What do you need to go metal detecting?
Metal detectorists use many more tools than just a detector. If you are just starting the hobby, it is probably not necessary to buy all of them. Of course this also depends on your budget and how serious you want to be with metal detecting. Many detectors come with a few add-ons already, which is good for you as a starter, as it would be more expensive to buy everything separately. In this article I will go over the most important items you need as a starter.
The metal detector
The metal detector is the most important tool of a detectorist. Choosing the right detector according to your wishes is no easy task. There are many good ones on the market and all of them are great in their own way. Before making a choice, you will need to answer the following questions:
- How much are you willing to spend on your detector?
- How often will you use your detector?
- What type of detectorist do you want to be? Do you want to detect beaches, playgrounds and recreation areas for modern money and jewellery? Fields for old artifacts? Or forests for military items?
- Do you want a detector with a large manual, or one that you can turn on and use directly?
Once you have answered these questions, you will have a much better idea of which detectors will fit your demands. Now, it is important to search a dealer close to you and check their offers. Once you find a detector that you like, search it up on Google and read reviews. Also, ask around on forums or groups for other people’s experiences. If you want to be entirely sure of your choice, visit the dealer’s shop and test the detector out yourself. More often than not dealers will be able to help you make the right choice.
A pinpointer is basically a miniature detector. It is pocket-sized and it makes your job a whole lot easier. Once you have dug a hole, check with your detector if the target is in the removed ground or still in the hole. Then, you take your pinpointer out of your pocket and run it through the ground/hole. If it is close to your target it will start sounding. Almost every brand has decent pinpointers and here it is not so important to go for a very professional one. Even AliExpress ones will work, but I recommend to go for a branded one. I use the Nokta RS pinpointer and it works very well for me. Always bring extra batteries with you: you don't want to be out detecting and run out of battery.
Using a good shovel is very important for detectorists. Ground conditions are different everywhere and you need a shovel that will dig in every type of soil. Furthermore, if you are very tall, using a small shovel will hurt your back and if you are small, using a big shovel will slow down your work. Make sure to choose a shovel that fits your height and physicality. Another important thing to consider is transport. How will you go to your locations? If you go by car, it doesn't really matter which shovel you bring. However, if you go by bike or scooter, it might be useful to invest in a small/foldable shovel. In any case, make sure your shovel is strong and will not break in the field. I recommend to bring a trowel as well, as it is easier to use in cluts and less likely to destroy the object you're searching.
Especially important in pasture/field areas are protective gloves. Often there will be sharp objects in the ground and sometimes they will catch you by surprise. You really don't want to have an open wound while you're working in an area with lots of chemicals, fecies, dirt and bacterias. This could lead to serious health issues! I always buy my gloves at the construction market. Make sure they are cut-proof, flexible and - preferably - waterproof.
Backpack and finds bag
Make sure to always bring these two with you while you go out to your locations. A backpack is very useful to keep your hands free while you are detecting. In your backpack you can keep all the things you dont directly need while detecting but that you still need to have with you. I always bring a plastic bag in my backpack in case I find big amounts of trash or too many items to fit in my finds bag. It is important to take all the trash you find with you. This will improve the status of the hobby and if you save up all the trash metals like lead and copper, you can get a decent sum of money for it. The finds bag is used to keep all your finds while you are detecting. It usually has 2 pockets: a big one for the trash and big items, and a small one for coins and nice, small items. Most dealers add a free finds bag if you buy one of their detectors!