FAQ: What are The Essential Tools for Metal Detecting?
Jerrid T. Recently asked:
“I'm new to the trade but have a serious interest. I'm looking to purchase the AT Pro Sports Pack as well as the Pro-Pointer. Any recommendations or other items I should consider? I'll mainly be detecting on farm properties for relics and precious metals. Thank you for your assistance.
Excellent question and good choice on the metal detector. I think the AT Pro is one of the best on the market. It is an excellent machine with a lot of options and is priced affordably. The pin pointer is a must. It is a life saver and pays for itself in time alone. Garrett continually comes out with packages like this that provide the basic tools needed to get started metal detecting immediately. One such took I won’t detect without is a good pinpointer. There are a lot of them on the market, but my favorite is the Garrett Pro Pointer II. It is rugged and works like a charm when you learn to dial it in to find treasure (more on that later).
Check out my blog: A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Metal Detector and another good one to check out is How to Choose and Use a Pinpointer Metal Detector.
Here are the top recommended detectorist tools in addition to a good metal detector and pin pointer and explanations as to why:
Treasure Pouch – A pouch is important as you should pack out all of the trash you find. Keep it in a small recycle bin and take it in every year or so. Brass, Copper, Lead and even iron and aluminum are at really good prices right now. You might be surprised how quickly you can pay off your detector and gear with trash. There are several types of pouches out there. The tried and true Garrett Diggers Pouch is a good go-to. It has a large pouch for large items and junk and a smaller zipper pouch protected on the inside of the larger one to store smaller, more valuable finds. It is rugged and well made for long lasting reliability.
Small Steel Trowel- A little metal trowel is nice when you are working in tight spaces like a hole. Metal is good because you can stick a magnet on it and pull out iron items from dirt. They are also rugged durable so you can dig in hard packed or rocky soil. They can get pretty fancy and expensive, but the small Wilcox Treasure Trowel is my favorite.
Some people like to hunt with a synthetic trowel or shovel. These are good in soft or sandy soil where it is easy to dig. Since it is kind of a pain carrying around two shovels, you can choose before you head out into the field depending on what type of hunting you are doing and soil conditions. These poly hand shovels are nice so you can scoop up loose soil and run it under your detector without interfering with your detector. If you are in light non-rocky soils, you can use the poly shovel, but if you are in tough conditions (i.e. dry or rocky soil) go with the metal trowel. The Fiskars Fibercomp Transplanter is a rugged, lightweight, and compact option.
Longer Handled Shovel - Any shovel can be used. I suggest Sampson Ball Handle. It is what I use and I consider it to be the best on the market. Its ball shaped handle makes it easy to use from any angle and since some cities have limitation on size of the spade or length, this smaller one is a little less intrusive. The sharp beveled blade, which can be serrated on either or both sides, cuts like a knife and is easier on the soil and your back (it cuts through even dry packed soil well).
Sand Scoop – If you are metal detecting in sand (say on a beach) a plastic sand scoop is a necessity. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, this tool will cut your recovery time down substantially. If you are detecting on a rocky beach or in water, a more rugged scoop is a better option. The benefit of plastic over metal is obvious….less metal to disrupt your detector signal and the ability to wave your scoop under your detector to determine if there is a target. Click here to see scoop options.
Detectorists Pick- A pick is not necessary but a good option especially in rocky soil. My pick (yes, pun intended) for the best metal detecting pick is this Compact Magnetic Prospectors Pick. It's light weight yet strong enough for prying and the sharp triangle head serves two purposes. The small end works to pick into small crevices and chip at rocks while the wide hoe end is great for moving larger amounts of material. Picks help with dry soil, prying rocks, etc. Any rock pick will work, this one is just my personal favorite and it does have a magnet on the end to help retrieve iron objects from a hole.
If you choose a pick without a built-in magnet, you can simply attach a separate, super-strong "rare earth" magnet and don't let it too close to your wallet (speaking from experience). Also make sure you don't use a rock pick that is too large, you may be swinging this thing a lot. Light and durable is the answer
Probe- A treasure probe is good for determining initial depth of the target or to help pinpoint a target. Any screwdriver will work too. I like this one because the end is rounded and tapered. Screwdrivers (unless ground down) have sharp edges which may damage a relic or coin. The softer brass also helps avoid damage. Since we already mentioned a sand scoop above, one good options for a probe is the Sand Scoop with a Built in Probe in the handle.
Small Pruning Shears- Carrying around pruning shears sounds funny. But I recommend it. You can carry a small handheld set, like the one pictured below.
These shears fit in your pocket and are great for cutting away roots that have grown over or through a relic. They also can help you trim away small branched that are trying to poke out your eyes as you dig a target under a tree.
Eye Protection – Again, not necessary, but recommended. Plus, face it, sunglasses make anyone look cooler. Any pair of sunglasses will work. But, the purpose is not too look cool, it is for eye protection. Often when you are swinging the stick you are looking down. I cannot tell you how many times I have ran into branches detecting. Even a small end of a branch can poke out an eye!
Seasonal Hat - Hats keep your head warm in the winter and block the scorching rays of the sun in the summer. In many areas of the World, you will want to use headphones in the winter due to heavy winds and they act kind of like earmuffs. Some hats don't go well with headphones. So, I recommend a tight-fitting stocking cap.
Sun Block - In the summer don't try to be a tough guy/gal. Besides, sun burns are not attractive and you can still get a good tan using an SPF sun block. And, natures little creepy crawlies (i.e. ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes) can not only be a nuisance, but also spread disease. My favorite spray to use is the Avon Skin So Soft with Bug Guard because you can easily apply both at the same time. Bug guard and sun protection in one bottle...what a brilliant concept for the outdoorsman!
There are several other items that are good to have such as a large probe, classifying screens, and so on, but I feel these are the top ten if I had to choose.
Please feel free to comment or post with ideas or suggestions! Jerrid, thanks for the question and I hope this helps with your newfound hobby of treasure hunting!
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- Josh Turpin