Essentially, bartering and trading mean the same thing when used in the same context, which is to say that they constitute the exchange of goods or services for something other than what we know as “money.”
In a collapse situation, money may become obsolete. Oh, probably not immediately, although your access to cash could be limited and check and debit cards may go the way of the dodo when the grid goes down. It’s always a good idea to have a certain amount of cash on hand, nearby in a safe place. Just in case.
It has been suggested that one stock up on a certain product that will in demand and/or acquire a specific skill or skill set that could be useful in trade, as when SHTF, this could be vitally important. For example, if you are a hunter, you could have extra meat to trade for vegetables from those who garden or gather. You put your skill, and its results, to use as a trade.
Or you could stockpile a certain commodity, such as matches. Small, cheap, portable, easy to store. Or aspirin. Or dried milk. When it comes to goods, plan on the aforementioned attributes.
In my upcoming release, RECYCLED, a system like this is implemented on a more formal basis in an area of St. Louis which is being rebuilt by a group of survivors. They, however, ten years or so after SHTF, do not have stockpiles of goods but instead have salvaged items from those who disappeared – or died – in the fallout from VADER.
That, of course, is an alternative. Scrounging and salvaging from others who have bugged out or disappeared or didn’t make it. Not looting, not stealing, but surviving. But you won’t know who or what they left behind until much, much later, so it’s optimal, as always, to plan ahead.
What is your skill? What can you stockpile or produce when SHTF?