Camping Gear Spotlight:Best Gold and Metal DetectorsMetal Detectors - Fun Hobby and Amazing Family AdventuresGrowing up my family lived on a large piece of property, down a long gravel driveway, out in the middle of an endless view of vacant land as far as I could explore and more. Today that land has tens of thousands of houses on it, and though the bare land may be gone, the memories will last a lifetime. One of those memories is that my dad had a metal detector, an old school style that was probably pretty nice for it’s time. It got the job done, and it was a lot of fun. I remember the stories that my parents would tell me on how they used that metal detector to explore even bigger swaths of land when they were growing up, and all the really exciting and interesting things that they would find. There’s a lot you can do with a metal detector. For my family it’s all about taking a family trip to new places to explore on a quest for gold, meteorites, old coins, old guns, parts of our cowboy and gold rush history, and so many other possibilities. It’s fun to research and plan for new expeditions, whether they are a day trip with a nice picnic snuck into the middle of our day, a weekend camping trip, or a small hotel in a neat and historic town. The most important part of jumping into the hobby of metal detecting is your equipment, with the metal detector being the central most important piece of equipment to run. It is critical to your success to buy a metal detector that will do what you need it to do, as well as a metal detector that won’t sound off on false or really frustrating finds like can tabs. You need to be able to filter out the noise, so you can target worthwhile treasures and valuables to keep it fun. There are a lot of great accessories for metal detectors that you may also want to venture into. Headphones, shovels and spades, possibly different sized and types of search coils, a pin pointer type metal detector to hone in on your find. The first thing you want to think about is what types of items you are going to target in your quest for treasures. If you will be doing metal detecting in creeks or other water filled areas you will want to make sure your metal detector is water proof. If your looking for gold, you would want to find a metal detector that is good for coin hunting, gold nuggets, and jewelry. How a Metal Detector WorksWhat a metal detector does is it transmits magnetic energy into the ground and senses distortion in the magnet field caused by the presence of a metal object. Types of Metal DetectorsToday’s metal detectors have two primary detection technologies. The first one is known as Single Frequency, or it is also known as Continuous Wave. The second one is Multiple Frequency, also known as Dual Frequency or Pulse Induction. Each frequency technology has it’s own detection characteristics. The most common models today are the VLF or Very Low Frequency models. A nice upgrade to the top of the line models would be the newer Pulse Induction Units. Metal detectors can be an expensive investment, so it’s important that it is durable, dependable, and will last for generations. Make sure the model you get is waterproof, as you never know what you will encounter in your expeditions and you don’t want fog, dew, or rain to turn your expensive gold getter into a paper weight that you can no longer use. Expanding Your Gold or Treasure Hunting HorizonsI recommend buying a book on gold hunting, or joining a few good quality treasure hunting websites, and treasure hunting forums, to see what other metal detecting enthusiasts are searching for and finding. Some gold detector brands will come with information on a CD that will give you a high level view of some treasures that have been found, or that people are on a quest for, but everybody gets those CD’s, so some of those adventures may not be very fruitful. There are a lot of good videos, and tv shows as well, that will get your gold bug moving as well. Common Metal Detector FeaturesDiscrimination is a metal detector’s ability to tell the difference between one target and another. This is important because you want to know if what the metal detector is finding is a quarter or a bottle cop tab or cap. There is nothing more frustrating than digging six inches of rocky dirt about a hundred times finding nothing but garbage. You want to buy a metal detector that will skip those items, or sift through the white noise so that it only gives you the best chance at finding something interesting or valuable. There are models that will auto adjust out the noisy targets, and ones that allow you to custom tune it as you get better and better at looking for treasure and getting familiar with your new metal detector. Ground Balance is where the metal detector bypasses minute levels of metal like iron and other metals so that you can find the more important objects that you are looking for. Many of today’s metal detectors can automatically balance out these objects. Some models have the ability to manually adjust out these objects. The automatic ones often have a multiple ground balance that allows you to select either automatic or manual depending on the conditions of your ground search and what you are looking for. Target Identification is one of the best features of a metal detector that enables your metal detector to distinguish between different targets to identify a dime, a penny, a quarter, silver jewelry, junk that can be skipped, gold, and more. On a high quality model where this feature is completely dialed in, this will save you from digging up things that you aren’t looking for, so you can focus on the treasures that you want to find. Operating Frequency on a metal detector is the number of times the signal is transmitted and received by the detector during every second. The Lower Frequency detectors can scan deeper, so they offer better overall detection depth. The general purpose models typically operate at the lower frequencies, where the high end target specific models that look for gold, as an example, use higher frequencies. Sensitivity is the ability to detect metal objects from a distance. Just like if you have your volume on your stereo turned down low, you can’t hear the sound, the same goes for your metal detector. If you have the sensitivity turned down, it allows you to drown out the noises from objects that you aren’t looking for, but just make sure you don’t set it so low that it doesn’t detect anything. You need a nice healthy balance or you will miss some good finds. An example where you would definitely need to turn the frequency down is if you are in an area with high mineral content. Search Depth is the depth to which your metal detector is able to search for objects. The Lower frequency metal detectors can scan at deeper depths. Your soil composition can impact how deep you can scan, as can the coil you are scanning with. Larger coils can search deeper, where the smaller ones will search more shallow. The rule of thumb is that your coal can search one and a half times it’s size in depth, so if you are using an 8 inch search coil, you will typically be looking for an average sized coin at about an 8 to 12 inch max depth. What Can You Find in Your Target Area?AS you being to figure out which metal detector is the right one for you, you should consider the climate and the soil composition in your area. The three main types of metal detectors are land based coin and relic hunting, beach and under water detecting and prospecting for gold and precious metals. The most common type is the land detecting type, which will locate coins, gold, jewelry, relics, and historical building materials. If you plan to target creeks, lakes, beaches, rivers, or the ocean, you maight want to consider a beach or under water model. The models that will work near or in saltwater will require specialized equipment because of the electrical properties of salt and water, and they also need to be waterproof. Garrett Metal DetectorsATMAX ATGOLD ATPRO•AT (All-Terrain) VLF Detectors•Find Your Treasure. Any conditions. Anywhere.•No boundaries.•Waterproof to 10 feet.•Full versatility.