How To Dress For Th'ing Success

By Jerry Eckhart
From page 46 of the November, 1994 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © November, 1994 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

When I was growing up, Mother always made sure I was neat and clean before I went to school. Later on, when I reached young manhood, Dad took over and taught me his method. His favorite expression was, "A man should always dress for success." That was pretty strong talk for a poor, Oklahoma farmer, but the words stayed with me throughout my adult life.

That same expression holds true for metal detecting hobbyists throughout their career. Each of the many aspects of metal detecting calls for a different type of dress if we wish to be successful. Too often, I have seen treasure hunters amidst cactus and thorns with only a pair of shorts and canvas shoes. At the end of the day, they come back scratched and torn.

At other times, we have read in the magazines of hobbyists trying to get permission to search someone's yard while looking like an escapee from an oil pit. Our success in metal detecting frequently depends on our outward appearance. That doesn't mean we should always dress as if we were going to a formal metal detecting party, but if we fit our dress to the occasion, our chances of success jump considerably.

With treasure hunting growing in popularity each day, many new treasure hunters may be confused as to just how inappropriate dress can ruin their chances for success.

Urban coinhunting: There are several types of dress that directly affect whether you get permission to search a private lawn or not. First, be clean. No one wishes to have someone who is dirty or ragged swinging a metal detector over their property. While ragged cutoffs might be fine for hunting alone in an area where few are likely to see you, it will certainly put a damper on private homes.

Club patches, jackets, or caps with the words Treasure Hunting printed on them might create a negative image in a homeowner's mind. Why? The word treasure implies something valuable. If you introduce yourself as a treasure hunter or a homeowner sees the word embroidered on a cap or jacket, they may automatically think something valuable is hidden on their property and think you wish to take it away from them. There is consideration for your personal and property safety as well. Club patches on jackets or caps, as well as club logos on your vehicle, may well alert thieves to the possibility of valuables to be taken.

Appropriate dress could include khakies, jeans, sport shirts or T-shirts, as long as there is nothing objectionable printed on them. I would suggest men avoid shorts, ragged cutoffs and tank tops. By the same token, one would be wise to avoid looking as if they were going on safari when metal detecting in urban areas.

There is one area of urban metal detecting where patches on shirts might be of value if used in moderation. Many of the prime treasure hunting sites located in those older sections of town have begun to deteriorate. Several people hunting together might choose to wear their club patch on a uniform-type shirt. This gives the appearance of authority at a distance and could prevent some unpleasant incidents with local residents. It also gives a stand out quality and makes the treasure hunter instantly recognizable to law enforcement officers. it lets them know that you are just a cut above average. Don't overdo the patches. One or two is plenty.

Organized events: if you like to dress up in club colors and show off your caps and patches, these are the places to do it. Whenever groups of treasure hunters gather, nothing sets off the event more than to have every club dressed in their colors and patches.

Rural treasure hunting: One might think anything would go while hunting in the country, but some types of clothing just don't lend themselves well to branches and boulders. Fortunately, jeans stand up to the hardest of wear and are acceptable for just about any type of hunting. Long sleeved shirts are more efficient than short versions. They protect from sunburn, scratches and insects. You may not believe it, but long sleeved shirts are actually cooler in the summer. The long sleeves absorb perspiration and when the wind blows the evaporation actually cools the body.

Camouflage: Military style clothing designed to camouflage a person from instant sight has been a topic of controversy among treasure hunters for years. This is a decision one must make for himself. There are two obvious sides to the controversy. One side attests that wearing clothing such as this contributes to a bad image for treasure hunters, because it implies the treasure hunter wishes to hide his activities from view, therefore the public gets the idea that we treasure hunters may be a pack of thieves. I'm sure that unscrupulous treasure hunters have and are using camouflage clothing to conceal themselves as they sneak into forbidden zones to steal treasures, however, not all who wear such items are doing it for nefarious purposes.

The opposite view states that the benefits outweigh the bad points. True, they say. We do wish to be unseen, not for illegal reasons, but for personal protection. They feel that, by blending in with the surroundings, they avoid unpleasant encounters with strangers. It helps them avoid curiosity seekers, and often prevents theft of their artifacts. Whichever side you select, be sure you do so for the right reasons.

I occasionally dress in military field clothing when available, not for camouflage, but for practical reasons. The material most military clothing is made from is highly resistant to rips and tears from brush. The pockets are large enough to stow a few needed items and, overall, the military clothing is more comfortable. When available, I will wear the olive-drab shirts and trousers and often use the soft military caps.

Headgear: Headgear is invaluable when treasure hunting, for a head cover of any kind offers protection from sun, dust, rain and branches. It also provides an extra cushion when wearing headphones. Select a soft cap or hat that will permit the use of headphones rather than a stiff or ostentatious hat. During the summer, in places where headphones are not needed, a straw hat works well to provide head protection.

Footwear: Hikers, walkers, and runners all take extra pains to assure their feet will be as comfortable as possible while pursuing their sports. We treasure hunters frequently throw on whatever happens to be available, then spend hours in some mighty rugged terrain without further thought to our feet. It is no wonder we often come home after a day of metal detecting with blister atop blister.

Sneakers, tennis shoes, or canvas sport shoes, whatever you wish to call them, are superb for a day of chasing your metal detector over lawn and park, but are almost worthless when in the back country. When out of urban areas, leave them at home and don a pair of hiking or hunting boots, ones which will take the scuffs and thorns one finds in such places. A little forethought will assuredly prevent a lot of foot ache by day's end.

In conclusion:

We treasure hunters all wish to be successful and often spend hours in planning and hundreds of dollars in the best equipment in order to reach that goal. The same care and forethought in the way we dress can often spell the difference between failure and success.