Metal Detecting and Social Distancing During the Coronavirus Shutdowns

For those passionate about the metal detecting hobby, it’ll come as no surprise that many people enjoy detecting because of the peace and quiet. It’s a chance to get out into nature with a goal — one that can pay you back pretty quickly. 

The opportunity to get out, explore, and discover something new is a pretty big draw. 

Many people find community through detecting. But for the most part, detecting is a solo sport. 

As the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, spreads across the world, people are being encouraged to avoid groups of people over 10 and, if possible, stay home. If you do go out, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you stay 6 feet away from other people. 

They’re recommending “social distancing” — a term that wasn’t even in our vocabulary a few weeks ago.  

For metal detectorists, social distancing isn’t a foreign concept. That’s why this is the perfect time to pick up a metal detector. 

Metal Detecting as a Family When You’re Stuck at Home

While the CDC recommends staying away from crowds, avoiding the world completely can make you stir-crazy. If you have kids at home, it won’t be long before they’re itching to get out and do something active. If the kids aren’t ready to get out, parents will be! 

Little Dirt Digger, a young hobby metal detectorist, searching a grassy field

Little Dirt Digger Emily Copeland detecting in a grassy field.

Metal detecting is an activity people of all ages can participate in. Detectors can be purchased for under $400 (while some are even less than $100). Many detectorists in our community have found valuable items that have quickly recovered the investment of their metal detector. 

Kellyco offers metal detectors designed specifically for kids — they’re affordable and lightweight. 

It’s a great opportunity to bond with your family. Playing games together in general is important during this time. It gets our minds off of the 24/7 news cycle and gets us focused on what’s important. Games increase creativity and imagination. 

  • Talk to your kids about the past as you metal detect 
  • Take them back in time and let them pretend to be explorers, or even pirates! 
  • Consider creating a treasure map of the backyard and work as a team to find the booty 
  • Create a competition to see who can find the most objects

Mental Health Benefits of Metal Detecting

The sudden shift in the way we live, including disappointment that comes from canceled events and the inability to go out, can negatively affect our mental health. 

Exercise is a great way to combat that. Detectorists have reported feeling like they’ve worked out after a long day out metal detecting. You’ll bend, dig, walk and carry the metal detector around with you, which improves core strength, muscle development and cardiovascular health. While it isn’t strenuous, it definitely gets your body moving. 

As more and more fitness centers and other recreational facilities close down due to social distancing recommendations, finding creative ways to get some exercise is important. Get your steps in while improving your mental health at the same time. Metal detecting does both! 

While many businesses like restaurants, bars and movies are shuttered, don’t forget: the great outdoors is wide open and considered to be low risk in the spread of disease. It’s a great time to get outside and do some treasure hunting. 

Studies have shown that spending time outside in general can improve memory and fight depression. Simply walking around outside — especially surrounded by trees — provides these benefits! (It’s called forest bathing, and it’s reported to be great for your health.)

Metal detecting also offers a chance to get your mind off your worries. If you’re wearing headphones, the tones that go off when you’ve hit a target keep you focused. 

Metal detecting also boosts your mood in the following ways: 

  • Getting out in the sun provides Vitamin D and increased serotonin — both those are needed to beat the blues 
  • Learning new things keeps your mind sharp
  • Increased focus on the task at hand, less focus on your troubles
  • Getting outdoors and exercising improves sleep
  • It’s fun! Anything that brings joy and a sense of accomplishment during this time is a good option

Places to Metal Detect During Cov-19 Shutdowns

No matter your environment — whether you live on the coast or in the mountains — you can metal detect. In fact, every region has something special. 

In the western U.S., people tend to do a lot of metal detecting for gold. Gold erodes from mountains and hills when a river or creek flows through it. That gold accumulates over the years — particularly in cracks and crevices in the bedrock. 

Lil Dirt Digger, a young metal detectorist, going underwater metal detecting in a stream

Little Dirt Digger Emily Copeland taking her hobby to the creek.

River bends, behind boulders, logjams, under waterfalls, and any area where the river or creek slows are great places to metal detect for gold.

If you live on the coast, beach detecting is the way to go (as long as the crowds are down). You’ll find all kinds of things people have lost at the beach. Things wash up on the shore as well, including lost treasure! 

If you live in an area that has historical significance, try hunting for relics. That can be anything from old Civil War regalia to coins. Old farms and homesteads often hide buried historic relics, and can turn up some interesting finds as well. 

Wherever you decide to metal detect, there’s a metal detector designed specifically for you!

Final Thoughts

Take some precautions before metal detecting during an epidemic. Wipe down your metal detector with an antibacterial wipe or cleaner before and after use. The National Institute of Health says the Coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to two or three days. 

And don’t forget to sanitize your coils, coil covers, gloves, shovel and shoes. 

Detecting sparks curiosity and imagination. Take a break from the uncertainty of the world, get outside and find some treasure by metal detecting!