Outfitting Your Kit

Detector backpack

Aside from your detector itself, there are accessories you’ll want to seriously consider. These will vary according to the kind of detecting you want to do, and the locations you’ll be hunting. These may include:

  • Pinpointer – The handheld type, generally about the size of a thin flashlight. Most are self-contained, though there are a few detectors that have a detachable one on a cable. Pinpointers are extremely helpful for fitting into the hole after you’ve dug it (since most holes are too small for the coil itself to fit in), so you can locate the exact position of your target.
  • Hand Digger – Next to your detector and pinpointer, your digging tool is most critical to being able to quickly and easily recover a target, so its quality and comfort really matter. There are different kinds of digging tools for different types of work, but here I’m talking about a small, hand-held, trowel-like shovel.
  • Finds Pouch – Most major detector manufacturers offer some kind of zip pouch on a webbing belt, in which to put your finds. I use one of those now, since it came with my last detector; but for ten years, I simply used a carpenter’s nail apron, and was perfectly happy with that. I especially liked one that had a leather hammer loop on either side, providing a perfect place to carry my pinpointer.
  • Batteries – It seems silly to even list this, but I can’t tell you how many of my own hunts have been cut short because the batteries died in my detector or pinpointer, and I didn’t have any extras with me. Make sure you have the right amount of the right type for your detector and pinpointer.
  • Comfortable, protective footwear – What type is a matter of personal preference, but take it seriously. I’ve seen diggers wear everything but slippers into the field, but there does seem to be a preference for hunting or hiking boots.
  • Comfortable clothing – Wear clothes that allow free movement but still cover your arms and legs to protect from bugs, burrs, brambles and poison ivy.
  • Long-Handled Digger – If you don’t like to have to drop to your knees for exploratory holes, or you just appreciate the better leverage you can get with a long-handled digger, I recommend getting one. I began with essentially a half-size spade with a D-handle that’s light and easy to carry. You may also use a specialty spade such as a folding camp shovel.
  • Headphones – I don’t consider these “must have” equipment, but they really are nice to have when you need them.
  • Control Box Cover – Unless you’re running a waterproof or water-resistant machine, most of your detector can get wet except the control box. So if you think it may rain on your hunt, it’s a good idea to pop for a weatherproof cover for your control box.
  • Probe – Some experienced detectorists like to use a long probe to stick into the ground before digging. These probes are made of a softer metal such as brass, and when pushed slowly into the ground, will hit your target and tell you how deep it is, without scratching harder metals such as those used to make coins.
  • Headlamp – If you live in an area where daytime hunting is just too hot and you like to hunt at night, or you frequently hunt in crawlspaces, basements and other dark places, you may find a headlamp a worthwhile investment.
  • Gloves – This is another of those items that isn’t absolutely necessary. I know several detectorists who dig bare-handed, but given that we dig for rusty metal objects and there’s often glass and other sharp stuff in there with it, it’s just a safety no-brainer to protect your hands.