It has been said that “Failure to plan is planning to fail,” and in many instances that is true. One way to plan is by packing everything that you will need on your next hunt into a backpack.
There are a few items that every detectorist should have in their backpack, and below you will find a list of items that you may want to bring along for your next metal detecting adventure.
Metal Detecting Backpack Essentials
Be sure to pack spare batteries for both your metal detector and your pinpointer. You never know when your batteries may die on you, so be sure to have a spare set or two for emergencies. I like to carry spare batteries in a canvas knife sheath right on my belt for easy access.
A good pair of knee pads can protect your knees from jagged rocks and briars. Likewise they keep your knees more comfortable when getting up and down off of the ground.
Spare Hand Digger:
No one wants to be caught far from home with no way to retrieve targets so a spare digger can come in handy should you break or lose your main digger.
Freezer Baggie & Large Rubber Bands:
The weather man isn’t always correct when predicting the weather, so if your detector isn’t water proof the last thing you need is to get caught in the rain. A freezer bag and large rubber bands can help keep your machine dry. I like to carry two freezer bags so that I can double them up if I need to.
You basically just cover the control box with the bag, and then secure it into place with a couple of rubber bands. I’ve done this a few times, and it works great in a pinch.
We don’t really have to explain this one, do we? Be sure to pack some toilet paper with you. You never know when nature will call!
A can of insect repellent is an essential item that no backpack should be without. Both ticks and mosquitoes carry diseases, so don’t forget the insect spray!
A hand towel, or golf towel will come in handy when you need to wipe your hands or face. I like to carry a hand towel when it is hot outside to wipe the sweat from my face.
You might also take a towel soaked in rubbing alcohol and put it in a ziplock bag. That way if you want to do a quick wash before getting in the car you can.
First Aid Kit & Bandages:
This is self explanatory. A medical emergency may arise at any time, so be prepared with a first aid kit and band aids. I also like to carry some Ibuprofen with me so my hunts don’t get cut short by a headache.
A good trail mix with both fruit and nuts can give you much needed energy to help sustain you on long hunts. Apples and bananas are also great snacks that can be easily carried in your backpack.
Water & Extra Water:
Bring at least one 20 ounce bottle of water for every hour that you plan to be out detecting. You definitely want to stay hydrated, so bring more water than you’ll need. The heat can beat you down faster than you think. Don’t put yourself in danger, bring extra water!
You can get sunburned very quickly on long hunts if you aren’t careful. Get a sunscreen with a 15 to 30 SPF (sun protection factor.) An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays and an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays. Apply it to your arms, legs, face, and the back of your neck! Better safe than sorry!
A good pair of gloves can protect your hands from sharp metal objects when digging. They can also protect your hands from dirt borne bacteria. Gloves also keep dirt from getting under your fingernails.
If you’re like me, you never want your hunts to end. That has caused me to end up in the dark after staying in the woods longer than I had planned to do. A flashlight, or hat with LEDs is a necessity. Be sure to also bring along a spare set of batteries for your flashlight!
GPS & Topographic Maps:
A good GPS Unit and Topo Maps can help you find detecting spots that you are unsure of the exact location. Likewise they can help you find your way back to the car after your hunts.
Duct Tape or Electrical Tape:
You never know when you might have to repair your equipment, or back pack straps. You can wrap duct tape around your water bottle a few times for on the fly repairs.
Whistle & Mirror:
No one wants to imagine themselves needing to be rescued, but accidents happen. A whistle or mirror can help rescuers find you should you get lost or need medical assistance.
Most modern cell phones also have GPS tracking, so if yours isn’t enabled, be sure to do so before you depart on your next hunt. Obviously, a cell phone can also be useful if you need medical assistance as mentioned above.
A video camera will help you capture that special moment when you find that cache of gold coins. As they say, “Pics or it didn’t happen!” If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video needs no explanation!
A windbreaker jacket is lightweight and will easily fit into your backpack. The weather is subject to change at any minute so bring a windbreaker along with you.
Before you head out:
Think about the area that you are planning to detect and then think about any item that you may end up needing out in the field. It is better to be over prepared than it is to be under prepared.
Your backpack may be a little heavy, but once you get to your spot you can take it off and sit it on the ground or hang it from a tree.
Rob’s Bonus Secret Tip:
Knock on the ground when you get a high tone that seems like a shallow, larger target. Aluminum cans will have a hallow sound to them if the can isn’t very deep. Knocking on the ground will save you from having to dig sometimes!
It is always a good idea to review your backpack checklist before you leave home. It is better to find out that you forgot to put something in your backpack before you are out in the field. Also, before you leave, double check your equipment to make sure that it is in good working order.
Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.
– Bobby Unser
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