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Proper Safety Gear Metal Detecting

Proper Safety Gear Metal Detecting

The Basics

metal detecting gloves

Metal detecting gloves.

Gloves- A good pair of gloves is a necessity. Buried shards of glass and sharp rusty metal are only two reasons to wear gloves. A tiny cut can lead to big problems since much of the Earth’s surface is a melting pot of miniature microbes. It is the smaller dangers that you should worry about. Several very dangerous pathogens lurk in the same soil you will find yourself sifting through for a coin. A single gram of soil may harbor up to 40-million different bacterial cells. Such infections from cholera, tetanus, hook worm, E. coli, to anthrax are documented each year due to some sort of soil born illness. Wearing gloves can help avoid most of these hazards.


What kind of glove do you use for metal detecting? I recommend a breathable light weight but tough glove that fits well. It should also have some sort of closure or elastic wrist band (otherwise you are shaking dirt out of it all day). I recommend something with a leather palm to protect from sharp objects better. I like to use the Mechanic’s Glove like you see in the picture to the left. Sometimes I will only have one glove on my digging hand. This way I can access other devices such as a my (camera, detector, gps, walkie, etc.) easier with my free hand. Regardless of the type of glove this is one piece of gear you should always have with you when metal detecting.

Glasses – Obviously if you are out side in the searing sun for any length of time it is wise to protect your eyes. But the big danger when metal detecting comes when you are actually not using your eyes. It will happen to you. You are walking slowly along swinging your metal detector intently focused on the multitude of sounds and readouts being thrown at you…looking down. All of the sudden you find yourself entangled in a low hanging branch. It is bad enough if you hit your head but jabbing yourself in the eye can put a damper on the trip and worse could cause serious permanent injury. If you are in shady area you may consider some protective glasses or shooting glasses. If you forget the glasses just be careful, know our surroundings, and look up frequently.

Boots - Not only does a good pair of boots keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable, the right pair can help protect from serious injury. When detecting around old home sites, privys, or even in a scrappy area, you will most likely encounter countless nails. Nails can be discriminated from a metal detector but the nails do not discriminate when deciding which shot to puncture. Healthy feet are important to metal detecting and overall comfort of life. Wearing a good quality boot with thick soles or better yet a metal shank in the sole will help protect this vital body part.


Metal Detecting Injury

Actual Metal Detecting Injury

metal detector knee pad

I should have been using these metal detecting knee pads.
Knee Pads – You will see a lot of older (which often translates into wiser) detectorists wearing knee pads to protect their knees. They can be burdensome to wear around but they can be a Godsend in an area with a lot of trash, glass, or hard surfaces. If you kneel when digging you should either wear knee pads or be very careful when kneeling. On one hunt in particular near an old homestead, I knelt down right on a concave piece of extremely sharp glass and it punctured through my knee and did some pretty bad damage to my patelar tendon (picture to the right). In the picture the injury may not look bad. But this is after I cleaned it up. It bled really bad and it took me months to fully recover causing much pain and reduced function the whole time. To this day I have a large bump from the tendon’s scarring and it still gets painful when exercising or sitting in one position for an extended period of time. 


Beast Protection

Snake Protection

Snake Gaiters

Snake Gaiters - Depending on where you are hunting you may want to consider Snake Guardz brand. They are light, breathable, adjustable, and don’t take up too much space in your bag. Snake bites are a real threat in some parts of the country. Also consider the protection these snake guards give you from cactus, thorns, and vampires! :) I heavily recommend them when metal detecting in Arizona or other desert states. Otherwise you will most likely be picking out cactus needles from your legs and clothes for weeks....take it from me.


Hand Gun - Luckily I can recommend this to most treasure hunters and they agree with weapons rights. Here is something I try to take with me every time I go out metal detecting. Regardless of whether I have my gun strapped on for protection from nature’s beasts or the beast of man, I feel much more comfortable when I have my sidearm. Out in the country natural predators such as snakes, bear, mountain lions, and wild boar present enough risk on their own. But what about when you you are in the concrete jungle? What about criminals, thieves, or dangerous dogs? I was metal detecting recently at a park in a more inner-city area. I had only made it about 30 yards from my truck when an SUV on 24″ rims pulled up bumping some beats ;) . Immediately I thought…”Shit, I left my gun in my truck.” I nonchalantly made my way back to my truck, discreetly put my gun in my waste band and continued detecting. I immediately felt more comfortable. Shortly later I witnessed a young thuggish guy trying to forcefully enter a parked car and another gentleman came out of his house and yelled at him. A couple other cars drove up to join the SUV, we got some strange looks, and as things got sketchy quick. So we left. Thank goodness nothing happened that day but if it had, I feel comfortable I had the ability to protect myself.

I have heard some interesting stories from treasure hunters encountering multiple different risks while out in the field. This isn’t to mention the obvious (sun screen, a good coat, pants, a hat, etc.) The short list above is only a fraction of the items you may need in your repertoire - including at least a minimal first aid kit.  Being prepared and ready for any occasion is important keeping safe. Take the time to build your treasure hunting gear list. By doing so you will be able to more fully enjoy your treasure hunting endeavors!

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  • Josh Turpin