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Metal Detecting Pre-Hunt Checklist - Don't Forget These Items!

Metal Detecting Pre-Hunt Checklist - Don't Forget These Items!

In the past I had written an article about the essential tools needed for the sport of metal detecting.  In it, I mentioned the items one would need in order to hunt the most efficiently.  

FAQ: What are The Essential Tools for Metal Detecting?

The essential tools needed are as you might imagine:  A Metal Detector, Pin Pointer, Finds Pouch, Digging Tool.  Sounds pretty obvious right? Well, this last weekend, I took my step son out to metal detect and forgot one key piece of equipment - Backup Batteries.  A couple hours into the hunt, my batteries pooped out and we were quite a ways from a place to purchase them.  

This got me thinking about putting together a checklist of items (other than the essential items) that one could use prior to each metal detecting hunt to make the hunt not only more successful, but also more enjoyable.

Click Here to Download The Checklist as a PDF!

This list is a great tool for both the newbie metal detectorist and us "pros" who, in hasty preparing, sometimes forget the obvious items.

So, here are the items in addition to the essential items mentioned above and reasons why you may want to consider packing a metal detecting bag stocked with these items.

Extra Coil - Of all of the things that go "bad" on a metal detector or cause issues, the coil seems to be the most regular.  As an essential piece of the metal detector, you can't hunt without one.  Additionally it is sometimes wise to have a large and small coil, or a different type of coil, to change up your hunt approach as well.

 Coil Cover - The coil is one of the most expensive parts of your detector and the one that takes most of the beating.  For less than $20 you can get a coil cover, like the one pictured below for the Garrett AT Pro, for just about any metal detector - a wise investment.

8.5" x 11" DD Coil Cover

"Keeper" Finds Container - Valuable and interesting items are typically kept in a separate portion of your finds pouch.  But at the end of your hunt, you may want to separate those items.  A finds box like the one pictured below allows you to store these items away from the garbage for safe travels. 

Metal Detecting Finds Keeper Box


Gloves - Although not necessary, metal detecting can be a dirty sport.  Not only will gloves keep your hands clean, they will help protect you from injury.  The ground is littered with sharp objects. Metal and glass shards can easily cut your hand.  Additionally there are some pretty nasty organisms living in certain soils that can cause major medical issues.  So better safe than sorry.  An inexpensive pair of gloves will work.  I recommend something a little more rugged like the tactical gloves below.

Tactical Gloves High Plains Prospectors

Knee Pads - Take it from me, these are not necessary, but if you are hunting in a trashy place with potential of sharp objects protruding from the ground, these are a good thing to have on.  I have knelt down to recover an item and severely wounded my knee on the bottom of an old glass bottle See the video below of me injuring myself while detecting a cool old homestead.

First Aid Kit - With the aforementioned in mind, I recommend keeping a basic first aid kit handy during each hunt.  Bandaids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, etc.  I doubt you will ever need a tourniquet but having the right items to treat minor scrapes and cuts should do.

Headwear - Headwear is not essential but can be an item that will make your hunt more enjoyable and safe.  It is easy to bump  your head on a branch or limb when looking down at the ground while metal detecting.  Additionally sun protection is an added benefit. 


Eye Protection - As mentioned above, when you are metal detecting you are quite frequently looking downward - whether it is at the ground or your metal detector display.  Either way, I have numerous times brushed into some small limbs and such, which could have resulted in some damage to my eyes.  I typically wear sunglasses...because they look cooler, but any eye protection is better than none.

Bug Spray - When you are metal detecting you are typically off the beaten path.  This means lots of bugs.  Many of those bugs are at the least a nuisance.  Some of them can be deadly.  Whether you are thinking of West Nile or some other mosquito based infection or tick based infections like lyme disease, it is best to protect yourself from these creepy crawlies and stay safe.

Sun Block - Perhaps not an acute danger but one nonetheless a potentially deadly one.  It is never a bad idea to protect your skin from the sun.  If you are crafty you can get a bug spray and sunblock in one.  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!

Water - Aside from staying hydrated, water is a useful tool for washing off dirty finds.  Otherwise, you are doing it the old fashioned way...spit...which is kind of gross when you think about it.  And, if you are spitting a lot, you will definitely need some water to stay hydrated :)

Toilet Paper - Trust me on this one, especially if you are on a long hunt, bring some TP with you unless you are really, really, close to a gas station or other place you can do your business.  Personally, I prefer a clean butt so I like to carry flushable wet wipes with me as well.  Dig a hole, do your business, then fill your you do with any hole you dig metal detecting.

Beer - This is a personal preference...some people may prefer a small flask of whiskey as it is easier to carry while lugging around a metal detector ;).

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  • Josh Turpin