> TEOTWAWKI Blog: E&E Barter Kit



E&E Barter Kit

Photo courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command
I learned something new yesterday--airmen in WWII carried a small barter kit amongst their bail out/survival gear. There are two different kits of kits that I know of--the "Barter Kit, Atlantic" and the "Barter Kit, Southeast Asia." Both consisted of small valuables (gold coins and rings in the Atlantic kit, a Swiss watch, gold rings and a necklace in the SE Asia kit), and were contained in a rubber case. The Atlantic kit is pictured on the right; in total, it has .9 troy ounces of gold, in a combination of gold francs, sovereigns and the rings.

Like a lot of the spy stuff from WWII, these kits are just plain cool. They also remind us of the role of valuables in an escape situation. 

Even in the midst of war, disasters or other SHTF situations, money (or gold) talks. Barter for items you need, bribe people, whatever. 

Yes, in an all out TEOTWAWKI situation, there will be a lower demand for gold and a greater supply (millions of dead who don't have a need for their jewelry collection). Cash will suffer a faster, more drastic fate...if the government no longer exists, it's just paper. But short of that, and in more likely disasters, regional instability, and other local troubles, gold and cash will still likely have value, and can be a valuable tool in getting you where you need to go. That may be the next state over, it may be the other side of the planet. And in normal times, there are few problems that can't be solved with a pile of cash. 

What would a modern E&E Barter Kit look like? I'd put cash in it--local currency--and enough to live off of for a while. $1000 cash is a good number to start with. With $1k, you can get yourself across the country, rent cheap hotels for a while and so on. If you live near a border or may bug out internationally, some of that foreign currency would be good as well, or just forgo currency and go all gold. As far as precious metals go, small weight (1/10 or 1/4 ounce), non-US gold is the way to go. Canadian maples, Swiss bars or Krugerrands. I'd avoid anything obviously American and the smaller denominations allow you flexibility in purchase. I like the coins because they are recognizable quality and content, versus a random gold ring or chain.

Total value of the kit will be determined by your budget, but this doesn't need to be an entirely separate purchase item. Most survivalists types have gold and a stash of emergency cash already. Keeping some in your bail out bag or in a ready-to-grab bag or wallet gives you the kit you need. You could also accomplish the same thing by just adding some extra cash and a few small coins to your EDC--a wallet kit, inside a Black Ops Belt, under the insole your your shoe and so on.