For the Want of a Nail…..

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Editors Note: A first time guest submission from Cody Jarrett, an article on a core theme, the currency of preppers, a good read with an EXCELLENT reference at the end (hint, I have read this book.) As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award like Cody, as well as being entered into the Prepper Writing Contest AND have a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!

On a dive trip to the Cayman Islands I observed the following while on a boat 8 miles off-shore: One diver had his regulator mouthpiece fail while suiting up for the first of 3 dives. Too many trips biting down had finally done it in and he had no spare. I did not have a spare, but mine was fine – emergency missed (mental note taken). The boat had spare regulators but the guy brought his own and hesitated. One guy did have a spare and struck up a conversation with him and sold it to him for $20, cash. Normal costs $2.50, $5.95 for a high-quality one and $12.00 for a “fancy one” in a non-resort location. But, 8 miles from shore, the beginning of a 3-dive trip that had already cost $165, not wanting to depend on a rental that may have been in every mouth on the island to date, it was a sellers’ market. Pay the price or watch the birds and the waves for 8 hours. I am sure most of you have seen this in some form when you are off the grid.


The message here was that cash still worked but hyper-inflation had kicked in. Was the seller a jerk or was he simply planning? He was going to buy a replacement for his spares bag when he got back to shore, and dive shops have LARGE mark-ups, especially the ones in dive destinations, and making change in a world driven by ATM machines that use $20 bills as their standard, at sea, can be a hassle. Your call.

Trading, bartering and negotiating to supplement what you may have forgotten, left behind, or lost, or are running out of could require some creative thinking to come up with a payment. Like any trade, are you negotiating from a position of strength or weakness? If you wait until your supply of what you need is depleted, you have already lost most of your negotiating tactics.


While history is full of stories on what has been used as currency (salt and spices, coffee, tobacco, knives, furs, etc.) what will you have to trade? What four things will you have the most of? My guess (and hope) is ammunition, food, medical supplies and water. What things are you most likely going to want to trade for? Ammunition, food, medical supplies and water as they are all consumables. Other consumables like batteries, fuel, and clothing also come to mind. Shoes pop into my head as I had hiking boots “fail” while walking the Pacific Crest Trail north of Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite National Park.) Had to limp back and ended up wearing sandals I purchased at the camp store for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, it was June. Do you have extra shoes and the things to repair them in your plans? I didn’t and at that point for me, feet too blistered to even tolerate socks, let alone new boots, I was down a few links on the food chain, my bad. Ben Franklin would understand.

I have heard often that gold will be the first currency of choice, as well as silver. My reply is a single $0.29 .380 round in a $127 Cobra Arms Freedom .380 will convince me to give up all my gold, on the spot.

I have always wondered about the condition of the world when gold again becomes the accepted currency over paper money. I have been to Thailand on several occasions and gold and gold jewlery is traded as street currency, hoarded for savings, used to honor Buddha, but so is the Bhat, their paper currency. Fast forward to a war or natural disaster and you have a people already comfortable in an alternative currency, and we are too somewhat, as we trade stocks, bonds, vehicles, Alaskans still trade in gold, and we all trade in our sanity, at least temporarily, on major holidays “to be with family.”

I postulate that if the EOTW, SHTF, total loss of the ROL occurs, gold will not buy much for long, that ammo and a reliable means to deliver it will trump the American Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf and all the others, and that the perishable and the consumables will become the currency of choice, and that you better be prepared to set trade points (minimum quantities) and act on them to maintain your position on the food chain. Just how valuable is a fresh apple after weeks of jerky? Or a real roll of toilet paper?

I suggest reading E.E. Rich’s “Trade Habits and Economic Motivations among the Indians of North America”. Available on-line, link provided, not as dry as it sounds, eye-opening as to what their culture was truly like, and lessons from a world where governments were minimal at best, mostly unnecessary, and not only were their societies self-sufficient, they could interact successfully with other societies. What a concept!

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Big G
Big G
2 years ago

I agree that hoarding precious metals, thinking you are going to use them as currency later, seems short sighted. If our current currency system collapses, there will be only a small window where PMs will be barterable. After that it’s goods and services.