While it isn’t rocket science, wearing the proper clothing and gear can make a positive difference when you go metal detecting. There’s certainly no dress code when you’re out treasure hunting, but with a little bit of effort, you can make your experience much more enjoyable.
Below we will cover a few of the basic necessities my fellow detectorists and I often wear along with a few items most pick up with experience.
This is a relatively new addition to my metal detecting outfit that was carried over from my hiking attire. A sun hoodie helps reduce the amount of sunscreen you have to wear if you’re out in a field for the entire day. It also dries easily making it a great option when you might be getting wet in a stream or river.
Usually made of a lightweight and breathable material like polyester with some stretchy elastane, these shirts with a hood are perfect for hot weather. The added stretchiness is also an added benefit that prevents tears and adjusts to your movements as you dig, pick up finds, or move through the brush.
There are several types of hoods on Sun Hoodies, take a good look at them before you make a purchase. The most recent one I purchased has an extra two inches around the face of the hood that help drape the material over a baseball hat helping to protect my face a little better.
Sun Hoodies I’ve Purchased:
- Willit UPF 50+ Sun Protection Hoodie
- Under Armor Men’s Tech 2.0 Hoodie
- Columbia Terminal Tackle Hoodie
- Amazon Essential’s Hooded T-Shirt
A Wide-Brim Hat
There are a few types of hats that would work well for metal detecting. This is another item that’s main purpose is to protect you from the sun so make your pick appropriately.
Outside of a basic baseball hat that works just fine, a wide-brim hat will help over your neck and face from sun damage. Below are a few styles that I’ve gone through and recommend to both my hiking and metal detecting friends.
- Breeze Brimmer Hat by North Face
- Bora Bora Booney hat by Columbia
- Wide Brim Fishing hat with neck flap
- Super wide brim hat
- Wide brim hat with side snaps
The above recommendations are meant to be a style guide but I’ve purchased the first three options personally and the last two are options colleagues chose. I’m not the biggest brand supporter so take these suggestions and find an option that’s right for your price range and style preference. If you have difficulty finding a good option, consider searching for “fishing hats”, “Hiking hats” or
Polyester + Spandex Pants (Travel or Athletic Pants)
Jeans will get the job done, but they aren’t always a comfortable choice. I often find myself sweating an uncomfortable amount in jeans and while they are very durable, modern materials have caught up to their resilience.
I cut out jeans entirely from my wardrobe a few years back and I’ll never second guess that decision. I now have two pairs at the bottom of my drawer I keep around for the occasional day of yard work or manual labor, for everything else I’m wearing what’s usually referred to as a “Travel Pant”. These pants are more breathable, dry faster, and stretch to accommodate bending over to pull your finds out of the ground.
Below are a few options I prefer while outdoors and are useful for more than just metal detecting. When it comes to pants, I generally lean towards more reputable brands to ensure I’m getting a better quality product but if you’re looking for cheaper choices, look for a 100% Polyester or a 90% Polyester + ~10% Spandex (or Elastane) Blend.
Utility Belt with Pouches
The pants mentioned above are generally lacking good pockets and there are few “cargo pant” options in that material. Make your life a million times easier by picking up a utility belt to store your finds and keep your tools near at hand. Most will fit a spray bottle to clean your finds with and a pinpointer easily. There are a few metal detecting specific options but I see no need with getting anything fancy.
An alternate to a waist belt would be one of the options that attach to the thigh. This isn’t an option I personally recommend since I’ve found these to be uncomfortable but I do have a few colleagues that use them.
Regardless of your choice of pants, a good set of knee pads will save you some pain. A basic pair of gardening knee pads is enough to get the job but you might want to conder how they attach to your leg. Some have straps, others fit over your leg like a sleeve. As long as they are lightweight and cushioned you’re on the right track.
A few knee pad options to consider:
For the first year of my metal detecting journey, I made the terrible mistake of not bringing gloves. My budget was tight and outside of my metal detector and backpack, I wasn’t bringing anything extra with me. Thank goodness I had a tetanus shot.
If you’re keeping your discrimination settings low, you will never know what you’re digging up when you start to break ground. Sharp edges are common, and that’s especially true if you’re digging up a lot of iron.
Pick out a nice pair of gloves that are either made of thick material or coated with a protecting layer on the palm and fingers. I prefer the former with my current gloves being a pair of Garrett metal detecting gloves.
Other options to consider:
Mosquito Head Net
This is most likely a regional addition, but similar to the hat recommendation above, it helps reduce the amount of bug repellant I have to apply throughout the day. If you’re in a dryer climate or metal detecting in a field you might be able to leave this at home but its small lt to pack and bring along anyway.
If you’re spending enough time outdoors, this is a purchase that comes in handy even when you aren’t metal detecting. I highly recommend pairing this with one of the wide-brim options listed above. It will keep the net off of your face and neck making it a more comfortable piece to wear.
A few bug head net options are:
Trail Shoes or Hiking Boots
In my experience, trail shoes are a slightly better option than a hiking boot but both options will work. I’ll admit I have weak ankles, so if I’m hiking or plan on trekking to a remote spot to detect I’m opting for something with a little more ankle support. Most of the time though, I’m detecting in fields or easy-to-access areas where I can prioritize mobility and comfort.
When it comes to footwear, I highly recommend heading over to a local outdoor store to try a few pairs on. If you haven’t worn these types of shoes before they can be rigid and unforgiving if the form doesn’t fit your foot right. Just because it fits on a friend does not mean it will work for you as a tennis shoe would.
- Lowa Trail Shoes and Boots – the Renegade model is the clear favorite amongst my friends for both hiking and metal detecting.
- Merrell Shoes and Hiking Boots
- Salomon Shoes and Boots
Vest is Pockets
As an alternative to the belts mentioned above, you can opt for a lightweight vest with pockets to store your finds and gear. The best options I’ve come across are often referred to as “fishing vests” but regardless of their name, they get the job done.
If you’re often dealing with high temperatures do yourself a favor and pick out an option that’s lightweight or has mesh under the arms.
A few vest Options:
More of an honorable mention rather than a suggested pick-up, a support harness is a great option if you’re often detecting in water or need extra support to hold your detector. I’ve seen both the Minelab harness and a basic weedeater harness be used and both have their own benefits.
If you often have shoulder or elbow pain, this might be the only way to get some relief. A few options even have pockets that can double as your utility belt or vest. If you chose an option without pouches but has the waist belt, you can grab an attachable pouch that will clip on.
Metal Detector Support options:
Don’t stress about getting everything listed
It doesn’t take much to get started with metal detecting and as a result, the gear you need can stay simple as well. Not all of the above options are a requirement, but just like any hobby, a few specialized items can help make it a more pleasant experience.
I hope you’ve been able to pick up a few more ideas to add to your gear list. Keep an eye out for more recommendations in future posts!