How to make money through Trading in Kenshi
Another good early game money making strategy in Kenshi is being a trader. Items sold by shopkeeps in this game vary in price depending on where you buy them and you can use this to your advantage to make a decent amount of money early on by traveling between towns. On this page I am going to go into detail about one of the best trading routes in Kenshi and what items you'll want to buy from where and where you'll want to sell the items.
Before diving into this guide I would like to add that I do not believe trading in Kenshi is superior to making money through Mining. Yes, Mining is extremely boring and you may find Trading to be more fun because it's more engaging but I belive the amount of money per hour you earn through Mining is better. Plus you can easily do Mining while doing something else like watching Youtube or Netflix or reading a book - whatever you want. I realize this is exactly why some people are turned off by Mining - you're playing a game to actually play the game not automate the game and do something else. That's fair and that's why I made this page too.
First things first, to get started with this trading route you'll want to have at least one pack animal but 2 is usually recommended. You'll also want to have at least 3 or 4 party members that way incase you get attacked you can heal and carry wounded people. Depending on what your stats are you'll most likely want to do your absolute best to avoid enemies while doing this trading route. There are many enemies in each of these areas that will wreck you if you're a low level character without proper Toughness.
Our trading journey starts in the Swamp and will take us mostly to the town of Flats Lagoon before returning back to the Swamp. In my opinion you shouldn't worry about visiting Mourn until you run out of Cats at the shops in Flats Lagoon. The area surrounding Mourn (Deadlands) is a very dangerous place and there's only 2 shops in Mourn making it just 'Ehhhh' in my book.
In each of the towns throughout the Swamp (including Shark) you'll be able to buy Hashish from vendors that stand outside of buildings shouting 'Drugs for sale!' or something relating to drugs as well as Adventuring Supply vendors and General Shops. You'll also want to buy Sake which is often sold by Bars or at the General Shops. What you'll want to do is purchase the items you plan to resell in Flats Lagoon from these vendors and any food you need for the trip.
When you arrive at Flats Lagoon or Mourn you'll want to buy any Skeleton Repair Kits or Cactus Rum for sale and sell any Sake/Hashish you have to get your money back. This will be our primary gameplay loop as a trader in Kenshi; I've put these steps as well as the items to buy into a list format which you can find below to make them more easily readable while you're playing the game.
Note: Sometimes shopkeeps won't be in their shops in Shark because they'll be busy fighting 'The Hounds' faction which resides in Shark. Come back later if this happens as your shopkeep could be MIA for an entire ingame day.
What We're Doing:
1. Visit Shark + Towns in the Swamp and purchase any Hashish and Sake that they sell
2. If you need food purchase Gohan or Rice Bowls too as they'll be extremely cheap here
3. Travel to Flats Lagoon and sell the Hashish/Sake. Purchase any Skeleton Repair Kits or Cactus Rum here too.
(Optional) 4. Travel to Mourn and sell the Hashish/Sake. Purchase any Skeleton Repair Kits or Cactus Rum here too.
Items to trade:
3. Skeleton Repair Kits (random)
4. Cactus Rum
Below I have also included a map which will give you a detailed look at our ideal trade route. There will not be many enemies in The Burning Forest that you have to worry about but there is acid rain in this zone which will damage your humanoid members over time unless they're wearing acid protection gear. It's not really a big deal since we'll be passing through this zone very quickly.
As aforementioned, you'll want to be extremely careful when visiting Mourn as the enemies around Mourn will easily wipe you out if you're not prepared. Since Mourn only has 2 shops I would recommend not even visiting that town until you've burned through the Cats at every shop in Flats Lagoon.
If you'd prefer to see a video of this trade route in action and learn more tips and tricks that aren't shared in this guide I strongly recommend you watch my Kenshi - The Best Trade Route (Making Money Through Trading) Youtube Video. The video is a bit longer than most of my videos at 40minutes long but I show you 3 or 4 rotations of this route and share with you tons of information.
Note: The Price mark-up changes from game to game and in your game it may not be worth it to trade Skeleton Repair Kits, Sake or Cactus Rum. In my experience Hashish is always worth trading but the rest of the items vary; you'll notice the price difference between Skeleton Repair Kits in my screen shots below are too low to warrant trading them.