels to save you even more. Junk silver can sell for twice the premium of a bulk buy of 1 oz rounds.  Even 1/2 oz or 1/4 oz rounds can be a better buy per-ounce than junk. Silver rounds also have their weight and purity stamped directly on each one. This may make bartering simpler with non-preppers.


Some people, especially fellow preppers, may be wary of silver rounds, not trusting privately-minted silver as much as government-minted 90% junk silver. This is a reason some preppers pay the extra premium and buy 1oz American Silver Eagles. Some rounds have silly, or pop culture designs, which may reduce the willingness of someone to take them in barter.

Junk Silver:


Junk silver is readily recognized by fellow preppers, and those who are old enough to remember pre-1965 silver coinage. If you have the time and inclination to go through your stack, you may even find some coins worth more than melt value. The fact that it is old U.S. currency reassures many people worried about fake rounds or bars.


Non-preppers may not accept junk silver, except at face value (that could change, depending on how long the economic disruptions last.) The “$1 in face value = .715 oz of silver” will seem strange to someone who has never heard of it, and might lead them to be suspicious of your offer.

Even at a discounted actual silver weight (ASW) of .715 troy ounces per $1 face value, some junk silver coins are so worn that you may not be getting full value (especially with Barber dimes and quarters.) If things get so bad that there’s a break-down in Federal authority, and the barter economy lasts for a long time, people will start acquiring scales, and weighing coins before accepting them, like the old days.

Junk and Rounds BOTH Come Under 1099B Rules!

Contrary to popular opinion, sales of junk silver is not exempt under 1099B reporting rules. Only modern U.S. legal tender bullion (Silver Eagle, Gold Eagle, Gold Buffalo) is not reportable.

The minimum reportable amount of junk silver under IRS rules is $1000 face value. That’s only 715 oz. of silver.  Silver bars and rounds are reportable at 1000 oz. or more. That’s almost 40% more silver that can be sold to a dealer or exchange without being reported. Of course, this only applies to sales under “normal” circumstances.  If things go south, you’ll be bartering with your silver instead of selling it to a company for fiat currency.


Everyone’s situation is different. Take into consideration who you expect to be bartering with, and what you will be bartering for, in different possible scenarios. Your course of action will likely be different during a short-term, temporary disruption such as a natural disaster or month-long bank lock-out, than during a systemic societal collapse.

You may want to consider keeping some 1 oz .999 silver rounds or bars on-hand for larger barter deals, or go the other direction and stack junk halves, and use half- and quarter- ounce rounds for small transactions. The silver content is stamped right on the round, so it’s less complicated than explaining the “silver content to face value” ratio on 90% silver to someone who is unfamiliar with junk coins.

Silver is silver, but it’s up to you to decide the right balance of cost and liquidity for your specific purposes.

[Below is an infographic Gainesville Coins provided that may be useful to some of you.]

Silver Bullion or Junk Silver for Long-term Bartering?

Categories: Barter | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

SmartPrepper Mason Jar Kerosene Lamps

by Todd Walker

mason jar oil lamps

Pint and quart mason jars transformed into oil lamps.

Three years ago I read a Survival Blog article about a company selling brass plated burners, wicks, and globes that convert a standard canning jar into an oil lamp.

Dirt Road Girl and I had already planned a trip to the mountains that year when I discovered the North Carolina company was on the same road we were traveling.

We dropped in.

Southern Lamp and Supply is run by two brothers working out of an old metal building on the side of the road with wall to wall lamps, wicks, and other preparedness lighting needs. They don’t see many walk-in customers. Since we weren’t wearing UPS brown, the first bearded brother we saw asked if he could help us. We could tell he thought we were lost and looking for directions to a more exotic destination.

I assured him we weren’t lost and said we saw his lamps on Survival Blog.

“Ah, yes. We’ve been swamped with orders since we got mentioned there,” he said with a slight grin.

I asked if he had any left. He told us to wait over by the paper-cluttered counter top supporting a computer as he wound his way deep into the isles of his dusty storehouse.

He returned a few minutes later with a couple of boxes. He opened the box tops that had been folded shut.

“How many you folks want?”

We walked out with 10 mason jar cap burners, wicks included, extra wicks, and 10 hooded glass chimneys. My memory may not be that accurate, but I think we paid under $40 for everything. That was 3 years ago with no shipping.

Now you can make an emergency oil lamp in 5 minutes with a mint tin, cotton twine, and olive oil. They’re functional and, as DRG says, just so cute.

DiY olive oil lamp

DiY olive oil lamp


But for long-term use, you might want to have several sturdy, dependable, oil lamps available. We pick them up at yard sales when we find them.

We gave away mason jar burner lamps as gifts to family. The rest is in our emergency lighting supply cabinet.

What’s great about these lamps is their inexpensive and screw securely on mason jars. I just checked their website and the burners run three bucks and the glass chimneys cost $7.95 each.

This a great way to add emergency lighting to your preps. They’d also make great barter items.

SmartPrepper Tip: Stock up on kerosene and lamp oil before the herd strips store shelves bare. As always, if any open flame is forced into service in your home, use extra caution – especially with young children. Always place lit lamps on a stable elevated surface.

Keep doing the stuff,



Had a great time being interviewed by Joyce Pierce on her radio show Tuesday! The show will be available the first part of September. I’ll post a link for anyone interested in listening.


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Categories: Barter, DIY Preparedness Projects, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

5 Must Do’s Before the National Nipple Runs Dry

by Todd Walker

I hate labels. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life dodging bumper sticker nomenclature.

Prepping, survivalism, back to basics, resilience, self-reliance, sustainable, self-sufficient, homesteading, simple living, etc. all have a common philosophy: Taking responsibility for you own life. I wrote about chasing the simple life here. Sherpa Simple is…

Living in a way that is economical, sustainable, individualized, self-sufficient, comfortable, practical, resilient, and in harmony with nature and neighbors. It’s all about helping each other as we chase the simple life.

Weaning ourselves off the National Nipple requires time, energy, self-education, and force in some cases. And here’s the thing – the more we drink, the more we believe that the State udder will never stop flowing. We become addicted. Suckling becomes a basic right.

Buzzers Image Ana Ivanovic Nipple

This is what the National Nipple will do for you

“Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.”

– Lawrence Auster

Even if you’re thumping your chest with pride for never wrapping your proverbial lips around the golden udder, we’re all affected by the overwhelming dependency bred into our culture. The State is the great equalizer dispensing fairness for the collective good. This arrangement is not voluntary. It’s sustained by force. “Legitimate” force.

If you knew the day our National Nipple would run dry, wouldn’t you live differently. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And ‘when’ happens, there will be more than a bit of bawling and screaming. Everyone will fill the pain – your elderly parents on medicare and fixed incomes, your neighbor working in the public sector, all the public school teachers (and there are a lot of us), owners of stocks and bonds, retired veterans, everyone. I’m not even counting those totally dependent government for food, houses, and cell phones. The reset will happen.

How could it not. The truth behind the recovery propaganda should cause some of us to begin self-weaning. The feral Federal Reserve will continue the train wreck by printing more fiat paper. The productive class will continue to shrink. It’s becoming more and more difficult for middle class families to provide basic necessities, much less save for that rainy day.

Retirement looks further away by the minute. The elites keep sending their handlers back to the kitchen to cook more numbers to keep the herd happy. Does this make me vigilant and awake or a conspiracy theorist?

You decide. Search economic collapse for yourself. Here’s a small sampling to get you started:

•             Personal Incomes & The Decline Of The American Saver

•             Comparing the past to predict the future

•             A chart proving that the MSM is lying about unemployment

The picture painted is scary. As people come up for air while nursing on the National Nipple, there may be some that begin to wean themselves. For those of you already standing back from the feeding frenzy, you need to get into high gear with your preparedness plan.

You may think I’m hardnosed or uncaring by my next statement. I prefer a sudden reset over a long, drawn out collapse. I never liked tip-toeing into our cold lake. I found jumping in head-first to best for me. My body adapted to the shock of cold water better with total immersing. Let me clarify. I’d prefer no collapse at all. But that ain’t happening.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.  — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The list of nations spiraling towards collapse is growing. What steps should Joe and Jane Average take now to build a hedge against financial Armageddon? This is not a step-by-step plan. It requires thought, creativity, and determination – no matter what your financial status. To answer the previous question, do what we know is the right thing to do. Simplify. Less is more. ‘Less’ dependence on the fragile systems of mono-crop corporate farming, fractional reserve banking, and our ‘sick’ care medical establishment.

Building resilience in these areas one step at a time will only increase your chances of survival. And may actually help you thrive.

While this list is not exhaustive, it points us in the right direction.


Grow your own or buy from local farmers. Doing this will accomplish several things:

  • Strengthen your local food system. These producers live where you live. Small family owned and operated farms will contribute to your overall health and resilience in return.
  • Reconnect with your food and community. Build relationship with food producers that don’t live 2,000 miles from your house. Better to meet them now than after the balloon goes up.
  • Save resources. The amount of packaging material and fuel is drastically reduced by purchasing/bartering for groceries you can’t produce for yourself. Find farmers that practice sustainable growing practices.
  • Education. Many local farmers/producers are happy to help you learn how to grow your own. Plus, you’ll begin to know where your food comes from.
  • Food storage you’ll actually eat. When you preserve the harvest from you garden or local farmer’s market, you’re putting away food that you’ll actually enjoy eating and not some pre-packaged, processed items or MRE resembling food. Dehydrating, canning, and proper storage techniques will go a long way in supplying your family with stores of food for the long run.

Health Vigilante – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

  • 90% of what we eat is the cause of our chronic health conditions.
  • Be your own health vigilante. Take your health into your own hands. This past year taught DRG and me that modern medicine is run by pharmaceutical companies. There’s a chemical soup in pill form for everything.
  • Explore holistic health practices.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed junk foods. I recommend the Primal Lifestyle. Your mileage may vary.
  • Regular exercise without being married to the gym. Develop a mindset of functional fitness. Lift heavy things, move slowly every day, and sprint (max capacity) once every 7 to 10 days.

Invest in assets and skills

  • By assets, I mean tangible items that hold value. Look up Alpha Strategy. That case of ammo you bought last year was a good investment after all. 
  • Focus on your strengths. You’ve got one or two skills that you’re very good at. Develop those even more. But don’t forget to add more resilience-adding skills to your toolbox.
  • Barter is becoming more important these days. It may one day be a crucial skill for acquiring basic necessities.
  • Learn permaculture. Hiding food in plain sight.

 Build Community

  • Most of us don’t live in a rural homestead self-sufficiently. We live mostly in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Your neighbors will play a huge part in your families ability to survive and thrive in coming days. I’ve written some thoughts on the importance of neighboring here
  • With proper planning and the existence of basic resources, your neighborhood is very defensible and livable in SHTF scenarios. More on this in a later post.

Housing – Living big in small places

  • Learning to live big in small places (locally) means re-educating ourselves on what resilience really means.
  • Simplifying your life gets rid of all the clutter. If you’re like me, that’s a hard thing to do. Letting go of things I’m going to do something with one day. It forces me to really evaluate what’s important. Prioritizing my stuff allows me more free time to focus on what’s really important.
  • Consider downsizing your home. We’ve downsized twice since the housing bubble popped. Talk about freeing up time!

I’m aware there are many more must do’s before the National Nipple runs dry. This is intended to spark a discussion on adding to our list. Please feel free to comment on the list and add your valuable insight. Or email me your thoughts via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Canning, Economic Collapse, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Functional Fitness, Homeopathy, Homesteading, Investing/Tangibles, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Charcuterie: Off The Grid Food Storage For Meats

Ever eat cured raw pork?On my list skills to learn is the lost art of off grid meat preservation. I can meats, store meat in the freezer, and have some canned seafood in our primal pantry. What happens when the fragile electrical grid goes down? Leaning to cure meat for long-term storage would be a great skill for bartering, building resilient preps, and, well, it’s just plain cool to see meat hanging from the ceiling in your basement or root cellar.

Caroline Cooper has an interesting article on her blog (eatkamloops) about a technique I’ve never heard of or was able to pronounce. Click here for the proper pronunciation. It’s fun to say and sounds like it’d be fun to make and eat.

Any of y’all ever tried making charcuterie? I’d like to hear from you.

Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Source: eatkamloops

cured pork 1 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Charcuterie adds a wonderful element to winter pantry food. A small slice of cured meat goes a long way with its rich flavor. With traditional charcuterie there is a natural order to when the cured meats are ready and when the cured meats should be eaten.

“These dry-cured meats and sausages, almost always sliced thin, are dense and chewy, with a strong, dry-cured flavor and smooth, satiny fat. When we eat them, we’re most often eating pork that’s never gone above room temperature, let along come close to the 150F recommended by government. And yet, properly prepared, these are perfectly safe to eat. There really is nothing similar to eating cured raw meat — it has a flavor and an effect like no other food.”

Charcuterie: The Craft and Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman

cured pork ribs 4 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Raw cured ribs are the first cured product to come out of the cellar. Sliced thinly, the sweet meat of the ribs is a wonderful contrast to the salty cure. One rib will satisfy.

I just wanted to share a few pictures of the cured pork my husband Shaen made with the expert mentoring from Joe Trotta. Charcuterie is not an easy craft to learn from books. Charcuterie is a craft best passed down from the older generation to the younger generation. If you are interested in learning the craft, I have no books for you, or courses you can take. You will just have to look around and find someone knowledgeable in the craft and someone willing to mentor you in the techniques. If you can find someone to show you how to cure raw meats, the process becomes simple, and the stress of wondering if you are doing it right, is greatly reduced.

Two warnings. Hurry up and learn. Many of the people who know these techniques are older. Many have children that do not value the wisdom that came from the old country and have never learned the craft. These old techniques are dying with the people, and unless we learn their knowledge, the knowledge will pass out of this world. If you are a professional cook or chef, you will have to empty your cup of knowledge, if you want to learn traditional charcuterie. Everything you think you know about FOODSAFE is wrong regarding these foods. If you come to traditional cured foods with your own ideas of how to do it right, you will likely miss the mark, and mess up the process. Saying “Oh my God, that isn’t safe,” is meaningless and disrespectful to someone who has eaten these foods their whole life.

cured pork bacon 5 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

This is raw cured bacon with sea salt and paprika. The sticks help keep the bacon flat and stop it from curling. This is the second cured product out of the cellar. Very few people have enjoyed the flavor of raw bacon. It can be cooked but you will miss the satiny smoothness of the fat.

“Dry-curing results in a beautiful type of sausage, the most individualistic, idiosyncratic, and temperamental sausage there is, precisely because of its reliance on atmospheric conditions, which change all year round, and the presence of varying microflora in the air.”

cured pork 2 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Soppressata is the third cured product out of the cellar. Soppressata is made from raw pork, sea salt and paprika which is stuffed into the pig’s intestine. There is no curing salts or other ingredients. Soppressata’s flat appearance is from pressing to help remove air from the salami.

But when your sausage has dried just right, and you slice it thin, and the interior is a glistening deep crimson red with bright pearly chunks of fat, it is incredibly exciting. This is real mastery over the food we prepare. To make a home-cured pork sausage, with just salt and pepper for seasoning, is a deeply gratifying experience, like making a great wine.”

cured pork 3 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Soppressata is hung by it’s string on clothes hangers cut into hooks. Soppressata with its white coat is an eerie sight in the cellar. The white coating is safe to eat though traditional Italian sausage makers like Joe wipe the soppressata with vinegar and water to remove the coating.

Mastering the technique of transforming raw meat and fat, whether a sausage or a whole muscle, into something delicious without using heat, enhances your ability to work with all food. This is true craftsmanship, craftsmanship aiming for art, a craft reliant on the cook’s skill and knowledge and, perhaps, a little bit of divine intervention.”

Divine intervention indeed. Or maybe just allowing for the peaceful co-existence of humans with their helpful bacterial friends. When you cure long-term your household will become colonized with helpful microbiota. If you would like to learn more about traditional Italian curing please see: Pantry Foods: Fast Cured Green Olives.

Categories: Barter, Food Storage, Lost Skills | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Top 5 Resilience Resolutions with Homework Assignments for 2013

by Todd Walker

What a year!

Pic credit

January 12, 2012 is etched in our memory, hearts, family, and bodies. Fear in her voice was relayed as I held the phone. “They found a mass in my lung,” she said. Four days later it was official. Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with cancer in her lung and brain. The past 12 months was like riding the Scream Machine for the first time – with no seat belt or safety bar to hold us in the roller coaster. The good news is that DRG has made amazing progress in her fight for life.

We prepare for the unknown unknowns as best we can. This is the time of the year people usually make resolutions as to what they are going to stop doing or start doing. Out with the bad habits and in with the new, good habits. I’m no longer a big fan of goal setting. I prefer a life theme. Goals have always been an act of implementation. Start – work – achieve – now what? Once the target is met, there is a great sense of accomplishment usually. However, in my experience, goal setting seems to be less effective than adopting a lifestyle theme. It’s an individual choice. YMMV.

With the approaching new year, I go into reflection mode and tweak my theme. What did I do right last year? How can I improve our life in the new year?

There’s so much doom and gloom in the main stream media: Fiscal cliff, school shootings, never-ending wars, unemployment, and talk of gun confiscation. DRG’s journey has taught me that we aren’t guaranteed today, tomorrow, or next year. We’ve always given lip service to that fact. But how do we start living it, practicing it, and owning it?

I hated homework in school. That’s why I don’t assign any to my students. “You’re a bad teacher, Mr. Walker!” Really? Homework is designed to take up valuable time that could be used by students to pursue something that really interests them. Following their interest is how they discover learning and not just studying to pass some silly state standardized test.

Here is my top 5 list of ways to prepare for the new year. I’m going to break my No-Homework rule and give each of you a simple assignment. By the way, it’s for a grade. Extra credit if you share it with someone else.

1.) Health

Diets are not sustainable. Most diets aren’t even healthy. Once the bathroom scale stops screaming for relief and the mirror smiles at your naked body, how do you maintain the new you?

This is a foundational theme for our family. I think it was Ben Franklin who was credited with saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is never more true than when it comes to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. More and more evidence shows the link between our eating and health. You are what you eat. The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) is recommended by the government food pyramid and most prepper experts. The strategy to store food for disasters and end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenarios is smart. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you already know my beef with SAD food storage.

The prepper community, like most Americans, bought the lie about high fat, low carb eating plans. I had a receipt for my purchase until three years ago. If simply surviving is you goal, spend your cash on all the SAD foods you can afford to cache. Just remember that pesky notion about being what we eat. Why not adopt a new theme – a natural, healthy, unconventional lifestyle – for the new year. 2013 may force us all to prepare like cavemen. Go ahead and get a jump on the herd.

Homework Assignment: Dust the chalk board erasers, forget everything you’ve been taught about “healthy diets,” and take a 30 day challenge (heck, just try it for 21 days) – and report back with your results.

  • Mark’s Daily Apple – Mark Sisson helps you follow the Primal Blueprint with help of “worker bees” and real community of primal lifestylers.
  • The Organic Prepper – Daisy Luther offers practical advice on healthy prepping and low-tech solutions. We’ve featured several of her articles here.
  • Bug Out Nutrition – A blog that applies the science of nutrition to survival.
  • – Dr. Joseph Mercola’s excellent natural health website.

2.) Learn Liberty. Free Your Mind. Take the red pill.

Homework Assignment: Your reading and viewing assignments are listed below:

  • Watch The Matrix. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it.
  • Visit regularly.
  • Stop watching mainstream propaganda news for 30 days. I stopped 5 years ago. Ditched talk radio too. Here are a few of the alternative news sources I read regularly.
  2. Zero Hedge
  3. Eric Peters Auto
  4. Living Freedom
  5. Before It’s News – They publish my RSS feed under “Self-Sufficiency”

3.) Build Tribe. Even if the gun-grabbers don’t get their unconstitutional bill passed, I’ve made this a priority. I met a gentleman a week ago to buy a tool for DRG. We made the transaction and I noticed the welding machine on his truck. He builds safes and safe-rooms. He also builds some very cool steel targets for pistol and rifle practice. I’d like to buy the welding machine from him. But I’ll have to settle for a few targets. Once I try them out I’ll post a review. By meeting this stranger, we found we have a lot in common. We plan on eating lunch together soon.

Coming in contact with others that you’d like to build tribe with sometimes happens accidentally. Other times I initiate the contact. I’ve got a meeting with a fellow blogger next week to begin building tribe. I’ve followed his blog for a while now and like how he thinks. Don’t forget your neighbors.

Homework Assignment: Approach at least one person outside your immediate family about building mutual assistance, relationship, and tribe. Use common sense. Don’t ask the first stranger in line at the grocery store to be in your tribe.

4.) Build Resilience. Resilience is defined by as:

1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
I get the feeling in my gut that we will all be bent, compressed, and stretched in 2013. Not really a gut feeling. Reality is staring us in the face. I’m no financial wizard or mystic. I’m just a simply country boy at heart. Even simple folk like me can see the handwriting on the wall – even without watching the propaganda robots on TV.

Our plan to build resilience doesn’t just include our family’s needs. We understand that a resilient community (physical location) opens many avenues to preparedness. See building Tribe above. Every step we take this year to become more self-reliant builds more resilience. Will it be enough? Probably not. But we’re one step closer – plus, we enjoy the journey.

Pic credit

Practical Steps To Becoming Resilient

  • Contact local farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and farmers. Here’s a unique approach to buying locally – Locally Grown. It started about 12 years ago as the first online farmers market. Unlike other co-ops, buying clubs, or CSAs where everyone gets the same box of stuff (and you don’t know what you’re getting until you get it), with Locally Grown you get to order what you want, in the quantities that you want, from the farms that you want. If you don’t see a market close to you and you know one or more growers ready to sell their products, you can create your own new market! Also, try Eat Wild, or Local Harvest. Also, do a little cowpooling to help keep cost down.
  • Hone your skills and build your kits in these key areas:
  1. Potable Water. Have as many methods of making and storing potable water as possible. I’m not going into how-to details here. There’s plenty of info on the net and books on how to do this stuff. Dependent on “city water” (as Daddy calls it) leaves many high and dry when grid-down disasters strike. Even if you have “country well water”, it won’t pump itself out of the ground. You may be ahead of the game and have an alternative pumping method (hand pump, solar, hydroelectric, etc.). We own a Berkey filter for our home and portable MRS filter for our G.O.O.D. bags. Options are plentiful.
  2. Food. Eating happens. Store stuff you already eat. Most of us can’t or don’t know how to grow all our fruits and vegetables. But even a few patio tomato plants is one step towards building resilience. It may seem difficult to store nutrient-dense, healthy food, but it’s really not. Click here for my plan.
  3. Band Aids. The medical aspect of preparedness is overwhelming to me. Beyond basic first aid, I defer to others with real skills.
  4. Protection. This isn’t all about bullets. Guns are tools in my kit that have redundant purposes. The recent run on battle rifles and full capacity magazines shows the psyche of Americans. They’re securing their liberty with each ammo and gun purchase. This can’t escape notice of TPTB. The protection category also includes investing in tangibles that will only go up in value as the dollar crashes. Purchasing items now that will help you become a producer is a wise hedge against the unknowns.
  • Be A Connector. This dovetails with building community. For the non-introverts, this comes easy. The digital age has opened so many opportunities to network. No matter what you’re interested in, its easy to find like-minded people willing to do the stuff with you.

Homework Assignment: Locate one source of locally produced meat and vegetables available to you. Extra credit if you raise your own meat/protein/veggie.

5.) Build Barter Networks. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. With the economy in a tailspin, bartering has become more common. Many forums and websites have established local barter networks. When bartering, trade value for value. A hair cut wouldn’t be of any value to me, since I shave my head. But there might be a service the local barber has to offer that I need.

In my latest hard-copy edition of Backwoods Home Magazine, John Silveira wrote an article called, “Bartering for bad times.” Click here for the online version. He covers physical barter items such as food, seeds, silver and gold, ammo, garden tools, tobacco, booze, medical marijuana, coffee, water, and solar power. You don’t have a stockpile of these items to trade? Try trading your skills.

What skills/services can you offer to improve the quality of life for others who have stuff you need? I’m not a plumber by trade, but the skills my daddy taught me growing up are in demand now and will continue into the next Great Depression. Mr. Silveira recommends the following useful skills for trading value:

  • Barber
  • Poker
  • Repairing stuff
  • Gardening
  • Tutoring
  • Fuel for heating
  • Clothes: Making and Mending
  • Caregiver: Babies and Elderly

I really like what Alt-Market promotes and purses. Their mission is “to facilitate networking, local community action, and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. We promote decentralization, localism, and the de-globalization of human economic systems. We aim to work with and support local economies, markets, barter networks, and farmers cooperatives; and to promote alternative currencies and monetary systems.”

Homework Assignment: Transact one or more barter exchanges in the month of January.

This kind of free market trade is something that the Feds hate and want to control. Trading value for value voluntarily, between consenting parties is a skill we should all learn…sooner, than later.

What are you’re ideas for resilience in 2013?

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Death of the Nickel: A Hoarding Strategy


Storing Nickels

by David Hathaway

Are you doing due diligence with nickels? As many LRC readers know, nickels are the only real “money” being distributed by the U.S. Government at this point in time. The value of the metal in a nickel equals the fiat value assigned to it by the state. This cannot be said about the currently produced pennies, dimes, quarters, or half dollars and certainly cannot be said about the paper money or the even more insidious and plentiful computer digit money that we are forced to use. Nickels are uniformly marked, impractical to counterfeit, and easily recognizable for their metallic content (75% copper, 25% nickel).

So, is it really that easy to get real money in exchange for the worthless stuff floating around? Yes, it still is. You walk into a bank, hand the teller a 20-dollar bill, and walk out with 10 rolls of nickels. There is no dealer markup. There is no sales tax. There are no shipping fees. There is no capital gains tax or value added tax. It almost seems impossible in this day and age. It soon will be impossible. We are temporarily in an era with nickels that is analogous to the pre-1965 silver coinage period. Coin composition is slated to changeduring the 2013 fiscal year. So, what are the issues that would preclude a person from taking advantage of the inevitable increase in the value of nickels when compared to the fiat dollar? Well, there is one small issue and one slightly bigger issue. The small issue is obtaining the nickels and the bigger issue is storage. Both issues can be resolved fairly easily for most people. First, let’s look at the smaller issue.

You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot when obtaining nickels; not to mention your fellow hard-money brethren who are doing the same thing. Don’t go into a bank and make a grandiose gesture by asking to speak to the branch manager and discussing the bulk acquisition of $1000 or $10,000 worth of nickels. I have read articles where people proudly describe the incredulous looks they get from the bank employees and the follow-up questions administered by the bank staff from such an action. These articles usually include a description of how they schooled the bank employees about how the customer was hoarding nickels as a hedge against inflation. Don’t have this conversation with the bank. You don’t want to be the source of new bank policy restricting the acquisition of coinage. Some banks may charge a percentage for obtaining coins but, most still don’t. With nickels it is still so easy.

You need to have a systematic outlook. What you do is always lay down a 20 dollar bill and ask for 20 dollars in nickels. No more. That’s all. Make this fit into your lunch break at work, your commute, your exercise routine, or your shopping routine. You can go to one, two, or three banks fairly quickly. Don’t get the coins using your debit card or a check. Keep it to a simple hand-to-hand cash transaction. You don’t want multiple computer entries showing up on your bank account at different bank branches 10 minutes apart. It looks like you are doing something. Banks look for patterns and they will ask more questions. You aren’t doing anything wrong but, once again, you don’t want to make waves. You want to be able to continue getting your nickels. Giving out $20 in coins is no big deal to a major bank but, retailers that get coinage regularly usually do have to pay extra for the privilege. Small account holders and even non-account holders are usually given “small” amounts of pre-rolled coinage in exchange for paper currency as a courtesy at no charge. You want to be in the small customer “courtesy” realm on this issue. Being in a slightly bigger town is a plus but, not essential. If you happen to be on a lengthier shopping trip or road trip, you can get $20 worth of nickels ten times fairly quickly at ten different banks. Remember, you don’t want to be responsible for the issuance of new restrictive policies within your local banking world. Banks talk to each other. They go to conferences. If only a few guys in a town of a million people are trying to get large quantities of nickels on each transaction, the word will get out and policies will change.

You won’t believe how quickly you acquire nickels at this rate. You quickly get in and out of the bank since you are not doing account-related transactions. You get 400 nickels each time you hand over a 20-dollar bill. The transaction usually takes less than a minute. If you do this twice every day on your lunch break, you will have nickels coming out of your ears. Don’t try to do it at a quicker rate. You will end up causing problems.

The second issue, which is really the point of this article, is the storage of your nickels. One of the first rules for obtaining and storing metal as a hedge against inflation is to take possession of the metal yourself and to not trust someone else to store it for you. A warehouse receipt can be next to worthless in a hyperinflationary environment and is subject to the same type of mishandling that has been seen in metal futures, ETFs, and other paper forms of metal. Nickels do present a challenge for storage but, the challenge is not insurmountable.

Green military style ammo cans are a very tempting solution. They have one serious drawback. They look valuable. That wall of ammo cans in your basement really looks like a stash of something worth stealing. The larger size (generically called .50 caliber ammo cans) are too heavy when filled with nickels. The smaller size is easier to handle. They weigh about 35 pounds when filled. They hold about 88 rolls. Each roll contains $2 face value of nickels. So, you are preserving about $176 face value of nickels in one ammo can. To get up into multiple thousands of dollars, you will have quite a wall of ammo cans. They get harder and harder to conceal. They won’t fit in a floor safe or that hollow brick like your gold coins do.

So, what’s the answer? After years of experimenting, I have found the perfect solution. Home Depot sells pre-cut 24-inch sections of thick walled 4-inch black ABS pipe. They also sell the 4 inch ABS end caps and ABS cement. This combination makes a perfect long-term burial solution. The ABS cement causes a reaction to occur that is the chemical equivalent of welding the plastic end caps on by chemically softening, melting, and then permanently binding the adjoining surfaces of the two plastic pipe fittings together. PVC pipe also works. The nickels will last for decades in pristine condition underground when stored in these pipes.

I had an occasion to dig up 10 pipes recently containing a total of 560 pounds of nickels that had been buried for three years. The store bar-code stickers hadn’t even come off the pipes yet. The pipes with the caps glued on with the ABS cement still looked brand new. Each of these pipes holds 122 rolls of nickels on average. The pipes weigh about 56 pounds when finished. I have found that drilling a tiny hole with a small drill bit aids with pushing on the final cap since the glue makes the caps airtight and the air pressure makes it hard to push the second cap on. The air relief hole allows the cap to slide on easily before the cement binds the parts together permanently. The small hole can then be filled with ABS cement to make the pipe watertight. To get the nickels out, you will have to cut the pipe open with a saw.

After preparing multiple pipes, dig a trench. It will look like you are installing a water line or a sewage pipe. The 24″ X 4″ inch black pipes look like sections of sewer line. You can rent a trencher to make the process quicker and to reduce prying eyes. I have found that even sensitive metal detectors cannot detect the pipes when they are more than 12 inches deep. To be on the safe side, you can make your trench 18 to 24 inches deep. Even if they are buried less deep, they have the metal detector signature of a buried water pipe and won’t look like an attractive target to unearth.

I will address one more point since I hear this all the time. How do you cash in the nickels for the metal value? You don’t in the short run. This is not a buy and turn over proposition. You don’t have to worry about the legalities of melting coins. People don’t have to melt down pre-1965 silver coins to get the metal value. There will always be a market for the actual metal value in the coin. You don’t have to melt down gold coinage to get the metal value. Some day, when the effects of massive inflation are more evident, you will have your hedge against inflation and you will be able to sell your coins for their metallic value as you need to. In the case of nickels, they won’t have to be assayed. They are marked and it is obvious what they are. Their metallic content is common knowledge. There is no down side with nickels. If nothing else, you have gotten your money out of computer digits and you are holding it in tangible form for the coming banking crisis. It just so happens that you got full value for yours in incorruptible metal form with a picture of one of the less offensive presidents stamped on the side.

December 29, 2012

David Hathaway [send him mail] is a former supervisory DEA Agent who homeschools his nine children. He enjoys writing about the injustices of the state.

Categories: Barter, DIY Preparedness Projects, Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns

Can we prepare for all the unknown unknowns?

No matter how meticulous you might be at creating your list of lists, how much stuff you’ve squirreled away, or how sharply you’ve honed your survival skills, you can’t prepare for the unknown unknowns. That’s why neighboring matters.

If you get 10 survivalists in a room, you’ll get eleven different opinions on how to build community. In this installment of my Individual Preparedness Plan series, we’ll discuss what should be on top of every person’s preparedness priority list: Neighboring.

Neighbors helping neighbors at harvest time

In the wake of Sandy’s unwelcome and devastating visit, I’ve noticed a pungent theme of superiority in tweets and posts from some (thankfully not all) “preppers”: “When will sheeple learn” and “We don’t look so crazy now, do we.” Way to go. Pat yourself on the back. This kind of attitude only reinforces the many negative stereotype of preppers being lunatics with a gun and superiority complex.

Please don’t take this as a bash session on fellow preppers. I’m just wondering what our motives are for prepping. We’re all in it for ourselves to some degree. Individualism. Self-reliance. Independence. Preparedness. Back-to-basics. Sustainability. These are all noble pursuits. What about those closest to us – geographically, not on social media sites? That nameless neighbor I wave to when checking my mail. He’s only two doors down. The older couple that I politely say hello to as they walk past while I’m running the neighborhood streets. I don’t know their names or situations.

I often wonder how these nameless folks would respond to a natural disaster or extended SHTF scenario. What makes my middle class neighborhood different from those affected by Hurricane Sandy? Not a thing. Human nature is the same in New Jersey as it is here or in Timbuktu. We all need food, water, shelter, and neighbors… unless you live in an isolated cabin or cave in the hinter-boonies with wild animals as companionship. Then disregard this. For everyone else, your friends in the neighborhood could be your most valuable prep.

Got milk? No. Borrow it from your neighbor across the street. Uh, folks just don’t do that anymore. How about when a tornado rips through your town? Or an ice storm cripples the grid power? In these events, you’re forced to meet your neighbors. Most times, previously unknown faces show up from down the street with a chainsaw to plow through your driveway of fallen trees. It’s what humans do. We’re social animals. Too often we assume the worst about human nature while stocking the wood heater in our bunkers or sitting in our machine gun nests. Discounting and overlooking real relationships with tangible people living close to us will hamstring even those most prepared.

Many hands make light work. I don’t know who gets credit for that wise saying, but it’s true. Friends that you can trust, and can trust you, is more valuable than all the stuff we’re told to pack in our bug out bags, pantries, and gun vaults. Trusted friends are anchors of preparedness. Neighbors can be our wildcard.

Isolation is intentional. So is neighboring. It takes effort. Which means more than pressing the “Like”, “Follow”, or “Friend” button for virtual friends thousands of miles from our computer. It’s not likely that they’ll be available to pull your broken body from the rubble that use to be you home. They know you as an avatar on their screen. Face to face friends are outside your house. They live next door and down the street. They’ll respond first.

Our best hope of surviving catastrophe on a personal, local level is friends and neighbors. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist living in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit, tells his story and study of response to natural disasters.

He had just moved to New Orleans. Late one August night, there was a knock on the door.

“It was a neighbor who knew that we had no idea of the realities of the Gulf Coast life,” said Aldrich, who is now a political scientist at Purdue University in Indiana. He “knocked on our door very late at night, around midnight on Saturday night, and said, ‘Look, you’ve got small kids — you should really leave.’ “

The knock on the door was to prove prophetic. It changed the course of Aldrich’s research and, in turn, is changing the way many experts now think about disaster preparedness.

Officials in New Orleans that Saturday night had not yet ordered an evacuation, but Aldrich trusted the neighbor who knocked on his door. He bundled his family into a car and drove to Houston.

“Without that information we never would’ve left,” Aldrich said. I think we would’ve been trapped.”

“Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you,” he added, “they’re usually neighbors.”

Force multiplier

Family, friends, and neighbors help rebuild and restore order better than large organizations, government or otherwise. The more value-adding neighbors you have, (and not all will be “preppers”) the more hands, legs, minds, and overall resources become available. I sold my pickup truck this year to cover shortages in our family income when Dirt Road Girl could no longer work due to cancer. One of my neighbors gave a standing offer for me to use his spare truck for any hauling duty that might come up. He and his wife have been so supportive to our family in our personal SHTF scenario. From meals, prayers, dog sitting, and just plain old neighborly stuff, they’re not just neighbors, they’re friends now.

How many friends are enough?

Jesus had an intimate social circle of twelve friends and 3 closer than the rest. This number of face-to-face, close friends is about all mere humans can really manage. Any higher and we begin to spread ourselves thin. Keep in mind that this group is your real, trusted friends. See Dunbar’s Number for more thoughts on manageable social group sizing. Dunbar theorizes that 150 is the mean group size for people. Of course, physical proximity to each other would either raise or lower that number. A lot of social grooming is required for this size group to stay intact. I can only count on one hand the number of intimate friendships I have. I think that’s healthy. From there my circle expands to close friends, friends, and acquaintances.

OpSec. What about it?

We live in a global age. I’m shocked, and very thankful, to see people read this blog from countries around the world. Information is at the touch of a finger. Friends, however, are local. What about OpSec (operational security)? I don’t divulge the full scope of my preparedness plans with every person on the street. That’s stupid. I do have a small group of trusted friends that would run to my aid in the event of an emergency. They know I’d do the same for them. We’ve been there, done that. This type of friend is one  that knows you, likes you, and loves you – warts and all. They’re not just fans cheering you on safely from the safe stadium seats. They’re on the playing field with us. They know our plans and are a part of our plans.

Building relationships with neighbors is mutually beneficial. The quality of life quotient increases. The neighborhood value rises. Not in monetary value necessarily, but in mutual survivability. Again, many hands make light work. No one person can prepare for the unknown unknowns.

Neighboring has opened doors by just waving. Last week DRG was fetching our trash can from the side of the road. One of our neighbors walked by and struck up a conversation. He brought up concerns about what might bring chaos to our quite little community. He and DRG talked about topics like personal defense, basic preparedness items, and safety in our neighborhood. Practical stuff, not political or conspiracy theory related.

Practical preparation through neighboring

Here are a few not-so-pushy ways to do this stuff. I guess you could canvas door to door. But you don’t want to come across as annoying. If you have an agenda other than being a good neighbor, folks will see through you. Keep it simple neighbor.

  • Give. You’ve got carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or computer skills. Offer to help a neighbor. This opens a door for mutual and reciprocal giving.
  • Attend community meetings. Local farmers markets, festivals, concerts, school meetings are all attended by neighbors and friends.
  • Yard sales. If you’re into bargains, this is old hat for you. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with people. Plus you’ll likely find useful stuff for your preparations. Two weeks ago I scored a box of candles and mason jars from an older lady two streets down. I let her know where I live when I introduced myself. The transaction went very smoothly and I made a new friend.
  • Baking/Smoking/Brewing. DRG makes killer sausage balls. She prepares a few plates every Christmas and delivers trays to neighbors. I share smoked Boston butts with a few as well. My back door neighbor samples my home-brewed beer.
  • Ask for help – without being needy. That’s the only ice breaker needed to move from acquaintance to friend sometimes.
  • Be a connector. Refer people needing stuff to people with stuff or skills.
  • Trade garden produce. One year I had a bumper crop of tomatoes, while my next door neighbor produced more peppers than he could eat or cared to store. We traded throughout the summer.
  • Barter network. If there’s a local barter network already established in your town, get involved and add value.
  • Join clubs. Hunting, fishing, golf, knitting, or canning. Ask a neighbor to go learn a new skill together.

Hopefully these tips will motivate us to get out of the house, network, and meet folks. Have you met your neighbor? Maybe he/she knows that unknown unknown.

Doing the stuff,


Photo credit:

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Rule Of Threes For Doing The Stuff

I use the phrase “Doing the stuff” in my salutation. I also started #DoingTheStuff hashtag on Twitter. I think I’m the only soul on the planet of 7 billion to use it. So much for trending. Who cares. This simple phrase has preparedness power. If you use it on Twitter, you’ll soon rule the world.


Ever tried relaxing on a stool with two legs? Not comfortable. Your body is constantly balancing and tense. A third leg would allow you to rest as much as possible on a stool. Your preparedness plan may only have one or two legs that are weak at best. As a hobbyist craftsman and one passionate about self-reliance and preparedness, I’m outlining my Rule of Threes for Doing the Stuff.

  • Acquiring the Stuff
  • Knowing the Stuff
  • Doing the Stuff

To avoid long hours of surfing the web and a headache from information overload, I’ll break down the Rule of Threes for you.

3 Seconds: If you find yourself in a deadly sleeper hold in a MMA match, tap out in two seconds. By a count of three, with no blood flow to the brain, you’ll blackout and be totally embarrassed in your flaming speedos with the word “Juicy” on the backside. Same goes for a heart attack or other serious blood restricting injury.

3 Minutes: Without O2, the typical humanoid’s lights turn off. Whatever the cause, air flow has to be jump started to live again.

3 Hours: You lose your ability to perform even gross motor skills when over exposed to extreme heat or cold. Death by hypothermia or hyperthermia is the number one cause of death in most wilderness survival scenarios. Find shelter and strip down to those “Juicy” trunks when it’s hot.

3 Days: You’ve only got three days (dependent upon temperature and exertion) to live without H2O. Factoid: Our cellular composition (not cell phones – you have to clarify these days) consists of up to 60% water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. There are exceptions to this rule. Club yourself in the head and hibernate like Mitsutaka Uchikoshi for 24 days.

3 Weeks: Most folks can only survive without food for 3 weeks. In our obese America, this Rule of Threes may be extended. What happens when you run out of Twinkies? Time to throw a Donner party. The family pets don’t look so unappetizing now do they?

The Rule of Threes helps us prioritize and build a sturdy preparedness platform.

Doing the Stuff in simplest form means:

A.) Acquiring the stuff. I know. Shiny objects are fun to collect. But remember, this is only one leg of Doing the Stuff. In today’s shrinking productive class, many find it quite challenging to just buy food for the week much less stock one to three months worth of beans under the bed. Think frugality. DRG’s last paycheck came at the beginning of this month. She hopes to return to work after Christmas when she’s done with the radition/chemo treatments. Lean times are waiting for our tribe. It’s not like we’ve never rode this bull named Scarcity. Fortunately, we stocked up when times were good. Think like the ant, not the grasshopper.

Photo credit:

If you have plenty of fiat currency growing on that green back tree out back, pick a bushel and use it now to acquire more tangible stuff. I’m not into the Zombie Apocalypse – I’m not trying to scare anyone, but…Prepare now for the collapse that must come. Even if it never happens, the tangibles you stock now will be worth more next year than today. Especially after Helicopter Ben showers us with Quantitative Easing 3. Tangibles trump paper! Keynesian economics will fail. Brace for impact.

What stuff should I get? All kinds of stuff related to the Rule of Threes listed above. Each individual has their own unique set of needed stuff. Don’t be afraid to buy stuff that you have no clue how to use. Others will. Bartering stuff and skills is on the rise as our country suffers through our Keynesian economic depression. So get busy acquiring the stuff.

B.) Knowing the stuff. Personal preparedness requires knowing how to do things for yourself.

Remember watching Katrina refugees in YOYO (You’re On Your Own) mode? Uncle Sam can’t fix dependency. Why would our government undo what it has spent decades and billions of dollars to build (entitlement mentality). Knowledge is power. Anyone with an elementary observation should conclude that living below sea level is foolish.

There’s another angle to YOYO I’ve seen on survivalist forum discussions. The Hollywood vision of being a lone wolf living off the land. If that’s you, please reconsider your strategy. When it comes to knowing all the stuff needed to survive, we all have things to learn. Plus, with the exception of my sixth grade history teacher, humans are wired for companionship. Build your tribe with different knowledge bases.

While I pride myself in being a jack-of-all-trades, I’m far from expert in my piddling. Mediocrity will have to do in most cases. Expert status is not required to survive. That’s why it’s important to develop relationships with others that can add value to your tribe via voluntary association. I’m sure I could pull a tooth if called upon. How hard can it be, right. But my victim patient would get better results from my dentist friend two farms down the road. I’d much rather barter my skill for his.

There are certain strengths that deserve my focus. I shore up the weak legs as I can. There’s not enough daylight to be an expert at all three legs of preparedness. So, I chose to focus on the last leg, the most important to the stability of my preparedness platform.

C.) Doing the Stuff. This leg deserves our devotion and full attention. Whether it’s random acts of prepping or scheduled list following, physical action is required. The proverbial rubber meeting the road. Curb your appetite for stupid reality shows and get busy. Take up a new hobby. Read a book on preparedness. Take detailed notes. Knock out a few of the DIY projects on the honey-do list. Get healthy and fit. Rediscover play. Don’t forget to enjoy life on your journey to preparedness and self-reliance.

Don’t allow yourself or your family to be at risk because you never practiced skills that would satisfy the Rule of Threes. Some ‘experts’ give cookie cutter solutions on what’s most important. Water usually tops the list. It all depends on your emergency situation. What if… you’re stranded in a driving, 35 degree rain without proper clothing and gear. I’d say shelter and fire wins your immediate attention. Use your head and plan accordingly. Producers will out survive leeches. Do you have a plan, and more importantly, have you practiced the plan to provide water, shelter, food, and defense?

Knowing what to do with the stuff takes practice. Knowing and doing are not the same. Under stress, we do what we practice. When the unprepared, government sponsored looter population dies off, rebuilding will begin. Will you be able to survive to help rebuild? If so, will you be able to add original value to the effort?

I’m planning to. How about you?

Doing the stuff,


Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Economic Collapse, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World


Source: Backdoor Survival


40 Items to Barter in a Post Collapse World   Backdoor SurvivalDo you know how to barter?  In preparedness circles, the term barter is used lot when describing a post SHTF situation when goods and services may no longer be available through normal channels.  According to Wikipedia, ”barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money”.

A lot of people think of bartering as something to do when they are down an out, perhaps unemployed, or low on cash.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Bartering has been around from eons and is simply a smart way to acquire goods and services under the radar screen.

40 Items to Barter in a Post Collapse World   Backdoor Survival

Today I would like to share some very simple tips for bartering as well as my own suggested list of items and skills that may be useful for barter in a post-collapse economy.

How does simple barter work?

In a simple barter, you look for someone who is looking for a particular kinds of goods or services in exchange for goods or services that you may want.  For example, let’s say you do plumbing work but you need a some gardening equipment.  A simple barter would be exchanging some plumbing repairs for a used plow or rototiller.

Getting started is easy.  One of the simplest things to do is to put up an small ad on the local community bulletin board, perhaps at the grocery store or bowling alley.  (And by the way, I don’t know why but bowling alley’s are particularly good for this sort of thing.)  You can also peruse Craigslist or the Little Nickel want ads for people trying to sell the item you need.  The next step is to simply phone them ask and suggest a trade.

One of the very best ways to barter, though, is to put the word out among like-minded friends, relatives and neighbors.  Let them know what you have for trade and see what they offer in return.  What I am describing here is bartering in its most simplistic form but I think you get the gist.

Beyond simple bartering there are more complicated and dare I say sophisticated scenarios such as three way barters and barter clubs.  But that gets beyond the scope of this article which is merely to get you into the bartering mindset.

The Best Items to Use For Barter in a Post-Collapse Word

There are a lot of different opinions as to what items will be best for barter in a post-collapse world where the underground economy may be the only viable economy for the passing of goods and services.  That said, consider this a starting point as you begin to acquire goods for barter.

In no particular order, consider accumulating some of the following items for barter purposes.  And keep in mind that in a post-collapse world, the items do not necessarily have to be new, but simply serviceable.

  1. Water purification supplies including purification tabs and filters
  2. Hand tools including hatchets, saws, machetes and general fix-it tools
  3. Fire making supplies, including lighters, matches, flint fire steel
  4. Sanitary supplies including toilet paper, feminine products and diapers
  5. Disposable razors and razor blades
  6. Fuel, any and all kinds (gas, diesel, propane, kerosene)
  7. Prescription drugs, painkillers, and antibiotics
  8. First aid remedies such as cough syrup, cortisone cream, boil-ese, calamine lotion and topical pain relievers
  9. Spirits such as bourbon, rum, gin, and vodka
  10. Coffee and tea (instant coffee is okay)
  11. Solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries
  12. Standard Batteries
  13. Reading glasses
  14. Paracord
  15. Bags, including large garbage bags as well as smaller zip-close bags
  16. Plastic sheeting
  17. Duct tape
  18. Tie Wraps
  19. Heavy plastic sheets and tarps
  20. Toiletries including toothpaste, dental floss soaps, shampoo (tip: save those small sized toiletries that are provided by hotels and motels)
  21. Condoms
  22. Latex or Nitrile gloves in a variety of sizes
  23. Hard  candy
  24. Fishing supplies
  25. Knives of various types including fixed blades, kitchen knives, and box cutters.
  26. Condiments and Spices
  27. Paperback books on a variety of subjects
  28. Tobacco and cigarette rolling supplies
  29. Amusements such as playing cards, crossword puzzle books, Sudoku
  30. Pencils & paper
  31. Pepper spray
  32. Garden seeds
  33. Flashlights
  34. Vinegar and baking soda to use in DIY cleaning supplies
  35. Empty spray bottles and squirt bottles
  36. Hand pumps for both air and liquids
  37. Mylar blankets and tents
  38. Hand warmers
  39. Sewing and mending supplies
  40. Knitting or crochet needles and Yarn

One thing you will notice that I have not included firearms or ammo and for good reason.  In a post-collapse society, you might not know your barter partners well and may run the risk that they will use these items against you so that they can steal the rest of you stuff.  One person’s opinion, anyway.

A Caveat for Businesses

As you get started with bartering in a pre-collapse world – and after all, like any other survival skill, you should hone your skills now – keep in mind that in the United States, the IRS does have some rules for business bartering and most certainly, states probably do as well as it pertains to Business and Occupation taxes.  Just something to keep in mind.

The Final Word40 Items to Barter in a Post Collapse World   Backdoor Survival

Times are tough. Many are unemployed.  And many have had their retirement funds decimated by the sneaky (and dare we say corrupt?) Wall Street types.  Perhaps you have a useful skill. Or perhaps you have a healthy flock of egg laying chickens that provide more than you can consume.  Whatever you have in excess capacity, now is the time to learn to trade your skill or extra commodities for something you either need or covet.

There are lots of resources online, at the libraries, and in eBooks to help you acquire bartering skills.  Start small but start now. Bartering is the “in” thing to do these days.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Categories: Barter, Economic Collapse, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Survival Sunday Roundup #9

SS Note: As autumn rolls around many will hit the woods for hiking, camping, and hunting in the great outdoors. Sensible Survival offers a helpful three-part series on staying found in the wilderness: 72 Hour Survival I-III.

A Hat Tip goes out to Prepography, Packing Pretty, Gary North, and Tess Pennington in this edition of Survival Sunday Roundup!

Doing the stuff,


72 Hour Survival

The next few posts will be a reprint of a small booklet that I wrote to use in wilderness survival classes.  This booklet outlines the things that you need to do to keep from getting into a survival situation to begin with; but if the worst happens, it tells you the things that you need to do to survive for the first 72 hours and the things that you need to do to aid your rescuers in finding you.

72 Hour Survival – Part 2

Source: Sensible Survival

There are two main ways of staying warm in the wilderness:
Number 1 – retain the heat that your body is already producing. Your body is a natural furnace.  It is producing a near constant 98.6 degrees of internal heat. If you prevent this heat from escaping, you will stay warm.
Number 2 – create an outside source of warmth (i.e. fire) that will replace any heat that radiates away from your body.

Your first layer of defense against heat loss is your clothing.

72 Hour Survival – Part 3

There are four ways you can signal for help.  These are:
1. Building signal fires
2. Using your signal whistle
3. Using your mirror to signal aircraft
4. Constructing ground-to-air rescue symbols.

Read the rest here

Using a Watch to Determine North/South Infographic

Source: Prepography
Posted August 25, 2012 | By Andrew J. Jackson

Using a Watch To Determine North / South

Northern Hemisphere. Point hour hand at the sun:  South is halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock position.

Southern Hemisphere. Point the 12 o’clock position on your watch at the sun. North is halfway between the 12 o’clock position and the hour hand

Note:  Digital watches. Visualize a clock face on the watch.

FM 21-76-1, MCRP 3-02H, NWP 3-50.3, AFTTP(I) 3-2.26,
JUNE 1999
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION:  Approved for public release


Source: Packing Pretty

I know that everyone wants to hear about the holster fashion show, and I  promise to get that up as soon as possible. This is an article I wrote a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the time to publish until now. I hope this holds you over…


photo via

There is a subject that I have been kicking around in my head for about a month now. It has been written about many times in the past in one form or another, and a few times lately on various gun blogs.  Authors of these said articles have delved into the topic of why they own and carry firearms. There are a ton of entertaining quotes floating around social media and blogs pertaining to this matter; I could list a bunch of them here (as one writer did), and call it good. But, seriously, why? You are reading gun blog for goodness sake – which means you probably spend a decent amount of time reading other gun blogs, forums, and following gunners on social media.  You have already heard the clever remarks and read the quotes. While I feel that these little slurs and sayings as to why we carry are entertaining, and at times, somewhat accurate; I also feel that they only scratch the surface and that the heart of the matter is lost amidst all the hype and controversy surrounding not only the act, but the idea of individuals arming themselves.

Read the rest here

Whose Interests Will the Fed Always Protect?


by Gary North

Some predictions are easy. Here is mine: “The government of the United States will default on the vast bulk of its debts, which are mainly debts of Medicare, and to a far lesser extent, Social Security and the federal pension system.”

This prediction is easy to make when you have Professor Lawrence Kotlikoff of Boston University doing your research for you . . . free of charge.

He and long-term financial columnist Scott Burns recently wrote an article on the unfunded liabilities of the United States government. The article is based on the figures produced by the Congressional Budget Office. Here is their assessment. Over the past year, the debt of the United States government increased from $211 trillion to $222 trillion. This is the fiscal gap.

The fiscal gap is the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue. It captures all government liabilities, whether they are official obligations to service Treasury bonds or unofficial commitments, such as paying for food stamps or buying drones.

This led to their policy analysis.

Read the rest here

Week 50 of 52: Bartering and the Community

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition
August 2012

One of my favorite chapters in Patriots was when the main characters were invited to a community market where they bartered with other like-minded individuals for supplies. Personally speaking, that chapter expressed hope – hope that our civilization would not crumble, hope that a community would flourish, that business exchanges would still carry on and ultimately, it was the beginning of a community coming together. If a long-term emergency causes an end to our existing monetary system and an end to the exchange based on fiat currency that our world currently operates in, people will resort back to bartering for skills and services in order to make transactions.

Living in a bartering environment means one must possess certain goods or skills that others find value in. As Brandon Smith writes on the subject:

Read the rest here



Categories: Barter, Bushcraft, Economic Collapse, Firearms, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Sunday Roundup | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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