Metal detector, pinpointer, digging tool, FINDS bag: all quintessential, don’t-leave-the-house-without, must-have pieces of detecting equipment, and I can’t believe in the year 2016, no manufacturer produces a hands-down, kick-ass finds bag.
Note: If any manufacturer improves their finds pouch/bag into a serious contender, and lets us know about it, we’ll promote and advertise the heck out of it for as long as we can for free. And please don’t send us a free sample – make us buy one for your having to read this article!
Most of my hardcore detecting friends use a generic fanny pack with an assortment of Altoids tins, plastic soap cases and chewing tobacco cans full of cotton balls to protect their newly dug treasures. Perhaps the manufacturers can’t compete with this, I don’t know, and instead, bless their heart, provide an array of “finds bags”, most of which are glorified tool belts or barf bags with their logos on it. I’ve tried EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, and I’m not happy. I don’t really feel like any of these are designed and QC tested, at least not for a relic hunter.
So what do I use? I use the Garrett Finds Pouch. They last me about ten or so hunts, before the inside zipper pocket collapses and/or the belt connector comes loose and falls off. Fortunately, they are cheap (less than $12 on eBay) and at least useable, so I order them 3 at a time and just toss them when they are done like disposable gloves. The core bag is made of killer canvas and zips tight with a solid zipper, so even if the inside and belt falls apart, at least I don’t worry about my finds falling out.
In Garrett’s defense, I think this bag is designed for casual coinshooters, and probably would be a bit more serviceable if that is what I did. But I’m a Civil War relic hunter, primarily, and the bag could use some improvements, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
The requirements for a finds bag for relic hunting, IMHO are pretty simple, I think. I need:
a) A large compartment to put trash and large items;
Garrett Pouch: Check
b) A secure closeable area to put my keepers, like silver coins or Civil War bullets without fear of losing them;
Garrett Pouch: Check . Inner Zipper pouch, until it falls apart. I’ve been through over 20 of these bags in the last 3 years.
c) An integrated belt so I don’t waste my time putting it on my own belt;
I like just popping my belt off and putting it in the back-seat while travelling between sites or yards. I don’t go to the door and ask permission with it on, after all.
Garrett Pouch: Check, though mine will not stay adjusted to my waste size and I’m constantly fooling with it. The connectors sometimes come loose and sometimes fall off.
d) Considerations for attaching my pinpointer holder and lanyard;
A place for everything, everything in its place.
Garrett Pouch: Check. The loops on the outside are solid and reliable. Perfect.
e) Special protection for fragile finds, such as a rare belt buckle or fragile button.
I currently drop a small Riker case in my Garrett Pouch for this purpose. Most detectorists use cotton balls in tin containers. I’m usually going to secure such an item in a vehicle, but often I’m hiking or in a field and that is not practical.
f) Reasonable construction that doesn’t fall apart
Canslaw, lead bullets, horseshoes, glass. I understand we need to balance materials cost and a reasonable price, but I simply don’t want it to fall apart.
In order to meet these requirements, I’d like to see Garrett have their inner zipper pouch strengthened with a more sturdy material. And I’d like to see an integrated plastic container inside the large pouch instead of the three inner pockets (what are those, coin sorters?). And slightly improve the belt so that it stays adjusted. And have relic hunters like Nugget Noggin and Beau Ouimette test it out in the field before release, and give it to me for $29 shipped.
btw, Garrett also offers a simple, tougher black and green pouch with no belt, and no easy provision for my pinpointer holder.
I love Minelab and my primary machine is an e-Trac, so I’ve also used the red Minelab pouch. It could use a belt as well, and I don’t know what the vertical nylon loops on the sides of it are for, other than maybe to put a hammer in. I would probably use this one, but after just a few uses for relic hunting, the entire damn seam on the right side came apart, rendering it useless. It is $32 bucks on Amazon.
Before I get the old cease and desist in my inbox, I’ll quit calling out the manufacturers. One manufacturer, whose detectors I love, and whose name sound like someone who catches edible underwater animals, provides what can only be described as a nail pouch for roofing with their logo printed on it. Another, whose nomiker implies catching criminals for money, has something that made me look like a cross between an organ grinder and someone selling peanuts at a football game. And one popular manufacturer actually has a glorified trash bag for my finds.
In addition to the aforementioned glorified repurposed “other products” and a couple respectable attempts at success, several shops have attempted to fill the void. I’ve seen some nice solid leather find pouches, that still do not meet all of the requirements above, as well as the Relic Elite pouches, that are also pretty good, but a little pricey at around $45 shipped. I may try one of these anyway while I’m waiting for the manufacturers to send an executive into the product design room and raise some hell!
JOIN THE FRAY
What do you think? Let everyone know in the comments below.
Special thanks to the lovely Lady Hawke.